One year ago, Shadi Kourosh, M.D., M.P.H., director of community health at Mass General Hospital Dermatology, coined the term “Zoom dysmorphia” to describe patients who sought cosmetic services into their video conferencing experience. Even as many businesses are returning to in-person work, Zoom is here to stay. Facing the digital mirror is a must, but what if it makes you anxious?
What Is Zoom Dysmorphia?
This is a disproportionate preoccupation with your appearance during video calls to the point of distraction, anxiety, or avoiding logging on. As you cannot order Delta 8 edibles to relax during a serious business meeting, the problem requires more complex solutions.
Over half of board-certified dermatologists who took part in the study Shadi Kourosh dysmorphia registered an increase in cosmetic consultations during the coronavirus pandemic. Once more, in 86% of cases, patients cited video conferencing as it made them more dissatisfied with their appearance.
A survey conducted by Advanced Dermatology zoom dysmorphia 85% revealed similar results. 85% of respondents acknowledged that video calls made them more self-conscious.
How To Counteract Your Anxiety
If you feel that Zoom dysmorphia is interfering with your life and work, work with a therapist or try the following expert-backed tips. Sooner or later, turning that little camera will feel less stressful!
Be aware of Zoom’s impact
The virtual version of your face is always flattened out. The nose appears larger while the eyes look smaller. If you squint or hold the computer or phone below your face, your jawline may look saggy. The camera may even create a double chin effect! Simply knowing about this phenomenon will make you feel better.
No one is fixating on your problem areas
You are your own harshest critic. Other participants are very unlikely to recognize your imperfections as much as you do.
Use Zoom as exposure therapy
Exposure therapy is a common treatment for BDD. Every meeting in which coworkers do not recoil in horror looking at your face proves that looks do not determine your worth.
As soon as you realize you are getting distracted, make a conscious effort to focus on the content of the call. This could take a lot of practice, but eventually, you will be able to retrain your brain.
Scale back your pre-call routine
If you spend a lot of time preparing for a call as being without makeup causes anxiety, dial it down gradually. Shave off 5-10 minutes of the preparatory routine until it gets to a more reasonable period. For example, women may forego eyeliner, then cut out mascara, and continue dialing down their makeup all the way to natural.
Consult a professional
Finally, try cognitive behavioral therapy if nothing else works. It will help you develop a kinder approach to self-perfection. If anxiety prevents you from focusing on the work at hand, or you avoid video calls, check in with a licensed therapist.