Recently I was remembering when I first started seriously experimenting with makeup. I was seventeen and a girlfriend and I were at my place, getting ready to go out on the town.
I’ll never forget the look on my Dad’s face as we emerged from the bedroom after what seemed like hours of preening. We were both clad in the shortest of mini dresses, fishnet stockings, stiletto boots and absolutely plastered with makeup. Caked on foundation and powder. Sultry pink sculpted cheekbones. Smokey black eyes, hot red lips. Not to mention enough hairspray to catch any unsuspecting bugs who happened to be passing by.
Dad had to look twice before recognising his own daughter. His first reaction was “you can’t go out like that, you look like a painted doll!”.
The thing is, the drinking age in New Zealand at the time was 20 and we were going clubbing. So we absolutely had to make ourselves look older!
How often do teenagers try to look older, then once they hit their late 20s or early 30s they desperately try to look younger.
What you probably have noticed is that some people, regardless of their age, look and act far younger than they actually are. While others look old before their time.
What can be causing these differences?
Well, there is a new secret to looking and feeling younger than your chronological age.
You can look younger without the need for expensive skin care treatments, supplements, injections or even surgery.
All you need is your beautiful and powerful mind.
Additionally, there are many reasons why some people look older than they are. Causes for premature aging can include psychological and physical stress. This can happen for many years until eventually manifesting as signs in the body.
Psychological stress can begin as far back as childhood. Verbal and physical abuse can be prevalent from a young age. We can be conditioned from childhood to accept that we are not worthy and not good enough.
Physical stress includes a plethora of causes. These can be childhood illness, poor nutritional habits or unhealthy addictions to certain substances or behaviours. Stress can even be caused by over-exercise and not paying attention to warning signs that your body may need rest. Speaking of rest, sleep plays a huge role in how well we age. Lack of sleep can affect your skin and other organs as well as your psyche.
The good news is that we can use the power of our own minds to not only halt, but also to reverse, these beliefs about ourselves that we have adopted.
Here are some of the keys to change your ideas about aging:
Awareness is the first key to shifting your beliefs. Be aware of the words you say to yourself and the images you make in your head about aging. By reversing some of the statements you repeat to yourself over and over, you can have a huge impact on how your mind and body responds to the very thought of getting older.
The mind responds to the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself.
– Marisa Peer
For example, do you say things to yourself like “I dread getting old” or “I’m scared I’ll go batty” or “I’m over 50, I probably haven’t got much longer to live”?
Do you picture yourself in your old age in a wheelchair? Shuffling about with a zimmer frame? Wandering around naked having found your way out of the retirement village, no idea where you are?
Flip these words and images around and speak to yourself with positive dialogue. “Getting older and wiser is exciting, I feel so much more comfortable with myself the older I get”. “My mental abilities get better and better with age”. “Now I’m over 50, I’m entering the best years of my long, healthy, happy life.”
Visualise yourself aging gracefully, being fit and vibrant well into your 80s, 90s and beyond. See yourself taking long walks along a beautiful beach. Picture yourself in a yoga class, having excellent flexibility and balance. Imagine being surrounded by your friends, engaging in lively, uplifting conversations and laughing a lot.
If you focus on the negative aspects of aging, your fears are far more likely to come to fruition. Whereas if you train your mind to focus on the many, wonderful, positive aspects of aging, your positive beliefs will become your reality instead.
2. Emotional responses
Always be aware of the emotional responses you link to getting older and anti-aging. The stronger your negative emotions about longevity and getting older, the quicker those images will reach and stay embedded in your subconscious mind.
What is the impact of negative images on you?
Your subconscious mind is like an obedient servant and will take on board whatever your conscious mind tells it. If these commands from the conscious mind have strong, emotional feelings attached, your subconscious mind will quickly store this information and will respond consistent with your beliefs.
Ensure you keep your emotional responses about aging positive. Always have strong, affirmative emotions linked to your attitudes and responses about getting older.
Looking and feeling younger is about how you feel about yourself and the world around you. Do you feel optimistic most of the time or only some of the time? Maybe never?
Having an optimistic outlook on life and always having something to look forward to with a sense of excitement is a surefire way to feel better about yourself, which will in turn, make you feel and even act younger.
Optimism is also about having a sense of purpose in your life. For some it may be a challenging career or business. If you’re retired then engaging in fun hobbies or volunteering will give your life a purpose.
When someone is lonely they can easily become depressed. Depression can change the whole physiology of your body, causing you to slouch and droop. The way you hold your posture has a profound effect on your emotions. The more upright you are the more positive and happy you are.
Ensuring you have meaningful friendships and catching up regularly, with positive, like-minded people, can have a huge effect on longevity and anti-aging.
In this 2016 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there was found to be a link between having strong friendships and having health and longevity.
Never underestimate the power of having regular catch ups with your besties. Pick up the phone and organise a catch up for a coffee, wine or a lovely walk together in nature.
5. Avoid confusing your mind
You can’t feel anger and delight at the same time. Similarly you can’t feel depressed yet also feel joyful.
The mind cannot hold conflicting beliefs.
– Marisa Peer
Stay clear in your mind about what you want, otherwise your mind will become confused. Your confused emotions will prevent you from moving towards what you truly want.
The mind takes everything we say literally, so don’t make jokes about getting older. Resist buying those funny birthday cards that joke about old age. Don’t even make a passing derogatory comment about aging. The more you think in the negative about aging, the more your mind will ensure your body lives up to your expectations.
These are only five of the keys to looking and feeling younger. I’ll be sharing more in future blog posts, so stay tuned.
Rather than expecting midlife to be the beginning of progressive deterioration in both body and mind, I see aging as an opportunity for greater connection, increased physical activity, enhanced mental capacity, higher wisdom, heightened creativity, deeper meaning and a more joyful life.