Look around and it seems like we’re all in search of the magic bullet that will automatically erase years from our face, body, and even our tired spirits. If there was a way to capture youth in a bottle, I’m pretty sure that the person who discovered it would have long ago retired as the richest person in the world.
The cold, hard truth is that we can’t stop time. We grow a little older each day, but what does that really mean? We’re at an interesting point in time where we’re beginning to redefine how we view aging, and what it means to grow older.
For many people, age isn’t defined solely by a number. We’ve all known the 20-year-old who acted like they were middle-aged and have heard stories of an 85-year-old out there running marathons, with their great, great-grandchildren cheering them on from the sidelines. Age is more than a number, it’s also about how you look and feel.
There are so many factors that play into how we look and feel, that it would be impossible to list them all. That said, if you’re tired of feeling your age – or maybe feeling older than your age – these five tips are a great starting point for both looking and feeling younger, starting today.
Take Care of That Face
It may seem superficial but how we look on the outside does affect how we feel. Taking good care of your skin is one of the most important things you can do to look and feel younger.
This isn’t just about slowing down the hands of time and avoiding a few wrinkles. Skin that ages gracefully is beautiful, and there’s nothing wrong with proudly wearing a few smile lines. However, there are other ways your skin reflects your health and your spirit.
Taking good care of your skin, which includes a regular routine of cleansing, exfoliation, moisturizing, and sunscreen, will help keep your skin fresh and youthful-looking, no matter what your age.
It’s important to remember that your skin is constantly rejuvenating itself. Every day it sheds old skin cells in favor of fresh, new ones. Taking care of your skin daily removes the oil and debris from the top layers of your skin, and reveals the fresh, glowing skin beneath. Dead skin cells can also clog pores – leading to breakouts, and they can settle into those fine lines and exaggerate their appearance. Clearing them off and protecting your skin is simple enough that there’s really no excuse not to do it.
To look your youngest, it’s also a good idea to take the less is more philosophy with cosmetics. Yes, there are primers, fillers, concealers, and a million other cosmetics that claim to magically erase years off your face. Honestly, a high-quality primer can fill in those tiny fine lines and make a nice canvas, and most of us can relate to the wonders of a good concealer. However, wearing too much makeup often ages you, which is the exact opposite of the effect you’re looking for.
Layers of concealers, foundation, highlighters, etc. take away from the natural glow of your skin, and settle into lines and wrinkles, exaggerating them rather than covering them up. The same applies to too much eye makeup, which can seep into fine lines or accentuate undereye circles. This isn’t to say you should skip the makeup altogether if it’s something you enjoy wearing, just be conscious of how too much might actually be adding a few years to your face instead of erasing time.
You had to know that it’s impossible to read an article about how to look and feel younger without the word “exercise” popping up. Thing is, there’s a good reason for this – regular exercise really does keep you looking and feeling your best, regardless of your current baseline fitness level.
There are more than a few reasons for this, but we’ll start with the basics. From a physiological standpoint, exercise helps you become your healthiest self – which also means you’re less likely to suffer prematurely from age-related physical decline and reduce your chances of developing a host of chronic diseases.
Exercise also gets the heart pumping, increases circulation, and releases feel-good hormones in your body. You might drag yourself to the gym but by the time you leave, you’re feeling like a whole new person who’s ready to take on the world. Regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and improve balance and flexibility – all of this is important for reducing the risk of injury as we age.
You also look younger when you exercise, and no it isn’t because you’ll miraculously regain the body you had at 17. Going back to how exercise boosts circulation, it also gives your skin a nice healthy glow that lasts long after you’ve completed your last set of reps.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right – smiling is an instant facelift. A person who’s scowling instantly looks and presents themselves as older than someone of the same age who carries a sunny disposition and smile around. Looking on the bright side of life is important for looking and feeling younger, but that isn’t all we’re talking about here.
To have your brightest, most beautiful smile, you have to take care of your teeth. Yes, those pearly whites will look nicer in pictures but overall oral health is important to your health in general. Visiting the dentist regularly can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease is actually an inflammatory condition that has been related to the presence of bacteria in the mouth. There’s some suggestion that chronic gum disease predispositions a person for heart disease and other chronic health issues.
The moral of the story here? Brush and floss regularly, go easy on sugar and acidic foods that can eat away at your enamel, and see your dentist once or twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings.
Slow Down and Meditate
Life gets busy, and it’s easy to forget to make time for ourselves. How many of us crave just a few minutes of quiet alone time, or the ability to be able to go off and do something with the only intent being self-care. It isn’t always easy to work these types of self-care excursions into a busy day, but most of us can find time to slow down, quiet our minds and just sit for 5 to 10 minutes a day. This is all you need to start a regular meditation practice.
Why meditation? Well, meditation helps to relax you, relieve tension, and promote better sleep habits. All of these are beneficial in presenting a fresher looking face to the world. When you know someone well enough, it’s easy to tell when life has been getting them down because they look tired and worn out. You can also tell just by looking at them when things are going wonderfully. Meditation isn’t a magical age eraser but it can provide a nice little all-natural facelift.
Plus, a little quiet time can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and even encourage habits that promote better overall health. Not such a bad deal for just a few minutes of your time.
There’s also one more aspect of meditation that will help you look and feel younger, and that’s acknowledging that you’re worth the effort of carving out a few moments of quiet for. Meditation helps to promote balance, calm your spirit, and promotes feeling connected to the world around you. All of this helps support a more positive mindset, and that’s something that will come through in how you feel, look, and act.
Don’t think you can fit meditation into your busy schedule? Think again. All it takes is setting your alarm for 15 earlier in the morning or sneaking off for a few minutes of quiet before you go to bed. You also don’t need to be a meditation guru to reap the benefits. Start by just sitting and reflecting, then work on calming all the outside noise and just being present in the moment.
This right here is a big one. We underestimate the value of feeling connected and grateful for the world around us, and how doing so can enable us to feel better about ourselves. When we feel more positively about our lives, what happens next? It shows in the face we present to the world.
You might remember a few years back when “gratitude practice” became a big trend. As with most things that become trendy, the masses of people gravitating towards it creates an opposite effect that sends an equally large group of people navigating toward the opposite end of the spectrum, determined to find fault in the trend.
Guess what? You can’t find any fault in practicing gratitude. Sure, there might be those out there who claim miraculous health benefits but at the end of the day, gratitude is beneficial in so many ways, that the overexaggerated claims cease to matter.
Take a few minutes every day, whether you write it down in a journal or just reflect on what you’re thankful for, to practice daily gratitude. You don’t need to search for something big and important to be grateful for either. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being grateful for Belgian chocolate at the end of a particularly rough day or being grateful for the company that produces the serum that just seems to instantly brighten your face after a night of not so great sleep. The point is to stop, reflect, and see the world around you in a more positive light.
Looking and Feeling Younger Isn’t About Regaining Your Youth
We hear clichés about it all the time, like “dropping pennies in the fountain of youth,” “turning back the hands of time,” “youth is wasted on the young,” etc. The reality is that growing older is a beautiful, natural process that we should be grateful for. This doesn’t mean that we need to take everything that the aging process hands us sitting down. It’s entirely possible to grow older and still maintain a youthful mentality, attitude, and appearance. It all starts by taking care of yourself from head to toe, and not neglecting the importance of supporting your spirit in the process. These five ways are only the beginning of the spirited, youthful, and beautiful life ahead.