More Secret Strategies to Look Young and Feel Radiant
In my last blog I wrote about my Secret Strategies to Look and Feel Younger, (check it out here if you missed it – it may not be quite what you think!)
And, I use the words “look young” slightly tongue in cheek. Because our culture is obsessed with youth. And sadly, most of us absorbed this obsession, along with the reviling of the aging process, from birth onward.
Our mothers and grandmothers wrung their hands as they plucked out those first grey hairs. Losing their looks loomed like a disaster of epic proportions. As children watching this, our young hearts and brains became imprinted with their fear of aging. Because the media has decreed it: Those dewy, youthful good lucks are where our power lies.
At Holistic Hot Sauce I’m all about calling bullshit to those outmoded ideas! We’re digging a grave for them and cheerfully burying those crummy beliefs that hold us back from accessing our own radiance.
We do NOT lose our power as our bodies pass through the years, or when we cease our monthly moon blood and come to the end of our fertile years. No! Rather, we enter into a much deeper and more profound power than we could ever imagine during our maiden and mother years.
There are all sorts of jokes about “50 is the new 30”, and “70 is the new 40”, etc. (And I can tell you I’ve been meeting many 70- and even 80-year-olds who are proving to me that this is no joke!)
But that’s not the point….. our chronological age means nothing really. Nothing.
However….. I’ve titled these blogs using the words “look and feel young” because that’s the language we all speak still.
I’ve got five more “Secret Strategies” for you below. But they all boil down to the same thing (cliché alert!): You’re as young as you feel!
And the truth is, we get to choose how we feel. It’s part of our day-to-day behavior, our words, and the thoughts we decide to entertain and give our attention to. These tips below are ‘secrets’ that can help you connect with that power of your own choice, so you really can ‘look’ as young as you feel.
How can that be?
When you are connected, when you are infused with a sense of love for exactly who and where you are, that shines out with a powerful radiance. So even if your hair is silver, and your skin is sagging, that light shines with the vigor of youth, illuminating and cheering everyone you encounter.
That’s the radiance we’re really looking for in our endless quest for the “elixir of youth”!
Five More Strategies
1. Speak Up for What Matters
A couple of months ago I had the privilege of hearing Gloria Steinem speak during her keynote at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference.
As soon as the iconic feminist took the stage I was struck by how fabulous she looked. Wow, I thought, she’s got to be at least 20 years older than me.
Well, add almost another decade! Gloria is 81 years old! I was flabbergasted when she divulged that info. She’s the same age as my dad… but what a HUGE difference in energy and demeanor.
Gloria spoke passionately on several issues of importance to women and people everywhere—and I was most struck by her message of acceptance and compassion … even for the people who hold different political beliefs. What a far cry from the old trope of the ‘strident feminist’ that dogged the women’s movement of that era.
As I sat in the back of that ballroom listening to this beautiful woman speak about the things she cared so deeply about I was struck with an insight. It came during the Q&A when one of her old friends asked her how she managed to maintain such youthful good looks.
Now, that question didn’t seem totally appropriate given the context of the talk. And Gloria gracefully fielded it with a few mentions of healthy practices. But, here’s what I think was the REAL answer: This woman has devoted her life to speaking out for the causes she deeply believes in. She has walked the talk and devoted time, energy and money to this.
I believe this is the key to her radiance, her fit body, her clear eyes, and ability to still travel and move around the planet with so much ease and grace. In short, speaking up for what’s important to her has allowed her to enjoy “youthful” beauty and radiance well into her wisdom years. (Ok, some good quality hair dye has probably helped too.)
What’s YOUR truth? Do you speak it out it loud and clear no matter how those around you might react? Maybe it’s time to channel some Gloria, and go “all in” for what you believe in!
2. Stop feeding the ‘Getting Old’ Story.
Are you constantly apologizing for forgetting someone’s name and blaming it on a “senior moment”? Do you find yourself commiserating with friends about your aching knees, or stiff, inflexible bodies and lamenting how tough it is to get old?
You might want to pay some attention to what story you’re telling yourself.
I’m guessing you would like to move into the next few decades with as much ease and flexibility as possible. You want to bypass those illnesses and be one of those vigorous 92-year-olds that I’ve been meeting here in Mexico.
Well, that is a lot more likely to come to pass if you place your attention and focus on the parts of your body that DO feel good, the parts that look pretty damn awesome still.
Instead of complaining about the creakiness, celebrate the fact that you can still walk a mile, smell a flower, or view a sunset.
We get to decide where we want to put our attention, and those moment-to-moment decisions make up the fabric of what unfolds in our lives. This is not just some spiritual mumbo jumbo—it is now being proven by new brain science.
So, just because you can go to Google and read about all the potential diseases that can afflict you as you age, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it! Same goes for listening to all the fear-based stories – whether they’re coming from the media, or from your best friend.
Stop prefacing your statements with the words, “At my age…” Make the choice to focus your attention on the stories that encourage a sense of vitality. And notice the difference in how you feel each morning when you wake up!
3. Connect to Spirit
Both of the above tips become easier when you make time in your life to connect inward. It doesn’t matter what your personal religious and spiritual path is, allow the space in your life for quiet reflection and personal connection to the spiritual source that feeds you.
This will turn down all that outer noise and make it easier to focus on what really matters most to you. It moves you out of fear and into a deeper understanding. Joy and vitality stem from feeling a connection with the life force that flows through all things.
Ultimately, the sense of peace that you enjoy from a regular practice of connecting to spirit will reflect outward with a radiant and ‘youthful’ glow.
4. Take a Chance on Something New
Most of us of heard this prescription for keeping our brains flexible, alert, and less susceptible to memory loss and disease. But you may not have thought about how getting involved in a new hobby or activity can actually brighten up your physical appearance.
Sometimes we can tell ourselves a story that we should have started earlier, and it’s now too late to do something we’ve always longed to try out. And guess what? That’s all that is—a story!
Sure, if you’re 68, you might not be able to groom yourself to be an astronaut or a ballet dancer, not in this lifetime anyway.
But you CAN still write a book, learn a new dance, travel to a country or town you’ve always wanted to visit, take a painting class, even learn a language. Your limitations are simply those that you decide are true. Now, I’m not saying you can or will become an outstanding expert in some new field. Yet, when you take the chance and try something new you derive immeasurable benefits from stretching your capacities—even when your efforts are imperfect at best.
I was personally inspired to learn that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her first book in the famous “Little House” series when she was 65! And she’s just one example of a ‘late bloomer’ who has left a legacy.
5. Make Some Moves
This is another one that’s not exactly a “secret.” But often it gets dictated to us as “You must exercise,” and it can feel heavy and like an obligation or responsibility. I’m talking about movement as something different. Movement as Joy.
The “experts” are certainly right about this one. Fitting movement into your day will increase your flexibility, decrease pain, and most definitely up your energy level. But this movement does not have to be a workout at the gym, or even a walk if that doesn’t light you up. (Although you might try varying the location of your walks to see if there’s a place to walk that DOES get those happiness hormones coursing. Perhaps it’s not around your own block, experiment a little.)
Take a few moments to think about times in your life when you’ve enjoyed moving your body. Was it dancing at a party? Stretching? Swimming? Something else? Even if you think you’re not up for the same activity anymore, consider trying it out with an attitude of openness to the different ways you might participate.
Or, you can combine this strategy with the previous one, and try out a physical activity that you’ve never done before but have always thought might be fun. For example, lately I’ve heard of so many people starting to Tango Dance post 50, 60 and even 70.
What a fun way to move your body, connect with others, and delight in so many sensory pleasures!
The ageless-radiance-enhancing benefits of movement extend beyond choosing an “activity.” Try incorporating movement into ALL your activities. Set a timer and stand up every 15 or 20 minutes when you’re working at the computer, reading, or watching TV. You can even take a few seconds to do some head rolls or other mini-stretches.
This sounds like such a small thing, but your body will thank you and you will feel and see the results.
Wow, the more I write about this stuff the more layers I discover to this whole idea of cultivating our natural vitality and radiance in this ‘second half’ or “third act” of life! I’m not done yet! I know I’ll be revisiting this topic in future blogs.
I’d love to hear from YOU if you have any secrets, strategies or ideas for embodying your joyful and ageless presence! Share your ideas or questions in the comment section below.
Wonderful post, Sarah. I agree completely. I lam so excited about the life journey you are on. As women we can do anything, when we get out of our own way!
My mom lived actively and vibrantly until age 90. She would put on her favorite music and dance in the living room every day. But, as I was re-reading all the memory cards from her friends, what struck me is that every single person mentioned her smile or the fact that seeing her always left them feeling happier. I think that’s her secret : Energizing yourself and the people around you with a sense that every day is Wonder-full and sharing that wonder.