Large breasts, flawless skin and full lips may play leading roles in the modern-day beauty equation, but there is something deeper that transcends beyond what we see in the mirror: true beauty radiates from within. There is no denying that the most beautiful women in the world are far more than a product of external beauty. Inner spirit, positive emotions and healthy relationships produce a natural beauty that cannot be found in a bottle—even the most expensive treatments cannot conceal negativity, fear, anxiety or the emotional toll of a toxic relationship. Inner beauty is the secret that is often forgotten on the quest to remain forever young. Here, nine wellness elements that enhance inner beauty and reflect an all-natural glow.
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Preventative health maintenance
It may not sound as sexy as the latest and greatest facial rejuvenation procedure, but before making that Botox appointment, have we scheduled our yearly mammogram or seen our internist? External beauty means nothing if our internal organs are not well maintained. Poor nutrition, excess alcohol consumption, smoking or lack of exercise do not do a body good. Annual physical examinations—including age appropriate screening tests—are necessary to allow for early intervention and lifestyle adjustment to maintain quality health. Preventative health care not only saves lives, but it is vital to living life to the fullest and remaining young at heart both literally and figuratively.
Movement is the key to health. It also contributes to happiness, weight loss, increased libido, brain function and memory. Regular exercise and strength training can boost circulation, improve bone density, increase energy levels and release endorphins, making us feel as good as our body looks! There are many ways to exercise, but finding a physical activity that you truly enjoy is the key to staying motivated each and every day. Even a simple 30-minute daily walk can begin to transform your body, mind and spirit. The positive feedback is exponential as exercise helps with stress reduction and sleep quality, allowing us to wake each morning feeling stronger, leaner and more confident in our appearance.
Nutrition is more efficacious than any medicine. Without the building blocks of good nutrition, instead of a temple, our body will become a house of cards. Crash diets and processed foods not only cause inflammation, but they deprive our bodies of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids necessary to build healthy skin, lower cholesterol and reduce our risk of cancer.
Nutritional deficiencies are apparent on the outside: Skin, hair and nails are structures that undergo constant renewal and require natural, healthy food to fuel this process. Collagen is the protein responsible for elasticity and firmness of the skin and is most affected by the aging process. Oxidative stress is a main cause of aging and occurs when there are more free radicals than antioxidants in the body. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to build collagen and prevent free radical damage. Reducing our sugar intake and eating a diversity of whole, natural foods that are high in protein and green, leafy vegetables gives us the essential nutrients we need such as vitamin C, iron and zinc. Natural foods provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent diseases and slow the aging process.
We are what we think. A beautiful exterior is only a façade if it conceals inner turmoil and negativity. Everyday life can be filled with stress; mental health is a product of many things but the books we read, the media we watch and the music or podcasts we hear can influence our outlook on the world. Eliminating toxic relationships and minimizing the chaos of social media may be the first step towards a brighter mindset. Whether its meditation or professional support, the journey to improve our ability to manage our feelings directly contributes to our sense of peace and contentment. A feeling of relaxation and inner peace is priceless and is reflected in our positive attitude and the way we view our reflection in the mirror.
Humans have an inherent desire to connect and build relationships; multiple studies have shown that companionship increases longevity. The health benefits of companionship include fewer doctor visits, lower blood pressure and decreased anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Having the emotional (and even financial) support of a loving partner or friend also improves our ability to cope with the stress of life. Social support is important not only during times of crises, but also during times of success and celebration.
Sexual wellness lies at the core of our human existence. Although this may sound primitive in today’s sophisticated society, it is the basic motivation behind our every action, desire and thought. Our quest for beauty would be remiss without including our inner spirit animal longing for companionship and intimacy. Despite our best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, hormonal changes as we age pose a significant roadblock to our sexual wellness—insomnia, depression and reduced libido can affect both sexes during midlife. Menopause and andropause clinics abound as people are recognizing these changes and seeking early intervention. Hormone replacement therapy along with innovative new procedures to regenerate the female and male organ systems, such as the O-Shot and P-Shot, can improve libido and enhance the sexual experience. Finding a board-certified doctor to explore options and get ahead of the curve is critical. Doing so will not only improve individual health, but the ripple effect will benefit your love life as well.
An attitude of gratitude
In the never-ending chase for “better” and “more” out of in life, we often forget the many reasons we have to be thankful. There is a clear link between improvement of well-being and gratitude. Cultivating gratitude is a skill that takes time and repetition. From a beauty perspective, are we grateful for the reflection we see in the mirror or do we compare ourselves to others? Gratitude reduces feelings of jealousy and envy. It has been shown to increase self-esteem while also making us less self-centered. As we age, we can be grateful for the smile lines and crinkles around our eyes that show we live a life filled with happiness!
Sleeping Beauty was on to something with her countless days of slumber. The process of repairing the body occurs during sleep and this includes making new collagen for the skin to prevent sagging. The body also boosts blood flow to the skin during sleep, allowing for a healthy glow and rosy cheeks. When blood flow is diminished, it can collect under the eyes where the skin is thin, reflecting dark circles. Sleep deprivation can also lead to red eyes, puffiness, wrinkles and dull skin. A good night’s sleep is just as important as any expensive night cream. The goal is to maintain at least seven hours of quality sleep each night so we awake looking and feeling rested, energized and ready for a new day.
To quote Audrey Hepburn, one of the most iconic and classic beauties in history, “The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides”. It all begins with loving ourselves. This differs vastly from being selfish, which seeks external satisfaction and feeding our ego. The concept of self-love is about love coming from the inside out. The power of self-love gives us the freedom to let go of trying to obtain the picture perfect life and instead accept ourselves as the uniquely beautiful and perfectly imperfect human beings that we are. We can begin to accept our mistakes, have gratitude for the wisdom we have gained along our journey, establish healthy boundaries, trust ourselves and follow our passions. Self-love gives us the freedom to enjoy life and not take ourselves so seriously, which ultimately, is the Holy Grail to finding inner beauty.
Like a mirror image, beauty has two sides. Inner beauty is the missing piece of the overall beauty puzzle and evolves from within, not from a store shelf or doctor’s office.