The mind affects the body.
How many times have you heard this wisdom, promptly advised it, and then skirted it yourself? You don’t need it, what with being superhuman and all. Oh that’s right, you’re not. You’re frazzled one minute, irritated the next, and unable to tame your thinker for longer than 10 seconds at a time. You’re also looking older than you ever have in your life. Credit mood swings and stress for expediting the aging process and wreaking havoc on your façade. (That negative Nelly attitude isn’t doing you any favors either.)
To really turn back the clock, try boosting your mood. Dr. Michele Raithel, founder of Revolutions Natural Medical Solutions in Folsom, has your Rx.
SIGNS OF STRESS
Lifestyle, heredity and diet all affect how we age. So does a healthy mental and emotional state. “Stressors of any kind can use up nutrients and hormones in an attempt to balance physiological processes like blood pressure,” Dr. Raithel explains. “These nutrients and antioxidants are then less available for other processes like repairing damage to skin and joints, and scavenging free radicals.”
In other words, you look as good as you feel – news that, for those chronically at their wit’s end, isn’t exactly winning the lotto. Externally, stress manifests itself in under-eye circles, weight gain and diminished skin elasticity, among other unsightly cues. Those in this category lose the ability to concentrate clearly, report high blood pressure levels, suffer mood instability and look like they haven’t slept in weeks. Trying to right a ship so clearly off course seems insurmountable, but it’s manageable – and for less then a facial.
The key to aging gracefully, explains Dr. Raithel, is to “identify your stress zones, and focus your energies there first.” Traffic making you crazy? Switch on calming tunes. Can’t find your desk amidst all your piles? Simplify spaces for performance rather than for piecing together missing components of a project. Clarity brings calm, and with it, an even mood and more youthful appearance.
Equally important is making time to recharge. “Overworking fatigues the brain and decreases productivity,” Dr. Raithel explains. “Use your vacation time. Many of us do not take the time to relax. Eventually your body will force you to relax by developing a chronic disease.” (Crow’s feet, gray hairs and extra weight from sugary cocktails you use to, ahem, “calm your nerves” are also common forms of payback.) To revitalize, add mood stabilizers like restorative sleep, small doses of sunlight (a lack of which is linked to neurochemical brain changes) and mini meals eaten throughout the day. Dr. Raithel also touts mindful breathing and meditating in 30 second spurts from sunup to sundown, which for most people is more doable than seeking clarity in 20-minute stretches. It’s also effective, “having a massive impact on the body’s ability to cope with stress,” the good doctor adds.
Forsaking quick fixes for long-term lifestyle cures like these supplement anti-aging mainstays like exercise, hydration, a nutrient-rich diet and, oh yeah, sex. Not only does a roll in the hay do wonders for you psychologically, it’s scientifically proven to take years off your life. So put down the latest beauty elixir and get in the mood.