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Joy and Healthy Skin Aging

We often talk about the stresses that induce aging. How alcohol, smoking, sun damage and pollution contribute to early aging of our skin. To counteract these we try to eat a healthy plant based diet, get some exercise, and support our skin cells with certain performance ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, retinol, cell energy boosters, repair serums and sunscreen. These factors are critically important, but we must not overlook the mental aspect of aging.

Psychological stress can affect how our skin ages. High amounts of cortisol — the stress hormone — can break down the skin's collagen and elastin, and form wrinkles and loose skin. Stress also causes chronic inflammation which impairs the body's ability to repair itself. Research has found that skin aging is often accompanied with a two to four times increased levels of inflammation. Chronic stress can also lead to insulin resistance. Inhibited insulin causes higher levels of blood sugar, contributing to a biological process called glycation that hinders elasticity in skin tissue — causing wrinkles to form because the skin becomes leathery and inflexible. Stress also increases shortening of telomeres - the caps that protect the ends of chromosomes. When the telomeres shorten to a certain point the cell can no longer replicate and dies or becomes senescent, which leads to more inflammation.

Joy, gratitude and a sense of purpose play an important role in healthy aging.

Cultivating Gratitude

Gratitude promotes better sleep and lowers stress hormones. Before bed try a five minute meditation that focuses for a couple minutes on what you are grateful for. Followed this with about three minutes of focus only on your breathing. Doing this while lying in a comfortable position can help you fall asleep faster and feel more positive in the morning. I have found my sleep pillow extremely helpful in not only getting comfortable but lessening the worry of the mechanical dents the wrong sleep position makes on our faces while we sleep. The pillow I use is called Sleep and Glow. I was a little hesitant to buy a memory foam pillow because years ago I tried one and didn't like the heat it produced or the smell. This one is different. It works great and seems to be supportive in just the right places, no lines of indentation on my face in the morning. By the way, I have no affiliation with this company. I just like the product.

A Positive Attitude

Joy can actually help to improve your skin. The idea is relatively simple to understand.

When you feel joy, your skin instinctively follows suit by giving off a glow. You might call it a "happiness glow". Think about when others were able to tell when something exhilarating has just happened to you just by looking at you. The theory is that the positive emotions promote the skin’s ability to repair and heal itself, resulting in renewed, healthy, glowing skin.

A positive attitude works on internal issues; like promoting good gut health, which can level off your moods and lessen internal issues such as rapid heartbeat or drastic blood sugar spikes. Some researchers suggest that a smile actually makes you appear younger. Although it is a myth that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, what is true is that lines furrow deeper on your face when you are constantly frowning. Plus the types of muscles used are less aesthetically pleasing from a frown, such as the corrugator lines (the elevens) between your eyebrows get deeper for those who are constantly frowning or grimacing. Just as happiness can make you smile, studies have shown that, thanks to a quirk of the autonomic nervous system, the act of smiling can actually make you happier. Unfortunately, the same holds true for expressions of sadness and distress.

Joy and gratitude work hand in hand. I feel so lucky in my life. I am particularly grateful for my soulmate and partner, Dex. We have a relationship where we laugh together and use play as an important feature in our relationship. Often acting like little kids and continuously looking at the world with wonder and curiosity. Even with Covid we make time to travel to the seashore, walk the beach or just drive along the coast admiring the amazing beauty of nature. This gives us a sense of peace and relaxation.

How to Fall Asleep

We all know the importance of sleep, particularly deep sleep, yet that often eludes us. This is when those expensive serums do their best work and your skin repairs itself. There are techniques that you can actively use to fall asleep and even fall asleep quickly. Most people have their body tensed when they first lie down and don't even realize it. Common behaviors are holding your arms against your side, clenching your fingers, holding your legs together, tensing your shoulders and your neck muscles. The first step is to focus on your breathing. Make each breath a bit less deep than the one before. As your breathing becomes more shallow you will relax a bit. Don't restrict your breathing too much with each step or you will panic from lack of oxygen and lose the progress you have made.

After a while start to intentionally relax specific muscle groups. Visualize those areas as you do so. Start with your fingers, letting them fall wherever gravity takes them. Then relax your arms, letting them drift away from your side. Then relax your feet, legs, neck, and shoulders. It is amazing to feel these muscles relax from a tenseness that you were completely unaware of, a tenseness that will sabotage your attempts to fall asleep. Envisioning certain metaphors such as "melting into the mattress" will also help you relax and fall asleep.

Relaxing your body is actively linked with relaxing your mind. We often have those anxious thoughts that keep us awake, reliving a difficult day or worrying about something or someone. This thought process can be useful in problem solving but not when trying to fall asleep. Clear your mind by envisioning it as an empty slate. Resist the intrusion of any thoughts that fill that space. Before you know it you will be asleep.

A Sense of Purpose

Carleton University researchers found that people who lived with a purpose, setting goals that directed their day - to - day activities, lived longer than their counterparts, regardless of what that purpose was. As was reported in a Review of General Psychology study, having a sense of meaning and purpose promotes better physical health by reducing stress, improving coping and encouraging healthy behaviors. People take better care of themselves because they feel their lives matter more.

My sense of purpose comes from fulfilling my craving for knowledge. I love reading and studying the science of how we as humans work. Not only from a skincare point of view, but how we have evolved emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. I devote at least an hour each day to increasing my knowledge of the world. When I take my morning walk I am always listening to a podcast from someone that can offer me greater insights of the world. Lucky for me there is so much more to learn. I'll never consider myself an expert - just an insatiable student. It is also immensely important to me to share what I have learned with others in the hope that in some way it may be helpful. As I am one of the first ever licensed esthetician and have over forty years of experience of working with skin that is what I choose to share.

Elizabeth believes in "Longevity Skincare", the idea that beautiful skin can endure throughout one's lifetime when utilizing the best that science and nature has to offer. LONGEVITY is a science-based skincare line that appreciates skin of all ages. LONGEVITY by Elizabeth Renee provides hydration, nutrition and protection from environmental aging. Your skin will receive high performance ingredients to help energize and repair its cells, resulting in a healthy skin with an enduring, vital glow.

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