Want to Be Happier? Get Rid of These 12 Things That Age You

womaninmirrorAccording to a recent article in  iVillage column, there are 12 things that add years to your appearance. And since the way we perceive ourselves affects our happiness, it’s worth a look to see if you can remove these 12 things from your life.

1. Stress

Feeling overwhelmed and incapable of handling what comes up in our lives is what we call stress. Although none of us long for stress, we all encounter it and must actively find ways to reduce it.

Looking at the cause and removing that is one way. But once stress has its grip, we much become proactive and take steps to reduce it. For some meditation works well. For others, prayer, quiet, and exercise are effective. You must experiment to find what works best for you.

2. Nicotine

In spite of visible attempts to restrict smoking in public places and anti-smoking campaigns, 20% of people still smoke.  Even those of us who don’t smoke are affected by secondary smoke.

In addition to being the leading cause of lung cancer, smoking also affects many other organs.

“Smoking is directly toxic to all of our organs, including our skin and the blood vessels that feed it,” says dermatologist Doris Day, MD, author of Forget the Facelift.

3. Sun on Your Skin

Sunscreen is a must, even if you spend  a lot of time  indoors out of the sun. And it’s not just the outer skin that is affected.

If you compare two people who are the same age — one who wears sunscreen and one who doesn’t — the sunbather will have more visible signs of aging, like age spots, broken blood vessels, wrinkles, sagging and precancerous lesions.

4. Sugar

Even though sugar may give an initial sweet shot to your tastebuds, its continuous intake will lead to a breakdown in elasticity. That means sagging and wrinkles, potentially putting a dent in your happiness.

You are advised to

Choose whole grains instead of the white stuff. If you can’t resist a bagel, adding protein to the meal can help keep your sugar levels from soaring and possibly do less skin damage.

5. Sun in Your Eyes

Applying sunscreen to your skin is not enough. It’s important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays with sunglasses.

The skin around the eyes is very delicate, and once damaged even smiling and scowling will lead to lines. So, get a pair of sunglasses that protect against UVA and UBA rays.

6. No Retinol

The abundance of  skin care products makes it tough to know which is best. But dermatologists seem to agree that every woman’s skin care choice should have Retinaol the anti-aging Vitamin derivative known to reverse aging.

It’s important to test and/or consult your dermatologist before using however, since sensitive skin  may have a reaction.

7. Lack of Sleep

We’ve heard of the importance of sleep before, but it bears repeating.  Lack of sleep will not only make you feel and look tired, but deprives your body of a break from the daily stress we encounter.

In addition,

According to Badreshia-Bansal, sleep gives our skin a much-needed break from environmental and psychological stress. “This is when the reparative work of cells occurs. Sleep relaxes the facial muscles and allows the layers of your skin to rejuvenate,” she explains.

8. Alcohol

Commercials frequently show alcohol as refuge and relief from a stressful as well as way to celebrate. The truth is that heavy drinking not only interferes with our sleep (which we need to repair,) but it can also lead to broken capillaries and uneven skin.

9. Over Exfoliating

Exfoliating scrub  is not something you need to do daily, say dermatologists. Once a week is adequate. Otherwise you are removing the very oils that form a protective barrier and can cause microscopic tears in the skin.

10. Being Lazy

Ponce de Leon, 15th century Spanish explorer, is famous for his search for the Fountain of Youth, a legendary stream that restores youth to anyone who drinks from it. Until this fountain is located, the closest thing to it is exercise.

While sleep and relaxation are important, physical activity not only makes us feel happier, but also boosts our immune system, and improves circulation and blood flow.

11. Bad Food

We’ve been told over and over again which foods are bad for our bodies and mind, and yet because food providers make them cheap and readily accessible, they  are hard to resist.

Which ones are best for our bodies and minds?

Feed your face with a Mediterranean-style diet, says Day. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, olive oil, fish, yogurt and colorful fruits and vegetables may help protect against sun damage and premature aging.

Once we train our tastebuds to like what’s good for us, they will begin to gag at the approach of the fat, greasy and oversweet offerings that our placed in our path so often. Foods that are good for us are the best fuel that enables our bodies and mind to work at their optimal best in the fight against disease and the stimulation of natural chemicals that lead to feelings of joy and well-being.

12. Compulsive washing

Yes, we need to wash our hands, but overdoing it strips away the layer of germs that protect us.  You can often tell how old someone else by looking at their hands.

It’s the transferring of germs to our face that makes us sick.

Germy hands can only infect us if we transfer those viruses to our eyes, nose or mouth. “If you don’t want to get sick, don’t touch your face,” says Day. If your hands are still dry, apply lotion immediately after to lock in moisture.

Although these 12 pieces of advice were directed at our skin and appearance, they work equally as well at bolstering our happiness.
What do you think? Speak your mind.