5 ways to Look Better Now … for free

Sitting on the beach on the last day of happy time, I let my mind wander. Big mistake. As it often will, it wandered right into that dark place where I think about my age, where I feel my mortality.  “I should be wearing a hat. I should be out for a run. I need a good plastic surgeon,” … you know, that kind of thinking. I wish I was better equipped to embrace the signs of aging.  I wish I could look at sagging jaw lines and deepening crow’s feet and see the beauty of a life well-lived.  But, I am a woman living in this society – one where youth and appearances are held in the highest regard.  I am the product of generations of kind, intelligent women who worried about their waistlines, their wrinkles and their wardrobe.  My grandmother, at 96 years old, still asks me what she can do about the lines on her face.  It is hard to fight against the tide.  Admittedly, I don’t try very hard. (See my post on the two things I actually do.) I am as superficial as the next girl, but there are a few things I have learned about looks. I don’t know if spending time and money on your appearance will make you happy, despite what the magazines tell us. I do know there are ways to look better that are both free and painless.

1.  Smile More — It will cost you nothing and instantly makes you more attractive.  Try it even when you are having a bad day –  you’ll feel better.  Frowning makes you look like the grumpy old troll.  For instance, it makes me so sad that my life is such that my references come from Dora the Explorer and yet, I can still smile.  Happy and stupid has to be better than grouchy and stupid.

2.  Confidence is better than make-up.  Pull you shoulders back and stand up straight.  I am a chronic sloucher and have to work on this constantly. Older women who have good posture are much more striking and engaging. Being around someone who is clearly worried about her appearance makes you notice all her little flaws.

3.  Be kind.  Notice how people’s appearances change as you get to know them?  That woman who you thought was so beautiful turns out to be less than nice and suddenly, even the flawless skin and perfect outfit can do little to hide the ugliness. The guy who didn’t get the second look, gets all the laughs and like magic, he becomes eye candy.  What good is being attractive if no one wants to be around you?

4.  Look people in the eye.  It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul.  I am fairly certain that your soul does not age.

5.  Live and let live.  A sure way to invite others to scrutinize your appearance is to be judgmental of the way others look. Women are our own worst enemy, and it is sad. Make a conscious effort to be less critical of others and the way they look. You will ultimately be kinder to yourself.

When, on the rare occasion, I find a dress that fits great, suits me and hides my post-baby beer belly, I receive the most compliments.  This has little to do with the way I look and everything to do with the way I feel.  Being comfortable in your clothes shows.  The trick, and I know this is difficult, is to find a way to be this kind of comfortable in your own skin.  Oh, and drink a lot of water.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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