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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Few Ways to Feel Beautiful (according to me!)

I have found that a lot of people find their way in to the health food world to lose weight, slim down and look better. There are endless books, documentaries and magazines on dieting, fitness and health foods in the pursuit of beauty. A lot of people use this information to slim down, lose necessary weight and feel lighter; others, however, just seem to torture themselves.
I feel like people often are missing the point when they pursue beauty rather than health. The feeling of being beautiful can often be fleeting, and it is an all too common experience to be at a healthy weight and state of health and still feel unhappy with how one looks.
Fed up with all of the superficial bull$h!#, I would like to share a few ways I like to be beautiful that does not have anything to do with weight.

Hold your head up high
Having good posture will give one a confident edge that will carry out in all aspects of life. Mind-body awareness has a lot of I personally have a hard time with this one, but I try to remember the cues from an Alexander Technique workshop I took once that has really helped with my mind-body awareness.

Proper Nourishment
Staying well hydrated and nourished can give ones skin a lovely glow. Eating a lot of fresh, raw produce (I like to eat a LOT of raw food, but even just one additional serving a day can have health benefits) and drinking green juice or water can do wonders for improving overall health.

Smile
There is nothing that makes someone more approachable than a genuine smile. If it is hard to just naturally smile, practice thinking joyful thoughts when your mind is resting (ie, you are not in the middle of something that needs your concentration) and dismiss the negative thoughts. Smiling in front of a mirror can also boost
confidence.

Acceptance
Even if there is weight to lose, muscle to build or acne to clear up- accept yourself for where you are at today. Pick out the qualities about yourself that are likable and capitalize on them. No one is perfect, and the expectation of such can be terribly damaging. There are probably so many imperfect people in your life that you love; why not make yourself one of them.

Self-Expression
Doing something creative (whether it be visual, musical, edible or whatever your passion is) can really make a person glow. Practicing some sort of art can also help work through deep emotions that can hold one back from their full potential.

Avoid harsh criticism, gossip and complaining
I have found that some of the most beautiful people can suddenly appear to be very unattractive after opening their mouths and hateful or rude words are expressed. I have caught myself complaining a number of times lately and realized that I don't really want to be a complainer. This habit can be curbed by noticing when one is doing it, and then promptly replacing the negative comment with a positive one. It is very important that self-regulating occurs with the voice of a thoughtful mentor rather than a harsh critic.

Decorate yourself
Fun hairstyles, jewelry, makeup and lotions are all fun ways to have some style. I like to play around with fashion, it is one of those things that is more fun when it is taken lightly.

Practice listening intently
The best social advice I have ever heard was from Oprah, who once said that she likes to pretend that she is interviewing everyone that she talks to. (although, in her case, she usually is interviewing most people that she talks to!) Follow up questions and an appropriate amount of eye contact reassures the person you are talking to that they have your full attention.

Aerobic exercise
The tool of aerobic exercise has the power to make eyes shine, skin glow, stimulate the production of beneficial neurotransmitters and make the cardiovascular system stronger. I like to do some intervals of walking, running and jogging to get my heart pumping.

Laughter
Laughter really is the best medicine! A good laugh can bring people closer together, raise serotonin levels and get the blood pumping. According to WebMD; "We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues."

Focus on other things
When virtually anything is put under a microscope, the flaws are much easier to see. While it is important to focus on ones self sometimes, (Quite often, in fact!) putting energy into other projects, relationships and activities can boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety. It is especially esteem-boosting to spend time on projects that you personally excel at and feel like you are benefiting others when you do them.





Whatever you like to do to feel beautiful, remember to be kind to yourself!

Much love,

Bethany < 3



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