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Ageing Gracefully

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 20 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Ageing Gracefully

In a world that is obsessed with youth, ageing gracefully can seem impossible, especially for a woman. Whether it is the media or your peer group, sometimes it is as though every 'improvement' a woman makes to herself somehow relates to slowing or halting the body's ageing process. While there are endless reasons to reduce ageing in the sense of your overall physical health, it can be a struggle for women to age gracefully following menopause. However, many women manage to look and feel vibrant and healthy long after they reach their change of life. There are a number of things these women tend to have in common as well.

Respecting Your Body

When a woman enters menopause with a lack of care and respect for her body, this will show in how she treats her physical and emotional self. Rather than age gracefully and respect the changes that occur from the natural ageing process, she may ignore the changes and live an unhealthy lifestyle that includes a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking or excessive alcohol use. She may want to deny that ageing even occurs, which can lead to lifestyle choices that demonstrate her feeling of invincibility and a lack of respect for her body. Women who age gracefully, however, will nourish their bodies and minds with healthy choices and stress relieving practices. They respect that their physical and emotional bodies require nurturing and care to provide the best mobility and functioning for life.

Looking Your Best

Respecting your body is important not only because it will leave you feeling good, but it can also leave you looking your best. When your hormones decline due to the menopausal transition, your skin may seem less firm and elastic. This is partially related to your oestrogen levels, which is one of the hormones that declines during the menopausal transition. Your genetics will also play a role in how you look and feel, although genetics are only one part of the equation. Respecting your body by embracing a healthy lifestyle is one of your most important approaches to looking your best before and after menopause. You may now want to experiment with more natural, complimentary makeup products and applications as well as using a quality skin care regiment to look your best.

Appreciating All of Yourself

Women have an unhealthy tendency to view themselves in a disjointed way. As their bodies change from menopause, this disjointed view can become even more pronounced. Rather than appreciate herself as a whole person, a woman will see herself as her 'fat' thighs, her 'unattractive' nose and various others critical pieces. On the other hand, women who age gracefully know that they are far more than each individual, physical apart. Not only that, but these women know that they are far more than their character or personality flaws. A woman who ages gracefully knows that her faults join with her positive traits to create an interesting and unique person. She may not love her thighs but she does love her hair, for example, and the sum of all parts is a positive number.

Letting go of Unrealistic Attitudes

Unrealistic attitudes generally lead to disappointment. These attitudes tend to involve unrealistic expectations of how a woman 'should' be at a certain age as well as how she should behave. If you have the mindset that a woman should stop being sexual at menopause, you will act on that attitude and may then miss the intimacy and pleasure you had previously enjoyed with a partner. Alternately, you may have an unrealistic attitude towards your lifestyle, thinking that you are old now and no longer need to exercise and look after yourself. Unrealistic attitudes are normal only in the sense of being shared by many women, and they develop over time from preconceived notions of how a woman should look and behave during her life. These attitudes mean that you lose touch with reality and those around you because you are caught in a cloud of fantasy over how things should be.

Focusing on the 'Here and Now'

Women who age gracefully tend to focus on the 'here and now.' This means letting go of the past and also letting go of regrets and negative perceptions. Focusing on the current reality allows you to be more accepting of yourself. A girl who is aged ten rarely thinks back to the time when she was five years old – wishing she could rewind the clock. Yet, women who are fifty can quite easily reminisce about their figure at age eighteen or their career at age forty. This kind of thinking stops you from enjoying your life and the positive benefits of the ageing process. It can also coincide with menopause, leaving you thinking back to your fertile years. While some sadness is normal, dwelling on the past is not only unhealthy, but it means that you will miss much of your current life. Women who age gracefully don't need to think back to their past with a wistful nostalgia because the present day is exciting and fulfilling.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

One reason that some women manage to age gracefully is that they maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life. Rather than focus on the negative stereotypes of ageing, they view ageing as a positive part of life that brings with it desired traits such as wisdom, maturity and personal character development. As you approach menopause or the postmenopause stage, now is a wonderful time to consider how gracefully you are ageing and whether or not you can make improvements to your life.

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