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Turning 40, I’ve Never Felt Better-My Top 10 Beauty Secrets for Looking and Feeling Young!

+ Rebecca

Well, everyone, the time is here!

May 28th is the great milestone for me. The big 4-0. A birthday that for many people, inspires self-reflection, and may bring up different feelings, perhaps some regrets….

The truth is, this is probably the birthday when many of us realize we’re not going to live forever. For our first four decades, we can fool ourselves into thinking we will, but when this birthday comes around, we’re forced to face our mortality.

Then comes the question: Am I living as I want to live?

Am I living every day as if tomorrow is not a promise?

Well, let me tell you that for me, the answers to these questions bring me so much peace! I can honestly say that I would not change a thing and I am truly living my life out loud and going after what I want-all the way!

I could not be more excited to be reaching this milestone. In my opinion, I’ve never looked or felt better in my life. I’ve also finally settled into my own skin. I’m doing what I truly want to do, and letting the opinions of others be less important than they once were (though that’s still a work in progress!).

The #1 Secret That Above All Else, Keeps Me Young & Glowing!

Of course, like anyone, I’ve had some uncomfortable thoughts leading up to this big date. For those of you who know me or know about my journey, I was married for 8 years in my 30s. Now that I’m a single gal again and turning 40, I definitely would love to have kids, but I realize I don’t have unlimited time to do that. Unlike when I was younger, though, I now have a magic solution to my concerns-I’ve learned to trust God and the universe and stop managing the timeline.

When I’m in that space where I’m trusting God, relinquishing control, believing there are no mistakes in this world, and believing the universe will continue to take care of me, like it always has, that’s when I glow. That’s when I feel my best. That’s when every issue in my body disappears.

That’s when I’m at peace.

And it’s only when we are peaceful, inside and out, that our beauty is allowed to shine.

Below I’m going to share with you my top 10 anti-aging secrets. These are the main things that I’ve learned in my life that really make a difference in how I look and feel. As you read through them, you’ll find beauty tips, eating tips, exercise tips, and spiritual tips, all of which have helped me to stay as youthful and vibrant as possible.

My Top 10 Anti-Aging and Beauty Secrets

1. Meditate regularly.

Research has shown that meditation may actually slow the rate of cellular aging. Yes! Scientists found that cognitive stress and stress arousal whittle away at the length of our “telomeres”-those protective caps at the end of chromosomes that have been linked to longevity. Meditation, on the other hand, shifts that stress and may help maintain the health of telomeres.

AromatherapyI know for me, meditation helps calm my blemish-prone skin. When I’m doing it regularly (I practice 20-30 minutes first thing in the morning), I have far fewer breakouts, and my skin glows with health.

It’s like an anti-aging pill because it helps rest my mind, allowing my vital energies to go toward repairing and sustaining my body. I learned how to meditate six years ago at the Chopra Center (I took the Primordial Sound Meditation class.) I highly recommend it to anyone serious about anti-aging. It was definitely a worthwhile investment.

2. Use personal care products without dangerous chemicals.

There are so many potentially harmful chemicals in most personal care products. These wreak havoc on my skin. They not only make me break out, but they make my skin look dull, discolored, and dry.

If you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see most products contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals that accelerate aging and can even affect inside of the body. A 2009 study by the Environmental Working Group, for example, found 16 chemicals, including phthalates, parabens, and fragrances, in the blood and urine samples of teenage girls.

The good news is that many new green-beauty-based companies have sprung up over the last decade or so that are so committed to safety, and are very careful to thoroughly research all the ingredients they use to create their products. (CV Skinlabs is one of them!)

That means that we have a choice now. I’m absolutely positive that those products using safer, natural and organic ingredients are far better at keeping our skin looking vibrant and young than all those other options that are basically just cocktails full of chemicals ready to make you look older than you are.

Britta & Grandma

Grandma is holding me (right) and my cousin, Alisa.

3. Use Sunscreen!

I still remember the day when I was 15 years old and my grandmother took me to buy my first sunscreen and eye cream. She was a gorgeous woman. Even when she passed away in her 80s, her skin was like porcelain.

She always taught me about how damaging the sun was. Now we know, through research, that she was right-the sun and its damaging UV rays is the number-one ager of skin.

So one of the best things you will ever do to stay young-looking is to use sunscreen-an SPF of 30 or higher-every day of your life. Make sure it’s either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Avoid chemical types like dixoybenzone, oxybenzone, cinnamates, and others, as these can encourage the formation of damaging free radicals, may disrupt hormones, and are damaging to the environment.

My two favorite SPFs are from Mychelle Sunshield SPF 28 and Juice Beauty SPF 30.

4. Exercise.

Exercise is the fountain of youth. It really is. Studies have shown that exercise, more than most anything you can do, will keep your body and mind healthy and youthful.

I exercise religiously at least three times a week. My two favorite types are yoga and running. Yoga reduces stress for me, which is anti-aging on its own. All the deep breathing helps to detoxify my body, brings my skin a glow and it gives me more energy. It also helps boost your brainpower. Who doesn’t want that as they age?

As for running, I do that out in nature at least once a week. Getting out among green things has shown in studies to help reduce the stress hormones wreaking havoc in our bodies, and I find it really allows me to calm myself and feel more refreshed and grounded when I return.

5. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

One of the main culprits in skin aging is inflammation. While inflammation in a wound is a good thing as it shows us the immune system is doing its work, many Americans are now walking around with chronic inflammation going on inside their bodies. Scientists think that this is one of the reasons we’re suffering from heart disease, cancer, and other modern-day killers.

Eating an unhealthy diet exacerbates inflammation. A 2010 study, for example, found that the typical high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar North American Diet increases inflammatory markers in the blood.

We can eat foods, however, that calm and cool that inflammation, which not only benefits our health as a whole, but can also improve the appearance of our skin. Read my post on anti-inflammatory foods for more tips! Me, I stay completely away from sugar, dairy, gluten, anything processed, and alcohol.

6. Eat the right kind of fat.

Used to be that we were taught all fats were bad. Now, we know better. The body needs fat to function optimally, and the skin, especially, needs fatty acids to stay moist and plump and shapely.

The problem is that our typical western diet loads us up on omega-6 fatty acids, while failing to give us enough of the healthier omega-3 fatty acids. Meanwhile, it’s these omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce acne breakouts, keep skin moisturized, and help skin retain its firmness as we age.

I avoid most sources of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. These include chips, fried foods, vegetable oils, and soybean oils. To better balance my diet, I add in more sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which includes salmon, walnuts avocado, olive oil, and flax.

Britta and Friends 27. Stay connected.

Did you know that while men live longer if they’re married, women live longer if they have a good group of supportive girlfriends? (according to one study)

My girlfriends are my lifesavers. I have found that there is nothing that helps you shift from feeling dragged out and stressed to feeling awesome than meeting with a nurturing and loving girlfriend.

All of us need a supportive circle of sisters (or brothers) to support us through our ups and downs. Turns out that this is another anti-aging secret. An Australian study, for example, found that women with more friends lived 22 percent longer than women with few friends.

8. Practice affirmations.

Sometimes great things come to us out of the blue, but most of the time, we have to set the right intention to make things happen. We can do this by practicing affirmations-something I learned from bestselling author Louise Hay.

Having been diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16, and later struggling with body image, I grew up feeling that very self-conscious. I have found that mirror work with certain affirmations changes my mood and immediately connects me to my heart (great anti-agers!). I say the following eight affirmations every morning and every night as I wash my face. By doing so, I sent the intention for how I want to feel during the course of my day.

It really works. I invite you to try it. After all, if we don’t imagine ourselves feeling young, radiant, and healthy, how can we ever actually experience it?

  • I radiate eternal youth, health and beauty.
  • I am overflowing with positive energy and joy.
  • Every day I look, think, act and feel youthful.
  • My body is ageless; my mind serene; my heart unconditionally loving.
  • I choose peace, kindness and harmony in all my relationships.
  • My youthful spirit is reflected in the mirror each day.
  • I feel young, fun and full of vitality.
  • Limitless love, light and laughter are my birthright.

9. Live out your purpose.

Did you know that those who have a strong sense of purpose in their lives live longer, healthier lives? It’s been shown in scientific studies. Those who believed their lives had a sense of meaning and direction were far less likely to suffer from heart disease and other illnesses, and were actually found to live longer than those who didn’t feel their lives were worthwhile.

CV SkinlabsI can say from experience that there’s nothing more fulfilling than doing purpose-driven work. For me, it started after my father passed away. I felt a strong desire to give back and to dedicate my work to his legacy. I started the Cinco Vidas blog, wrote my book When Cancer Hits, and created CV Skinlabs.

Now, I’m expanding into speaking, coaching and educating people about reducing their toxic load so they can live healthier, more fulfilling lives. It only gets better from here.

10. Have faith.

And finally, I’ve saved the best one for last.

As I mentioned at the very beginning, my #1 secret for staying youthful is having 100% trust in life moment by moment. If I find myself falling into the fear trap, I practice shifting back into trust, and my stress disappears.

No matter what you’re religious or spiritual sensibilities are, we can all share in that feeling of faith-the trust that everything is going to work out.

Part of what I do every morning before meditation is to get on my knees and pray. I ask for strength and courage to trust that no matter what things may look like from the outside, everything is unfolding as it should. I pray that I’ll be filled with love, kindness and patience for everything and everyone. Then I let go little bit more that day and let God in a little more.

Britta Meditating 2This practice puts my body at ease immediately. I can just feel it lowering all my stress hormone levels and allowing my body to operate as it should, without having to deal with all the stress overload.

After I complete my prayers and my meditation, I can be present with what is and much more easily access that divine energy in the universe that’s available to us all. It’s so much better than operating from the ego mind, which most always causes stress, chaos, and poor health.

My Best Wishes for Your Lasting Youthful Spirit

I will be celebrating my birthday in Miami with my girlfriends this week. I can’t wait. Miami makes me feel alive and free, which is also anti-aging! I love to feel calm and relaxed, and nothing is better than sharing that feeling with girlfriends.

Of course, I will be using my SPF, hat, and umbrella to protect my skin, and enjoying every moment as it comes.

Sources
Elissa Epel, et al., “Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres,” Ann N Y Acad Sci., August 2009; 1172: 34-53, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057175/.

“Walking off depression and beating stress outdoors? Nature group walks linked to improved mental health,” University of Michigan, [Press Release], September 23, 2014, http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201409/walking-depression-and-beating-stress-outdoors-nature-group.

Galland L., “Diet and inflammation,” Nutr Clin Pract., December 2010; 25(6):634-40, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139128.

Jeffrey Zaslow, “The Ties that Bind,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204830304574131491060933358.

Tindle HA, et al., “Optimism, cynical hostility, and incident coronary heart disease and mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative,” Circulation, August 25, 2009; 120(8):656-62, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19667234.

Ed Diener, Micaela Y. Chan, “Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity,” Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 2011; 3(1):1-43, http://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~ediener/Documents/Diener-Chan_2011.pdf.

Lauren Woods, “Purpose in Life May Help You Live Longer, Mount Sinai St Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt Study,” Mount Sinai Health System, [Press Release], March 9, 2015, http://www.biospace.com/News/purpose-in-life-may-help-you-live-longer-mount/367858.

Andrew Steptoe, et al., “Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing,” The Lancet, February 14, 2015; 385(9968):640-648, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61489-0/abstract.

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