There are many powerful reasons to learn how to manage your stress. Doing so can make you less likely to experience mental health conditions, suffer serious diseases or drop dead from a heart attack. It could make your life more enjoyable and make the tough times a whole lot easier to get through. But what if it could also make you far more attractive?
Well, it can. In fact, it vastly outperforms any wrinkle cream, muscle paralysing injection or surgical procedure you care to mention.
Picture for a moment that perfect someone. Take a second to consider the expression on their face, the look in their eyes and the scene that you find them in.
Have you pictured someone who is at ease or someone who is tense? Is their face filled with joy or wracked with worry? Are they looking at you with a deep connection or are they distracted by the merry-go-round of thoughts twirling endlessly inside their head?
Stress really steals your sparkle. No one looks attractive when they are pissed off at a paper jam, frantically searching for their keys or attempting to multi-task their way through infinite layers of trivial annoyances. You have probably never seen someone in the midst of road rage and thought “yes, they are the one for me!”
Typically, the people we are most drawn to have a special vibrancy to them. They seem comfortable in their skin, at peace with the world around them and alive in the moment.
So, how do you get that way?
Many of the techniques used for reducing stress and building resilience can fundamentally shift our way of being. They can help us to become less caught up in difficult thoughts, less threatened by challenging emotions and far less reactive when things aren’t going our way. They can also help us to do something increasingly rare – remain fully present.
All of us only ever reach our full level of magnificence when we are fully present. This is when we can be completely filled with delight and wonder and all those other feelings that truly light up our faces and make us our shiny best.
While we spend an inordinate amount of effort trying to manufacture beauty, many of us have lost the connection with what brings about the real thing. No cream will soften a face the way that an act of kindness will. No surgery will shift someone’s look the way a good joke will. There’s no Instagram filter for genuine.
Surprisingly simple ways to bring out your true beauty
Today I saw an average middle-aged bloke stuffed into an unflattering neoprene suit. He had bedraggled hair, blue crinkled fingers and red salt-stung eyes. Yet somehow, as he trotted across the sand carrying his board, he looked resplendent. He radiated something that you simply won’t see in any high-end fashion shoot, no matter how talented the make-up artist or how expensive the super-model. He seemed peaceful, clear and 100% alive. Somehow, he seemed lighter – like the ocean has washed away all his worries and all of those hard, protective layers. An hour in the surf has brought him back to his natural human self.
We all need to find the things that bring us back. It may be meditation, time in nature or doing that activity we love. In the midst of the bleakest situation, sometimes a joke can crack through all the stress and tension and let our humanity bubble out.
Below are a few top tips to maximise your natural human gorgeousness.
1. Catch yourself before you get caught up in a reactive state
You are at your very least attractive whenever you are caught up in a reactive state. Thankfully, learning mindfulness can give you the power to step back when you see things are about to get ugly. It can stop you from being “that awful, hideous person” who is seen committing road rage, cursing at a colleague or berating a waiter for not bringing them a spoon. With practise you can go from being reactive and angry, to the kind of calm, warm, approachable being that others want to be around.
2. Look more youthful
The most youthful looking people are not those who slather themselves in wrinkle cream. Instead, it is those who maintain a youthful openness, joy and enthusiasm. It is possible to sustain a certain sparkle, no matter how thin your hair, how dodgy your knees or how many birthday candles you have most recently blown out. But to do so, you may occasionally have to remove the weight of the world from your shoulders and take some time off from being a serious, sensible adult. It may also mean unburdening yourself from guilt, shame, unworthiness and many of the other grown-up worries that we tend to constantly carry around.
3. Do the things that light you up
To truly light up we need to prioritise these things which bring about a big stupid grin. Consider, what are the things that bring you excitement, make you laugh or fill you with a sense of wonder? Are there activities you used to love, but for some reason stopped doing? Are there things you always wanted to try but never quite found the bravery for? Find your passion and you will also find a special vibrancy that no cosmetic can ever deliver.
4. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s stress
When you are around someone who’s reactive mind is running the show, it can be easy to find yourself tangled up in it. Rather than being calm and at ease, you may find yourself walking on eggshells, trying to anticipate the next thing that will set them off. Maybe it’s their boss, or their misplaced keys or that coffee cup you left in the sink. Mindfulness allows you to step back, focus on what’s actually important and maintain the type of presence you want.
5. Stop trying to fake it
While we can all move our muscles to approximate a smile, it’s generally pretty easy to see when it’s not the real deal. Humans have a huge portion of our brains devoted to reading faces and all those micro-expressions that come across them. Most of us can detect the subtlest of shifts. We know the difference between a fake smile and a genuine one. We can see when a face is saying “don’t talk to me,” or “there’s a lot whirling about in my head” or “I really don’t want to be in this photo.” We can’t always be beaming with the intensity of a synchronised swimmer. Sometimes we will be frustrated, sad or tired and that’s 100% okay. In the end, there’s nothing more beautiful than being your authentic self.