If you go to a typical high school graduation ceremony, most of the seniors look to be the same age. But with each ten year reunion the gap widens. Some people look older than their years and others retain a youthful vitality well into seniorhood. Why?

Our society tends to deliver a fatalistic message about aging – basically it’s just what happens and we all must make our peace with it. But the truth is, there are a lot of ways you can slow down your own aging, and most of them center around your daily routines and habits.

Here are a few things you can do to continue to look as young as you feel.

  1. Wear sunblock on your face, neck, upper chest and backs of your hands – Much of the visual signs of aging stem from a breakdown of collagen in the skin. The collagen breakdown is accelerated by sun exposure so by protecting the skin, you prevent or delay the formation of dark spots, wrinkles and skin damage. But be aware that the vitamin D sunlight helps you make has a lot of health benefits, so do as I do and compromise – let your arms and legs soak up the sun and protect your face, neck and chest with sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat. There are many quality formulations of sunblock these days, so if you’ve found it sticky or unpleasant in the past, odds are you will find a brand you like if you explore. I find a pump-shaped bottle is best as it makes it very simple to pump and apply in the morning before doing my makeup.

  1. Get enough sleep – Nightime is when your body undertakes vital repair processes. If you routinely deprive your body of sufficient sleep you will inhabit a stressed body, which will contribute to faster aging. You might need to re-arrange some things in your life or even let go of some of them in order to regularly sleep the right amount for you. But it’s an investment in your long-term health and has a side benefit of keeping your body looking and feeling younger too.

  1. Stop doing things that age your face – By this I mean stop rubbing at your eyes when you take off your makeup or are sleepy. The skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate. Once you break down the fibers they don’t really ever come back the way they were. So be gentle when touching the eye area. Use soaked cotton pads or Q-tips to remove makeup and gently pat on eye cream with the tip of your ring finger. Never rub. The same goes for your lower face as well. Don’t rest your chin on your fist, pushing your cheeks up into a distorted blob. Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible. And be aware that when you sleep on a standard pillow you are pressing lines into your face for up to eight hours every night. Switching your pillow to a smaller, firmer one is something a lot of older beauties swear by. If you Google “anti-aging pillows” you will see what I am talking about.

  1. Stay hydrated – Human bodies contain so much water that it only makes sense that all our systems and organs function better when they don’t have to fight for hydration. Making a daily habit of drinking plenty of filtered water is a simple step that can keep your skin, joints and muscles looking and feeling youthful and vibrant. You can put a bottle or gallon jug out on your desk, next to the couch where you sit at night and at your bedside as an easy way to remember to sip throughout the day.

  1. Train your mind – We all know that person who has spent a lifetime thinking mean or worrying thoughts only to have their face reflect those thoughts over time. Ageless beauties have worked on their inner selves and learned how to replace worry with optimism and mean thoughts with kind ones. They’ve learned to relax their minds and let things go when they notice themselves getting stressed or anxious. Every life has challenges of course, but to glow and radiate health, you need to figure out a way to keep your mind on your goals and all the things you’re grateful for.

Incorporate these tips for long-lasting youthfulness and overall serenity.

Barbara Wayman, APR

Author of Living An Extraordinary Life – 9 Transformational Strategies To Live Your Best Life Now