A couple of months ago, my friend Sharon said to me that Iíd been looking really good, lately. I have no idea what she meant by ďlatelyĒ or ďgoodĒ but it was still a delightful thing to hear.

We chatted a little bit about what the difference could be. She thought it had something to do with health or exercise.

I agreed with her, knowing that my exercise routine had not changed, and even if it had, it had gone down hill.

Later, I thought about the various beauty products Iíve been using briefly but dismissed them almost immediately.

I know the answer. I was looking better because I was generally a lot happier and feeling a lot less stress.

What may have not been obvious to me in the past (because I was usually stressed out and unhappy) is so obvious to me now. When Iím feeling anxious and stressed there is some kind of indiscernible tension, even if I make the effort to relax my facial muscles or smile. As soon as Iím relaxed and happy, I suddenly look several years younger, brighter-skinned and clearer eyed, and I think even more attractively proportioned, if thatís possible.

Things like happiness, contentment, serenity, calmness; those are probably the most effective beauty products one could use.

Iím not necessarily writing this to argue the benefits of happiness. Thatís unnecessary, but itís more to point out how poisonous stress and unhappiness is.

So often in our lives, we donít take care of ourselves because our culture teaches us that to sacrifice our well-being to accomplish some goal is noble, itís the way to be. Itís expected of us to sacrifice our happiness to do something more ďworthwhile.Ē

Self-sacrifice is a noble goal, but I think that many people donít realize that they can accomplish the same goals without being miserable while working at them.

You just have to think about it awhile, understand what makes you happy and enjoy it.

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Tuesday, Jan. 09, 2007 at 5:33 PM