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Health and Beauty Tips


Health and Beauty Tips

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									                               HEALTH AND BEAUTY TIPS:-
. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism or
review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this report may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
the publisher.
This e-book is not intended for use as a source of medical advice. It has been written as
a guide only, based on the author’s years of experience and observations. As with
anything, you should conduct your own due diligence and seek medical advice from
professional medical professionals wherever necessary.
While every effort has been made to ensure all the material is correct, neither the
publisher nor the author assume any liability for the use of or inability to use any or all of
the information contained in this publication. It is a general guide only and each
individual’s situation will be different.
Australian English spelling is used throughout this book. This differs from American
English in words like colour, centre, neighbour, honours, minimise, moisturiser,
generalised and many more. 3
Part I: Health and Beauty Tips
Chapter 1: All over Skin Care
Chapter 2: Look after your Feet
Chapter 3: Eat a Healthy Diet and look after your Teeth
Chapter 4: Exercise for the Body and Mind
Chapter 5: A Good Night’s Sleep
Chapter 6: Dress to Accentuate your Body Type, Skin and Hair Colour
Part II: The Importance of a Healthy Mind and Body
Chapter 7: A Positive Mental Attitude
Chapter 8: Meditation for a Calm Mind
Chapter 9: Keep Stress at Bay
Chapter 10: Maintain an Active Mind
Chapter 11: Social Networking4
Thank you for buying this book. You will find within its pages details of how I have
managed to look 10 years younger than my years without succumbing to cosmetic
surgery, laser treatment, Botox injections or even a harsh peel to remove the outer layer
of skin.
The story of my life’s journey is intertwined in the following chapters with a host of
information and health & beauty tips. I do hope my story will inspire you to embark on a
new health and beauty regime which will enable you to look at least a decade younger
when you reach my age.
It really is bizarre that I look so much younger now because as a teenager I could pass
for several years older than my years. This was useful at the time as I could buy a drink in
a pub long before I turned 18. Even when I was as young as 12, I was taken for a few
years older as you will see from the following incident which I recall with a wry smile.
sister and I were boarding a bus and she asked for “one and a half to town please” (she
was 14 and I was 12). The bus driver asked “who’s the half?” with a smirk on his face
my sister pointed to me. He didn’t believe us and we both had to pay the full fare. As
we’ve got older I’ve laughingly said to my sister (who was really thin at the time and I
a big bust) that if we’d said it the other way around, we may have got away with it! My
sister is 17 months older than me, but says herself she looks 15 years older than me now.
I was born in England of Irish descent and have a large extended family. Many of my
relatives emigrated to America in the 1920’s and 30’s, so I have lots of cousins who I
rarely see. In 1996 I was living in England as my dad was ill - he finally died in the
The following month, mum and I traveled to Chicago to see dad’s sister and some other
relatives. One particular cousin, who I had not seen for over 20 years, was about 59 at
the time and I thought she looked about 45. I remember thinking: “Wow, I hope I have
genes”. I was 45 at the time and yes, almost 15 years later I know I have those genes. Of
course, genes play a part in looking younger. For instance, having high cheek bones is a
great asset as it stops your face ‘falling’ as your skin and muscles sag with age. Also, 5
being born with good bone structure and symmetry in your facial features are definite
advantages. But even with the best genetic inheritance, you will not remain younger
looking if you are careless with your skin care and neglect your health.
There is, of course, more to looking younger than maintaining a youthful face and a
welltoned body. To be healthy and happy (which is what most people seek) means being
fulfilled on every level (body, mind and spirit). True contentment and long-lasting
happiness, I believe, are the result of having a healthy body, a contented mind and a
positive outlook – attributes that are very conducive to keeping a youthful appearance
and outlook on life.
I have always been a little envious of people who manage to earn a living doing
something they really love. Others possess a passion that seems to absorb them
completely. I was not so lucky on either score and spent many years searching for my
true purpose. Only in the last couple of years have I realised that most of us are not born
with a special purpose (for instance Churchill believed he was born to lead Britain in
World War II) or a particular talent that shows in early life (Mozart’s musical genius for
example). Most of us have to find our true niche in life through trial and error and that is
exactly what I have done and I now impart to you in my personal journey.6
Chapter 1: All over Skin Care
Skin is our largest organ – yes it is an organ - and because it covers all of our body, it is
one of the most important organs. Skin acts as a barrier to bacteria that cause infection,
as well as protecting us from excessive heat and cold. Hence, looking after your skin is
vital to not only looking your best, but for the protection of your whole body.
To begin this chapter on skin care, I will point out the dangers caused by ultraviolet light
and why you should use a sunscreen every day to protect your skin against the sun’s
harmful rays. The daily care of the face and neck, delicate eye area, décolletage area,
hands, arms and legs will then be discussed.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of sunscreen – it is literally a life saver. For
those of us who live in sunny countries, like Australia, it is vital if you want your skin to
maintain its youthful appearance. I particularly remember two girls I met in Bali in 1979.
They were from Queensland and were just 17, but already had lines on their faces from
sun damage. I enquired as to the time they spent in the sun and whether they used
sunscreen. They said they spent a lot of time at the beach and didn’t use sunscreen as
they preferred to have a great tan to attract the boys. Sometimes I wonder what these
girls look like now, more than 30 years on.
My philosophy is this: We are young for such a short time – about 20 years - say from
age 15 to 35, followed by 50 or more years of being ‘older’. Therefore, protecting your
skin when young to ensure it looks good for a lifetime is much more important than
having a great tan for a few years to attract the boys!
The ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign, introduced into Australia about a decade ago, advised us
to ‘slip on a shirt’, ‘slop on some sunscreen’ and ‘slap on a hat’ to protect against skin
cancer, of which there is a very high incidence in Australia. This campaign seems to have
been successful as the incidence of melanoma (malignant skin cancer) has decreased in
recent years, but the need to emphasise the importance of protecting the skin from our
unforgiving sun is ongoing.
One way to ensure you have protection, even in winter, is to choose a moisturiser and/or
a foundation with an SPF (sun protection factor). These SPF’s start at about 6 and go up
to 50+ in Australia. In case you are wondering what these sun protection factors mean,
an SPF of 50+ means your skin will be protected from burning for 50 times longer than if
you did not use a sunscreen. It is UV-B or ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn.
Obviously the hotter the weather, the higher SPF sunscreen is required. In Australian
summers, if you intend being out of doors for any length of time, especially between 11
am and 3 pm, an SPF of 30 or above is needed. In the winter time or early or late in the
day in summer, an SPF of 15 would be suitable if you don’t intend to be outdoors for
periods. At the beach, either sunbathing, swimming or both, please use the maximum
strength sunscreen and apply 15-30 minutes before exposure and re-apply every 15-30
minutes if you are swimming, rubbing or wiping your skin. Otherwise, re-applying every
2 hours should be sufficient.
I have just discovered an Australian-made, relatively inexpensive moisturiser with an
of 30 which is only available in pharmacies. I decided not to provide specific brand
in this book, but you can enquire about Australian-made products at your local pharmacy.
The key to keeping your skin soft and radiant is to practice what I term the 3-step regime
- cleansing, toning and moisturising - twice a day, every day. If you are not already using
this 3-step regime, I urge you to start now as this a vital step in helping your skin to
maintain its youthful look and texture.
Face and neck:
Unlike other parts of your body, the face and neck are rarely protected from the elements
and need to be treated with the utmost care. This can be accomplished very easily and
quickly with a daily routine. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s and could afford it, I
bought 8
the more expensive brands of cleansers, toners and moisturisers. Over the years I have
found that less expensive products do just the same job. The key is to find products that
suit your skin type and your pocket, so try a few brands. That is, if you have dry skin, use
products specifically formulated for dry skin. If you have normal, combination or oily
the same applies. A few products have ‘suitable for all skin types’ on the label, but I
to use something for my particular skin type. Affordable products are available at your
local pharmacy or supermarket, so try a few until you find ones you really like.
I do not like cleansers or moisturizers that are perfumed, but again it is your choice.
Whatever products you choose though, do use them daily.
The 3-Step Regime – Morning and Evening:
Step 1 – Cleanse:
I know people who still use soap and water to wash their faces, my sisters do, but I think
soap is very drying to the skin. I use an ordinary cleanser for my whole face, but there are
special eye make-up removers on the market if you wear a lot of eye make-up or
waterproof mascara which is harder to remove. Using cotton wool or a pad with
cream or lotion, use upward, circular strokes, going up the side of the nose and around
the cheeks and the forehead, ensuring all make-up is removed. Alternatively, you can use
facial wipes instead of a cleanser and toner. If you want to see the build-up of dirt and
make-up still on your face in the morning, even after cleaning well the night before, look
at the colour of the pad or wipe after use.
A good tip when cleaning your neck is to use upward strokes and pull your chin up to
make a ‘monkey’ mouth with your lips – a great way to use some of your facial muscles
daily and keep the skin on the neck from sagging.
Step 2 – Tone:
Make sure you remove all the residue cleanser from your face and neck when you tone.
A slight tingly feeling is fine, but I avoid toners that are too harsh and make my skin feel
instantly dry and taut. I prefer toners without alcohol, but again, use whatever suits your
skin type. I had quite oily skin as a young woman and had trouble with break-outs of
acne. 9
This started when I was 18 and I had spots on and off (usually before a period) until
menstruation ceased. I still have more oil in the T-zone (the forehead, noise and chin
area) than most people my age and have found this an asset as my skin is not as dry.
Acne is caused by an over-production of oil in the sebaceous glands and is a common
problem for teenagers but can occur well into adulthood. Acne can be mild, moderate or
severe and early treatment can prevent scarring, so see your GP initially as s/he can offer
the latest treatments or refer you to a dermatologist if necessary. Pharmacists can also
give sound advice on products specifically formulated to treat acne, but steer away from
extremely harsh products that dry the skin excessively.
Step 3 – Moisturise:
Choosing a moisturiser is an ongoing task as our skin changes as we get older. I use one
specially formulated for ‘mature skin’ that provides the extra moisture my skin requires.
Again, use upward, circular strokes starting up towards your nose and outwards around
the cheekbones, then on the forehead, neck and chest area.
The only difference between your morning and evening regime is remembering to use
sunscreen in the morning and at bedtime a specially formulated night cream which helps
to replenish the moisture lost during the day while you sleep.
I have been following this 3-step regime since I started work at age 15, although I could
only afford to buy the cheapest products at that time. I must have learnt about skin care
from ‘Dolly’ or some such teenage magazine as it wasn’t from mum or my older sister.
Mum was a typical woman of her day – she washed her face with soap and water and
used cold cream as a moisturiser. My older sister had, and still has, other priorities than
her looks. My sisters and I are very different in looks and nature. I have always been a
‘girlie’ girl and remember when I was about 7 being fascinated by a young woman who
passed by our house regularly. She was about 17 and wore high heels, nail polish and
make-up and I wanted to grow up to be just like her.10
A few years ago I added a serum to my repertoire which I use after toning and before my
moisturiser in the morning. The manufacturers recommend using it twice a day, but I find
once a day is fine for me. As it says on the box, the serum “restores the skin’s structure
as well as improving the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles”. And yes it does work!
About five years ago I was living in England and saw a TV documentary hosted by a
female doctor who decided to test the facial creams on the market to see if any of them
really made a difference. She asked an independent scientist to test several leading
brands and they found a serum that actually fulfilled the manufacturer’s claims. The
following day this program made headline news in Britain and women flocked to buy the
‘Protect and Perfect’ beauty serum. Since that time, other companies have developed
their own serums and there are a number to choose from.
Exfoliation of the skin is extremely important and I use a gentle facial scrub 3-4 times a
week in the shower. This removes the top layer of dead skin, leaving the face feeling soft
and plump looking. I also use a face mask once a week which lifts out the impurities and
improves the texture of the skin. Most of these face masks take about 10-15 minutes to
go hard and are then washed off with warm water. I use a face cloth and rinse it out a few
times to make sure the mask has been completely removed. Other face masks just feel
warm and are left on for 5-10 minutes before washing off in warm water. The time you
spend waiting for the face mask to work can be a great excuse to lie down, relax and gain
10-15 minutes to yourself. A good tip whilst relaxing is to place a slice of cucumber over
each eye, especially good for tired eyes that need rejuvenating. No-one is exactly sure
why cucumbers help to alleviate that puffiness around the eyes, but as cucumbers are
90% water, they hydrate the delicate skin around that area.
The delicate eye area:
The delicate eye area requires special products and must be treated gently. After toning, I
apply a special eye cream and dab it on with my ring finger as it is much gentler than the
forefinger. Dab it all around the area under each eye from the nose to the outer eye and
up near the eyebrow in a circular, anti-clockwise motion. Do be gentle with the skin
around your eyes as it is very delicate, so never rub cream in, always dab it on. At night I
use a specially formulated night eye cream, again after toning. 11
The area around the eyes tends to hold fluid as you get older, especially in the morning,
and is prone to dark circles and puffiness. I recently started using a product which
contains caffeine, a ‘roll-on’ especially formulated for this problem. I dot the ‘roll on’ in
places under the eye area and use the ring finger to dab it in, again from near the nose
right up to the corner of the eye and up near the eyebrow in a circular, anti-clockwise
motion. I find it really helps to reduce the puffiness.
Décolletage area:
The décolletage is a French name for the area from the neck to the cleavage which is
often exposed to the sun and, if not protected, will burn easily. This is an area that will
show your age, so if you want to avoid that ‘crepey’, wrinkled look seen on many ‘sun
worshipping’ women, use the 3-step regime followed by a sunscreen in the morning and
your night cream before bed. I had been living in Australia for over 20 years when a
beautician told me my décolletage area was sun damaged. I wish I had known about this
sooner, but by following the above regime, I have, at least, saved myself from further sun
Hands, arms and legs:
Hands are always visible to people and the telltale signs of age, such as liver spots and
sun damage, are hard to disguise. I protect my hands and forearms with an SPF 15 on a
daily basis, but use an SPF 30 or above in summer if I will be outdoors for any length of
time. Also, remember to protect your right arm whilst driving in right hand drive cars (the
opposite in left hand drives) by either wearing long sleeves and/or using a sunscreen as
this arm gets a lot of exposure to the sun, even through the glass.
Legs need a moisturiser too, especially after shaving, to keep the skin soft and smooth. I
use cocoa butter on my arms and legs as it rubs in easily. Always rub cream into legs in
an upward direction as this helps the blood return to the heart. Sun protection is also
essential on arms and legs especially if sunbathing, gardening or just walking about in
summer. I know a couple of people who have developed melanomas on their legs, one 12
on the thigh and one behind the knee. So, take care of your legs by using a sunscreen if
you intend to be out in the sun for any length of time.
The use of make-up is a personal option. There are women who dislike it or simply do
need it. I was not that fortunate as I am very pale and look washed out without any
makeup, though I use it sparingly. I have just discovered an Australian-made mineral
which I like. It doesn’t clog your pores or look too matted and it feels like I have no
makeup on whilst covering any flaws. To apply, wait until your moisturiser is dry and use
circular motions with a brush all over your face. It may take a few applications to get the
desired coverage.
Well-shaped and tidy eyebrows give shape and expression to the whole face, not just the
eyes, so essential items in my make-up kit are tweezers and an eyebrow pencil. Having
said that, I had my eyebrows tinted by a professional beautician recently and the effect is
really good. Eyebrow hair goes grey and doesn’t grow back as thick as we age, so tinting
can solve both problems. Eye-shadows give wonderful definition to the eyes, but make
sure you blend the colours well. Choose a palette for your particular eye colour and, as
you get older, it is better to leave the shiny, glittery ones alone and use matt eye-shadows
instead. You can also exercise your facial muscles whilst applying make-up, especially
mascara, by opening your eyes wide, stretching out the skin on your neck and making
funny faces like a monkey. It all helps to keep the face and neck muscles toned and the
skin taut.
Remember to wash out your make-up brushes regularly in warm, soapy water, then rinse
and spread them on a towel to dry. I do this perhaps once a month and wash my
hairbrushes and combs at the same time. Also, exchange any powder puffs monthly (or
wash them out) and buy a new mascara about every 3 months as old ones can carry
Chapter 2: Look After Your Feet
Oh those poor overworked feet – how we neglect them when they have much to bear:
carrying us around in all weathers, being squashed into tight, badly fitting shoes or
misshapen from having to walk in high heels. Remember your feet swell during the day
so if you need new shoes and wish to avoid buying shoes that are too small, go shopping
later in the day when your feet are at their biggest.
Feet need to be pampered regularly. At least once a week, soak your feet in warm water
in a little bubble bath or mild soap and leave them for 15-20 minutes whilst you relax
a cup of tea or, even better, a glass of wine. Listen to soothing music and really relax –
it’s great for the psyche as well as your feet. After soaking, use a pumice stone or dead
skin remover to gently remove the build-up of skin on the heels and soles whilst the skin
is soft. Done regularly, you will avoid that awful ‘cracked and dirty heel’ look, common
people who wear thongs. Don’t be too rough though, or you may end up with sore feet!
Finally rub your feet with a lovely, fragranced foot balm which will keep the skin soft
supple as well as ensuring your feet feel refreshed. These foot balms can be found at
your local pharmacist or on line. I recently found an Australian-made rosemary and citrus
mint foot balm on the Net which I really like.
Of course, for us girls, toenails need to be polished, especially in summer when wearing
sandals. Before you apply the nail polish, toenails need to be filed and rubbed down with
one of those buffer files that have four sections, two on each side of the file. These are
inexpensive and can be purchased at most supermarkets in the beauty section or at a
pharmacy. There are instructions on the packet which explain how to use them. The
emery board is for filing the nails, the one numbered 1 is to remove the ridges and darker
colour of the top layer of the nail. (Remember to use this file in one direction only). Next,
turn the file over and use the one numbered 2, again in one direction only to further
smooth out the nails. The last section, numbered 3, adds oil to the nail to give them a
lovely shiny and healthy appearance. Next, paint on your favourite colour and finish with
a hard, clear top coat and voila! Toenail polish should last for 2-3 weeks.14
Discoloured nails:
Believe it or not, after all these years I’ve just discovered a simple remedy to improve the
look of ‘discoloured’ finger nails and toenails. This discolouration can be the result of
wearing nail polish for long periods, thus preventing air flow to the nails.
The remedy is to mix sufficient lemon juice with a teaspoon of baking powder to make a
paste, paint it on your nails and leave for 30 minutes. When you wash it off you should
see an improvement in the colour of your nails. If your nails are very discoloured, you
may have to re-apply the mixture regularly. Another tip is to try wearing a lighter shade
nail polish as this helps to prevent the discolouration.15
Chapter 3: Eat a Healthy Diet and look after your teeth
Information about healthy eating and, in particular, how to lose weight, is available in
magazines, books and on the Net, so I won’t even try to compete with all this data. I just
want to share my experiences together with a few tips on healthy eating and losing
weight naturally.
I have read an enormous amount about healthy eating and dieting in the last 47 years as
I was overweight at age 12. Mum took me to see a child specialist for my bad headaches,
but the doctor took one look at me and said: “You’re too fat”, never mentioned my
headaches, and put me on a diet straight away. Don’t forget this was in 1963 before it
was in vogue to be “politically correct” about what you could say to people. But he was
right, I was too fat. Over the next year I managed to lose 9 kg and was discharged at
what the doctor felt was an acceptable weight for my height. I have struggled with my
weight ever since as I like to eat and I’m not as active as I could be, but I fight against my
tendency to gain weight and be a couch potato. That’s all I can do. I refuse to let myself
go and just get bigger and bigger.
I did suffer from bulimia once in the 1970’s, though I didn’t know it had a name at the
I was only 20 and living in London in a tiny bedsit. When I moved there I was recovering
from a broken heart and started what they now call ‘binge eating’ until I felt really sick.
Luckily, after about six months, I managed to stop as I hated what I was doing. Eating
disorders, bulimia and anorexia nervosa being only two of many, are very serious
illnesses and should be dealt with by doctors or therapists specifically trained to help
sufferers. If you feel you have an eating disorder, I urge you to get professional help.
My advice on how to maintain a steady weight or lose a few kilos if you need to is:
IT SIMPLE. I do not like the word diet as I immediately start to feel deprived when I
to lose weight. I also refuse to count calories or weigh food. What I do instead is buy
healthy basic foods, which are listed below, and I eat cakes, biscuits, ice cream, chips etc
in small quantities. I’m not a chocoholic myself, but I know a lot of people love their
chocolate. Just limit it to 2-3 segments a day. This should not affect your weight 16
significantly. They do say dark chocolate, in particular, contains important antioxidants,
which means you can indulge, sparingly, with the satisfaction that it is doing you good!
It doesn’t matter how many meals you eat (3 or 6) or how often you eat (3 hourly or 6
hourly), you must eat just the right amount that your body needs to maintain your weight.
Likewise, if you want to lose weight, you must eat less than your body needs – it’s as
simple as that. There is no magic pill you can buy ‘over the counter’ that will melt away
the fat. There are, however, drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor if you are seriously
overweight. I am not competent to discuss this issue here, but please get advice from
your GP if necessary. For those who are a little overweight, like me, if you eat more than
you should one day, just cut down the next – that way you can control any weight gain.
Similarly if you find you have put on a couple of kilos – say over Christmas, make sure
you get it off before it becomes 3 or 4 kilos or worse! This routine has worked for me
over many years.
Here are my tips on healthy eating:
• Fuel your body with proteins (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, tuna and legumes) and
healthy carbohydrates (wholegrain breads, cereals, rice and pasta – not white as
a lot of the goodness has been removed). These foods hasten the release of
hormones which regulate your appetite and give you that feeling of fullness faster.
Do not leave out healthy fats (full-fat yoghurt, milk, nuts, cheese, eggs and
avocado). There is a lot of controversy about how much protein, carbohydrate and
fat we need each day, but as I said – keep it simple. Eat food from each group
daily and remember – we do need a little fat to help our digestion.
• As the ads say – eat your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Green leafy
vegetables like broccoli and spinach are very important as they provide iron and
lots of other minerals. Pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots provide beta carotene to
the diet. Likewise, an apple a day is said to keep the doctor away and is very
refreshing. Bananas are full of potassium and can be eaten as a snack or cut up
on your breakfast cereal. I love ripe water melons, especially in the summer and
mangos – messy to eat but delicious. I also love salad and my favourite salad 17
vegetables are tomatoes, capsicum and cucumber with rocket or mixed salad
leaves. Sometimes I add low fat feta cheese and mango pieces - very refreshing
and satisfying. A quick and easy meal for us is sweet potato cooked in its skin in
the microwave, grilled chicken breast and our favourite salad – a healthy,
inexpensive meal. We are lucky in Australia as we have lots of interesting fruit and
vegetables to choose from all year round.
• Do try to limit your consumption of processed foods as many contain unnatural
additives. Frozen meals, processed cold meats, diet drinks and even some tinned
foods contain additives and should be eaten sparingly in my opinion. Fresh food
really is better for you.
• The old saying: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”
has a lot of truth in it, though who feels like eating meat and 3 vegetables at 8 am
in the morning? I do try to eat protein with breakfast though as my hunger pangs
start after only 2 hours if I only have cereal (not the sugary ones of course). Eggs
for breakfast are a great way to add protein and can be boiled, scrambled or made
into an omelette quickly and easily. If you don’t eat eggs, you could have tuna or
cheese on toast instead.
• Lunch of course is usually a sandwich and that’s ok if you make your own and control
the amount of butter/margarine and mayonnaise you use. A meat/cheese/tuna and
salad sandwich on a whole-wheat or other grain bread or wrap is very healthy and
satisfying and should stop you buying a burger and chips later in the afternoon out
of sheer hunger. In my younger days I found I was always hungry about 4 pm.
Then I discovered this was my low energy time (and it may be yours), so I started
having a snack around 4 pm. This can be a banana, an apple and a few almonds
or other nuts, or a healthy, low sugar muesli bar to keep me going until dinner time.
Apples on their own may not satisfy your hunger, so add a handful of almonds,
other raw nuts or a piece of cheese to make you feel more satisfied
psychologically and physically.18
• Dinner is the main meal for most of us in the western world and after a day at work
who doesn’t need a substantial meal? Lettuce leaves and a ‘mouse’ size piece of
meat wouldn’t keep me out of the fridge, which is what some diets propose. Meat,
chicken, fish (or other proteins for vegans) with salad or vegetables and a medium
portion of potatoes, rice or pasta makes a more satisfying meal. I need something
sweet after dinner and I’ve just discovered the reason why. According to a
nutritionist, if we consume too much salt in our main meal, our bodies need
potassium to balance out the salt, which results in a craving for sugar. One option
is to reduce your salt intake and eat a potassium-rich fruit like bananas or apricots
for dessert. But, if you do need something extra, sugar free jellies are virtually
calorie free and taste great. One jelly lasts me 2-3 nights and I add a little low fat
cream - a lovely, satisfying dessert.
• Supper is important if you need it as going to bed on an empty stomach is not
conducive to a good night’s rest. This may be the time when you eat a piece of
fruit or have cheese and biscuits. Another favourite of mine is a small tub of
probiotic yoghurt, which contains lactobacillus (literally ‘acid-loving milk-bacterium’)
which ferments sugars into lactic acid and assists the digestion process. The live
bacteria in yoghurt are thought to prevent certain infections and calm lactose
intolerance, making it a valuable food to add to your list. Keep in mind though that
this yoghurt is best eaten on an empty stomach to enable the lactobacillus to work,
which is fine at 10 pm if dinner was at 6. Cereal can be very satisfying at supper
time and the milk should help you sleep more soundly.
Here are a few tips to help you stay slim:
Focus on your food and enjoy the experience of eating. Watching TV or reading
emails whilst you eat can lead to over-eating as you are eating absent-mindedly. It is
better to sit down at the table for every meal, including snacks, and concentrate on the
task at hand, eating. This helps you to feel more satisfied with your food. 19
Let hunger happen and don’t panic. A pang of hunger is not an emergency signal from
the stomach - it’s a gentle reminder from the brain that it’s time to eat. For many years I
had a deep-seated fear of hunger pangs and felt the need to eat straight away, now I
know they mean my body has utilised its last meal.
Cut your portions if you want to lose weight. I know someone who lost 20 kgs just by
cutting her portions by half. This way she didn’t have to go without any of the foods she
loved, she just ate a lot less. You could cut your portion by a quarter instead of a half if
this feels too drastic. I like this idea and can see why it works.
Indulge when you feel a craving, but don’t eat a whole bar of chocolate, a packet of
biscuits or a large bag of chips. The secret is to indulge your craving a little at a time,
learn restraint and be able to put the packet of chips or biscuit tin away from sight and
focus on something else. Never easy, but learning restraint is a really beneficial lesson
that should last a lifetime.
Linger over meals and eat slowly, savouring every bite. I still eat too fast but I’m
really trying to slow it down. A tip I use is to place the knife and fork down between bites
and make myself chew each mouthful properly. It helps to engage in conversation
between bites (like you do when having dinner in a restaurant). This will regulate the
speed at which you eat.
Taking Vitamins:
Whether to take vitamins or not is another controversial subject and in the end it comes
down to personal choice. I have been taking supplements for the last 20 years and
believe my overall health has improved in that time. I take a multivitamin to ensure I
all the essential vitamins and minerals; fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin for my
and gingko biloba to assist with circulation, memory and concentration. 20
Look after your teeth:
Many people my age have false teeth, including a few of my friends. My parents had to
have dentures at around age 40, but they had an excuse as they grew up in Ireland in the
1920’s when trips to the dentist were few. Why do many people lose their teeth? My
male friends who have false teeth have admitted that they were too lazy or too mean to
look after their teeth. One developed gum disease and has two plates which give him
trouble periodically and are quite expensive; another decided to have all his teeth out at
age 17 to save dental charges; and the third was too lazy to clean his teeth. I know there
are people who are terrified of going to the dentist and a solution to this problem may be
to consider having dental treatment under a general anaesthetic.
Most of us were taught adequate oral hygiene by our parents. I just want to remind you
that healthy gums and strong teeth are essential if you want to look younger than your
years. Like other parts of our body, teeth have a genetic component and even with the
best of care, those with a tooth deficiency or gum disease will need dentures. The rest of
us just need to take care of our teeth and they will last for 70, 80 or even 90 years.
Sugar is, of course, detrimental to teeth as it turns into acid and causes tooth decay.
However, contrary to popular belief, it is not the amount of sugar ingested but the
frequency of sugar ingestion that is the most important factor in this process. When the
pH in the mouth initially decreases from the ingestion of sugars, the enamel is
demineralised and left vulnerable for about 30 minutes. Eating a greater or lesser quantity
of sugar in one sitting does not increase the time of demineralisation. This means that
eating a greater quantity of sugar at one time in the day is less detrimental than eating
small amounts at short intervals throughout the day. For example, in terms of oral health,
it is better to eat a single dessert after dinner than to snack on a bag of lollies or candy
throughout the day.
Many of the foods and drinks we consume have a high acid content – such as oranges,
grapefruit, honey, strawberry jam, fruit salad, rhubarb, tomatoes, fruit juices (even fresh
orange juice), red wine, balsamic and vinegar dressing. This means that if you consume
this food regularly your teeth are at greater risk of acid wear. Saliva is the body’s natural
defence against acid wear as it acts as a buffer and helps to neutralise the acid in the
mouth. When we become dehydrated, our body’s natural acid wear defense is weakened.
Despite all the hype given to us by toothpaste manufacturers, it seems that the actual
toothpaste is not as important as brushing properly and flossing our teeth regularly. This
means removing any food particles left between the teeth before they are turned into
plaque by the ever-present bacteria in our mouths. If you can’t clean your teeth straight
away, a good tip is to chew sugar-free gum.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your own teeth into old age:
                         – it really is the elixir of life.

  Brush you teeth twice a day, in the morning and before you go to bed

                -free gum after eating a snack
Teeth whitening:
I asked my dental hygienist recently if there was a way to whiten my teeth and she told
me there are no commercial products on the market that can do the job. A procedure she
recommended was to have a cast made of my teeth to be used with special bleach for an
hour a day for 2 weeks. I was quoted $450 for the cast and bleach. The initial price is
high because of the cost of making the cast. Later on you just buy the bleach and whiten
your teeth at home as required. This is on my wish list for next year in readiness for my
birthday celebrations.22
Chapter 4: Exercise for the body and mind
Making exercise a part of your life is essential if you want to maintain optimum health
keep your weight steady. To make it fun, do something that you really enjoy – you’ll be
more likely to do it regularly. You can play tennis, hockey or any other sport; go roller
skating or dancing; run, swim, cycle or just walk. As long as you keep your body moving
and heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day, you can maintain a healthy body and
weight. The 30 minutes of exercise can be done in one session or broken up into 3 x 10
minute sessions. You don’t have to join a gym (though they are great for keeping fit). Do
whatever you enjoy but keep that body moving. Tricks to increase your energy output
during the day are:
• Get up from the computer every hour or two to stretch and walk around.
• When in the office, walk to other departments instead of emailing.
• Take the stairs instead of the lift, even for a few flights.
• Have a brisk walk at lunch-time around the block or in the park if you can.
• Get off the bus a stop or two earlier or park the car where you have to walk for 10
• If you are visiting a number of shops, leave the car in a central location and walk.
Another way to increase your energy output when out walking is to change your pace
often. That is: walk at your normal pace for half a minute, speed up to a quicker pace for
another half a minute, then really speed up for about 15 seconds. Slow down to your
normal pace to get your breath back for a few minutes and repeat the process again. You
burn more calories doing this than keeping a regular pace for the whole walk. Even these
small changes, if done every day, will really help to increase the energy your body uses
and thus help you to maintain your weight, or even lose a little if need be.
No-one was less physical than me when I was young and physical education was my
least favourite subject at high school. For a start I was overweight and my arms were not
strong enough to pull my body weight up the climbing rope and, as for vaulting over the
horse, well I couldn’t even get off the ground. I have since sweated through aerobic 23
classes and pumped weights and happily danced the night away during my teens, but the
main exercise for me has always been walking. It is such a fantastic aerobic exercise and
I love the endorphin release after a long walk. The pace is important though, as you must
be walking fast enough to increase your heart rate. Strolling or ambling around the shops
is not enough. I have found my pace to be quick enough if I can walk and talk without
getting out of breath though I am able to feel the increase in my heart rate.
Walking alone is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery and mull things over in your
mind. Often a solution to a problem will present itself by the time you get home. On the
other hand, walking with your husband/ partner/friend means you can enjoy quality time
together as well as keeping fit.
At the beginning of 2010, after having put on weight over Christmas, I joined a gym as I
wanted to hasten my weight loss. Moreover I felt unfit and thought the discipline of
attending the gym regularly would be beneficial. As I found out, it’s never too late to start
getting fit and enjoy better health. I was pleasantly surprised to find people at the gym of
all ages, from teenagers to senior citizens. My gym instructor set me a specific exercise
program according to my age and fitness level. From January to August I went to the
religiously and though I didn’t lose any weight in the first 3 months, I did look more
and thus slimmer. I lost 6 kg on a low carbohydrate plan during May, which I am
hard to maintain. People still say to me, “haven’t you lost a lot of weight” and though I
haven’t lost any more, I have continued to exercise at home, practice yoga and Pilates
and walk daily.
We all know that we should eat well and exercise for optimum health, but what are the
scientific facts behind why having a stronger, leaner body is beneficial to our health. I
found this study interesting and, though it was Australian research, I’m sure it is relevant
to people in other countries.
An Australian newspaper item entitled “Health alarm for baby boomers” caught my eye a
few months ago. The article highlighted the health risks for ‘baby boomers’, which
incidentally is people born between 1946 & 1965. It reported on the results of a study
carried out in Queensland which revealed that 44% of all Australians over 55 are
considered to be at “extreme” risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
“Unless something is done soon there will be a whole generation of children without
parents or grandparents” said the Vice President of Heart Support Australia. “It’s a big
ask to get people to change their behaviour” he added, “because as individuals we tend
to believe it is not going to happen to us”.
The most common contributors to this risk include: physical inactivity, being overweight
or obese and having high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the facts
are that more than half of all older Australians are affected by these factors. The main
suggestion given to counteract this risk was to: ‘Get active!’ That is: join a gym, get a
dog and walk, start dancing, play tennis, ride a bike – in fact, do whatever you enjoy
doing but move that body and give it a fighting chance. Remember: Use it or lose it!
Exercise not only keeps us fit, it improves our mood, wards off mild depression and helps
us to stay positive and motivated. Cardiovascular is the best type of exercise for
improving the mood as it increases the heart rate. A recommendation for those just
starting out with exercise was to walk for 30 minutes 3 times a week and when that
becomes too easy, step up the pace a bit and walk briskly for longer.
The reason we do feel better doing exercise is this: exercise decreases stress hormones,
like cortisone, and increases the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals called endorphins, which,
when released, boost our mood and act as natural painkillers. During exercise the body
releases adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine and these chemicals work together to make
you feel better. It has been found that physically-active people recover more quickly from
mild depression and physical activity is strongly correlated with sound mental health as
people age.
According to an article written by a Prof. McGovern, scientists have found that exercise
generates new neurons in the brain through a process called neurogenesis. The new
neurons are created in the hippocampus, the centre of learning and memory, though the
exact mechanism behind this is still being explored. It is thought that at a cellular level,
the mild stress generated by exercise stimulates an influx of calcium which works to
promote synaptic plasticity, which simply means having greater flexibility in our thought
processes. In a comparison study between sedentary and active mice, scientists found
that active mice regenerated more sciatic axons post-injury than sedentary mice. This
reparative effect is particularly relevant to humans because, beginning at age 30, the
brain starts to lose nerve tissue. More research is needed, but scientists believe that this
could have a preventative and therapeutic effect on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,
diseases which progress through the loss of neurons. Indeed, a correlation has already
been demonstrated between lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease.
To summarise, I am re-listing examples mentioned at the beginning of this chapter of
to increase your energy output and burn more calories without too much effort.
• Do cardiovascular exercise for half an hour a day to strengthen your heart muscles.
• Instead of using lifts and escalators, climb the stairs.
• Whilst watching TV or using the computer, get up more often, walk around and do
simple exercises like stretching your arms, legs and feet.
• Increase the amount of walking you do by leaving the car in one place and walking
to different shops and/or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier and walk for 10
• Take up a hobby that involves movement to improve your memory & learning
ability. This may help to prevent the onset of degenerative diseases like
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Yoga is a terrific all-round practice which keeps your body supple through stretching and
assists the mind to remain peaceful and calm – a must in our super-charged society.
There are many different types of yoga, but at the class I attend we practice Hatha yoga,
the most popular form practiced in the West. During a class that spans an hour and a
quarter, we go through three different practices: yoga nidra (relaxation/meditation), the
asanas (or postures) and the pranayamas (breathing practices). All these practices are26
designed to assist us to become more aware of the connection between mind, body and
spirit, which in turn helps us to meet situations that arise in life with more confidence.
Our class has a 10.00 am start and we do our relaxation/meditation practice first. This, I
am told, is because in the morning our thoughts are full of things we need to do, so in
order for us to disconnect from all this activity in our heads, we do the relaxation part at
the start of the class. On the other hand, in the evening, people are already winding down
from the day, so the relaxation/meditation practice is at the end of the class.
For the first 15-20 minutes of our yoga class, we practice yoga nidra, which helps us to
achieve a very deep relaxed state. The instructor talks us through a journey which
systematically guides our awareness through all the parts of the body. When we are
sufficiently relaxed, the instructor asks us to think of a goal we want to achieve or a
change we want to make in our lives. We repeat it to ourselves 3 times in a short, sharp
sentence as this repetition, whilst in a deep state of relaxation, helps the subconscious to
absorb and work on what we want – thus making achievement much more likely. An
example of this could be: ‘I am achieving success in my new business’, or ‘I am feeling
more confident every day’. It is best to use the present tense as this restates to your
subconscious that what you want is already happening.
The second part of the class is taken up doing the asanas or postures whilst being aware
of the breath. These asanas help to heal the body by increasing flexibility, strengthening
various muscles and toning and detoxifying many of the body systems, for example the
digestive and menstrual systems. Practicing asanas can assist with stress-related
problems, sciatica, back pain, asthma, rheumatism and arthritis. This is due to the
different muscles in the body being stretched and toned whilst practicing yoga breathing.
Although some magazine articles show pictures of yoga postures to try at home, I am
reluctant to do this as it could cause harm to some people, especially if they are unfit or
have back, neck or shoulder conditions. It is much better to join a class with a trained
instructor where s/he will enquire about any health problems you may have and talk you
through the postures. My instructor also demonstrates easier options for the more difficult
postures for us ‘not so supple’ people or those with back, neck or shoulder injuries.
The last section of the class is used to practice pranayamas, breathing exercises and
techniques. Prana is the vital energy in the body and the practice of pranayamas helps to
calm the mind and the emotions and assists us to sharpen and focus our awareness.
I started attending yoga classes in my twenties but found the postures difficult as I am not
a very supple person. I wish I had persevered as I would now be reaping the benefits of a
much more supple body. However, even after only two months of attending a class once
a week, my flexibility has improved and I feel much better.
Another program for stretching the body is Pilates. I had read about its benefits for
maintaining balance and keeping the body supple several years before I found a local
instructor. The class I attend is ‘mat Pilates’ and we do floor exercises for about
threequarters of an hour to stretch the legs, arms, shoulders and back plus work the
stomach and leg muscles. I find this class quite strenuous as we do a lot of repeats of
each stretch, but every week I am improving my strength, flexibility and control and
really important for keeping the body well toned.
Exercising regularly makes you feel better physically and psychologically and your
clothes fit so much better, whatever size you are, when you have a well-toned body - a
real boost to your self esteem and confidence. 28
Chapter 5: A Good Night’s Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is vitally important for you physically and
Have a look at your complexion and eyes when you’re tired – you look and feel weary.
Here are a few tips that I have adopted over the years to ensure I get a better night’s

“An hour before midnight is better than two afterwards” and try to go to bed around 11
pm. I find that if I stay up too much longer, I wake up just as early and lose valuable

darkened room, so make sure your curtains or blinds keep out any light, especially if
you are trying to sleep during the day. They say a temperature of 15-20 degrees is
ideal for sleeping as the body heats up during the night. My body doesn’t seem to
heat up much though and in the winter I need lots of bedclothes as well as pajamas.
So for all you cold frogs out there - make sure you wear socks, warm pajamas and
adequate bed clothes when it’s cold.

your laptop in bed until late in the evening is definitely not advisable if you have
trouble going to sleep. These activities stimulate the brain, just when you need to be
coaxing it into sleep mode.

walk, do your gym work or play sport at least 3 hours before you go to bed to let your
body relax and settle down for sleep. Having sufficient exercise during the day is
really helpful though as it makes you feel tired and sleepy by bedtime.

least 3 hours before bedtime to give your stomach time to digest the food as it takes a 29
fair amount of energy to process a large meal. Drinking warm milk at bedtime can help
as milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to melatonin and
serotonin - neurotransmitters that help to induce sleep. Cereal and milk are not just
breakfast foods, they also make a light and easy supper.

tossed and turned looking at the clock every few minutes, worrying about all the things
they have to do the next day? One suggestion is to get up and write a ‘to-do’ list of
things you must get done the next day. Setting it down on paper can help your mind to
relax. Another is to jot down all your worries and put them under your pillow. The
theory is that your subconscious takes over the worries and you are able to sleep
soundly. You may even find you wake up with solutions to your problems. It’s well
worth a try!

it is always listed as a way to induce sleep so it must help others. When I was younger
and had a lot more to worry about, I did try relaxation techniques, whereby you tense
and relax each muscle group at a time. This helps to take your mind off your worries
and often you just fall asleep. Nowadays I tend to get up if I’ve been lying there for
over an hour and feel wide awake. I watch TV, read a book or play cards until I feel
sleepy again and when I go back to bed I often drop off within a few minutes.30
Chapter 6: Dress to Accentuate your Body Type, Skin and Hair Colour
It is so easy these days to find clothes that are affordable and that suit your body type.
The trick is to know your body type and what clothes suit you best. This is called body
shape analysis and it teaches you how to dress to accentuate your most attractive
features, whilst minimising your least attractive ones. There are specialists in this field in
most cities and I believe it is well worth the expense to have a personal analysis. Many
factors need to be taken into account and these specialists have the experience.
Alternatively, there is information on this subject on the Net. Once you have your body
type determined, you can buy clothes and accessories that flatter your particular body
shape and avoid the pitfalls of wearing outfits that are, at the very least, unflattering. The
initial outlay for a professional analysis will be more than recompensed in the years
ahead as you will look more attractive and project a more confident persona.
Another trick is to know what hues suit your skin tone, hair and eye colour. Although
colour is only one facet of design, it is usually the colour that attracts us to clothing. As
you become more aware of the colours that suit you, the days of buying on impulse will
be over. A few years ago I attended a colour co-ordination course which I found
fascinating and well worth the money. The facilitator of the course had only 20 items in
her wardrobe and these included clothes for every occasion and season. She only
bought clothes that fit with her colour scheme and matched up with her other clothes -
which meant she never had items she couldn’t wear!
The first step is to find out is what ‘season’ you are, colour-wise. This depends on your
skin tone, hair and eye colour. A professional colour analysis would make a lovely gift
from a loved one or you could treat yourself. Alternatively, look on the Net for more
information. I am an ‘autumn’ person as I have reddish hair and green eyes. The benefits
of knowing your particular body shape and your most flattering colours will be to have a
co-ordinated wardrobe, money in the bank and, most importantly, you will look and feel
your absolute best.31
The hairstyle you choose is an essential part of your overall look. My advice is to find a
hairdresser who can cut well and one that is not afraid to tell you when your style is
outdated. This is vitally important as if your hairstyle is unflattering and the colour dull,
you will look older. Ask your hairdresser for advice on ways to brighten your hair and
maintain a youthful hairstyle.
Shampoos, conditioners and other hair products are also important. Professional hair
products are only sold at hair salons and though they are initially more expensive, they
are more concentrated so you use less. I know my hair is lovely and soft when I’ve been
to the hairdressers. At home, it is best to use a shampoo and conditioner suitable for your
hair, that is: dry, normal or oily. Products are also available for frizzy, damaged, curly,
lifeless, thin and every other type of hair. If you colour or perm your hair, use products
specially formulated to keep your hair in tiptop condition. Try to wash your hair every
other day if you use lots of products (mousse, hairspray, wax etc) and if you wash your
hair every day, make sure your shampoo is gentle or you may end up washing all the
natural oils away. With the number of products on the market, finding a shampoo and
conditioner you really like won’t be difficult and is well worth the effort.
If you want your hair to look shiny and smooth, a good tip is to use apple cider vinegar
the last rinse. This is a real tonic for the hair and helps to remove product build-up. Just
use one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water for your final rinse.
To maintain a more youthful appearance, have your hair coloured to cover any grey,
unless you have wonderfully textured silver hair that really suits you. Grey hair is
associated with age in people’s minds and we form opinions about people in just 7
seconds. No disrespect to people who have chosen to go grey naturally - a few of my
friends have made that choice. However, if you do decide to colour your hair, add some
subtle highlights to lighten your face and add interest to your overall look. Solid colours,
like black or dark brown, are not flattering as we get older. I have my hair coloured
professionally every few months, but in-between my husband does my roots. In the past
we have used a highlighting kit, available at pharmacies, which gives subtle highlights
and has a small plastic brush for easy application.32
Chapter 7: A Positive Mental Attitude
In Part I of this book, I discussed the more physical aspects of how to keep yourself
looking and feeling younger. In Part II, I will deal with the psychological and mental
aspects of keeping old age at bay.
A PMA (positive mental attitude) is extremely important to a happier life. My husband is
natural positive thinker - I am not. I have had to consciously work at changing the way I
think and it can be done. We’re all born with different personalities and into such diverse
families that it’s hardly surprising we react differently to life’s ups and downs. On the
whole, my mother and the rest of my family are negative thinkers and, although I was
never totally pessimistic about life, I learnt early on about the pain of disappointment and
chose to think the worst and be happy when it didn’t happen, rather than be disappointed.
It seems that optimists suffer the same setbacks in life as pessimists do, but optimists
seem to weather these setbacks better than pessimists. Why is this? I used to say to
people: how can the way you think affect your life? I just couldn’t understand it at all.
I understand why. As I said it’s not that optimists don’t suffer setbacks, it’s that they
manage to bounce back better than pessimists. Whether it’s failing in business or being
unsuccessful in obtaining a job they wanted, optimists look at where they went wrong
try twice as hard the next time, whereas pessimists seem to believe that life is against
them anyway, so why bother. Pessimists are therefore more likely to stop trying
altogether and become depressed. I have to admit I have been there myself.
Persistence was not one of my strengths either, but comes naturally to my husband.
Again, it seems that persistence wins through in the end and who are the people with
persistence and resilience when it comes to failure? You guessed it - optimists! 33
Another trait optimists seem to possess naturally is problem solving skills. They actively
enjoy finding solutions to difficult situations or problems and this means they are usually
successful in the end, whereas pessimists more often stop trying.
If you were not born an optimist – is there anything you can you do about it?
A resounding yes! You can learn how be more positive and within a few weeks of
(or months if your mind is really resistant to change), your predominant mind-set
the way you think) will become one with a more positive outlook.
First of all you need to become aware of your negative thoughts and re-runs (going over
and over things you’ve said or were said to you) and as soon as you notice what’s going
on in your mind, you have to stop it straight away. We can’t stop negative thoughts
coming into our minds (it’s human), but we don’t have to accommodate them and invite
them to stay for dinner! Banish them as soon as you realise what’s happening. Just say
STOP, and force yourself to think of other things. It will take time but it can be done with
practice. After all, who are you hurting with your negativity? The answer is no-one but
yourself. The other person doesn’t care if you’re having a miserable day, so don’t give in
to negative thoughts – take charge of your mind – otherwise it will take charge of you.
Another way to beat negativity is to maximise your successes and minimise your failures
by dwelling on the positives, not the negatives. For example, give yourself a pat on the
back when you achieve a great result and if things go wrong, don’t feel you’ve failed, see
what lessons can be learnt from the situation and find another way to achieve your goal.
The four basic types of thought, according to an article I read recently, are: positive,
negative, mundane and wasteful. This may seem a simplistic classification, but the
ability to discern and distinguish these four types of thought and be able to manage them
can have a profound effect on your life. According to Coyote, the article’s author,
is the energy of the soul transmitted through the mind, whether these thoughts are about
you, about others, or about events or situations. If the thoughts are positive, it is positive
energy that emanates outwards from the self and these positive ‘vibes’ will be picked up
by others, as well as by your own psyche. For example, if you are thinking positive
thoughts about yourself like: “I am an honest and trustworthy person”, you transmit that
feeling and image to others and reinforce it to yourself. Compare that thought with a
negative thought such as: “Nothing ever works out for me” or “Nobody likes me” and
straight away you feel tense and angry and/or depressed. Others will pick up on your
feelings and unconsciously steer clear of you if they can.
Mundane thoughts are just that – mundane. For example: “I must buy cat food today!”
That thought may have positive or negative connotations, ie: visualising your lovely pet
you think of ‘buying cat food’ would be positive, whilst thinking: “I always have to buy
cat food” would be negative. But basically mundane thoughts are simply factual.
Wasteful thoughts, on the other hand, are perhaps the most debilitating because they
usually encompass worry or regret – the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’ thoughts that we all
embark on at times. These wasteful thoughts consume our mental and emotional energy
whilst giving us absolutely nothing in return. They ‘waste’ the energy of the soul and rob
us of the vitality necessary for us to be happy and fulfilled. What can you do to STOP
these wasteful and negative thoughts? Use Coyote’s simple remedy, easily remembered
as S.O.S. The first S stands for stop! Stop the thought right there. The O stands for
observe! Observe how such thoughts are affecting you. The last S stands for steer,
switch or swerve! In other words, take charge of your thoughts – this is not as difficult as
you think and will come much easier with practice.
This is how to change your mindset if you are more negative than positive. Change one
thing at a time and work at it day by day. Follow the steps above and you’ll be surprised
how quickly it becomes part of your natural thinking. Changing bad habits is a similar
process and this can be achieved in as little as three weeks – that is the amount of time it
takes to change the thought patterns in your brain. Smokers, for instance (and I’ve been
one) usually reach for a cigarette if they feel stressed or as soon as they’ve finished a
meal. When you stop smoking you need to re-train your brain to break these connections
and though it is hard at first, your brain will soon get the message and before you know it,
you won’t even think about cigarettes. So, if you choose to be more positive today and35
banish negativity, you will notice a huge difference in your happiness and contentment
Another way to feel better about yourself is to keep control of your moods and be as
consistent with people as you can. No-one likes a moody person who is friendly one day
and bites your head off the next. Even if you are feeling a bit down, put a smile on your
face and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your mood will change when the smiles you
give out are returned. This is a hint on how to help your partner or children when they
feeling a bit low or inadequate. As they leave the house or get out of the car, tell them
they are the greatest and that you love them. It will lift their spirits, boost their confidence
and help them to enhance their achievements that day.
The final tip in this section is: take responsibility and lead. People want to be led by a
confident, successful person. When we attend seminars or other group activities, most of
us tend to look around for someone else to speak up and voice what we are thinking. It’s
very common to feel shy or intimidated in such situations, especially if you are new to
group. I have now learned to stand up and make my voice heard and it’s surprising how
many people I see nodding their heads because they are in agreement. So next time you
are in a group situation and have something to say - stand up to be counted and become
a leader!
In summary, to be an optimist you must believe in yourself and see more positive
attributes than negative ones in yourself, the people around you and life in general. In
other words, concentrate and be grateful for what you have and make sure you work hard
towards the things that you know in your heart that you really want. If you truly believe
yourself and what you want is attainable, you cannot fail.
I have the following above my desk to remind me every day to keep on changing:
Remember, if you keep doing the same things as you have always done day after
day, you will see the same results day after day. So if you want to see different
results, change what you are doing! 36
Chapter 8: Meditation for a Calm Mind
I started practicing meditation about 30 years ago and have found it very helpful,
especially in stressful times. This is my favourite definition of meditation as it really
describes what it is: Meditation is “a state where the mind remains alert whilst the body
dances on the edge of sleep”. Therefore, the purpose of meditation is to induce a feeling
of deep relaxation.
Just to get a little technical for a moment, we operate on 4 levels of consciousness that
use different brain waves. The conscious brain operates on the beta level, which has the
highest frequency of cycles per second. During meditation we reach alpha, the 2nd
highest state, where the brain operates at about half this level of activity. In this calm,
meditative state, the conscious mind allows information from the subconscious to be
acknowledged and accepted. Therefore whilst connecting to the subconscious during
meditation, we can most easily change our core beliefs, improving our mental, spiritual
and emotional health. At the 3
level of theta, a deeper meditative state, problem solving
is at its best. Below this is the 4
level of delta, which is only accessible in the deeper
sleep states and by highly developed yogis.
There are several techniques we can use to meditate. One is to sit with eyes closed and
repeat a mantra, such as Om, whilst concentrating your awareness in the third eye area
in the middle of the forehead. Seasoned meditators prefer this method and yogis can sit
for many hours without moving a muscle. Another technique, often used in a class
situation, such as a yoga class, is to be guided through a meditation whilst concentrating
on the breath and relaxing each part of the body in turn.
Research on the regular practice of meditation has found it to be a useful aid in reducing
anxiety and stress, the reason being that during meditation the body and mind enter a
deeper state of relaxation which helps to reduce the harmful effects of stress. A quick and
easy way to relieve a stressful moment (such as before an exam or an interview) is to
breathe in and hold it for a few seconds and then release the breath all in one. Repeat
this 2 or 3 times to help calm your nerves. It works for me in very stressful situations.37
During meditation, the slower you breathe, the more you are able to slow down your
exterior beta-based thoughts (the mumbo jumbo of uninvited ideas which clutter our
brains). At first it can be difficult to stop these thoughts, but with practice it does get
easier. To eventually reach that wonderful feeling of peace, the ‘nirvana’ that the great
spiritual teachers talk about, is well worth the effort.
If you want to practice meditation at home, set aside a regular time and have a place
where you won’t be disturbed. First thing in the morning is recommended before drinking
coffee or eating breakfast and again before the evening meal. If this is not possible, find a
time when you have 15-20 minutes to yourself. Don’t try to meditate after a large meal
though, as when your breathing slows down during meditation, so does your digestive
system. Likewise, don’t meditate when you are hungry as this can be very distracting.
To practice meditation, firstly make yourself as comfortable as possible. If you find
cross-legged is uncomfortable or impossible, use a straight backed chair to keep the back
upright and put your feet flat on the floor. This way you are less likely to fall asleep.
hands can be joined and placed on your lap or laid loosely on your thighs with the palms
facing upwards. Do whatever is comfortable and feels right for you.
The Practice of Meditation:
Close your eyes and keep them closed throughout the practice. Become aware of your
breathing, visualising each breath going in through your nose and out through your
Slowly withdraw your awareness from the outer world. If you notice any noises or
distractions, gently acknowledge them in your mind and bring your awareness back to
your breathing.
As you are breathing in - imagine a wonderful healing light entering your body through
your feet and moving upwards along the back of your legs, up your spine and into your
head and then down the front of your body and legs and out through your feet.
Starting with your feet, ankles and legs – take a deep breathe in through your nose – hold
it for a moment and release it slowly. Next, move your awareness to your torso, breathe
in – hold – exhale and feel the muscles relax and the tension ebb away. (Pause for a few
Now bring your attention to your head and shoulders as you breathe in – and as you
breathe out slowly, feel the muscles relaxing. Finally, feel your arms, hands and wrists
completely relax as you breathe in and out. (Pause for a few seconds.)
Feeling very relaxed now and breathing at your own pace, visualise yourself on a lovely
beach or in a forest or wherever you feel most comfortable and happy. Look up at the
beautiful blue sky and feel the earth or the sand beneath your feet. Enjoy the warm
sunshine and how the gentle breeze feels on your skin. Smell the sea air or the rich scent
of the forest. Enjoy the stillness and the silence that slowly unfolds. Keep breathing
normally for a little while, in through your nose and out through your mouth. (Pause for a
few minutes.)
Finally, it is time to bring your focus back into the room. Take a moment to slowly open
your eyes and become aware of the people around you. Move your arms and your legs a
little and gently bring yourself back to the here and now. It may take a few moments for
you to feel fully alert as your body has been so totally relaxed. I hope you enjoyed the
experience and that you will use this brief experience of meditation as a building block to
creating a healthier and happier life for yourself. Meditation really can work wonders. 39
Chapter 9: Keep Stress at Bay
Stress is rife in our society as our lives are a great deal more complicated than those of
our forefathers. Technological advancements in the last 20 years have changed the way
we live forever and though some of these have made our lives easier, others have made
our daily lives more complex. Nowadays we are bombarded with a constant stream of
messages and images of things we ‘must’ have to keep us and our families happy. To
attain all these material things, we have to work a lot harder and spend more and more
hours away from our home and families. We also have many more choices and decisions
to make than our parents or grandparents. For example, shopping in the supermarket is
stressful to me as I have to spend so much time reading labels, comparing prices and
deciding which of the dozen or so varieties I have to choose from for every item on my
No wonder we find shopping a very stressful task after a hard day at work.
Nowadays women, in particular, have many more choices than our ancestors and more
than half have added the role of employee to that of homemaker and mother. For some
women, the decision to have a family can be life-changing in itself. Do I continue with a
career, have a family or try to do both? If I opt to have children, do I go back to work
3 months or stay at home and experience the unique milestones in my baby’s life?
Grappling with such questions, for which there are no right answers, is often stressful.
People are presenting to doctors in greater numbers hoping for a pill to cure their stress.
We know this because tranquillisers are one of the most prescribed drugs in the western
world. Not only do we live in a pill-popping world where we expect to experience no
physical or emotional pain, we want the ‘instant gratification’ of having anything we
even though we cannot afford it. Some young people get into horrendous debt to buy the
big house, new furniture and an expensive car while both partners are working, but what
happens if a pregnancy occurs or one of them loses their job – financial and probably
person disaster. Male and female roles are no longer as defined as they were even 40
years ago and this can lead to enormous stress and strain on relationships. These are
just some examples of situations that lead to enormous stress that, at times, can escalate
into another problem common in our society - anxiety. 40
An anxiety disorder can be very debilitating and as a former sufferer, I hope that relating
a few of my experiences will help the reader gain an insight into how anxiety can affect a
person’s life and how to control it. Everyone feels anxious at times and this is perfectly
normal. What is not normal, however, is feeling anxious all the time and that was my
experience. Anxiety can be described as: “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by
apprehension of danger or misfortune”. Just to put anxiety into perspective with other
mental health problems, an anxiety disorder is regarded as a neurosis, whereas
schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are psychoses. Therefore, whilst having an anxiety
attack is a really terrifying experience, the sufferer does not lose contact with reality, hear
voices or suffer from hallucinations or delusions of grandeur - just some of the symptoms
of a psychotic episode. I suffered from what they termed ‘generalised anxiety’ and never
felt relaxed. This, for me, was the most difficult aspect of the illness. Imagine always
feeling on edge, tense and fearful, eventually it wears you down physically and
emotionally. I was also continually tired, had difficulty concentrating and suffered from
insomnia – symptoms which are not conducive to good health and feeling attractive. It
wasn’t long before the anxiety manifested into panic attacks, the first occurring soon after
my wedding day in 1980. A second panic attack in a large shopping centre meant I could
not be around crowds of people and this was very debilitating Although I showed no
outward signs of distress, internally I was in a terrible state. I decided against taking
tranquillisers as I felt instinctively that masking the problem was not the answer.
My recovery started when I found the courage to leave my abusive husband after less
than 5 years of marriage. I knew I had to regain control of my mind and learnt how to
the panic attacks by controlling my breathing. Eventually the attacks became less
frequent and finally stopped. Living with and recovering from anxiety was hard at the
but I feel it has made me stronger and more resilient to life’s challenges. I am sharing my
experiences here in case anyone reading this book is suffering something similar. Anxiety
can be an extremely frightening disorder, but it can be conquered and that knowledge
alone should provide some comfort.
Organisations that offer support in Australia are: Kids Help, Beyond Blue and Lifeline so
please do not suffer in silence, ring and get help now.41
Chapter 10: Maintain An Active Mind
Life is a continual learning curve and we are never too old to be trained in a new skill. It
may take a little longer to absorb new information as adults, but it is well worth the
effort. I
am very proud of the older people in our community who have integrated computers,
mobile phones and other technological equipment into their lives, not easy when you’ve
lived so long without them.
It is vitally important to keep on learning throughout life and I feel sad for those that say
they hate books and avoid anything to do with study. Watching TV can be a useful
medium for gaining knowledge of world events and other cultures as there are some
great documentaries, but to become involved personally in new ventures is so much
more satisfying. It seems that every town has day and evening classes covering a whole
range of subjects and just by making the effort to get to the classes, a whole new world of
people and possible friendships can open up, as well as learning about new subjects.
If I was a young person now in 2010, my first priority would be to learn a trade or have a
profession that would provide me with a decent living. I tell this to my nieces and
nephews as even if a trade or profession does not last them a lifetime, it is something to
fall back on in hard times. Many of us born in the 1950’s and 60’s did not have the
opportunity to go to university or learn a trade and some of us have had to change
direction in mid life as our jobs have become obsolete. This has meant a return to study
as mature age students to gain more qualifications. This was my path and I loved my
years at university although it was hard work at times. My reward for all this work was
gaining my honours degree and then my graduate diploma. So, don’t let your age or fear
of failure stop you from taking on tertiary studies or any other course you want to do.
Having goals is another way to keep your mind active and helps to maintain your
motivation levels whilst working towards your particular objectives. Tim and I have long
term goals (5-10 years), medium term goals (2-4 years) and short term goals (1-2 years),
which keep us feeling positive and motivated to achieve our ambitions. We review our
goals every 12 months, usually as the New Year approaches. Recently we read through
our list of priorities for 2010 and found we had accomplished about half of our
the other half had changed completely due to altered circumstances. These changes
have produced unexpected opportunities resulting in us starting two new ventures which
may alter the course of our destiny. We had to be open to change and move outside our
comfort zones (never easy), but it is so exciting at the same time. I think it was John
Lennon who said this and it’s so true: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy
making other plans” and I always try to keep this in mind.
Even after retirement, there are things you can achieve. Last year I read a great book
entitled ‘The Fountain of Age’ written by a famous American feminist and writer, Betty
Friedan. The author spent more than 10 years studying the way people handled
retirement from formal work at age 60 or 65 and found, to her surprise, a great many
were using their time constructively and fighting the accepted view of what was
acceptable for people of a certain age. I think she personally interviewed about a
thousand people and found some had taken up old hobbies they had previously loved
whilst others were doing voluntary work both locally and overseas. She found people
were heading in a completely new direction and studying for alternate careers well into
their third age (60-90). I was very impressed by Friedan’s book and found it fascinating
and so very timely – I was 58 at the time and approaching my own third age. I wanted to
find a way to earn a living from something that engrossed me and where I could use my
talents and work experience and I am happy to report that one of the new ventures we
started this year has fulfilled that ambition. I do have new skills to learn and intend to
continue stretching myself and stepping outside my comfort zone for many years to
I will have successes and failures as we all do learning how to run a business for the first
time, but I feel I have found my ‘fountain of age’ at last.43
Chapter 11: Social Networking
The love and support of family and friends is extremely important for us humans, as we
are fundamentally social beings and need to live in communion with other people.
Research has proven the link between maintaining a close network of supportive people
and living longer, healthier and happier lives. We all need friends we can talk to, laugh
with and even cry with at times. To have love and a sense of belonging are basic human
needs that no amount of materialism will satisfy. The need for social contact is embedded
in our ‘old’ brains and is not even conscious, but it is as important as eating, drinking and
having shelter to the human psyche. There are people who prefer their own company or
to be around animals only, but they in the minority. The vast majority of us need to live
interdependently within a social group, preferably in our own or a similar cultural setting.
doesn’t matter if the people you feel close to are not your family or cultural group. Few
families have managed to stay in the one place these days. As long as you feel close to a
few people who share your interests and values, you will feel a sense of belonging.
These people may be fellow worshippers in your church, work colleagues, partners in
sport, or neighbours. If you make the effort to really converse with people by sharing
information about yourself, instead of just engaging in small talk, you will connect on a
deeper level and be happier and healthier as a result.
I am very fortunate as Tim is my friend as well as my husband. He knows everything
about me and we talk to each other on a deep level about what we are thinking and
feeling. This does not mean you cannot have your own private thoughts, of course you
can, but if you share deep, personal thoughts with your partner, he or she does not have
to second guess what you feel or need.
My women friends are very important to me in other ways. Men rarely want to talk about
the things us ‘girls’ chat about and that’s just as it should be. My friends and I are what I
call a ‘mutual admiration society’. We give each other compliments and notice little
about each other, like a new hairstyle or new shoes and make a comment. We really
listen to each other, talk things through, give advice if it’s asked for (and sometimes even
if it isn’t), but the important thing is we care about each other and that is what is matters.
Don’t give compliments for the sake of it though, as any compliment or remark has to be
sincere to be accepted. For example, if you think your friend looks well or they’re
a new outfit which is particularly flattering, tell them. There is no-one I can think of who
doesn’t appreciate a compliment once in a while.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a loving family or friends and if human contact
is lacking, you can always share your life with a pet. These lovable, occasionally
annoying, additions to our household help us to be happier, healthier and fitter. There is
plenty of positive research on the health-enhancing benefits of having a pet, usually cats
and dogs, though people keep birds, reptiles and other mammals. (I know a man who
keeps snakes and a woman who keeps a ferret, all in the house!) It has been found that
blood pressure can be lowered whilst we are stroking or playing with our pets and people
who have a pet to come home to following a heart attack lived longer and better quality
lives. Dogs are very loyal to their owners, but I love cats despite the fact that as all cat
lovers will know: ‘Dogs have owners, cats have staff’.
Pets are particularly great company if you live alone. Coming home to a pet, instead of an
empty house can really brighten your mood. I remember putting the key in my door, wet
and cold (I was living in England at the time) to be greeted by my lovely cat Puss Puss.
As soon as she heard the key in the door, she ran downstairs to greet me – what a
wonderful feeling after a long day at work.
To summarise, the preceding pages contain lots of hints about how I manage to look a lot
younger than my years. There is no magic in this achievement as I was lucky enough to
be born with good genes. I have, though, worked very hard for the last 45 years to
maintain my good fortune in all the ways I have shared with you in this book. It is the day
by day, week by week effort I have made to protect my skin, maintain an acceptable
weight, exercise to keep my body and mind healthy and look after my psyche that are the
reasons for my success. I do hope you find at least some of this information useful so you
can do the same. 45
I will leave you with some instant confidence boosters that I have collected along the
way as, no matter how positive we normally feel, we all have days when we feel flat, or
down, or just plain sad. On these days we need to cheer ourselves up. Below are a few
ideas that may help you to feel better.
                 – go for a walk – there’s nothing like it to boost your energy and
                                                          – it really does give you a boost.
You may not feel like it, but a shower stimulates the oxygen moving around the body
and will lift your spirits.
                                          particularly attractive or a favourite piece of
jewelry or beautiful shoes.
                                                                               -loved handbag.

cross the road; or offer to do a bit a shopping for an elderly neighbour; or buy a
sandwich for a homeless person. Helping others takes your mind off your own
troubles and puts them in perspective. Service to others is beneficial for all of us and
as Mahatma Gandhi said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the
service of others”.

said about you in the past. We all tend to remember the painful remarks people
have made to us, but try to forget those or learn from them if need be. It is more
important to remember the positive things and the compliments people have given
us over the years. Write them down in a small notebook and if you are feeling
particularly low one day, read your list and it will make you smile and give you a
much needed boost. It works, it really does. A lovely saying for you to remember
and live by as I try to do:
Live realistically
Give generously
Adapt willingly
Trust fearlessly
Rejoice daily

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