So you’re saving every dime you can, planning for your big plastic-surgery procedure. Maybe it’s a labiaplasty or facelift or breast augmentation. You’re not quite there yet, but you desperately want to turn back the time a bit on your body’s aging. What to do?
Fortunately there are some measures you can take in the meantime that will slow the effects of aging at least enough to give you a break until you can afford your plastic surgery.
For instance, do what you can to relax as much as possible. According to one recent study conducted at the University Hospitals Medical Center, and posted on the website of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (a medical journal for plastic surgeons), stress is a common denominator among most of those who appear to be older than they really are. Stress really does cause extra wrinkles, and the more you can do to relax yourself, the better your body will like it.
Lifestyle also plays a role in who looks older and who looks younger. The same study mentioned above showed that people who had been married and divorced, on average, appeared two years older than a brother or sister who had never married or who had married and stayed married to the same spouse. In fact, the divorced sibling looked older even than the one who had been married and widowed, giving evidence that marital stress is even worse than the stress of losing someone to death.
The study went on to show that antidepressant use makes a person appear much older than he or she would appear without it. So too does weight gain. Among sets of twins studied, and among those younger than 40, the heavier twin was usually believed to be older, but surprisingly, in groups over 40 years of age, the heavier was believed to be younger.
Are you noticing a common element in most of these findings? The common element is that happiness leads to a younger appearance. The happy person does not let stress get her down–and does not, therefore, allow stress to age her prematurely. The person who is happy in her marriage looks younger for it. The happy person does not find a need for using antidepressants, and is therefore perceived as being younger.
In fact, the only finding of the study that does not link happiness with looking younger is that curious fact that when you’re over 40, you look younger if you’re overweight. And for the record, nobody here suggests that you put on the pounds after your 40th birthday. Some things–like how long you live–are more important than appearance.