Contributer: Lori Bush
Intention over habit. Attitude over age. Presence over everything.
These catchy sounding keys for Integrative Beauty seem simple enough... right? In reality, while the potential benefits are profound, many of us are challenged to overcome the less-than-healthy ways our minds respond to constant over-stimulation, and social and self-imposed pressures. Not to mention the human propensity to default to ingrained biases and practices. The purpose of our mantra is not to suggest that true beauty requires a degree of unattainable enlightenment, but rather to create an understanding of how adoption of small life hacks can lead to positive change and significant outcomes.
Intention over habit.
We generally do not have control over the outcomes tied to the goals we set for ourselves; however, we can control the behaviors that help us achieve those goals. When we can deconstruct a desired outcome to identify and implement the required behavioral change, we can stack the deck in our favor. That means being intentional about behavior, which may also mean overcoming a bad habit. When an intentional behavior becomes a productive habit, you win, even if the ultimate goal changes, as goals so often do.
One of my favorite life hacks for supporting the development of a new habit is anchoring it to an existing habit, as promoted by Stanford psychologist BJ Fogg. For instance, at the heart of the Solvasa concept of integrative beauty is the skin, body and mind connection. There’s so much evidence that simple mindfulness practices can improve the quality and ultimately the appearance of our skin, yet many of us struggle to make mindfulness practices part of our daily lives. With a desired goal of radiant, healthy looking skin, we can intentionally add behaviors into our routines to mitigate the dulling effects of inflammaging on skin.
Here’s one simple way to anchor mindfulness into your skin care routine:
Dermatologists generally agree that waiting for one skincare product to dry down before applying the next helps keep products from up on the skin and especially helps keep SPF benefits from being degraded. But who has
Attitude over age.
When I attended my 10th year high school reunion, with the exception of a few of the guys who had very fortunate growth spurts since graduation and a few of the women who had recently been through childbirth, the alumni of the class of ’74 did not seem to meaningfully diverge, appearance or attitude – wise, from who they were in high school. Roll the clock forward to my 40th year reunion and there was a huge divergence. Some of the classmates just seemed old while others appeared to be much younger and more full-of-life.
Maye Musk’s Covergirl commercial captured our attention when she said, “They say at a certain age, women just stop caring. We wonder what age that is.” Living life to its fullest is not about the number of birthdays we stack up, it’s about the quality that is packed into the 364 days between our birthdays. Longevity without wellbeing is just existence. Wellbeing starts with being proactively involved in both our physical and emotional health, and that requires maintaining a growth mindset. When we close off our minds to opportunities to change and start defending the way things should be based on inflexible or obsolete beliefs or practices, we close ourselves off to growth. And when we stop growing, parts of us start dying.
Maintaining a positive outlook on life and a sense of connection is paramount to living long and living well. One of the most important components of healthy aging and longevity is meaningful activity and a sense of belonging. Even when you can no longer run through airports in four-inch stilettos and need to have cheaters on hand to read a menu, signing up and plugging in will keep the years adding up in the most beautifully vital ways.
Presence over everything.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from the late Andy Rooney who said, “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs when you’re climbing it.” When we’re fixated on the destination, we’re missing out on all the perfect moments that occur during the journey. The most important part of happiness … the happiness that we find in ourselves and that we bring to the lives of others … is our presence. You may think that success will be the key to your happiness and if that’s the case, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. But for argument’s sake, let’s go with it. Well, guess what… presence is required for focus and focus is a component of achieving the goals that lead to the successful outcomes that you expect will make you happy.
The foil of being present is an overly busy mind, and a major cause of our overly busy minds is 24/7 sensory stimulation powered by ever present telecommunications and digital technology. How many times have we missed something a loved one said or an important point in a meeting because we were checking that text that popped up on our phones or watches? How many times have we felt ourselves become distracted from a joyful event because we were making a mental checklist of all the things that needed to be done when we got home? How many experiences were diminished because we just didn’t take a moment to lean into the moments and be grateful for them?
Like keeping our bodies fit, we can train our brains to become more present. As Solvasa’s favorite Dr. Kristen Race says, "meditative practices are like bicep curls for our brains". By letting a distraction become the trigger for a micro-meditation exercise, we can develop the part of our
Beauty in your presence.
Beauty is an aggregate of qualities that lift the spirit. We can find so much beauty in ourselves; it just takes intention, attitude and presence. Here’s to celebrating the beauty of you.