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If someone asked me my beauty secrets, which is something people often want to know–I honestly wouldn’t know what to say. Not because I am not looking after my physical body, but because beauty to me goes so much deeper than that, and I doubt it can be enhanced via so called “secrets;” not in any meaningful way anyway. While I am fully aware that this opinion of mine is unpopular–I wholeheartedly believe that true beauty comes from within, and is the result of inner harmony and balance. Yes, of course there are physical/aesthetic attributes to it that indeed can be improved, or even changed dramatically, but to me if something is artificial–it’s not beautiful. Everything is energy, and we cannot fake it, not with makeup, not with filters, not with the latest Kardashian trick of the trade.
However I can share with you some of the things that I discovered in my search for self care magic; things that help me to feel more aligned, and while it’s not gonna transform you overnight–it will help if you’re after harmony and wellbeing. All of the practices are surprisingly simple, and either don’t cost much, or are totally free, hence they might be doubted by some in terms of the benefits. They do however work for me, and I hope they will make a difference in your life too.
The Attitude of Gratitude
This practice is simple, but requires a daily commitment, which I struggle with myself, if I’m completely honest. I believe our brains dislike simplicity as something useless, and that they crave complexity and intellectual stimulation, which is not a bad thing in itself, but certain processes require the opposite to be effective. Feelings of gratitude have been proved by research to have a positive influence on the immune system, among other benefits and numerous articles in both print and on the web talking about it. And yet I didn’t think it’s important enough to practice, mainly because of the simplicity, however once I heard about the immunity factor it became significant enough for me to give it a go. It really is an amazing tool, and can lift your mood instantly, and even rewire your brain over a period of time. The result–a happier and healthier you.
Evolutionarily speaking, our brains are not exactly interested in being grateful, or focusing on positivity. It served our ancestors well to look out for dangers and we as species survived as a result. Times have changed however, and we need to enjoy life, not merely survive. Yet we still find ourselves complaining and focusing on the negatives. Because our brains are still ancient in many ways, and need an upgrade to the new life. Writing down in a gratitude journal five things you feel grateful for that day is life changing, if we stick to this practice. I do it before bed every other evening, and there is always something to be grateful for that day. Whether it’s a lunch with a friend, sunny weather, or simply my cats that make me smile on a regular basis. Interestingly the other two tools I will be talking about today are often on my gratitude list. Which brings me to number 2:
Now this is something I still cannot believe is real. I mean if you asked me a little over a year ago I wouldn’t have a clue what those four letters stand for. These days however it’s a big part of my life, and often the tool I use to fall asleep. For someone who struggled with sleep problems for more than a decade–this is a big deal. To my surprise ASMR videos apparently started to appear on YouTube as early as 2010, yet they are gaining wider recognition lately. So what do these four mysterious letters stand for? ASMR–autonomous sensory meridian response, and the definition from dictionary.com goes as follows: “a calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation. This tingle is said to originate in a person’s head, and spread to the spine (and sometimes the limbs) in response to stimulation. The stimuli that trigger ASMR vary from person to person. Some of the most common ones include whispers, tapping, brushing, scratching and hand sounds to name a few.” There’s no point for me to try to explain the feeling, it’s something that needs to be experienced. From what I understand, some people (including me) get tingles which have been compared to brain orgasm :), but those who don’t–still benefit from the relaxation, and hopefully a good night's sleep as a result. Below is the link to one of my favourite ASMR artists out there, but since everyone is different, browsing a few different ones, and seeing which sounds work for you is advisable. PS, please use headphones for the optimal results.
Aromatherapy (Essential Oils)
I’m only just beginning my journey to explore aromatherapy. Again this is something that sort of didn’t register as important enough in my mind to give it a go earlier. Obviously I experienced its benefits during massages and while burning incense sticks at home, but I never bought an essential oil with a purpose in mind myself. The first one arrived to me as a present from one of my best friends, and the product below is the closest one to her gift I could find online. My friend, being aware of my insomnia problems, gave me a “Tisserand” duo of aromatherapy roller balls–one aimed to improve sleep, the other one for general relaxation. And I didn’t look back since. Not only have I finally realised that this is a powerful enough tool to apply, but I became curious to explore the many versatile ways it can be used. It’s widely known that lavender for example is a scent that makes you fall asleep, but did you know that citrus scents can improve your mood by making your brain produce more serotonin, and the eucalyptus, which is notoriously used to ward off cold and flu, is also very beneficial for mental clarity? Those two are always in my bag now. One small note–the above mentioned roll on Tisserand product (also in the link below) is specially made to be applied on skin I believe, by the virtue of being diluted, however when you buy pure essential oil–most of the time it is not advisable to apply it on skin. There are few ways to use it–by inhaling, by adding to your bath, or even for massage purposes. Each oil will be unique, and needs to be researched in advance. In under no circumstances can it can be taken internally from what I understand, so please exercise caution and read the labels/safety instructions before using this natural, yet very potent product.