There's growing older, and there's growing older with timeless grace. If we're fortunate enough to age, why not figure out how to do it with elegance and dignity? Truly, few things are more stunning than a woman who glows from the inside. It's that "ethereal" beauty that artists seek to capture and that people are naturally drawn to.

Ethereal beauty has very little to do with particular facial features or body type. It begins in a woman's spirit and works its way out from there. So what can you do to care for yourself in such a way that it eventually becomes visible to others?

It is natural to become bogged down with everyday concerns. It's also natural for women to focus on the needs of others before seeing to their own. Think of the last time you were on an airline. The flight attendant instructed you to strap your own oxygen in place before trying to help someone else with theirs. The reason is simple: we can't help others until we've helped ourselves.

Taking the time each day to nurture yourself may feel frivolous, but it is the first - and most important - step towards health. Here are a few ways to begin caring for that most intimate part of you.

- Carve out the time. No matter how busy you are, make time to stop and take stock of how you're doing. It may be while you're waiting for the kids to get out of soccer practice, or a few minutes before you prepare a meal. When and where you take the time does not matter as long as you do it.

- Be honest with yourself. Stuffing down your emotions is unhealthy and unproductive. Use your time to honestly assess how your life is going, the things that are bothering you, and how you can begin to change them.

- Seek to be grateful. Everyone has issues they need to work on, but also have things they are profoundly grateful for. Use part of your time each day to focus on the things you are most appreciative of.

- Treat your body like a temple. Eat whole foods that nourish and give you energy. Find an exercise routine that you can look forward to. Don't worry if all your friends are doing Zumba while you enjoy walking or yoga. Exercise is most valuable when it fuels you physically and emotionally.

- Quiet your mind. Whether you've been meditating for decades or have never done it before, it is a great way to quiet your thoughts and find a peaceful center that you might not have realized you possess. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a while to get the hang of meditation. Monks call all those intrusive thoughts "chattering monkeys," and know that it's natural for them to want to chatter. Stick with it. There are days when a three minute meditation can strip away hours of worry.

- Be realistic about what you can do. If you expect yourself to be "superwoman" you will eventually be disappointed. Speak as gently to yourself as you would a dear friend. Just as you respond to a kind word from someone else, your body responds more favorably when you're kind to yourself.

- Listen to your body. If you're frustrated, tired, confused, angry, or simply feel empty - stop what you're doing for a moment and respect your own emotions.

- Nourish your spiritual beliefs. If you have faith in a higher power, feed that faith through study, prayer, and meditation.

- Seek balance. This may mean (gasp!) saying no when people ask you to do something. You know you are properly balanced when you wake up refreshed, have emotional energy for the day, and feel optimistic. If any of these are missing you may be overloaded and need to take something off your plate.

- Make it a point to laugh. Studies have shown that laughter not only raises your spirits, but it also helps with pain management and stress. Watch your favorite comedy, call a friend who makes you giggle, or read your favorite humorous blog. Whatever you do, remember that laughter will keep you young.

How you feel on the inside quickly becomes apparent to anyone who meets you. Aging gracefully is about being honest with yourself, carving out time to nourish your soul, and after you are totally in balance, reaching out to help others. A woman with a peaceful soul is bound to become a timeless beauty.

6 Responses...

Anonymous says:
August 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM
So perfectly said!
Anonymous says:
August 14, 2013 at 5:49 AM
What a great article. It touches on so many points that we as women need to hear and so much practical advice such as having an attitude of gratitude.
Evonda N. says:
August 14, 2013 at 8:30 PM
This is exactly where I am!!!! Thank you!
Anonymous says:
August 15, 2013 at 2:30 AM
how very true
Anonymous says:
August 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM
Love this..
Stephanie L. says:
August 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM
I've been fighting getting older, but now I am going to focus on my inner self. Thank you!
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