Recently, I‘ve met a few phenomenal older women who seem to naturally defy the aging process.  I met one such amazing woman this week who I was convinced was in her early 40’s, until she introduced me to her 42 year old son.  I was astounded.  For a long time, I’ve known that the aging process is different for everyone and has little to do with genetics and much to do with the nutritional and lifestyle choices we make, but this particular encounter was a pleasant surprise. This was a woman who obviously took great pride and care of herself which is key to delaying the unpleasant effects that most often come with the aging process. But beyond that, I started thinking about other key elements that contribute to maintaining youth well beyond middle age. I came up with this list (in no particular order) for starters: 

1) BE HAPPY - Laugh often and enjoy life. Be silly occasionally.

2) NEVER STOP LEARNING - Always remain curious, open to new ideas and inquisitive.  Maintain an adventurous spirit. Don’t limit yourself. 

3) CREATE - Whether it’s art, poetry, dance, music, food, products…find a way to express yourself and do this often.  Ideally, try to make a living doing this.

4) PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU EAT - Eat lots of life-giving, nutrient and antioxidant-rich, alkaline foods such as seeds, raw fruits and raw vegetables. Drink plenty of clean, fresh water.

5) KEEP IT REAL - Avoid artificial foods, artificial environments and artificial people.  All are toxic to your mind, body and spirit.

6) EXERCISE - Preferably a form of exercise that you love: a dance class, a sport, walking in nature…

7) NURTURE YOUR SPIRIT - meditate, pray, express gratitude and acknowledge your blessings daily, surround yourself with inspirational people.

8) AVOID TOXINS as much as possible whether in your food, your water, your environment or your personal care products. Be conscious of what you put in and on your body and remember nature has the best solutions. 

9) GO NATURALAvoid putting chemicals on your hair and skin. Use natural exfoliants (such as mineral-rich Dead Sea salt), natural butters and natural oils on your skin and hair. 

10) MANAGE STRESS AND AVOID DRAMA - Release negative emotions and don’t hold grudges. Don’t concern yourself with what others think of you. Focus on being authentic and you always have people who appreciate, love and respect you.

11) LET GO OF YOUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF AGE - 60 looks different on everyone and much of it has to do with an individual’s choices and outlook on life. The truth is aging is a beautiful process that results in greater wisdom, self-confidence and freedom.