By Kerri Whatley and the TLS Team
You have no interest in being 21 again, but, oh, wouldn’t it be nice tofeel 21 again: The energy! The metabolism! The sense of I-can-accomplish-anything-I-set-my-mind-to!
“It’s totally possible to rediscover that zest and optimism you felt when you were younger,” says Caroline Adams Miller, author ofCreating Your Best Life. “In fact, recapturing those qualities is essential to leading a healthier, happier life in the long run.” Take these simple measures to turn back your inner clock and make the date on your driver’s license feel like a big fat lie.
Turn In Earlier:
Getting your zzz’s is the simplest way to feel younger right now. “The only time your body can truly restore itself is when you’re asleep,” explains Henry Lodge, MD, co-author of Younger Next Year for Women. “It helps build a more vibrant body and brain.” There is a high likely hood you aren’t getting enough sleep.
Make up for your sleep debt by turning in early enough to get eight hours of shut-eye for six weeks straight. (Skip The Daily Show and leave the dishes in the sink!) After six weeks, the time it takes to form a lasting healthy snooze habit, you’ll feel the difference (more energy, fewer dark circles).
Eat Revitalizing Food:
While you’re turning that sleep deficit into a surplus, age-proof your meals, too. “Front-load the healthy stuff,” Dr. Lodge advises. “Start every meal with a fruit or vegetable and a tall glass of water.” Loading up on the vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and veggies will make you feel refreshed, recharged, and reenergized.
And no need to always skip dessert: “As long as 90% of your food choices are healthy, allow you to indulge in that remaining 10%,” Dr. Lodge says. “When you have an ice cream cone, really, truly enjoy it!”
Hit the Gym:
The right kind of strength-training can help you feel 10, 20, even 30 years younger, says Bob Greene, trainer and author of 20 Years Younger.
“When done properly, weight-training makes micro tears in the muscles, which leads your body to generate thicker, stronger muscle fiber.” Strengthening your muscles in this way leaves you less vulnerable to injuries and builds your stamina.
Greene advises focusing on your lower body and core: Use a set of dumbbells and do a combination of squats, lunges, and calf-raises—two to three sets of 10 reps two to three times a week. It won’t be long before you’ll be giving those 20-year-olds at the gym a run for their money.
Be Vain…But Just a Little
True, getting nipped and tucked is not the golden ticket to eternal youth. But don’t underestimate the power of taking care of your looks (covering your grays, staying in shape, buying nice clothes that fit your body type). There is a world of difference between being arrogant and being confident.
“There’s a big difference between going crazy trying to look 10 years younger and trying to look your best at whatever age you are,” says Vivian Diller, PhD, author of Face It. “Prolonging the vitality of your skin, your hair, and your body will make you feel more confident and youthful.”
Mix It Up Every Now and Then:
Even if you eat right, pump iron, clean your house or hit the sack early, doing these things in the same order every day is going to start feeling, well, old. “The brain craves novelty,” Miller says. “To feel younger, you have to stimulate it with new associations and new things.”
Miller calls it electroshock therapy for your behavior, but it’s not as painful as it sounds. Just make little, out-of-the-ordinary changes like stopping at a different café for your morning latte or trying out a new running route in your neighborhood.
It’s natural to be a bit more gloomy than you were at 18, since time often exposes just how cruel (natural disasters, divorces, job losses) the world can be. That’s why the final step to feeling younger is nixing your inner naysayer. “The goal is not to deny the less-than-pleasant stuff that is happening, but rather to focus on what’s going well,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of A Happy You.
If the flight for your romantic vacation gets delayed, remind yourself that you’re on your way to a great destination with your mate. “Cultivating a greater sense of optimism will provide you with more positive energy to motivate you to do youthful things,” Lombardo explains.
With these few helpful tricks you will be feeling younger in no time!