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Accepting Your Body in Midlife

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 27 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Midlife Middle Age Dermatologist

For many, middle age is a time for taking stock. There’s something about the post-forty years that prompts people to assess where they are in their lives compared to where they’d envisioned themselves to be at that stage. Sometimes this self-examination results in feelings of great satisfaction, but it is just as common for it to lead to worry and doubt about one’s capabilities and attractiveness.

The Face in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror, most people in midlife see that time has had an impact on their features. Little wrinkles (or even deep ones) begin to appear and for those who have spent a great deal of time outdoors without adequate protection, signs of sun damage may become evident.

Dermatologists can help to repair some of the effects that time and the elements have taken on middle aged skin, softening age lines and erasing some discolouration. Chemical peels, micro-dermabrasion, and laser skin treatments can all minimise the signs of aging, giving people in midlife an emotional boost every time they catch their reflections in the mirror.

Midlife Fitness

While there’s no doubt that there are often significant differences between the bodies of the young and the middle aged, working to be as fit and healthy as possible can help a great deal when people are struggling to accept the effects of time. With the demands of work, family, and friends, finding time to keep fit is often low on the priority list, but eating well and getting regular exercise not only improves both short and long term health, but also contributes to a healthy body image.

It’s important to note that having a good level of self-esteem isn’t reliant on having a perfect body or super-model good looks. Studies show that those who take the time to focus on being healthy tend to have a much greater sense of confidence and are less likely to dwell on their real or perceived imperfections than their more sedentary peers.

Health Concerns in Middle Age

Oftentimes, midlife brings a few minor health problems, which if dealt with quickly, can delay or even eliminate the onset of more serious conditions. Most people have some than stellar habits that can, over time, contribute to poor health and if they haven’t learned to control their bad behaviours before then, midlife may provide the wake up call to encourage the development of a healthier lifestyle.

Smoking, eating poorly, living a sedentary lifestyle, or overindulging in alcohol can all have a negative impact on both health and appearance. Taking steps to rein in unhealthy habits and replace them with better ones can help those in midlife to feel better about themselves today and be optimistic about their futures.

Healthy Self-Esteem

Most people actively try to help those that they care about to develop healthy self-esteem. Parents provide their growing children with positive feedback about their actions and abilities, helping the kids to recognise and celebrate their unique gifts, and friends and family members often do the same for one another. Too often, though, people neglect to put themselves on their own priority lists, filling their time by seeing to the needs of others. Those in midlife may want to reconsider when they are quick to judge themselves harshly—chances are that they would be much gentler on their loved ones.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with taking steps to improve one’s appearance, it is important for people of all ages to accept and appreciate themselves, even with imperfections. Every person has their own type of beauty and recognising the beauty in oneself is a huge step in self-acceptance, in midlife and beyond.

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