Young At…slightly older in other places?

We all have days when we feel invisible, unattractive and self-conscious. Often it’s because we compare ourselves, unfairly, to the way we looked when we were young.

After all, we live in a culture which is obsessed with youth, so it’s harder to be body confident if we’ve gained a few pounds, our hair has turned grey, or our skin has started to wrinkle and sag.

Here are some tips on how to improve our body image and boost our self-confidence in later life, so that we can look – and feel – our best.

DO pay yourself one complement each day

Self praise may have as much, if not more, effect than a compliment from someone else.  You might feel a bit silly, but say something great about yourself first thing every morning. If you can learn to feel good about yourself, others will feel positively towards you too.

DO experiment with colour

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, and wear the same type of clothes every day. But you’d be surprised how introducing some colour into your wardrobe can help you to look and feel younger.

If you normally wear neutral shades like navy, black, grey or brown, think about adding a colourful scarf or tie, or add a vibrant handbag or socks.

DO see changes in your appearance as part of you

Your body tells a story about who you are and what has happened in your life.   The lines around your eyes show your sense of humour and the amount of times you laughed. Your stomach may have carried children and allowed you to bring up a family.

By telling a story about your appearance you begin to see your body as a friend rather than an enemy to battle against.

DO do gentle, regular exercise

Lots of older people avoid physical activity, and that includes walking, because they’ve lost confidence in their body and worry that they are too old, too unfit or might hurt themselves, but regular, gentle exercise can help you to feel less vulnerable.  It improves balance and keeps you strong and flexible, which reduces the risk of falls and you’re less likely to hurt yourself if you do take a tumble.

DO focus on the things you like about your appearance

The ageing process can be tough, but it happens to us all eventually. Instead of mourning the loss of your youthful figure or smooth skin, focus on your good points.

Stand in front of the mirror and notice all your good points – your nice smile, the twinkle in your eye, your lovely hands or your great posture. Research has shown that this is really beneficial.

DON’T compare yourself to other people

It’s common for men and women to make appearance comparisons with their friends, family members, celebrities and other people in the media. Research shows that doing this leads to increased body dissatisfaction. So, if you notice yourself doing this, actively turn your attention to something else until you begin to break the habit.

DON’T spend too much time on the sofa

It’s not always easy for older people to exercise, especially if they have a heart condition or joint issues, but it’s important to keep moving as we get older, as regular exercise helps us to look and feel better.

DON’T call yourself old

If you feel this is a negative word, cut it out of your vocabulary.  Call yourself “wise” or “experienced” instead!

Remember that many cultures place great value on age and experience, so focus on the fact that you still have a lot to offer which isn’t based on youth or the way you look.

DON’T wear clothes that are too small – or too big

Sizes vary between stores, so don’t stick with a set size just because you can’t face going up or down the size scale.

Wearing clothes that fit you perfectly is more important than a number on a label, and you’ll feel more comfortable and confident in clothes that flatter your shape.’

DON’T slouch

Start paying attention to the way that you stand, sit and walk.  Standing and sitting correctly not only protects your back, it immediately makes you look taller, slimmer and more confident.