By Courtenay Turner
When it comes to ‘beauty’ – our mind often turns to our physical selves and the changes we make on a surface level. But as we know, true beauty comes from within and often, it’s the changes we make on the inside that are the most transformative.
Cultivating a sense of inner beauty is a delicate dance as we move between turning inwards to embrace practices of self-care, while also turning our gaze outwards to focus on the people around us, doing our best to show up and support the ones we love. Here are five inspiring ways to cultivate inner beauty – with balance and grace…
It may sound simple, but kindness is a seriously underrated trait – one which we believe to be an incredibly important characteristic to cultivate. Kindness encapsulates acts of compassion and selflessness, so it’s no surprise that research links kindness to feelings of happiness and contentment – for both the giver and the receiver. It’s been suggested by writers and academics that we are living in the age of anger, so replacing anger with kindness (even when we feel it may be undeserved) is a surefire way to make you – and the world around you – a kinder, happier place.
We have a lot to thank technology for – ease of communication with friends and family, the ability to let our loved ones know of our whereabouts, as well the convenience of an all-in-one device that doubles as a camera and an encyclopedia. But, nonetheless, most of us know that too much phone time – namely time spent on social media – may be harming our mental health. A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that people who limited their social media use to just 30 minutes a day reported reductions in feelings of depression and loneliness and felt significantly better after the three-week trial period. The solution? Look up. By looking up and out at the world around you, you allow your brain to play, daydream and improvise, thereby encouraging it to enter into its natural cognitive state
When you eat well and nourish your body with nutrient-dense wholefoods, you’re likely to sleep better, experience better moods and see increases in energy. All of these factors play a role in making us healthier, happier humans. And as we all know, when we’re feeling content and vibrant, this also benefits our loved ones, friends and colleagues too! According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Certain foods are key components in the manufacture of powerful chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, can boost mood, improve sleep, increase pain tolerance and enhance performance”. Check out our favourite pantry essentials for more healthy eating inspiration.
Hate running? Don’t do it. Can’t stand pilates? Find an alternative. By finding forms of movement that we love and look forward to, we’re far more likely to feel energised and nourished when we exercise. Regular movement plays an important role in our mental and physical wellbeing, and when we’re doing it in a way that works for us, we shouldn’t feel bored or depleted. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise promotes better sleep, improves mood and boosts energy, so grab your friends and get moving! (Just be careful not to overdo it).
Gratitude is a simple practice, but it doesn’t always come naturally to us. Sometimes, in order to actually feel grateful, we need to take a more disciplined approach to this lofty concept. What’s more, approaching gratitude in a more calculated way can often filter down into our everyday lives. Why not try taking five minutes every day at 8am to pause and ponder the things in your life that bring you joy? Then, write them down in a gratitude journal or in the notes section of your phone. This provides a tangible reference to reflect on in times of stress. Gratitude also helps us to counteract 21st-century syndromes like “FOMO” – by training ourselves to deeply appreciate what we have, we focus far less on what we believe to be lacking. Perhaps more than any other practice, gratitude helps to cultivate inner beauty by making us aware of all the abundance and joy in our lives.
How do you cultivate inner beauty? We’d love to know your favourite practices...