Five Original Beauty Tips for Men and Women
Recently, we were en route to a conference in Barcelona and found ourselves with ten minutes to spare at London Stansted airport. We decided to visit the magazine store in order to try to find a classical music magazine (Classic FM) that we sometimes like to read. We couldn’t find the magazine in question, so we took a moment to look at the other magazines on the shelf. We were amazed at the number of men’s and women’s “health” magazines offering beauty tips. Although there appeared to be several shelves full of such magazines, the magazines seemed to be written in a very similar style and we weren’t sure how the advice each magazine was offering differed from that of the competition, or from that offered in the same magazine during the previous month’s edition. Therefore, in today’s post, we adopt a slightly different approach to the magazines we perused and provide what we believe to be five original and effective tips for making oneself more beautiful. We think that these tips will work for both men and women.
1. Keep anger under control: Research demonstrates that anger is expressed physiologically through facial expressions and body language. Commonly observed physiological responses to anger include contraction of the brow muscles, facial flushing (i.e., turning red), flared nostrils, clenched jaws, and general tension in the skeletal musculature of the facial and neck regions. Physiological responses to anger also often include increased heart rate and increased perspiration. Basically, all of this means that when we become angry, our appearance changes significantly. Leaving aside the fact that anger can leave other people feeling frightened and very uncomfortable, it invariably makes the angry person assume an ‘ugly’ complexion. People that become angry quickly show their “true colours” and don’t really have a place amongst the wise and respected. Therefore, always try to remain patient and composed and try not to lose your temper too easily. Taking control of your anger will definitely help you to be a more beautiful person.
2. Do things gently and in awareness: In our opinion, it is not particularly beautiful to be boisterous and heavy-handed. We believe it is much better to be careful and gentle as one goes about one’s affairs. Consistent with this point of view, research demonstrates that being mindful reduces both psychological and physiological tension. Therefore, living in awareness not only facilitates the adoption and maintenance of a calm and centred demeanour, but it also has numerous health benefits. As we discussed in our post on Teaching Mindfulness to Children, an analogy that has been used in the Buddhist teachings to explain the principle of living in awareness is that of a graceful swan. The swan is confident and elegant in the way it moves, and it glides effortlessly through the water without disturbing it too much. Thus, try to emulate the swan and be mindful of your being – try to walk around your home or place of work whilst being fully conscious of each and every breath, and of each and every step. Try not to upset and disturb things too much as you go about your business. This will help you to assume a calming presence that will not only make you more beautiful but also the environment in which you find yourself.
3. Say less rather than more: As Buddhist monks, we spend a reasonable amount of time in silence. In fact, although it is certainly enjoyable to engage in light-hearted mindful conversation, we generally adopt the approach that if there isn’t something particularly meaningful to say, then there is no point in just opening one’s mouth and making noise. It seems that a lot of people are uncomfortable with moments of silence when in the presence of others. Obviously, there are occasions when people really need to talk but in general, we believe that not allowing yourself (and others) time to breathe and to just simply be is not a particularly beautiful quality. Therefore, try to be comfortable with yourself in the presence of others and try not to always feel the need to have something to say. If you relax and centre yourself in your breathing, you will invariably find that the other person begins to relax too. Make an effort to talk gently and quietly – there’s really no need to talk in a very loud voice or to laugh boisterously so that everybody around you can hear. We think that saying less rather than more is a very beautiful way to be and that it will help you to have more meaningful dialogues with other people and with yourself.
4. Be generous with yourself and others: According to the Buddhist teachings, there are numerous advantages associated with being generous. Leaving aside those that are spiritual in nature, Buddhism asserts that generosity fuels generosity. In other words, people enjoy being at the receiving end of kindness – and there is a good chance that they will respond with kindness in return. Generosity takes on many shapes and forms including being generous with one’s words and time. This includes giving a person your full and undivided attention, and listening carefully to what they are saying – as well as what they are not saying. We can also be generous with the amount of space that we give to ourselves and others. Creating space in our own and others’ lives facilitates personal growth and introduces time for determining what is important in life. This helps to nourish the beauty within each of us.
5. Try not to be too beautiful: Emerging research insights suggest that there are benefits to be gained by not having a huge ego. This is consistent with the Buddhist view that ego is the underlying cause of all suffering and psychological stress. It is important to understand what is meant by ego in Buddhist philosophy because ego can take on many different guises. For example, a person that is successful and that has confidence because of their success doesn’t necessarily have a big ego. Rather, it might be the case that their less-successful peers who feel threatened by them are actually the ones with the bigger ego – because it is strong attachment to an “I” that gives rise to jealousy and/or inferiority complexes. Thus, ego is not always easy to spot and it invariably has many layers. Nevertheless, we would be surprised if people who are caught up with becoming more physically beautiful were not in some way lumbered by “ego issues”. Therefore, although it is good to take care of one’s appearance, try not to become too obsessed with how you look. Real beauty goes well beyond physical appearance. Remember that not trying overly hard to be beautiful can actually be a very beautiful thing.
Ven Edo Shonin & Ven William Van Gordon
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