I swear, since I have lived in Florence, I have aged 10 years!

I think it’s a combination of the stress of living in a country in which hardly anybody speaks my language (that would be English!) and the frustration of trying to get things (anything) done. Add to that the lack of Wi-Fi and Internet connections and the dodgem roads. Finally, there is the HEAT! It has been unending and unbearable for nearly 4 months. Today it is 24 degrees and absolutely stunning.

Feeling as buoyed as I am (amazing what a drop in temperature can do for a body), I thought I would share my top 5 “anti-aging” tips. I need them myself.

Stop Caring What Other People Think

The most attractive women are those who are more concerned with their own opinion about themselves. If you feel good about what you say and do – carry on! As you age, you finally learn what works for you! Throw fashion out of the window and begin creating your own style. Dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and expresses who you are. Remember, you can look chic and stylish on a minimalist budget!

Take Your Focus Off the Bits You Don’t Like

Stand in front of a mirror. Naked is good. Check out the really good bits – yes, you do have them. If you have fabulous elbows or knees, or great hands, or a perfect back or a great arse – celebrate! If you think you’re deluded, you probably are. But it doesn’t matter. Why? Because this is what you like and none of it is about pleasing other people. If you no longer have 20/20 vision, smile! Life is being kind by making sure you see through rose-coloured glasses. This is my personal favourite!

What Is Your Best Feature?

You may have beautiful legs or a great smile. It doesn’t matter. whatever you have that is seriously hot, make sure it’s on show! If you have a fabulous bum because you work-out a lot, wear (age-appropriate) tight pants. Be happy!

Smile!

Too few people smile. No matter your age, you will look your best if you smile. If you don’t believe me, stop and think about it for a second. When you go into a supermarket and the check-out girl (or boy) smiles and is charming, how much better do you feel and how much better do they look? When you smile back, they positively beam.

If you don’t smile because you have bad teeth, save the money and get them fixed. There are some extraordinary things they can do for your teeth. If you don’t smile because you’re depressed, try it anyway. Guaranteed to make you feel better and less depressed. It may banish the blues completely. If you don’t smile because your make-up dives into the creases on your face (wrinkles!), try some make-up tips to lighten and brighten your face, and you will want to smile.

Laugh – Especially at Yourself

We all do stupid things, on a daily basis! Laugh at yourself and get your happy endorphins running around your body. Or find something else to laugh at … a good belly laugh is something you hear too little. Children laugh approximately 300 times a day. Adults laugh approximately 4 times a day. Does that tell you something? I believe that laughter really is the best medicine. So much so, I wrote a book on the subject.

Do you laugh a lot? Do you smile at people and watch the response? On a scale of 1 – 10, how important is the opinion of others to you? For me it’s less than 1. Please leave your comments and let’s start a conversation!

Penelope Jane WhiteleyPenelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. She helps other women to live their life on their own terms, to be true to themselves, to do and say what they want, to stop living within other people’s expectations and to abandon the quest for perfection with apologies to nobody. Please follow her on Twitter @the_pjwhiteley.

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