Monday, March 5, 2018

On Beauty & Mental Health...

Surprisingly refreshing information from a 1800s book on beauty...

I thought about writing this on Facebook, but Facebook has gradually lost its charm. I wish there was a new social media platform that mimics the innocence of the internet in its infancy. Now all social media is funded by corporations and used to spread what is basically brainwashing. For now, I am enjoying having my own little corner of the internet that is this blog. I plan on using it more to write and share my thoughts regardless of who reads. :) So welcome to High Vibe Beauty, my creative outlet.

I have recently developed a fascination with the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I've always been a fan of the traditional way of life in the 1920s-1960s and the distinct fashion of 1970s-1990s. I've especially been interested in ancient beauty routines, rituals, and recipes. Cleopatra, in particular, has always been a favorite of mine. However, recently I've been obsessing over the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

So, throughout my research and hours of scouring the internet, I came across a book published in 1874. It's content ranges from bizarre beauty treatments to outright dangerous ones. My favorites, of course, have been the ones that are rooted in nature and tradition. The recipes use measurements like drachms and scruples which are old apothecary weight measurements. A drachm is a coin used to measure weight, a practice which originated from Ancient Greece.

While numerous recipes were enough to inspire me to take notes, one tidbit in particular "struck a nerve" with me. It was on beauty and mental health. Finally! I was relieved to see some literary source mention the relevance of beauty, the nervous system, and facial expressions. I've been pondering the implications of this for years now. Unsurprisingly, it is not a modern revelation, but an ancient one. 

Here's an excerpt from the book on the morning sun and its effects on the nerves:

Christiana is over thirty no reason in the 
least why she should not be as admired as a 
three days' rose, for one of the most beautiful 
women in New York, whom every one is in- 
fatuated with, is over sixty. Yet nobody thinks 
of Christiana's looks, for the simple reason 
that she has given up thinking of them her- 
self believing her poor skin can not be im- 
proved, nor the stiff, high carriage of her 
shoulders be changed. The depth of her eyes 
and her really good color are lost with these 
defects. To judge how the remedies should 
be applied, scrutinize her entire mode of liv- 
ing. Sunrise, in January or June, and she is 
not up! This will never serve a candidate 
for beauty. The first rays of the sun, the 
purity of early air, have as potent an effect 
on the complexion as the noon* rays on the 
webs of linen in the bleaching -ground. By 
all means, if one must rob daylight for sleep, 
take the hours from ten to three, but see the 
fires in the east from out-of-doors, even if your 
head touched the pillow only two hours be- 
fore. I don't believe in any special morality in 
getting up early, but I do know its benefits 
on nerves and circulation of the blood. There 
is a tonic in the dew-cool air, a lingering of 
wight's romance, that stirs while it soothes the 
blood like a fine magnetic hand. 

The nervous system has a huge impact on beauty simply because it affects our mental health and therefore the emotions displayed on our faces. The phrase "getting on my nerves" comes to mind. It relays the feeling of annoyance and agitation. People with nervous issues will relate. Take this excerpt for example:

WOMEN'S looks depend too much on the 
state of their nerves and their peace of mind 
to pass them over. The body at best is the 
perfect expression of the soul. The latter 
may light wasted features to brilliance, or 
turn a face of milk and roses dark with pas- 
sion or dead with dullness; it may destroy a 
healthy frame or support a failing one. Weak 
nerves may prove too much for the temper of 
St. John, and break down the courage of Sal- 
adin. Better things are before us, coming 
from a fuller appreciation of the needs of 
body and soul, but the fact remains that this 
is a generation of weak nerves. It shows 
particularly in the low tone of spirits common 
to men and women. They can not bear sun- 
shine in their houses; they find the colors of 
Jacques Minot roses and of Gerome's pictures 
too deep ; the waltz in Traviata is too brill- 
iant, Rossini's music is too sensuous, and Wag- 
ner's too sensational; Mendelssohn is too light, 
Beethoven too cold. Their work is fuss ; in- 
stead of resting, they idle and there is a 
wide difference between the two things. Peo 
pie who drink strong tea and smoke too many 
cigars, read or stay in-doors too much, find 
the hum of creation too loud for them. The 
swell of the wind in the pines makes them 
gloomy, the sweep of the storm prostrates 
them with terror, the everlasting beating of 
the surf and the noises of the streets alike 
weary their worthless nerves. The happy 
cries of school -children at play are a griev- 
ance to them ; indeed, there are people who 
find the chirp of the hearth cricket and the 
singing tea-kettle intolerable. But it is a 
sign of diseased nerves. Nature is full of 
noises, and only where death reigns is there 
silence. One wishes that the men and women 
who can't bear a child's voice, a singer's prac- 
tice, or the passing of feet np and down stairs 
might be transported to silence like that winch 
wraps the poles or the spaces beyond the stars, 
till they could learn to welcome sound, with- 
out which no one lives. 

Children must make noise, and a great deal 
of it, to be healthy. The shouts, the racket, 
the tumble and turmoil they make, are nat- 
ure's way of ventilating their bodies, of send- 
ing the breath full into the very last corner of 
the lungs, and the blood and nervous fluid into 
every cord and fibre of their muscles. Instead 
of quelling their riot, it would be a blessing to 
older folks to join it with them. There is an 
awful truth following this assertion. Do you 
know that men and women go mad after the 
natural stimulus which free air and bounding 
exercise supply ? It is the lack of this most 
powerful inspiration, which knows no reac- 
tion, that makes them drunkards, gamesters, 
and flings them into every dissipation of body 
and soul. Men and women, especially those 
leading studious, repressed lives, often confess 
to a longing for some fierce, brief madness 
that would unseat the incubus of their lives. 
Clergymen, editors, writing women, and those 
who lead sedentary lives, have said in your 
hearing and mine that something ailed them 
they could not understand. They felt as if 
they would like to go on a spree, dance the 
tarantella, or scream till they were tired. They 
thought it the moving of some depraved im- 
pulse not yet rooted out of their natures, and 
to subdue it cost them hours of struggle and 
mortification. Poor souls ! They need not 
have visited themselves severely if they had 
known the truth that this lawless longing was 
the cry of idle nerve and muscle, frantic 
through disuse. What the clergyman wanted 
was to leave his books and his subdued de- 
meanor for the hill -country, for the woods, 
where he could not only walk, but leap, run, 
shout, and wrestle, and sing at the full strength 
of his voice. The editor needed to leave his 
cigar and the midnight gas-light for a wherry 
race, or a jolly roll and tumble on the green. 
The woman, most of all, wanted a tent built 
for her on the shore, or on the dry heights of 
the pine forest, where she would have to take 
sun by day and balsamic air by night; where 
she would have to leap brooks, gather her own 
fire-wood, climb rocks, and laugh at her own 
mishaps. Or, if she were city-pent, she need- 
ed to take some child to the Park and play 
ball with it, and run as I saw an elegant girl 
dressed in velvet and furs run through Madi- 
son Square one winter day with her little sis- 
' ter. The nervous, capricious woman must be 
sent to swimming -school, or learn to throw 
quoits or jump the rope, to wrestle or to sing. 
There is nothing better for body and mind 
than learning to sing, with proper method, 
under a teacher who knows how to direct the 
force of the voice, to watch the strength, and 
expand the emotions at the same time. 
In my life, I've come across a woman who reminds me of the type mentioned above. She was a homely woman and always found something to nag about. Even in the most peaceful of atmospheres, there would always be something to note. Her nagging and complaining became so common that her face turned sour as if she had taken a bite straight from a lemon and her face was immediately flushed with disgust and disapproval. For this, I will call her the Sour Woman. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Don't make that face or it might get stuck that way." Well, this has a lot of merit as the fine little muscles we exercise and strengthen on our face can change our resting expression. The Sour Woman always had a disdain for the things around her and this was simply because of her nervous system not being stable. She would find faults in the simplest of things. She would be triggered by people with similar nervous systems, as it would reflect back to her own condition which she unconsciously wished to change. In fact, my own perception of the Sour Woman is simply a reflection of my own state of nervousness.

You see, for the past year, I have found myself becoming a Sour Woman. I am impatient while driving. I gossip too much. I stress about cleaning and get upset when others do not share my stress. I get overly worked up about small things. And even after I have mentally calmed down, I can sometimes still feel the resting nervousness in my body. I immediately take a mineral supplement when I notice it, but in time it creeps back up on me like a devil on my back. Sometimes after I stressed out about something, I feel an overall sense of detachment, like "that wasn't me". And it's really not me, not at my core. At my core, as with all of us, we are pure-hearted sensitive beings. For me, it is my bodily condition that brings out this false way of being. If I am sick and do not feel good, how can I share my best self with others? That is the thing about nervousness, it is far too often a forgotten symptom of overall unease and unhappiness. 

I do feel myself getting better with the return of the sun and the coming Spring Equinox. I feel I allowed myself to get too cooped up indoors which of course can easily cause tension and nervousness. I also allowed myself to dwell too much in negativity, so much so that it almost became a comfortable path to follow because of the familiarity. I find myself longing for the simplicity of childhood and the freedom of expression that came with it. Now that I'm almost 24, I can consciously feel my brain isn't what it used to be as my frontal lobe matures, and my faith is constantly shrouded by logical thinking and doubt, where it used to be untainted and untamed. I have to remind myself I am still the same girl that up and left at 18 with no money to my name, just a will to get to Hawaii and the faith to lead me there. How I wish to have that sort of "reckless abandon" again, as some would call it. I would call it admirable faith, and it is something I strive to attain again.

If you feel you struggle with nervous tension as well, here are some tips you might want to try:

1. Mineral Supplements. 
Try some magnesium spray, an electrolyte drink, or concentrated mineral drops in water. Most people are deficient in minerals, especially magnesium. Magnesium is a well-known help to those with restless legs, which is a nerve condition. It helps take the edge off. I recommend Ancient Minerals magnesium spray topically. The best internal supplements of magnesium I've found is by a brand called Physica. Make sure you even get the uncommon minerals in, like Lithium Orotate and Sulfur aka MSM. Also, inositol powder in water can help repair damaged nerves.

2. Get outside. 
Nothing soothes the soul like some fresh air infused with the scents of nature. The sounds of the wind rustling through leaves or the morning birds chirping does wonders for our mental health and peace of mind. If you live in the city, try to get out of town for the day and walk in nature. If you can, hike or walk for hours, and you will be amazed how refreshing it can be. I know it's common sense, but I am simply here to remind you.

3. Meditate.
Of course! Meditation calms the mind and stops that ruthless vicious cycle of thoughts spinning in our heads like a broken record. It's best to start and end the day with at least 15 minutes of meditation. It will help you clear your mind for the day ahead in the morning, and at night it will help you sort out the day so you can rest optimally.

4. Diet.
Try to avoid things that literally "get on your nerves". Sugar is a huge culprit! If you need to sweeten things, try honey, stevia, or a low-glycemic sweetener like coconut sugar. That way the sugar isn't so jolting to the nervous system. Caffeine and alcohol in excess are a bad idea too. Also, anything super heavy should be limited or avoided completely. You basically just want to eat things that are easily digested and sorted. Anything that is overly-stimulating or that can bog your system down needs to be reduced. Light but hearty vegetable soups are easy to digest and are extremely nourishing. Fruit in the summer is good, but be mindful of the sugar content. Green juice is great as well, but again try to limit juicing fruit as that sugar will go straight to your bloodstream. Warm tea in the morning consisting of herbs like holy basil and gotu kola help start the day, while herbs like lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, and passionflower make the perfect nightcap to help with meditation and calming the mind along with the nerves in preparation for sleep.

Thank you for reading and I hope this gave you something to think about :)

1 Comment:

Lanessa said...

Hi Rozelyn. I appreciate your blog post - on many levels. First I agree with the way internet has changed. Communication which is regulated to a lesser extend, like blogs, is a one way communication - well it's like stepping into someone's house, even though the flow is possible, it's somehow uneven - here you have great information about the owner of the blog through the blog's content and a comment which represents pretty much everything you know about the sender. Even if you try to connect, it's harder to relate to a sender like me. So the innocence is lost - some premisses are set. Well, setting negativity aside - I'm relating a lot to your writing. The link between the emotions and looks have intuitively interested me in years - the way a face smoothes and lightens up, the way sadness can turn into bitterness which carve people's faces. Actually, this could be a society of people who have given up, judging by faces. Stiffened into bitter resignation... Also contempt leaves a special mark - somewhere around the mouth. It's easy to see when you flash your teeth as a predator - this wrinkle. An obvious connection between hate and the feeling of threat, on a more cellular level. But it doesn't help to be aware of that anatomy - reaching for feeling underneath the face may help. I have figured I'm still tired, tired (of being sad) and still struggling with shame and low self esteem, so it's easy for me to gossip or feel threatened by others when tired. Which happens a lot when you are an introvert. Summing up, I use TRE to address root causes which sit deep in my body, try to dive beneath the mimics (sometimes just figuring what's up is enough, no action required) and also make sure to clear my mind sometime through connecting with nature. And I repeat my mantra "This is not my business" or "This is something I will take care of on more appropriate time and I will know when it will be once it comes" a lot -
works like a charm for stress. I love your list of tips and I would add niacin - when your mind is spinning out of control. Inositol has helped me a lot. Also, I wish there was a supplement for these minerals altogether? So long, I use baths with peat, peat extracts (rich in minerals), salt, lavender and lemon balm and also flower essences for good sleep.
Now, when I'm back in Norway, I also appreciate the raw power of crystal clear water and air.

You know, I have read your blog for years and I'm happy you continue to share your content. It felt always on point and I wished I could meet you for a chat and a herbal elixir. You have a sense of beauty and a spiritual way that speak to me. I'm grateful I can relate through reading, that's a lot as well. Have a great day :)

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