Our society focuses largely on appearances. There are creams to get rid of wrinkles, hair extensions to give you long, luxurious locks, laser treatments to eliminate cellulite. The list goes on and on. While some embrace the process of aging, others refuse to celebrate each passing birthday.

Forget the strands of gray in your hair or the wrinkle that wasn’t there before. Aging is what you make it, and your feelings about growing older are largely dependent on how you feel on the inside, not the outside. Whether aging scares you, or you’re welcoming it with open arms, there are several ways to keep your body healthy and your spirit feeling young! Here are ten mistakes you might be making that are secretly making you age more quickly.

1. Giving in to Unhealthy Cravings

Cravings are something that most people deal with, but don’t you wish sometimes that you could crave spinach instead of donuts? Cravings most often come in the form of something sweet. Chocolate, candy, a pastry… Giving in every once in a while won’t kill you. It’s all about balance. But giving in to every unhealthy craving will increase your sugar intake! Excess sugar consumption is not only linked to multiple health problems, it also enhances physical aging. Sugar causes wrinkles and puffy skin.

2. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Your body needs sleep to function properly. Not getting enough sleep has negative physical and psychological effects. Chronic sleep deprivation will result in dark circles, unbalanced skin, and it will cause your body and mind to lag.

3. Not Making Time for Yourself

Many people are so consumed with their responsibilities and making sure everyone around them is happy, that they forget to make time for themselves. Being stressed out and not taking the time to take care of yourself will cause you to age faster. Make sure you have time to yourself every day. Go for a walk through the park on your lunch break, relax in a bubble bath before bed, or wake up a little early to read a few chapters of your favourite book… But don’t forget to take care of yourself!

4. Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Drinking alcohol causes inflammation in the body and can also slow down your metabolism. Besides the health risks associated with heavy alcohol use, alcohol puts stress on the body, accelerates the aging process, dehydrates the skin and leaves you feeling and looking fatigued.

5. Holding Grudges

Holding onto grudges isn’t healthy. Even if it’s in the back of your mind, you’re still wasting energy holding yourself back and staying in the past, instead of allowing yourself to move on and look forward. Replaying a bad situation over and over in your head can result in anxiety, depression, and even increased blood pressure. Find a way to forgive. You’ll feel lighter and finally free of whatever it was that was holding you back.

6. Being Antisocial

Spending time alone is great. It can be relaxing and peaceful. But don’t forget to plan a night with your family and friends every once in a while. Being around people who care about you will increase inner joy. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

7. Exposing Yourself to Chemicals

Chemicals are in everything these days. The foods we eat, the beauty products we use, and the laundry detergent we buy. It might seem like a hassle, but take the time to read the labels in the products you use. These chemicals come along with a long list of dangerous side effects that may be extremely detrimental to your health.

8. Exercising for the Wrong Reasons

If you’re too focused on losing weight, exercise becomes a chore. The truth is, staying active can be fun. If you want to lose a few pounds to get to a healthy weight, that’s great. But don’t stress yourself out while doing it. Choose a fun workout like Zumba, spinning, boxing that interests you, and try to do it with a more open mindset.

9. Taking Everything Too Seriously

Try to laugh as often as you can. Some things have to be taken seriously, but there are plenty of things that can be light hearted and fun if you allow it. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself or look silly! Try to find humor in awkward or frustrating situations. It will help reduce your stress and allow you to move on.

10. Not Making Time for Love

If you and your partner are too busy to catch a movie together, go on a dinner date, or walk on the beach, it’s time to slow down. Making time for intimacy is more important for your health than you might think. Intimacy can allow the body to handle stress better, and intimacy releases endorphins to make you happy. And why wouldn’t you want to spend time with someone you love? If things have been a little hectic, plan a weekend getaway or a simple date night to get things back on track.