Zen Mastery

Stress management plays a significant role in my Aging in Reverse protocol. The better I handle it, the better it is for my overall well-being. Becoming a Zen Master would be the most preferable outcome. And no, it doesn’t mean I plan to pack my bags and head to Tibet, seeking enlightenment through meditation in a remote cave atop a hard-to-reach mountain. All I wanted was to find a better balance within myself and the world around me, bring more clarity into my life, and enhance my focus, productivity, and resilience against getting easily upset. My goal was to complain less and smile more. In other words, to lead a life with less stress. So, in my understanding of mastering Zen, a Zen Master is someone skilled at managing stress. They don’t get too worked up about past events or overly worried about the future. Instead, they navigate through stressful situations with calmness and grace.
I tried. For many years, I gave it my best but failed again and again. I could not manage stress with calmness and grace. Even when calm and collected on the surface, I often experienced a hurricane inside. I was a stress-handling failure. Not exactly the Zen Master material. 

Then, I stumbled upon a TED talk where an emergency room doctor explained that not every stressor requires the same level of reaction. That was an actual “aha” moment for me.


In the past, I didn’t distinguish between various stressors. If a situation was stressful, I reacted to it. There are instances where an immediate reaction is crucial (it could save your life). However, many situations that trigger intense reactions don’t deserve such heightened intensity.

I discovered the importance of not reacting equally strongly to all stressors. Instead, I learned to mentally scale them from 1 to 10, with 1 signifying something minor and 10 representing a significantly major stressor (I developed this concept based on the ER triage priority level approach). This simple classification of stressors makes a huge difference for me. If I mark something as 2 or 3, I don’t even bother to react. Next months will be an excellent time to practice this approach as a part of daily yoga challenge. I encourage you to try it too. 

You look great for your weight.

Once, I received an unusual compliment that left me pondering. Somebody said, “You look great for your weight.” Taken aback, I thought, “My weight?” However, I soon realized that I had misheard them. The actual compliment was, “You look great for your age.”

This encounter made me question why “looking good for your age” doesn’t feel like a genuine compliment but more like an accusation. While I’m proud of my age, looking good shouldn’t be tied to it. You wouldn’t tell a baby, “You look good for being 6 months old,” or a twenty-something, “You look great for 25.” So, why should age be used as a qualifier for compliments?

Perhaps, a more effective and genuine way to compliment someone is by leaving age out of the equation altogether. When someone says, “You look great” or “You look fantastic,” the compliment becomes universally appealing and inclusive, regardless of age. This approach celebrates individual beauty and confidence without unnecessary comparisons to age-related norms.

So, when someone compliments you with “You look good for your age,” how do you take it? 

Which Frog Are You?

In the end of July, I visited to a friend living in Brookline, MA, during her birthday month. To celebrate and catch up, I invited my friend, whom I’ll call Greta, to a restaurant. As our orders arrived at the table, I took out my phone to snap pictures of the food. “This is for my July challenge,” I explained to Greta. “I have to share pictures of my meals with our Facebook group every day.”

Greta seemed puzzled, so I elaborated, “I created the 12 Months Younger program, where we embark on 12 monthly challenges to develop healthy habits. Each month, we focus on one aspect of self-improvement. In May, it was all about walking 10,000 steps. For June, it was staying hydrated and tracking our daily water intake. And now, in July, the challenge is to eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You should give it a try!”

To my surprise, my friend responded with unexpected skepticism, “Tania, this is silly. Why bother with all of this? I eat what I want, and I’m doing fine. Sure, I’ve gained some weight over the years, but it’s just a natural part of aging. There’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

Her dismissive attitude caught me off guard, and I couldn’t help but respond, “Nothing you can do about it? That’s not entirely true! While we can’t stop aging altogether, we can certainly influence the rate at which it occurs.”

Greta remained adamant, countering, “It’s all nonsense. All efforts to slow down aging are pointless.”

I disagreed, saying, “Maybe you can’t halt the process entirely, but you can certainly make a significant difference in how you age.” Despite our long conversation, I couldn’t change Greta’s mind. We remain on opposite sides of what is possible in the Age of New Beginnings (a term I discuss in detail in my upcoming book “Over 50 and Fabulous”).

This wasn’t the first time I had encountered such discussions with skeptics who doubted the potential for a vibrant life after the age of 50. Nonetheless, I remain steadfast in my beliefs. I see myself as the optimistic frog in the tale of two frogs trapped in a jar of milk. While the pessimistic frog gave up and drowned, I prefer to keep striving, just like the optimistic frog who turned the milk into cream and saved herself. To me, it’s all about embracing the possibilities and making the most of every moment. Yes, it also involves modifying your life by adding healthy routines and eliminating unhealthy habits.

So, which frog are you? Are you the one who embraces change, embraces possibilities, and takes charge of your own well-being, or are you the one who gives in to doubt and allows the currents of life to sweep you away? 

Radiant Transformation: Tatiana’s Journey with Phace Gym

Let me share with you the remarkable journey that led to the birth of Phace Gym, starting with my friend Tatiana. Tatiana is a couple of years older than me, and we share many common interests, including decluttering, which I write about extensively in my book “12 Months Younger”.

One day, Tatiana invited me to join her at a local library for a decluttering workshop—a perfect opportunity for us to delve deeper into our shared passion. Little did I know that this workshop would mark the beginning of a significant turning point in our lives. As the workshop concluded, the organizers approached Tatiana, expressing their gratitude for her attendance and for bringing her daughter along.

Surprised by the misconception, Tatiana corrected them, saying, “She’s not my daughter; she’s my friend.” I couldn’t help but feel a wave of awkwardness wash over me. The incident left me wondering how such misunderstandings could arise repeatedly.

A couple of weeks later, Tatiana invited me on an adventure to a nearby farm to gather fresh eggs. Upon our arrival, the farmer greeted us warmly, complimenting Tatiana for bringing her daughter to experience the farm. At that moment, I feared losing my dear friend due to the recurring misperception.

However, to my surprise, Tatiana responded with grace and openness. She turned to me and said, “Please teach me what you do and show me your face exercises.” It was at that precise moment that the seeds of Phace Gym were sown.
in 2019 Tatiana became my first student, and she has remained dedicated to practicing face exercises ever since. Through consistent practice and dedication, Tatiana’s transformation was undeniable—she radiated beauty and vitality. No longer did anyone mistake us for mother and daughter, as my friend’s rejuvenated appearance spoke volumes about the efficacy of face exercises.

Tatiana’s incredible journey became the catalyst for the establishment of Phace Gym. Today, we strive to empower individuals like Tatiana to unlock their natural beauty through targeted facial exercises. Our mission is to provide comprehensive guidance, expert advice, and proven techniques to help people enhance their facial tone, reduce signs of aging, and embrace their unique radiance.

As we look back on our humble beginnings, we celebrate the friendship that sparked the creation of Phace Gym. Tatiana’s unwavering belief and commitment paved the way for countless others to embark on their own transformative journeys, harnessing the power of face exercises to reveal their inner beauty.

Join us at Phace Gym, where we combine science, passion, and friendship to help individuals embrace their true beauty and shine like never before. Together, let us embark on a journey that transcends misconceptions, unlocks potential, and celebrates the power of self-care.

Why 2023 can be truly remarkable 

As a new year begins, we have hopes and aspirations that fill us with positivity and energy – our possibilities seem virtually limitless! We have big dreams, brilliant ideas, and incredible goals. Yet sometimes, it’s easy to lose motivation along the way. One reason is the human mind is very sophisticated in finding excuses. You can easily explain why you cannot go to the gym and “replace” exercises with a piece of cake and a glass or two of wine (you had a hard day and deserve a treat – this is the most common excuse). 

Another reason for non-acting is your goals require a significant change, and your brain is protecting you from the unknown. Your brain knows what’s best for you; it recognizes that taking a leap into the unknown could be an uncertain path, so instead of embracing risk with open arms, it encourages maintaining your current status quo. 

But what if we move from massive changes and feelings overwhelmed to focusing on one task, such as eliminating added sugar from our diet? Just for a month. Sure, it is challenging – many of us have sugar addiction even without realizing it, but it is doable. A challenge has start and end dates, so it is not a lifelong commitment. You can do it for 30 days, taking one day at a time. Baby steps will bring you to your goal. 

At the same time, 30 days is enough time to create a habit. Your brain will assume that not eating sugar is the new normal, and if you feel good, you will continue with your new healthy eating.

This year, we decided to make each month a chance for personal growth and transformation – 12 monthly self-improvement challenges!

We began in January with the Added Sugar Detox challenge – and some brave souls even took it up another notch by omitting added not only sugar but also wine and fast carbs. It’s an opportunity to take control of the foods in our life, eat healthier and lose extra weight. 
Next month is your chance to join the I Feel Good About My Neck course and restore your confidence. Women who participated in the first round of this course in November 2022 continue with a resounding chorus of “I love my neck!”. Now, it’s time for you, too – don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity.

In March, we’ll embark on an exciting journey of tidying up, making space for more meaningful moments, and gaining clarity in our lives!

If you want to make 2023 truly remarkable, please contact me.

Be well and beautiful!