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Stress affects all areas of our lives from our health to our wellness.
Beyond giving us premature grey hairs, stress can also affect our skin and overall appearance. Stress can cause us to break out in pimples, can cause premature lines and wrinkles, and can even cause us to break out in a rash. Because many of us are so busy, it can almost seem nearly impossible to eliminate stress from our daily lifestyles. We can encounter stress in our work, in our homes, in our relationships and on the road, or en route to just about anywhere. In this article we’ll explore how stress impacts our skin and techniques we can implement to reduce stress in our day to day lives.
How Stress Can Harm our Skin
When we’re feeling stressed, or in a stressful situation, our cortisol hormone kicks in and circulates throughout the body. While this may not sound like it can ruin our skin, a consequence of increased cortisol is an increase in oil production. So for those of us with oily skin types, it’s extra important for us to reduce and remove stressful situations from our lives. For all skin types, an increase in oil production can lead to clogged pores and therefore breakouts in pimples and acne. This is especially the case for those of us under a lot of stress regularly.
Furthermore, when we experience recurring stress, our immune systems are impaired. For the skin this means we can be more prone to pimples, rashes and acne, because we’ll have a harder time fighting off any of that bad bacteria that gets on our skin and into our pores from the environment. Chronic stress or long periods of stress can also make it harder for the skin to naturally repair itself. So if we are prone to hyperpigmentation, scarring from pimples, or any other wounds on the skin for that matter, we may find it takes longer for our skin to heal and recover.
Techniques for managing and preventing stressful situations and stress levels
In order to prevent and manage the stress in our lives we first need to step aside and realize the situations that make us feel stressed in our day-to-day lives. We need to look at our habits and attitudes towards situations to really understand what’s going on.
We are in control of how we manage and handle stress, but all too often we blame our stress on external situations, people, or brush it away as a part of our personalities or work life. We need to have a closer look at how and why we do the things we do.
The best way to do this is by keeping a journal for the times you feel stressed. You can record those situations, how those situations made you feel, how you handled the situation and what you did to make yourself feel better or relaxed. Over time this will help you identify stressful situations much quicker and know how to cope with them much faster and more effectively (for both your well being and the entire situation at hand.)
Exercising regularly is another way for us to manage and prepare for stress. Exercising releases endorphins and makes you feel good. Feeling good is a great foundation for stressful situations, since we are more readily available to handle and overcome the situations at hand compared to when we’re already feeling tired or unsatisfied.
Stay organized and manage your time for what you would define as a productive and healthy day. We will almost always feel stressed when we don’t prepare for certain situations in advance. We need to be realistic with time and give ourselves a healthy schedule that is practical and healthy for feeling and being productive throughout the day. Clutters and not being able to find the files and objects we need only add unnecessary stress to our lives. So, take the time to organize yourself and your things and use the energy that you would have used to find the things you may have lost, for keeping yourself organized throughout the day.
Stress affects our bodies in more ways than we’d like to believe. Though we may encounter stressful situations throughout the day, what it really comes down to is how we handle the situations and not the external factors.
When we learn to start training ourselves to act securely in stressful situations, not only will our lives change, but so will our skin and appearance. Whatever the motivating factor may be, what’s important is that we each learn our triggers, are realistic about what we can accomplish and when, and that we do our best to stay grounded.
Breathing techniques, meditation, dance and yoga are all healthy and great techniques to add to your schedule to help you stay calm and secure throughout the day. And don’t forget, all those deep breaths will benefit your overall health and skin as well!