It can be defined as thoughts, feeling, behaviors and physiological changes that occur when the demands placed upon us exceed our perceived ability to cope. These are ultimately influenced by demands and perceptions.
The average person experiences about 50 brief stress response episodes per day. When a stressful situation is experienced, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released to prepare us for “fight or flight.” This response saved the lives of many cavemen being chased by wild animals, but is not meant to be triggered as often as it is in modern days.
This chronic stress begins to alter our physiology, health and skin. Even small levels of stress elevate stress hormones, including the ones linked to acne and aging.
What causes stress in our lives?The list can be rather long but some include our jobs, lack of time, relationships, commuting, other people and money. We all seem to have so much more on our plates then we ever have before. This can be detrimental to our skin and health.
NOT-SO-BEAUTIFUL SIDE EFFECTS
- Stress can cause memory loss, weight gain/loss, hair loss, reduced immunity, insomnia, skin conditions, irregular menstruation and most chronic diseases.
- It has also been shown to negatively impact and decrease the beneficial bacteria in our guts and increase yeast overgrowth therefore feeding candida (an epidemic that could be the culprit of many health issues).
- The absolute basics are that stress increases inflammation, chronic inflammation causes disease. And this chronic stress will appear as a call for help on your skin in the form of acne, dull skin and premature aging.
We cannot always control the outside factors that cause stress, but we can control how we react to them. And in order to clear our skin and keep it youthful and glowing, controlling and managing stress is just as or even more important than what we eat and the quality and quantity of our sleep.
Think about it, if we have the perfect diet and get a decent amount of sleep, but have stress surging through our bodies all day long, that toxic flood is going to drown out the good.
It’s time to take a very deep and relaxing breath, and we’re going to begin walking the stress-free path going forward. Let me be your stress-reducing guide.
3 SIMPLE WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS:
Our bodies are over-stimulated which leads to the mind being over-stimulated. Most people need to calm the body and energy system first, and then the mind will naturally follow. Here are some ways we can do that:
INQUIRE … Determine what is causing stress in your life
- Are there particular situations, people or events that make you feel nervous, anxious or fearful?
- Look at the relationships in your life — are any of them draining?
- Journaling is a great tool for asking these questions and a way to vent about them
BREATHE … Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Dr. Weil’s technique physically neutralizes the negative effects of stress and can also cure cold hands/feet and resolve food cravings. Here’s how:
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound
- Close your mouth, place tongue on ridge of tissue behind teeth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Here is a directional video.
SELF-CARE … Any act of self-love releases feel good hormones, increases immunity, blood flow, nutrient absorption and an overall feeling of fabulous.
- Set boundaries and schedule time for you. We schedule everything else; make sure you don’t forget yourself.
- Laugh, share a joke, skip down the hall at work
- Take a hot bath with Epsom salts and lavender
- Read a great book
- Use natural skin care products
- Embrace aromatherapy and its power to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Use high-quality essential oils especially lavender, rosemary and peppermint.
Let’s make stress reduction a priority. Whip out the calendar and begin scheduling time to de-stress if that’s what it takes. It could mean the difference between being sick, broken out and exhausted or healthy, vibrant, energized with gorgeous youthful and clear skin.
Sharing is caring- what are your favorite stress-reducing activities?