It’s generally known that stress significantly affects the body; issues such as cardiovascular diseases and digestion difficulties have been proven to be connected with stress bearing. Your skin is also impacted visibly and the signs may be severe enough to notice. According to Jordan Carqueville, a dermatologist based in Chicago, psychological (emotional pressure and anxiety) and physical (sickness or exhaustion) stressors stimulate adrenal glands, leading to enhanced cortisol secretion. Also known as the “stress hormone”, high amounts of cortisol induce inflammation in the body and the visible symptoms are displayed in the skin. Such issues include acne, eczema and psoriasis. There’s nobody who is not under stress, hence we have listed a number of suggestions that might help to keep your mind, body and skin healthy.
1. Find Your Acupressure Points
Surprisingly, some acupressure during stressful times will help a lot. This Eastern medicine technique, similar to acupuncture, consists of applying pressure on certain points of your body. “When pressed, the specified points will enhance blood circulation and relieve stress,” says Dr. Lamya Kamel, DAOM, Head of Acupuncture at Aligned Modern Health based in Chicago. “My favorite stress-relieving spots include the earlobes (tug them firmly but gently) and the area between the eyebrows (apply firm pressure with thumb for a few minutes, and take a deep breath).”
2. Change Your Diet
“The phrase ‘eat your feelings’ has to be taken back,” says Dr. Jessica Hehmeyer, functional medicine and nutrition expert. It’s indeed tempting to run back to comfort foods when you’re under stress, but keep in mind that such foods are rich in sugar and fat. When consumed excessively, these substances will cause inflammation, depleting your body of other nutrients at the same time. (Stressed or not, sugar and simple carbs will not favor your skin.) Next time you decide to eat, skip the bowl of mac and cheese or piece of cake and go for healthier choices. According to Dr. Hehmeyer, best options include leafy greens, foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (like avocado and salmon), and fermented delicacies like kombucha or sauerkraut.
3. Stand Up Straight
Surprising, right? A simple posture correction goes a long way when dealing with stress. “Poor posture may lead to hormone interruption,” says Dr. Vince Roberts, DC, Head of Physical Medicine at Aligned Modern Health at Chicago. “Correct posture will balance stress-hormones such as cortisol and testosterone. Stand up straight to enhance your mood and increase your stress resistance.” Add a better appearance to all of the above!
4. Give Yourself a Massage
“During stressful times, our bodies turn on the fight-or-flight mode on,” explains Katie Lauterbach, expert massage therapist. “This state triggers the muscles to develop lingering tension that will last even after the stressor is removed.” So this is the reason why a massage after a hard day is so rewarding and relaxing. But not all of us have enough time or money to unwind at a spa or get a massage. According to Lauterbach, all you need for a massage at home, are two tennis balls and a clean sock. Place the balls into the sock and lay on top of them so the balls are placed between your neck and the ball-and-socket joint of your shoulder (make sure it doesn’t get under your scapula and spine). Slowly, move your shoulder side to side on the balls. Use the same technique for every part of your body that feels tense.
5. Don’t Forget the Right Skincare
There are a couple of steps to get the stress completely out of your system. “You have to take care of your skin, as well,” says Carqueville. The extra stress-induced inflammation puts your skin in risk of getting damaged by free radicals. These harmful substances speed up the aging process. Although, you don’t need to get stressed over this one! There are antioxidant serums you can use to defeat the damaging particles. If your skin is irritated and red, there are easy and instant solutions such as niacinamide or chamomile masks to fix it effectively.
6. Meditate Regularly
Meditation is not necessarily all about intense yoga or Buddhist rituals. “Meditate for five minutes, five days straight,” recommends Laura Sage, creator and partner of Chill. “Meditation will alter the brain functions, reduce stress level and increases oxygen intake.” This recommendation requires you to sit down for a solid five minutes, do nothing but focus on your breathing and let the stress go away. Do this regularly and enjoy the magnificent differences it makes in your mind and skin health.
7. Get Hydrated
“If you’re under extreme pressure, your adrenal glands might become weakened overtime, putting you in risk of dehydration,” says Dr. Hehmeyer. Stress outcomes include dehydration as well, which in turn causes skin issues, dark circles under eyes, gray skin tone and increases breakouts. Follow the 8×8 rule. According to this rule, you should drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day, particularly during stressful times.
8. Reach for Essential Oils
Essential oils are usually sold in tiny amounts, but have a huge impact on stress relieving. The aromatherapeutic effects of these oils will sooth both your mind and physical states. Kamel recommends lavender and sage oil for stress relief. You can take a deep sniff of the bottled oil, or drop a bit of it onto a tissue or cotton pad and put it in your purse. Whenever you feel stressed, simply pull the oiled tissue out for a quick relief.
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