27th February 2014
Stress & skin health
Modern life can be at such a pace not many of us escape some level of stress, this can manifest in many different ways, irritable bowl, migraine, irregular sleep patterns, skin breakouts, eczema the list goes on. There is no denying a mind body and skin connection, on a physical level nerve endings are connected to the skin so when an emotion is played out there is a physical reaction within the skin. Interestingly in the womb the brain and the skin are derived from the same cells!
When we are stressed we release the stress hormone cortisol which is clinically proven to increase the ageing process and because it’s a hormone it will impact of the other hormones in the body such as oestrogen and testosterone and they try to re balance themselves. These hormones can trigger breakouts acne and eczema. We can look at someone and know from their expression if they are happy or stressed, the skin and face is a reflection of our mood, deep lines can form through frowning and muscles become tense, these tight muscles restrict the free flow of blood and nutrients reducing our natural supply of healthy new cells.
There are lots we can do to help….
A few minutes a day can help ease anxiety and stress. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress as well.
It only need be really simple, Sit up straight with both feet on the floor, or cross legged on a pillow on the floor. Relax your body, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Come up with a positive mantra or few words, such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” I was taught positive words through hypnotherapy when I suffered anxiety when i was 19, these have stayed with me and I still use them in “ Cool, calm, collected, confident and courageous”
So many of us are not breathing correctly, shallow diagram breathing, we need to learn correct belly breathing. Give yourself a 5-minute break from whatever is bothering you and focus instead on your breathing. Sit up straight or lie down, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth, I like to combine this type of technique with meditation, multi tasking!
3. Write it down
Often I can be lay in bed with a head full of thoughts and things I need to do. I have a book by the slide of my bed, before I switch the light of I will empty my thoughts onto paper then very easily drop off to sleep knowing I wont forget anything because its there in writing.
4. Cut out stimulants
I love a good soya cappuccino, a glass of wine, dark chocolate, but lets do these things in moderation, I have on occasion enjoyed a bar of green and blacks before bed and wandered why I am wide awake unable to sleep! and lack of sleep in only going to creep those stress levels high the following day.
You would be amazed how helpful laughing can be, we release happy hormones when we laugh and it can be contagious also lifting someone else’s mood.
A good massage obviously feels great, it is easing muscle tension, there are also nerve endings in the skin when send relax mental messages to the brain. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami is an amazing place they do many studies on touch, how it reduces stress in adults, pregnancy, and also children one study showed that a group of children suffering with skin conditions their mood and activity levels improved after massage, as did all measures of their skin conditions including redness and itching, interestingly their Parents’ anxiety also decreased! happy children happy mums.
7: Take some me time
Get outside for a walk, run a warm bath, sit in the park, do a yoga class, find a cafe and sit outside,, draw, have a quite 15minutes for Tea break and a flick through a magazine, anything which is just you and you alone, no phone, computer, children, partner or work colleague.
8: Find time to meet friends.
Friends can help us see things in a different way, just voicing your stresses can be therapy in its self, often friends can put a funny spin on things or even have some great in site from personal experience, they can also help you put your worries to one side and just be yourself.