Is stress wreaking havoc with the appearance of your skin? It probably is! If you're like most Americans, you find yourself feeling stressed quite often. We tend to stress out about our health or lack of it, our diet, insufficient exercise, our weight or body image, the economy, our job, finances, our relationships, our kids, upsetting news - war, crime, death, global warming, etc. The list could go on and on.
Not only can stress lead to fatigue, tension headaches, and irritability, but prolonged stress can have long-term negative effects on the body and skin. Acute stress of any form will cause a lowering of the immune system's defenses - albiet a temporary one. Chronic stress, on the other hand, whether due to lack of sleep, poor nutrition, tension at work, loss of job, severe illness, daily hassles such as long lines, traffic congestion, road rage, ill-behaved kids, lack of exercise, overwork, emotional challenges, outdoor pollution, heavy metal exposure, indoor chemical pollution, or noise will, over time, significantly lower the immune system's defenses or response mechanisms. This puts us at greater risk for health problems down the road, for sure!
Stress can and does have a significant impact on your skin's health and appearance. A stressed out mind or body can exhibit this "distress" on the skin's surface with a wide range of symptoms. What are these symptoms? Red, itchy, mysterious rashes; myriad inflammatory reactions; roseacea on the face; acne; eczema; psoriasis; a dehydrated complexion; accelerated formation of "liver spots or age spots" on the face, arms, legs, or chest; accelerated aging of the face - sagging jowls and deepening creases; and lackluster tone to the skin.
Stress can either cause your skin to flare up and look red and "angry" or it can have the opposite effect and lead to a sallow, pale, lifeless complexion that makes you look as if you will wither away and die. I'd rather learn to deal with my life's stresses than opt for one of these looks - wouldn't you? Don't let stress zap / sap your energy and good looks!
What is a stressed-out individual to do? Here's my list:
- Slow down - life is not a race to the finish line.
- Breathe from your lower diaphragm - remember life is too short to run around exhausted.
- As the saying goes, "Don't fret the small stuff"!
- Eat right and exercise regularly - treat yourself as the king or queen that you are.
- Be cheerful - it calms those who are stressed-out around you.
- Unwind your mind. Take a moment and focus on something that makes you smile.
- Always remember . . . someone else's situation(s) are worse than yours.
- Handle the heavy and important tasks first - when energy is greatest - and do the minor tasks later in the day.
- Be flexible - a flexible mind and body are healthier in the long run.
- Don't get too stressed when your expectations are not met.
- Take a yoga class once a week - at least.
- Pamper yourself - you're all you've got.
- No one is perfect - not even you - so quit pressuring yourself. Just be your best.
- Remember, you can only change your own behavior - quit trying to change others.
- Laugh, love, and hug more.
- Kiss your kids and your mate everynight before you fall asleep.
- Watch what you say to others and how you say it. Tongues can be sharp and cutting. Master your communication skills.
On the nutrition side of things . . . I will recommend that you add goodly amounts of a quality barley grass powder to your daily diet, plus chlorella and blue-green algae tablets or powder, omega-3 oils from raw, fermented cod liver, and eat plenty of cold-water, fresh fish. I love what mega-amounts of chlorophyll does for the skin. Chlorophyll is concentrated sun energy and loaded with vitamins A & D and micro-minerals. Quality fish oils help soften and heal the skin. A diet of 50% or more raw foods will do wonders for your energy level and appearance. If you add all of these ingredients to your daily diet, I guarantee that you will see a significant improvement in the texture, tone, and color of your skin. It will "youthify" right before your eyes. Be consistent with a good diet, supplements, daily exercise, and practice low-stress living. No one is immune to the negative effects of stress, but you can fortify yourself so that you can successfully deal with the big blows that life will inevitably toss your way.
NOTE: This article is by Stephanie Tourles, lic. holistic esthetician, herbalist, and certified aromatherapist, and author of, "Organic Body Care Recipes". This information is for educational purposes only. The author does not assume any liability in relation to the information given. Please use your common sense when adding supplements to your diet or altering your lifestyle and seek professional guidance if you have any questions.