By now, most of us are aware that stress and continuous negative emotion are not good for us. If you have struggled with acne, psoriasis, rosacea or eczema, you already understand how stress can trigger and make worse these chronic skin conditions. With more and more evidence pointing to the importance of the mind-body connection, nowhere are the effects of emotional and mental well being more visible than in the skin. Whether the by-product of trauma, physical imbalance, acute stressful event, situational or clinical depression, your skin can respond negatively with increased sensitivity and inflammation, cold sores/fever blisters, acne lesions that are more severe and longer-lived, flares of psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis as well as decreased barrier function. In fact, because the effects of both chronic and acute stress are so rampant today, a whole new field of “Psychodermatology” has been created. So in the spirit of our Holistic approach here in the Chrysalis, let’s explore some methods for helping you reduce stress and restore well-being.
Yada, yada, yada… Does your mind never stop? Are you planning the next task while trying to finish the present one? Do you lie awake at night concerned about your job, the bills and your kids? Are you a charter member of the International Association of Multi-Taskers? All of this incessant chatter in your brain creates stress and anxiety that contribute to a depressed immune system. Breath work, yoga and meditation have been proven to be great ways to reduce stress and take a “mental vacation” from your mind. While three distinct practices, and yoga could be viewed as more of a form of exercise, they are all interconnected. All of these practices help us to train our minds to put our attention where we want it, making it more the problem-solving tool it was designed to be and less of a slave driver. Best of all, breathing and meditation are FREE!
Move it, Move it, Move it! We all know that exercise is good for us and that it has obvious physical benefits. But there are also volumes of evidence that exercise is beneficial for our mental and emotional health and well-being. Many researchers even find that moderate amounts of movement on a regular basis were as helpful as some prescription medication for control of depression and anxiety. I know that when we are feeling low, the last thing we want to do is get up and move, but even the simple act of walking briskly for 20 minutes can drastically improve our outlook.
This week, try incorporating just one of these techniques into your daily routine and see how it affects your mood. This is a great time of year to try these out, as they are great ways to manage the Holiday stress. Next time, we’ll continue the discussion with other positive strategies for managing stress and anxiety. Sigh.