Stress, which after the year we all experienced in 2020 has become a normalised part of life
Thoughts like a sub-audible rave party in the back of our head such as - 'Is covid ever going to end? Will I have enough money to retire? Is climate change going to destroy us all? I spent far too much online shopping last week and, does my butt look big in these jeans?’ These never-ending parade of worries dramatically reduce our life energy.
Though some anxiety is useful and makes us to take action to avoid potentially negative situations for our future selves, it is vastly different from longterm stress and anxiety which leaves us in a permanent state of ‘fight or flight’.
Our body doesn’t understand the difference between the stress response of fight or flight—whether we’re being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, or whether we think our bum looks big in those expensive new jeans we shouldn’t have bought.
It is processed by our body all the same and comes and creates a host of damaging hormones.
Stress can upset your skin in multiple ways
Stress causes inflammation in the body which is beneficial if it’s brief but if we’re constantly living with the hormones of stress it weakens our immune system which causes our skin to react negatively also. Particularly if you’re genetically predisposed to have skin conditions then longterm stress will all but guarantee that you will have them from eczema to psoriasis, rosacea, and of course acne.
As we’ve said many times, our skin is a reflection on what is going on deeper in the epidermis and in our bodies.
It’s incredible to think that in our modern society stress in 99% of cases is solely due to our thoughts
We are literally making ourselves sick with how we think. The good news is if we can make ourselves ill with what we think then it stands that the opposite is also true, we can make ourselves well with our thoughts. Something that has been known in Eastern cultures for thousands of years yet is now gaining some attention in the West.
So how do we release stress in the moment and allow are skin to flourish?
Probably the easiest way to reduce stress in the moment is to breathe deeply. Box breathing is a simple technique that is healing, detoxifying, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which moves the body from “fight or flight” mode to a calmer state of “rest and digest”. Lowering your stress response and supporting immunity.
Breath in for 4 seconds -through your nose deep into your stomach
Breath out for 4 seconds slowly through a slightly open mouth passing the breath through your teeth
Remain empty of breath for 4 seconds before beginning again
Do this for 5 to 10 rounds.
Such slow controlled breathing helps to stimulate the hypothalamus gland which in turn controls important body rhythms including sleep, blood pressure, and heart rate. It also works in conjunction with the pituitary gland to releases oxytocin, our feel-good hormone the same hormone that is released after fun times in the bedroom.
Take off your shoes! It’s ok, you’ll be outside, no one will smell your feet. Spend half an hour a day with your feet directly connected to the earth. Studies show that this simple act alone dramatically lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) and puts us in a simpatico frequency with the earth.
Spend time in nature
Spending just 10 minutes in nature has shown to reduce stress. "New research from an interdisciplinary Cornell team has found that as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress."
You don’t need to be hugging a tree in the forest (we do advise this) but a simple walk in a park will have a beneficial effect.
This might seem contrary to the above but interestingly people who tell themselves positive things whilst undergoing stress have a beneficial response to it. Some stress is unavoidable and in fact, if we are aiming to achieve big things then stress comes with that. If we can learn to grow from stressful situations and handle them better then the effect on our body is drastically reduced.
This doesn’t mean we want to be permanently in this state but the next time you’re feeling like you have a lot on try telling yourself that it is good for you and that the situation is only helping you grow.
Yes, you've heard it a million times, why is that? Because it works. Learning to observe those negative thoughts and not be involved with them so much will help prevent negative emotions and reduce your body's inflammatory response.
Don't have time to meditate? Do you watch Netflix? If the answer is 'yes' then you have time to meditate. 👀
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”
― Albert Einstein