I want to talk about stress. Chronic stress, stress that is present within us every day It seems that stress has overtaken our lives and we have accepted it, rushing through life without stopping to notice anything else around us. Stressing about things that don’t really matter that much .
I am much better these days at dealing with stress and keeping calm in stressful situations, than I used to be a few years ago. I have managed to learn how to better deal with stress through my meditation and yoga practice. When I get stressed I always try to breathe and observe the situation from a distance. This helps me to act as a witness of a situation , rather than getting caught up in the emotion of it. This approach has helped me to deal with many challenging situations in my life.
As overwhelming as it seem and as hard as it is to believe, psychological stress is an illusion and it is just like any other thought. The events happen and our brain decide which ones are stressful , based mainly on our subjective interpretation. Our reaction to life’s events make stress. We all know some people who just seem to be calm and somehow less stressed and there are other people who stress just about anything. Give one scenario to two different people and watch how they react to it in such a different way.
The hectic pace of modern life , throws our body off its natural rhythm.Stress is a mind and body event. Sadness and happiness lead to a totally different bodily response.
A little bit of stress can be healthy, of course. The research has shown that some stress can help to keep us alert and at our best. Planning a holiday, managing wedding plans , reaching a personal goal. The stress that I am talking about however is the one that leaves us feeling anxious , uneasy , dis balanced and sometimes can even lead to mental and physical issues.
Although stress has many bad effects on our body and mind, in this article I want to concentrate on how stress affects our outer beauty. How can a thought lead to a spot , acne, wrinkles, skin dehydration or dull skin.
So to put it in simple way, our autonomic nervous system has two branches, which govern all involuntary physiological functions. The Sympathetic nervous system is responsible for activating our body’s responses in a stressful situations. It induces the stress reaction, regulates the stress hormones, increases heart rate and breath. It equips the body to handle the situation of stress.
The Parasympathetic nervous system controls the internal life maintenance functions, such as heart rate, digestive activity and lungs, as well as glandular, or endocrine activity.
Under normal conditions, these two systems balance each other. Under stress , the sympathetic nervous system activates the parasympathetic system to turn out adrenaline and other hormones. As a result, the senses go alert, the breathing patterns and digestive activities are disrupted , blood sugar level jump to provide more energy and cardiovascular functions overwork to bring blood to limbs, so that we can fight or flight.
The whole idea of stress is to give us enough mental and physical power to survive the attack and on itself this system is not dangerous and is necessary to life. However, the problem is when this system is activated continuously, as it is when we have constant pressures of everyday life, deadlines, personal crises, money issues and so on. In this case the syphathetic system continues to release stress hormones and parasyphatetic system continues to give up energy. This affects every gland in our body, changes the hormonal balance which leads to variety of physical and psychological symptoms that make up stress.
All this dis balance in our body can lead to digestive problems, including constipation, stomach acid, abdominal cramps pain, cardiovascular changes such as high blood pressure, tension and heart disease. Other symptom of stress include headaches, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, poor concentration, sweating, muscle tension and nightmares.
However, the most damaging long term consequence of stress is the suppression of the body’s immune function, due to the surge of stress hormones, which eventually leads to sickness. In this sense the prolonged stress is the cause of all disease, including that of a skin.
Stress causes imbalance, and absolutely all imbalance eventually will show up on the skin and speed up the ageing process. During the times of stress our skin is the last organ to receive the nutrients as our blood supply goes straight to the body organs, including heart, brain and lungs. Dilated blood vessels during stress causes broken capillaries and skin sensitivity.
Chronic strain disrupts metabolism , which slows down the cell turnover and rejuvenation process. This leads to clogged pores and the build up of toxins under the skin, which makes skin look dull.
Stress also changes protein, potassium and calcium levels in the body. These elements regulate the body fluids and maintain acid-alkaline balance. Therefore, skin becomes dehydrated and the PH levels change during stress.
There are many other stress related skin problems which include hair loss, premature greying, increased pigmentation and itching.
Stress also triggers the increased release of androgen , which is a ‘male’ sex hormone, which increases the sebaceous secretions leading to the loss of hair in the scalp and the growth of hair on the face. Increased production of steroids during stress, stimulates the sebaceous glands, leading to acne, oiliness, broken blood vessels, broken blood vessels and thinning of the skin. The imbalance of insulin ( apart from causing diabetes) can cause side effects such as flushed complexion , fungal and bacterial infections. Lack of essential sleep during stress, also brings its consequences to our hormonal system which in turn can lead to inflammation and therefore leads to puffy eyes and skin dehydration.
So as it can be seen stress produces a broad range of effects on the skin and body. Because we are all different,each of us interpret the perception of stress ( or threat) into a specific emotion: anger , depression or fear, depending upon our constitution. The stress response mechanism is universal , however its effects will look different on individual skin types, as a result of the specific hormones that our emotions will release. Any imbalance , clearly leaves its message on the skin.
Dealing with your emotional and spiritual health is as important as your physical health, as the body and the mind are connected. No matter what the source of the stress is, its important to learn how to deal with it, in order to be emotionally and physically healthy. It is difficult to avoid stress and its necessary to know how to cope when it gets too overwhelming. There are various coping skills and techniques that can be used during the times of stress. Proper diet, rest and sleep are great starting points for everyone. As far other techniques go, everyone can choose the one that suits them best , be it yoga, running, walking in park or doing swimming. Physical activity helps us to release stress and stuck emotions. Body and mind are connected and mind and body create balance together. I always like to remind myself that healthy body is healthy mind.