The clarity of our mind affects the clarity of our skin
Did you know the clarity of your mind will help your skin? Our brain and skin were both formed from the same part of the embryo, called ectoderm, linking these two organs before we were born.
Pretty strong brain-beauty link.
What happens with our emotions shows up on our skin. Just think of the sparkle you exhibit when you're excited about something. Or the rash that breaks out during a stressful even. How about that flush you feel when embarrassed?
Stress happens inside of us - meaning, our individual reaction to a challenging stimulus (called a 'stressor') is what causes a stress reaction. Our perception of stress is a subjective experience based on our unique individuality. A stressor may trigger one person into a tailspin, while another breezes right through it. We will be faced with things that are stressful throughout life and while we can't control many of them, we can increase our resilience and our reactions. It's our reaction that determines the impact on our wellbeing.
Stress-related skin reactions can be rashes, acne, psoriasis and weight gain among other symptoms.
There are two types of stress; eustress (“good stress”) and distress (“bad stress”).
Eustress is a short-term stress that spurs us to meet a challenge. Such as; meet a deadline, perform at an event, get on a stage and lecture, etc. This “good stress” is motivating and helps give you the energy you need to complete the task. A healthy level of stress has been shown to have an incredible effect on the immune system enhancing your skin. White blood cells travel to your skin, presumably to be ready to heal a wound in a dangerous situation, which helps heal skin.
Chronic stress does the opposite.
Distress has a negative impact on our wellbeing. It may be a difficult experience, the heavy weight of loss, negative emotions or other external factors. Bad stress demands more ability, energy, and resources than your body can supply. You can experience it as a short-term situation or a long-term chronic stress. Short-term stress is caused by immediate threat (such as narrowly escaping a car accident). Your body pumps out hormones and neurotransmitters to ensure your survival. After the event your body goes back into balance. Long-term stress is different – the stressor never goes away so our body continually pumps out survival hormones to help us get through it. The trouble is that the event isn’t necessarily life threatening but your brain doesn’t recognize that (such as trying to keep up with the laundry and housework day after day). Chronic stress can be either mild, moderate, or high and it just goes and goes and goes. There’s no big exhale at the end of it. The effects build up.
A stress response can be provoked by physical, psychological, or emotional triggers. And it’s a catch-22 because our physical state affects our mental state and our mental state affects our physical state.
Here are types of stress (adapted from "Staying Healthy with Nutrition" by Elson Haas, page 598:
- Physical Stress: Too much exercise, hard labor, giving birth, sleep deficiency,
- Chemical Stress: Environmental pollution, exposure to pesticides, cleaning solvents, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, excess caffeine.
- Mental Stress: High responsibility, long working hours, perfectionism, anxiety and worry.
- Emotional Stress: Anger, fear, frustration, sadness, betrayal, loneliness, and bereavement.
- Nutritional Stress: Nutrient deficiencies, excess sugar, food allergies and sensitivities, maldigestion, dehydration, blood sugar dysregulation.
- Traumatic stress: Infection, injury, burns, surgery, extreme temperatures
When your brain perceives a threat, it communicates, via a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters, messages that will result in the energy your body needs to fight or flee. Or preserve energy by freezing. It’s an internal reaction to a stressor and is created by the cooperation of our nervous and endocrine systems.
Living a stress free life isn’t our goal, rather we want to manage our response to stress in order to balance our physiological response so we recover quickly. There are two ways to help ourselves:
Reduce stressors: A stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental, external stimulus or event. It can be physical, sensory, chemical of psychological.
Increase resilience: The ability to adapt in the face of adversity. Making choices that help bolster our bodies against the effects of stress is an extremely important life skill.
Self-care is how we increase our resilience (and in some situations reduces stressors) but why is it such a challenge? Even knowing how important it is to care for ourselves – why is it so hard to find time to do it?
The real challenge is to learn to listen to yourself and take simple moments to decompress. So, how do we help ourselves?
1. Get enough sleep.
2. Spend time outside.
3. Get some exercise.
4. Stay hydrated and eat nutrient-dense food.
5. Learn mindfulness.
6. Smile and laugh!
Here's a simple but incredibly powerful technique that helps calm anxiety: The 4-7-9 breath looks like this: breathe in for count of 4, hold for count of 7, exhale for count of 9
Repeat for one minute.
How do you feel? Let me know in the comments below!