The Ugly Side Of Stress

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Stress is widely regarded to be a fact of life, and at some point or another you are more than likely to experience some levels of stress due to pressures at work, deadlines to meet, financial difficulties or personal circumstances. Stress not only affects our mental and emotional well being, but can also have a detrimental effect on our physical appearance too.

Nail biting is perhaps one of the most common habits linked with stress that can cause noticeable physical differences. Stressed out workers or multitasking mothers may find themselves nibbling away right down to the quick, resulting in unsightly fingernails and cuticles which will not make a great impression.

The stress hormone, cortisol is the reason behind this impact on our outward appearance, causing many individuals to develop grey hair and have difficulties sleeping which can lead to puffiness and unwelcome dark circles under the eyes. Other physical effects include stress-induced acne, where the skins sebum production goes into overdrive resulting in oily skin with increased breakouts. Of course some stress cannot be avoided so we have created a self help guide to help you combat stress.

Eat Your Way To Relaxation

Food has a huge impact on our health, and we typically spend less time preparing and eating balanced diets when we are on the go or feeling stressed. Highly processed foods containing large amounts of sugar are frequently associated with increased cortisol levels and it is no secret then when we are stressed we maybe more inclined to reach for the chocolates. Try and switch to super foods that can counteract the cortisol levels in your body such as dark greens like broccoli, spinach and asparagus and vitamin C rich berries citrus fruits, and you will be sure to notice a vast difference in both your mental well being and your physical complexion.

Caress Your Cares Away

Physical touch is a powerful healer, and regular touch such as stroking, hugging and massage has been proven to reduce cortisol levels and even boost the immune system. Even a short foot rub or gentle head massage from your other half can instantly help you to relax and unwind, and if you are on your own five minutes of self massage can work wonders.

Keep Confident and Carry On

Self belief is vital in a world that is constantly ready to knock you down, however research has shown that too much confidence can be harmful to your health as those with huge egos often have much higher levels of cortisol. Today’s society is more competitive than ever, with celebrities displaying perfect bodies, faces and lives on every magazine and this results in individuals developing an unrealistic desire to strive to be like them. This places unnecessary pressure on us both at home and at work, so take stock of your accomplishments and find peace with your current home, role and appearance.

Sleep Away Stress

Busy lifestyles and hectic schedules can lead to time stretched men and women working late in to the night, and if you are burning the candles at both ends your body will increase it’s production of cortisol to help keep you going. Those who have six hours sleep or less each night can have up to 50% higher levels in comparison to those who sleep for eight hours or more. If the magic eight is difficult for you to achieve, then a midday nap can help to lower your cortisol levels during the day, so sleep deprived people could benefit from a quick snooze in the car during their lunch break.

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