If wrinkles are not working for you… stress less!
If wrinkles aren’t working for you… stress less! To be honest, wrinkles are probably the least of your concerns when it comes to the impact of stress.
Did you know that:
- 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress (US)
- An estimated 442,000 individuals in Britain believed that they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill
There are many factors tied to stress, from moving home to workplace harassment and left unattended, with life’s daily stresses thrown in the mix, it can:
- Accelerate the ageing process: One U.S. study found that women who were most threatened by the anticipation of stressful tasks looked older by as much as 10 years. So much for looking ten years younger! When stressed you are more likely to get more grey hairs (high levels of stress hormones in the skin can cause hair follicles to be stripped of a type of stem cells that give hair its colour), more spots and a lack of radiance. And that’s just for starters!
- Cause sleep deprivation: Stress can seriously damage your sleep routine! Not only do you end up feeling worn out (in my experience), it affects your body’s ability to repair, your ability to remember (where are those keys AGAIN?!!) and potentially brings about more damaging health issues (high blood pressure, obesity, etc)
- Create havoc with your diet: Stress, or the management of it, plays a major role in the health of your gut. The hormones unleashed by the impact of stress and the increased craving for high fat, sugary foods can easily lead to weight gain. That said stress can sometimes, in the short term, shut down appetite; either way, it’s not good for you!
Add that up and what have you got? A face full of unwanted wrinkles, a lack of energy and probably a great deal of unhappiness… At its very worst stress can kill so you really have to ask yourself what is, and what is not worth stressing over, and more importantly, what can you do to manage it?
How Do You Manage Stress Effectively?
- Deal With Issues And Challenges Head On: whether it’s a confrontation or the pile of bills coming through the letterbox, the worst thing you can do is nothing; one the problem doesn’t go away and two, the sleepless night’s set in. I have learnt the very thing I am avoiding doing are usually the very things I need to do for a piece of mind. So instead of letting scenarios play out over and over until you think you are losing your mind, deal with it! Having relationship problems? Get ready to talk. Got a mountain of bills piling up? Get ready to make some calls. It may feel difficult, scary and unmanageable at first (that’s your thoughts creating the worst possible outcome blown out of proportion) but dealing with it will reduce the stress.
- Practice Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Developed and studied since the 1970’s, MBSR has been shown to reduce anxiety levels by 58% and stress by 40%. In a research study by Oxford University into individuals with “problematic” levels of stress, there was a significant improvement in perceived levels of stress. The method incorporates meditation, gentle yoga and mind-body exercises to help people learn how to cope with stress.
- Take Long Walks: Getting outdoors and into nature is one of the most calming cost-free activities you can do. Instead of fighting the thoughts in your head, acknowledge them and at the same time take in your surroundings appreciatively. You will be amazed how much appreciation can calm the mind. It won’t solve the problem but it will help you to think more clearly and possibly see solutions you would miss in an anxious state.
- Eat Quality Food: You are what you eat and what you eat affects how your mind and body functions. Eat enough rubbish and you could end up with long-term health issues whereas a healthy diet will ensure your body functions as it was designed to. Food is to your body & brain what petrol or diesel is to your car; put the wrong one in and you have got problems. Decrease the stress on your plate!
- Quit being a perfectionist: Yes, that quality of everything having to be ‘just so’ may well drive you to the end of your sanity! Know when good is good enough. The reality is while you are battling with yourself to craft everything perfectly no one realises you have killed yourself making it so, they just see the end result (and either like it or not). Learn to get happy with 80% because as a perfectionist that is likely to be well ahead of the game!
- Stop People Pleasing: If you have spent your life being the ‘yes’ person… stop it! Not only will people take advantage of you, you will burn out, feel washed out and used. You have the power to say ‘NO’! It’s not about being selfish or not caring about others; it is about being kind to yourself and ensuring that when you do say yes, you do so with a happy heart, not a heavy one. If you keep on saying yes you are likely to become resentful, whiny and miserable; plenty to add to the stress bucket!
Whether wrinkles bother you are not, reducing stress in all areas of your life is likely to do more for you than any miracle night cream! Start recognising your stress activators and embed positive habits to manage them.
To Your Health & Wrinkle Free Living!