Stress Less

The common denominator here is stress hormones and how they affect our immune system. Researchers have known for some time that stress impacts our ability to fight infections and stay healthy. Acute stress protects us from dangerous situations by stimulating our "fight or flight" response, which temporarily boosts our immune system to deal with whatever is challenging us. That kind of pressure is situational and is relieved when we take care of what's causing it.

Chronic stress is another matter altogether. This is when you're in a constant state of anxiety or fear over ongoing problems such as debt, a negative work situation, illness, an unhappy relationship, loneliness, or just a combination of factors that make up a modern crazy lifestyle. When you're suffering from chronic stress, you're existing in a constant "state of emergency," and your body was not meant to live that way. The continual strain actually depresses your immune system, causing your levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to stay high in your body. Consequently, you develop symptoms such as headaches, backaches, or an upset stomach and you have trouble sleeping. On top of that, when you're anxious or depressed you don't tend to eat properly (or digest the food you do eat) or get enough exercise.

For many of us, chronic stress accumulates in skin problems. Whether we're talking about eczema, acne, or premature aging, we stand a much better chance of keeping them under control if our immune system is functioning strongly.

None of us lives completely stress-free existences. Life would be very bland if we didn't have a little bit of pressure every now and then to motivate and stimulate us. I also want to make the point that we don't have to be unhappy to be stressed. My family life is very fulfilling, for instance, and I have a lot of great things happening in my career; nevertheless, I'm often totally stressed-out by trying to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time. Going on QVC with my skin-care collection is especially nerve-wracking. I love doing it, but there is so much pressure to ensure that we're giving out the right information and, of course, selling the product—after all, they wouldn't have me back if no one was buying. I also want to be sure that I'm connecting with the viewers and helping them with their skin issues. And it's all live and nonstop. Think about that! 

So dealing with stress should be part of your skin-care regimen. There are lots of effective ways to help relieve tension; some of you will respond better to one option than another, which is why I'm giving you several of them to try. Even if you still doubt that your emotions have anything to do with your skin, you'll become a believer after you see the positive results of getting into a regular stress-busting routine.

Next: Improve your skin's health with these 7 stress-reducing techniques
Excerpted from Complexion Perfection! by Kate Somerville. Copyright © 2010 by Kate Somerville. Excerpted by permission of Hay House.


Next Story