Everyday millions of Americans, you included, get up early and go through the daily motions which has them working more, resting less and getting more stressed. In today’s society, there are so many factors that contribute to increased levels of stress. Dr. Murad refers to this as Cultural Stress– the constant and pervasive stress of everyday life that has become a normal part of our society in this day and age – and it is taking its toll. A combination of our work, daily commutes, constantly checking our emails, eating processed foods or not eating at all – stress is negatively affecting our overall health, not to mention our skin’s health.
Recent studies have shown that stress not only affects us mentally, but it’s also leading to a rise in diabetes, heart attacks/disease and more. Stress causes our cells and connective tissue to break down, which prevents our heart, lungs, brain, and other organs from functioning at optimal levels – all of which become apparent when you look at the skin. Stress also affects our sleep. Poor or insufficient sleep actually shows up on the face, most often in the form of dehydrated skin, puffy eyes and dark circles, and sallow/ashy looking skin.
What can you do to manage stress?
Dr. Murad suggests revamping daily routines through his Inclusive Health philosophy Looking Better (topical products), Living Better (what we eat and supplements we take) and Feeling Better (our emotional self-care) which provides guidelines on how to capitalize on cell regeneration.
Check out a few of Dr. Murad’s many ways to help manage stress:
- Disconnect: Put down your phones! Take time at least twice a week to not check your phone or email. It’s a healthy mental break.
- Watch What You Eat: Deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium stress out your body and trigger and increase in cortisol levels, not to mention food cravings. Try eating a handful of berries (vitamin C), six to eight ounces of low-fat yogurt (calcium and magnesium), and a slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter. Whole grains are loaded with B vitamins, while peanut butter contains fatty acids that can decrease the production of stress hormones. Add omega-3 foods like salmon as well as other cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and olives which have numerous proven health benefits, including those that protect your heart. It is also important to limit your intake of processed foods!
- Get Touched: Dr. Murad recommends that everyone visit a spa or massage therapist center as frequently as possible. Massage not only benefits the muscles and tissues being kneaded and stretched but also has been found to lower stress levels significantly.
- Go To Bed: Sleep can dictate how much you eat, weight gain, whether you can fight off infections, and how well you can cope with stress. Turn off the TV one hour prior to sleeping and refrain from stressful activities and conversations two hours prior to retiring to the bedroom.
I’m very bad at watching what I eat, unless that means watching the food go into my mouth LOL. I do try to have a facial or a massage at least once a month and I take one day to do NOTHING. No blog, no housework, no take-home work, a day I can shop or have lunch with friends, go to a movie or even just watch trashy TV while lounging on the couch. I’m also trying to get to bed earlier and read or watch TV to wind down before I go to sleep.
How do you handle stress? Are you making a conscious effort to reduce your stress level? Share some of your secrets!