Practicing Self Awareness
It's 3am, you're awake, again....
That nervous tension about a work project, something you said that doesn't feel good anymore, a family member that really upset you that day, grief over someone's passing, finances and the never ending list of things to accomplish....stress - stress - stress!
It creeps up on all of us at one time or another and it wreaks havoc on our appearance.
Bags under our eyes, wrinkly and haggard skin, and frown lines in places we didn't even know could have them.
But have you ever wondered how an emotion, such as stress, can actually have the power to change something in physical form?
When our mind is stressed, it creates a physical reaction. The brain is immediately triggered into the fight or flight mode and it sends signals out alarming all of your organs they need to be on guard. Hormones are released to alter your body's functions. The main stress hormone is called cortisol. Now, I'm not throwing cortisol under the bus entirely, as it has helped humans stay alive in times of calamity. But those days are gone for the most part - any anyhow - have you ever seen a good looking cave-woman?! I digress.
So, cortisol courses through the body and changes your pH balance toward the acidic side of the scale. This creates inflammation. Inflammation creates illness. Illness creates stress. The cycle goes on. Now, if we take a moment to reflect on the skin, we'll remember that the skin is the body's largest organ. It is just like a liver or a heart or your lungs (with obvious different functions) but we don't see those organs daily. Some people get upset stomachs, some people feel their heart race, and some of us get rashes, acne, or suffer more serious skin conditions when we're stressed out.
We see the skin daily. And we tend to take it for granted.
Through the new field of psycho-dermatology (a field that addresses the impact of an individual's emotions as it relates to the skin), researchers are finding new ways to help with skin conditions. The new field of study, miraculously, is not focusing on medication but rather relaxation training and behavior modification. For instance, if you are a person who is prone to picking at acne (which spreads the bacteria to other areas of your skin, thus transferring the acne to another location), they practice self-awareness to notice when your hand reaches toward your face that you change your direction. Instead of picking, redirect yourself to another activity.
It is no surprise that relaxation therapy made the list. Countless studies confirm that the simple act of receiving most forms of body work (massage, facials, reflexology, acupuncture, etc.) have an immediate influence in the body's level of cortisol - therefore, a decrease in tension and the mind's level of anxiety.
For today, I ask you: Are there conscious choices you make to regain a level of calm and grounded energy? If so, what are they? I'd love to hear about it!
As we go on together I will cover more about the connection with the mind, body, spirit and skin.
| with gratitude|