Stress is totally necessary, a little goes a long way and propels us further in life and gives us that little kick up the butt to keep moving forward. Too much stress? That's a whole nother ball game and a bad, preliminary-type basketball one at that. You see, too much stress is far too common in our over-stimulated, over-worked, rather competitive world. With controversial presidential wins, economy inflation and a very stimulated social media influence, it can be challenging to know when and how to disconnect from the busy and connect to the internal sanctuary of the self. The secret? That this temporary disconnection is actually super important for our nervous systems, our mental health and our overall wellbeing.
Stress is strongly correlated with acne in multiple studies. High stress equates to high cortisol and cortisol is a trigger for several skin conditions. Don't get me wrong, cortisol is absolutely necessary....in small amounts. High levels of cortisol triggers inflammation, allergic reactions, autoimmune disease and many more knock-on effects.
One of the easiest ways to take away some stress in your life is to loosen the reigns on trying to control your skin. It can do you more harm than good to completely eradicate a whole food group (unless you have an allergy of course). Remembering that the journey to radiant skin is one that requires self-reflection and a willingness to be still and observe and connect with what it is that is happening for you. It's not about cutting out joy and some of the finer things in life like dark chocolate and brie cheese.
This is where meditation is such a priceless tool. When we give ourselves time-out to sit back (literally) and witness the state of current thoughts, the physical sensations in the body and the rhythm of breath, it allows us to drop into our parasympathetic nervous system, the seat of rest and digest for the body, a place of self-soothing and we allow a sense of calm to wash over, we literally reduce inflammation over time and drop cortisol levels.
When something is inflamed (acne) we try to calm it down. A regular meditation practice will do this for the body. You will come up against yourself and it will be challenging but it will also be profound and revealing in a positive way. It requires discipline to sit for a minimum of 5 minutes per day, working your way up to (and maybe beyond) 20 minutes per day.
+ Find a quiet space where you feel comfortable closing your eyes.
+ Sit with your eyes closed and bring awareness to your breath.
+ Breathe in through your nose and let the breath fill you up: First belly, then chest, then throat. Acknowledge the natural pause at the top of your inhale and then breathe out through your nose, notice the natural pause at the base of your exhale.
You may like to add a count/word/mantra if it helps you to stay focused. When you feel your mind wander, calmly return back to the breath.