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Last night I went Christmas Shopping. I had my fingers crossed it was still early enough in the season, and the mall wouldn’t be TOO crowded...
But boy was I wrong!
Getting a spot was the first struggle… Then the lines...
Not to mention, the not-so-festive looks on people’s faces.
Let me tell you… the mall is not the right spot to go for Christmas cheer!
Don’t get me wrong. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, I have the fondest memories as a child and I cherish the closeness it brings families at this time ...
But it did get me thinking about holiday stress.
You see, many people don’t realize just how huge a toll that much stress takes on your body, even if it’s just a few weeks a year...
An impact so huge, it can even affect the way you look.
But I’m not just talking about frowning… or even tired, stress-induced eye bags.
I’m talking about the permanent damage that stress does to your skin.
That’s because when you’re stressed, you release increased levels of the hormone cortisol.
And excess cortisol can seriously slow down production of collagen in your skin, which makes it more prone to fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, and dullness.
In fact, the American Psychological Association estimated that 30-60% of dermatologist visits are due to stress-related skin problems.
But luckily, even during the most hectic time of the year, there are a few simple ways to relax and reduce cortisol production naturally, before it takes its toll.
Chances are, you’ve heard some of the most common advice...do yoga, breathe deeply, take a walk around the block.
So today I’ve got a few unexpected tips for helping you mellow out...even when you’re trying to get the last parking spot in a crowded mall.
How to Relieve the Daily Stresses that Can Cause Skin Damage
smile! It might feel silly at first, but in just the first minute, your brain’s “happy” hormones will be kicking into high gear
So when you’re wrapping a seemingly endless stack of gifts,
1: Fake a Smile. This is one of those times where “fake it ‘til you make it” actually works. A study published in Psychological Science (Sept 2012) found that even faking a smile while performing a difficult task helped people produce less cortisol than those asked to frown or remain neutral.
2: Stare at a soothing pattern. A study published by the University of Oregon (June 2006) found that staring into a repeating pattern for 60 seconds actually helped reduce stress by up to 44%.
Now, the study looked at a variety of patterns and found that everything from bricks to spirals can help. So when you’re wrapping gifts, take a break and just focus on the pattern on your wrapping paper for an instant release of stress.
3: Eat an orange or tangerine. Not only are they delicious (and totally in season right now), but oranges and tangerines are also high in Vitamin C.
And research shows that Vitamin C helps reduce your body’s stress responses. It slows cortisol production and can even help your body restore collagen lost during stressful times.
Plus, knowing you have a healthy, nutritious snack on hand reduces the likelihood that you’ll get stressed because you’re hungry.
4: Learn to give yourself an acupressure massage. A study published in the journal Anesthesiology (June 2003) found that a massage on a certain pressure point in the ear helps reduce stress, and even relieve pain.
To relieve stress, apply steady pressure the triangular fossa, Press your index finger into both ears (in the grey area shown) and rotate clockwise in a circular motion for 100X's. You should begin to feel more relaxed almost instantly.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed out try one of these easy tips, you’ll feel SO much better when you’re done and your skin will thank you for it.