Clearing my Mind Helped Clear my Skin
You can now add 'good skin' to the benefits of meditation.
The day before my final accounting exam, my face broke out in a multitude of red zits. When I had to abruptly end my travels and return home due to Covid-19, the same thing happened – despite the fact that more than ever before, my face was make-up free.
Coincidence? Not so much.
Stress-induced breakouts are a thing, and there’s science to prove it. When your body is stressed it goes into fight-or-flight mode, prompting an increased production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This is great if you’re, you know, trying to survive, but if you’re simply trying to cross things off your to-do list, meet deadlines, and keep up with the baking craze, the release of these hormones can trigger an inflammatory response in the skin, leading to acne breakouts.
According to Dr. Adam Friedman, stress can even cause an increase in nerve signaling, provoking people to scratch their skin. As you can imagine, continually picking at skin will exacerbate swelling and redness. And if that's not bad enough, feeling chronically stressed can also disrupt your sleep pattern and affect your digestive process.
If just reading this is stressing you out, hang in there – we’re about to get to the good stuff.
You see, as involuntarily as these breakouts can occur, there are some techniques you can use to control them. One of them being to simply relax.
Relax? I know what you’re thinking. How can I possibly relax when I have to worry about work, family life, and whether the person at the supermarket just breathed on me? Not to mention the current political climate, overwhelming social issues that plague my thoughts, and the pervasive sentiment that we’re on the brink of societal collapse?
As someone who has trouble slowing down and stopping to smell the roses, I’ve discovered an effective way to calm my mind is through meditation. Now, I should mention, that I am by no means a meditation expert, but I’ve found that even just 15 minutes of quiet mindfulness each day can have a profound effect on my skin.
When you meditate, you’re reclaiming control over your inner dialogue. You're quieting your mind from daily worries, freeing your thoughts from overactivity, and allowing yourself to be completely in the present. In those 15 minutes, the only thing on my mind is the steady rhythm of four seconds in, eight seconds out of my breathwork.
Using apps like Headspace, I learned to cultivate peace of mind. And in clearing my mind, I subsequently cleared my skin, too. When it seems we’re constantly facing pressure to do more, my main takeaway from meditation is that doing nothing is sometimes the best thing for my body and mind.
It wasn’t an easy journey, and some days I definitely felt like a zen wannabe, but putting in the daily effort was worth it. If you’re anything like me, someone who used to consider herself "too busy" to meditate, then perhaps meditation is just what you – and your skin – need.
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