Soothe Stressed Skin-Day 2
by Dr. Amy Wechsler, MD
Relaxing never seems to make it onto the to-do list. But today, relaxing is your to-do list. Stressed skin looks stressed, so keep your psyche and your skin healthy, calm, and clear with these stress-relief tips:
Try these three breathing exercises. Then, pick the one you like best, and do it at least twice a day for the next 8 days, preferably at around the same time each day. This will help establish a breathing routine that calms you, refocuses your energy, and changes your body chemistry to support well-being from the inside out. So long, stressed skin.
To experiment with these exercises, sit in a chair with your back comfortably upright, feet on the floor, shoulders down, chest open, and hands resting in your lap. Let your abdomen expand with each inhale and contract with every exhalation. You may want to close your eyes and really focus on your breaths.
Exercise #1 -- Let it all out.
Take a deep breath through your nose, and let it out easily through your mouth. At the end of the exhalation, silently repeat "la-lala-la-laaah," which effortlessly extends the exhalation, releasing more air from your lungs. Feel your abdomen inflate with the next inhale. Do 5 times.
Exercise #2 -- Take a pause.
Inhale and exhale through your nose, mentally counting "in-two-three, out-two-three," and then "pause-two-three." During the pause, don't breathe in or out; just rest comfortably. Do 5 times. Over time, increase the count to four ("in-two-three-four, out-two-three-four"), then to five, until you reach a number that's comfortable to you.
Exercise #3 -- Hold it.
This technique can help you dial down a stressful reaction to upsetting news and can help you fall asleep, too. It takes a little practice, but people who use the technique swear by it. It's the four-seven-eight breath, a favorite of health guru Andrew Weil, MD.
Place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth; let it rest there gently for the entire exercise.
Exhale completely through your mouth, letting the air make a whooshing sound as it passes out.
Close your mouth, and inhale through your nose as you mentally count to four. Let the breath fill and expand your abdomen as you inhale, and then hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale through your mouth with a whoosh to a count of eight. That's one complete four-seven-eight breath. Do four times. To keep stress in check, do at least one of these breathing exercises twice a day.
Relax and Unwind
Here are some ideas to help you destress:
Connect with friends. Pick up the phone and call someone who can make you laugh, take a load off your stress level, and help you put things into perspective. Later in the week, you'll have dinner with friends, so maybe call someone you want to invite.
Book a massage. If you can get in for a spa treatment today, great! If not, you have something nice to look forward to.
Have sex. Yep, sex (with a partner or on your own) can help relax you and get your skin glowing again.
Continue to Simplify Wash your face morning and night using the tips from Day 1, and stick to your new beauty-sleep routine.