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How Stress Impacts Your Body

By Stepy Kamei

Stress is a feeling no one likes, yet we all seem to have accepted it as merely an unavoidable fact of life that comes and goes when it pleases. While it's true that stressful situations are largely out of our control and do usually arise unexpectedly, we still have the power to change our reactions to stress, monitor our feelings, and engage with healthy coping mechanisms. It's important to take this last point seriously, as chronic stress can truly impact the body in negative ways. Keep on reading to learn more about how stress and tension can show up in your physical health and appearance -- and more importantly, how you can cope with feelings of stress before they start impacting your health too seriously.

Skin Problems

The skin is one of the biggest indicators of our physical and mental health. This makes sense, given that it's the largest organ in the body.

Acne is one of the biggest signs that a person is experiencing stress, as more than a few studies have shown. This is especially true if you aren't prone to breakouts, yet suddenly start experiencing them in the wake of a big deadline at work, an exam at school, or any other life stressor.

On the other hand, dry skin is another sign of tension in the mind. Sometimes, it's just a noticeable flakiness which affects your skin. However, if your stress is severe enough, it may manifest itself into rashes all over the body. If you've found yourself with dry and itchy patches in random areas of your body, with no idea how or why they appeared, you may be experiencing stress-related rashes.

Hair Changes

Noticing a few new gray hairs in the mirror lately? It's not just an old wives' tale -- stress really can lead to increased gray hair. Essentially, this is because stress has been shown to cause a pigment known as melanin, which gives your hair color, to disappear from stem cells.

Alternatively, you may experience hair loss. If there's more hair on your brush or down the shower drain than usual lately, you may be experiencing a period of high stress currently.

Helpful Coping Techniques

Fortunately, it is possible to address any tension in your life by using calming and reliable coping techniques.

Many people find relief from various creative outlets. You may want to schedule a short time out of your day to write, paint, draw, or play some music.

You can also go outside for a walk whenever you feel stress coming on, as moving the body gently outside in the sun is known to reduce stress and increase feelings of joy. If the weather doesn't permit for this, consider practicing some gentle yoga moves or light stretches indoors.

Many people find they can relieve their stress and worries by simply writing about their feelings in a journal. Taking even just five minutes a day to write about what's on your mind can help you feel calmer, more focused, and more in control of your day. You may even find a solution to one of your problems once you get it out on paper.

Of course, you should make sure to consult with a mental health professional if you feel like your stress is getting unmanageable.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Edmond, Okla.

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