Deadlines and other job demands, congested traffic, and unresolved conflicts with your partner – all these unpleasant issues cause stress which not only puts you in bad mood but also takes a toll on your overall health and appearance. It’s difficult to defeat your stress hormones, and the voices inside your head, chanting the hymns of your overwhelming responsibilities aren’t helping you calm down.
The good thing is stress reduction can be attainable. You don’t have to escape from the city’s hustle and schedule an expensive beach getaway to pamper yourself, calm your nerves down and relax after a long week at work. In fact, most of the effective stress busters are free and can be done anywhere at anytime, whether you’re sitting on your comfortable couch or in a middle of a nail-biting situation at work.
Beat stress before it consumes you. Here are eight simple ways of whipping stress to make you look and feel younger.
1. Laugh out loud
When you’re stressed, it instantly shows on your facial expressions. You look tired, lonely, and irritable most of the time. Frowning constantly takes a toll on your face in the long run. You end up having fine lines and wrinkles between your eyebrows and on your forehead, which will make you look and feel like a granny.
To feel better and look your best, try to loosen up and laugh your problems out. Take a break and spend time watching comedy films or funny pet videos online, reading some jokes, or talking to someone who can lighten up your mood and make you laugh. Aside from exercising your facial muscles, smiling and laughing may also relieve tension and improve your aura. Besides, people who smile and laugh look more attractive than those who don’t.
2. Give yourself enough Zs
There’s a clear link between sleep deprivation and stress, as well as bad appearance.
Sleep is a natural mechanism by which the body restores energy reserves and repairs itself. When you lack enough sleep, your body will increase its production of the stress hormone “cortisol”, and use the hormone keep you active and alert in the absence of stored energy.
The downside is high cortisol levels win versus the growth hormones which regenerate skin collagen overnight. No wonder you have darker and puffier under-eye circles, paler complexion, sagging skin, and premature lines and wrinkles after a night without sleep.
Sleep more and stress less. No cucumber, chilled spoon, and night creams can make you look and feel better than good sleep. For better sleep quality, avoid certain foods like caffeine, alcohol, and big meals before bedtime. Lose everything that may affect your resting time – bright screens, take-home workloads, and clutter.
3. Step into a steamy sauna
Had a long, stressful week at work? Give yourself a little pampering by stepping into a sauna or steam room. The feeling of warmth in a steamy, quiet space subsides muscle tension, soothes the aches and pains, improves circulation, and stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s “feel good” hormone.
4. Sip a warm cup of chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a gentle relaxant and tranquilizer which helps you calm down after a long, busy day. Margaux J. Rathbun, creator of nutrition website Authentic Self Wellness says that chamomile tea acts as a nerve tonic and an effective sleeping aid.
5. Eat dark chocolates
People tend to eat comfort foods like chocolates to take the stress away. However, these stress-induced cravings may lead to bloating and obesity if you’re not mindful of the amount you intake.
If you’re craving sweets, opt for a healthier and guilt-free option: dark chocolates. These bittersweet chocolates are rich in flavanol, a substance that helps lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), in stressed out people.
6. Fix your posture
We all know that developing a poor posture takes a toll on your fitness and appearance, but researchers found that this may also be associated with stress. Harvard University researchers found that people who get used to poor posture like slouching experience 15% increase in their stress hormone levels.
Always be mindful of your posture, especially when you’re at work. Keep a straight spine, open shoulders, and taller standing frame.
7. Breathe and meditate
Stop. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Deep breathing might be the only thing you need to fight stress. During your spare time, look for a quiet spot where you can meditate without any distractions. Eliminate the jumbled thoughts crowding your mind. Imagine your body filled with stress and negativities, and you’re blowing them away through deep breathing.
Doing this gives you a sense of peace, and balance for your emotional well-being.
8. Take it up a notch with yoga
One of the best ways to combat stress is doing yoga, a mind and body exercise that combines physical poses, relaxation, and controlled breathing. The exercise not just promote stress relief but lower blood pressure and heart rate as well.
At home, watch instructional DVDs or online video tutorials. Learning a few basic poses like standing forward bend (Uttanasana), Cobra (Bhujangasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra), and Seated Spinal Twist (Janu Sirsasana) will help you alleviate stress instantly.
9. Good ‘ol exercise
Any form of physical activity is beneficial for your physical and mental health and appearance. No matter how busy life becomes, never skip exercise. Find time to jog in the morning, hop on a bicycle, or swim. If you don’t have the time to go outdoors, help yourself by doing basic cardio and strength training workouts at home and buying exercise equipment to keep you fit.