Did you know that the stress hormone, cortisol, can increase inflammation and cause breakouts? Just as inflammation causes other problems in the body—arthritis, headaches, and even more serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia—inflammation can show up right on your kisser!
One simple solution, when you’re feeling stressed out, is to simply get a good night’s sleep—not once a week, but every night. This is a no-brainer- solution to calming down the stress response. Here are some other ideas:
- Get some exercise—it brings more blood flow to the skin
- Cut down on sugar, trans fats, and processed foods
- Clean your home—mold can cause breakouts
- Do some yoga!
Yoga is a terrific stress buster. You can read lt about it in my book, Big Yoga for Less Stress. You probably already know that yog helps to increase flexibility, improves body composition, lowers anxiety and depression, improves memory, and lowers blood pressure. But it can also help you clear up your skin!
Go take a class or practice with a DVD–the Big Yoga Flex-Ability DVD is ideal– in the privacy of your own home. You can get the benefits of yoga even if you do an adapted (think super gentle) practice that doesn’t seem like you’re doing much of anything. The important part of your yoga practice is the deep breathing!
Here are some simple instructions:
Sitting comfortably with the spine long and the shoulders open, begin to close the eyes and bring your awareness inside. Watch the breath as it flows in and out. Does you belly rise on the inhalation? Does it collapse on the exhalation? Good. (If not, try doing this on the floor, resting on your back with the legs slightly apart and the arms out to the sides—this is savasana, the corpse pose, so feel that your body is dead to the world)
Begin to expand the breath a little every time you inhale. Pretty soon you’ll be filling the lungs completely, and make sure you have a nice long exhalation. You fill the lungs bottom to top, and release the breath top to bottom. Imagine filling a glass with water (bottom to top) and emptying the glass (top to bottom).
You can continue with this calming breath, called Deerga Swaasam, for up 3 to 5 minutes. Then take a little break, and observe how you feel.
Try to incorporate this breath technique—pranayama—into your day several times. It enables you to increase the amount of oxygen you’re bringing into the body by 7 times! Our everyday shallow breath is only about a pint of air, but this deep breath is going to give you way more bang for your buck—7 pints of air, which contains the prana, or life force, of the universe. It purifies the blood stream, so it reduces the inflammation that can cause your breakouts. It will put a blush on your cheeks and light you up from the inside!