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Skin Problems Flaring Up Again? Watch Your Emotions!

Skin Problems Flaring Up Again? Watch Your Emotions!

Have you ever noticed when you’re feeling stressed out, depressed, or nervous that your skin tends to break out? Maybe it’s acne, rosacea, psoriasis, or hives? Well, your observation has scientific backing. Skin health and mental health are linked and a new branch of science, psychodermatology, researches this connection.

What is Psychodermatology?

According to Professor Karen Mallin, PsyD of the University of Miami, psychodermatology is the study of emotions and their effect on skin. It combines the fields of psychology, psychiatry, dermatology, and immunology, which focus on invisible diseases, visible diseases, and immune system health. The idea behind this combination is that skin responds to both internal and external stimuli by producing flare-ups. Studying the relationship among the nervous system, skin, and immune system (also known as the neuro-immuno-cutaneous system) could lead to integrative treatment plans for people with skin disorders. These new treatment plans might include therapy, medication, and counseling.

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    http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychotic-affective-disorders/psychodermatology-when-mind-and-skin-interact

    Some Common Skin Conditions

    Acne

    Stress leads to an increased production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol, in turn, increases the production of oil on the skin. Oily skin makes it far more likely for you to develop pimples and even acne.

    Psoriasis

    Psychological stress tends to worsen the presence of psoriasis, a skin disease that causes scaling, pain, redness, and inflammation. In one study, researchers found that patients with outbreaks of psoriasis were more likely to have experienced a stressful event prior to the beginning of a psoriasis episode.

    General Dermatosis

    General dermatosis may include a variety of skin conditions including: rashes, hives, nail dystrophies, or eczema. A study published in 2001 found that itchiness related to dermatosis increased with emotional distress. It also found that people with these conditions were more likely to have experienced psychiatric disturbances.

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    Categories of Psycho-Dermatological Skin Disorders

    There are 3 generally accepted categories of psycho-dermatological skin disorders:

    • Psychophysiological – In these diseases, stress makes the conditions worse.
    • Psychiatric Disorders with Dermatological Symptoms – These are self-inflicted and may include hair pulling, nail biting, or cheek/tongue biting.
    • Dermatological Disorders with Psychiatric Symptoms – These are emotional problems, like anti-social behavior or embarrassment, caused by an existing skin problem.

    How to Reduce Stress to Avoid Skin Problems

    How can you avoid embarrassing, irritating, and sometimes painful skin flare ups? By reducing your stress. Here are a few ways to do that:

    Exercise

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      Exercise reduces the production of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline. But that’s not all. It also increases the production of endorphins, the hormones that put us in a good mood and reduce pain. These two factors will help you relax and reduce your overall stress. One of the best forms of exercise is swimming because it doesn’t feel like exercise! You can have fun in the water while getting healthier. Swimming is also a low impact sport, so it isn’t hard on your joints.

      Meditation

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        Meditation is another great way to relax and reduce overall stress levels. This technique is pretty simple. Find a quiet room and sit with good posture. Close your eyes and repeat a motivational phrase. Maybe something like, “I am happy” or “I feel peaceful”. Try to breathe rhythmically and avoid any other thoughts. Researchers believe that meditation changes the brain’s neural activity, helping you manage stress better.

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        Apps to Stay Positive

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          Reflecting on the positive things in your life can help you stay positive. A great way to do this is by using an app on your phone that can help you keep track of positive experiences. One great option is Happify, which helps you set personal goals. It offers different activities that bring positive words and memories to your attention. Another great app is The Gratitude Journal, which encourages you to write down five positive things that happen to you daily. This is a great way to stay positive about the present and the future.

          You may not be able to completely eliminate stress by practicing these techniques, but you will be able to reduce it. By doing that, you can reduce the occurrence of stress-induced skin disorders.

          Featured photo credit: MasimaTinasheMadonda via pixabay.com

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          Last Updated on November 11, 2019

          How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

          How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

          Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

          To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

          Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

          1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

          Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

          Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

          To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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          2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

          Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

          If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

          Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

          3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

          Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

          Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

          4. Feed Your Brain

          Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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          This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

          Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

          Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

          5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

          According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

          Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

          Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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          6. Write it Down

          If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

          It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

          You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

          7. Listen to Music

          Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

          8. Visual Concepts

          In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

          Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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          Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

          9. Teach Someone Else

          Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

          Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

          10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

          Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

          So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

          Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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