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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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          Amber Pariona

          EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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