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Skin Problems Flaring Up Again? Watch Your Emotions!

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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.

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          Featured photo credit: MasimaTinasheMadonda via pixabay.com

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          Last Updated on November 22, 2021

          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

          Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

          During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

          But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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          Simplify

          I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

          Absolutely.

          And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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          If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

          • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
          • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
          • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

          Be Mindful

          You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

          Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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          Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

          Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

          Reflect

          As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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          Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

          But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

          So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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          Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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