Getting older is wonderful, but of course many of us take care of our skin and invest in anti-ageing skincare products in an effort to look as healthy as possible as each year ticks by.
Have you noticed that despite being vigilant with SPF, facial oils and the rest of your anti-ageing skincare toolkit, that you’re suddenly spotting a fresh new onslaught of wrinkles when you look in the mirror? And if so – have been grappling with stress more often than you’d like to recently?
The bottom line is that stress accelerates premature ageing. And by that we don’t just mean lines on your face, it’s a process that effects your whole body and overall health. Stress has been linked to increased chronic inflammation throughout the body, it interferes with the regenerative quality of sleep and the continual activation of the fight-or-flight mode interferes with immune, digestive and reproductive health.
All of which knocks the body off balance, leaves it more susceptible to disease and less efficient at counterbalancing ageing.
It’s especially worth taking action to tackle things in your life which are stressing you out, because scientists in America have just found a very definite link between chronic long-term stress and heart problems – as well as strokes.
According to a study which has been published in The Lancet, over the past decade more and more individuals are experiencing psychosocial stress on a daily basis. Heavy workloads, job insecurity, or financial issues are circumstances that can result in chronically increased stress, which in turn can lead to chronic psychological disorders such as depression. Besides the heavy psychological burden, chronic stress is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease says the report.
In conclusion, researchers say that stress could be as important a risk factor as smoking and high blood pressure when it comes to heart disease. So whilst you might be busy focusing on your anti-ageing skincare arsenal, a few wrinkles might be the least of your problems in the long run.
There are practical measures which we can take to ease stress in our day to day lives: We can try to reduce the sources of our stress, if possible, but as a completely stress-free life does not exist, it is important to develop techniques to counterbalance the negative effects of stress on the body.
We should prioritise the goal of offsetting stress by keeping regular daily appointments with relaxation and fun, which could mean exercise, meditation, a warm bath, a 10-minute daydream over a warm drink, a good laugh with friends and family, a film, switching off phone/computer for a while or establishing a digital curfew.
‘Me time’ is essential: applying your anti-ageing skincare favourites should be about more than smoothing out fine lines. Enjoying ten minutes each morning and night to really massage a quality facial oil into your skin after washing away the dirt that will have collected on your skin in the day will help you to relax, and that is crucial for fighting stress – especially at the start and end of each day.
Whatever feels good to you, identify it and integrate more of it into your life to neutralise the effects of stress. Also, we can try to reevaluate our relationship with the stress response and see whether sometimes it is possible to harness the energy it activates and channel it into resolving or completing what needs doing, so that it is no longer a source of stress and we build confidence in our ability to cope and overcome stress in our lives.
As well as taking practical measures such as digital detoxes and regular exercise, taking a quality anti-ageing skincare supplement and eating a balanced diet provides the body with the support it needs, especially when stress has undermined its resilience and balance.
This two-pronged approach strengthens immune health, counteracts inflammation and boosts repair and defence against the ongoing damage that leads to ageing.
In particular a healthy lifestyle with all the right nutrients will restore the regenerative quality of sleep, which is often chronically disrupted by stress. This also counterbalances the damaging effects of stress to ensure healthy skin, strength and endurance, a strong immune system, healthy energy levels and improved mental clarity.
If you’re struggling with relaxation, Nichola Joss shows how to do a mini facial massage in the how to video below.
Is your life more stressful than it used to be? If so, what are you doing to fight it? Let us know in the comments below.