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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Instant spirit boosters.

If you are feeling like everything is getting on top of you, or you are finding it difficult to cope or function or you are feeling down in the dumps, then try these 5 easy-to-do tips to relieve tension and stress and boost your spirits:

1. Take a relaxing bath. Add music, candles and a glass of your favourite drink: beer, tea, hot chocolate, wine or even champagne. Close the door and forget about everything else for an hour or so. This helps to increase levels of calmness and the calmer we feel, the less likely we are to get stressed out or depressed.

2. Comedy night: get in your favourite nibbles: chips, tortillas, salsa, crackers, cheese, pizza, chocolate, cookies, ice cream etc. Crack open a bottle of wine or pour yourself a beer or two and spend a full evening watching your favourite funny films or comedians. Laughter raises our spirits and is a great antidote to the stresses and trials of modern living.

3. Get out of the firing line: Take off for some peace and quiet for a day or better still a weekend or a week. Take a journal, relax and gather your thoughts. When we are under pressure or struggling to cope with a major situation or event in life, seeing solutions to our problems can be really difficult. Distance from problems can bring clarity and relieve tension. I love going to the coast when I feel like this and it always, without fail, helps me to calm down and find solutions. I do not know why but there’s something really soothing about being near the ocean. Being near water, come to think of it.

4. Increase calmness and feel great by indulging in massage. Share a massage with your partner – create a relaxing atmosphere by softening the lights and have oils and towels to hand.

Lavender oil is particularly relaxing. Or, treat yourself to a massage from a professional masseur or masseuse. For an invigorating massage, visit a Turkish bath if you are fortunate enough to have one nearby. Massage is very relaxing. It’s one huge stress buster as well but be warned, it’s addictive! Not a bad thing to be addicted to though, and it will do you no end of good.

5. Spend a week without watching any television. Television can fill your mind with negativity, bombard you with image manipulation via commercials and give you a distorted view of reality by showing you everything that is bad about the world. Famines, disasters, murders, violence, war – the list is endless – and news programmes and soap operas are full of such events.

So give your mind a break from this assault on your senses. Abandon the television for a week and do something more rewarding instead: Read a book, listen to music, socialize, workout, go for a walk or try your hand at something new. If you need to hear the news, listen to a radio news bulletin once a day. But try and avoid them for one week, replace them with something more life enhancing and see how you feel.

The above ideas are very simple to implement but they are also very effective in helping to relieve stress and tension. Give them a try and watch your mood levels rise!Is acne stress related?

Stress - Since your skin in your largest organ, how you live can sure influence how healthy your skin is. And stress, not necessarily "bad" stress, but rather certain external and internal stressors, factor into this health equation. So let us look at how to handle these stressors with regards to acne prevention. External Stressors- A goal of acne prevention would be to keep your skin pores clear from clogging and becoming infected and irritated, resulting in blemishes and inflammation.

So you need to look at your external environment throughout the day for factors that could trigger skin pore clogging. Here are some examples of what to look for: grease, oils and sun, like being around open fryers in kitchen areas, or around machine oil and grease in workshops or factories, or out in the sun all day on a construction jobsite.

Too much oil, grease or sun on the skin can clog pores and trigger acne and other skin irritations. Minimize contact by wearing long sleeves and other protective wear and gear and discussing further options with your dermatologist or healthcare provider. With regards to being out in the sun, note that a small amount of sun each day can be fine and healthy.

However, extended periods can trigger the sebaceous glands to create more oil as your skin dries out. At the same time, the dried out skin needs to be cast off or shed at a faster rate than normal. The resulting extra oils and dead skin make a wonderful environment for pore clogging.

So here, too, use protective clothing for outdoor activities and apply sunscreen; oil-free products
are best for acne-prone people, and those with a minimum protection of SPF 15 and both UVA and UVB protection.

Internal Stressors - Internal stressors like anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, depression and a variety of other internalized emotions, can trigger chemical reactions inside your body that can result in acne flare-ups and other skin irritations. What happens is that these emotions can set your adrenal glands to work creating more cortisol, the substance that in turn causes your sebaceous glands to produce increased amounts of sebum oil, excessive amounts of which can be blocked in pores. Same old story: extra oil + extra dead skin cells = blocked pores, triggering acne flare-ups.

With internal stressors, though, the results are usually "inflamed papules" or small, solid inflammations (or skin elevations that do not contain pus), instead of whiteheads or blackheads.

To combat internal stressors and prevent acne problems, here are some suggestions. Get plenty of rest and sleep a recommended average of eight hours per night. Try to maintain regular hours each day, regardless of which shift your work. Some say to focus on reducing SWAT: reduce your stress, worry, anxiety and tension, so journal a little each day mentioning any "SWAT" stressors you have felt. And focus on those that may seem overwhelming or to be taking too long to "end," seeking help from others or other resources as needed for stress managementCheck with your dietician or healthcare provider to establish and follow a regular well-balanced dietary and exercise plan of action to keep your body healthy on the inside and outside.

Keep a check list of "Things that Calm You" handy for stressful times, like reading a book, resting, listening to music