Stress Mindset

Introduction

Many people know that stress can have a variety of negative impacts on their health, their skin and their overall level of happiness.

When it comes to skin issues, it appears that the majority of individuals affected by various skin conditions report that stress is one of the most influential factors on the state of their skin. Furthermore, some papers even note that stress can even be the initial trigger for various chronic skin conditions [pubby id=“8123572,9039297”].

For the most part, research on stress has typically highlighted the clear separation between chronic stress and short term stress. The former being more damaging, with the later actually known to have short term beneficial effects on immune function and hormone production.

If your not familiar with the difference between the two types of stress, you can review the topic here:

[posty id=“2104”]Seborrheic Dermatitis The Owner’s Manual - Stress Section[/posty]

However, there exists another important aspect of stress not often discussed or consideredd: your mindset.

Most of us have heard about studies, where kids who are told they are smart, do better in school then those who are told they are unintelligent [pubby id=“17392928”].

Well, it appears stress is no different. If you believe that stress is going to have a negative effect on your health, you brain literally signals the rest of your body to let it know what’s going to happen.

On the other hand, if you believe that the stress can have a positive influence and your brain sends positive signals about the situation, a positive physiological response is significantly more likely.

Though this is a fairly new and not yet fully explored topic, initial research has actually documented that individuals who perceive stress as debilitating (able to cause health issues and negative consequences) have significantly more negative outcomes (health, productivity, hormonal disruptions).

While on the other hand, individuals who perceive stress as enhancing, have shown to have far better stability during times of stress and an absence of many of the common negative effects associated with stress.

Accordingly, it seems that if we simply believe that stress can have a positive impact on our health, we may actually change the way our bodies react to the stressful situation. But if we literally stress about stress, we send out immune response on a downward spiral, which may be difficult to resurface from.

Luckily, studies show that with simple retraining, we can quickly build a healthier relationship with stress. Without any coping strategies, stress avoidance plans or other tactics commonly used to deal with stress, but by simply changing our beliefs on how stress impacts our minds, our bodies and our health.

Documented Benefits

Having a positive mindset about stress has been shown to:

  • Improve cortisol response (the main factor which is believed to determine the health impact of stress) [pubby id="23437923"]
  • Stabilize the overall hormone response during stress [pubby id="28120622"]
  • Improve psychological symptoms and better work performance [pubby id="23437923"]

Taken together, the factors appear to highlight the importance of mindset in the stress response.

Why It's Important for Inflammatory Skin Disease

The most important characteristics of a healthy stress mindset for individuals affected by inflammatory skin disorders:

  • Improved immune response to stress
  • More stable hormone levels

Expected improvements:

  • Balanced sebum production
  • Improved sebum composition
  • Reduced skin sensitivity

Ideas for Easier Integration

As noted earlier, initial research on this topic suggest that shifting your mindset can be accomplished fairly easily (at-least on the topic of stress).

A 3 step approach to re-framing stress can be utilized:

  • Acknowledge the stress and consider what is causing it, how your body is reacting, and how you commonly respond to it
  • Accept the stress and it's potential ability to heighten your senses, increase adrenaline levels and improve immune function
  • Apply the heightened sense of awareness to reach your immediate objectives; increasing your self-worth and your ability to properly react to stress in the future

More easily, remembered as acknowledge, accept and apply.

However, this approach is just an example. In essence, it really doesn’t matter what approach you take, as long as you develop a positive view of stress and find ways to utilize it to your advantage. This approach too stress should help attenuate chronic stress and transform it in acute stress.

Additional Resources:

Additional Notes

  • Your mindset regarding the food you eat can play a significant role in determining how your body reacts to that food [pubby id="21574706"]
  • Changing your mindset about food and possible self fulfilling food intolerances may also be something worth considering

I found this subject extremely interesting and helpful. A lot to think about! I have always known I respond well to acute stress - feeling energised to deal with whatever it is. After that stress is gone, I might find myself exhausted but generally recover fairly quickly. Chronic stress is what I need to look into more closely and I appreciate the links you added - I have bookmarked them to read soon. I need to have a clearer idea what chronic stress is - is it also known as depression and anxiety? I suppose so. I kept a quote re depression which gives me some comfort when I am in that way of being:

Yaghan metaphor:

“depression: the vulnerable phase in a crab’s seasonal cycle, when it has sloughed off its old shell and waits for another to grow”

 

From In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

Definitely a more positive outlook re depression and I am sure there are many more out there. I also very much appreciate your pointing out how important it is re changing one’s mindset not only about stress but the food we eat.

Many thanks Michael - a great post!