We all know that stress is bad for our mental health and can increase our blood pressure, but did you know that it can make you look less beautiful? I recently acquired a new toy to help me with this exact aspect of my wellness—stress management.
Beauty is real motivation for many, especially people like me who work in the skin-care field. When I’m stressed I notice two things—an increase in breakouts and rashes on my face (and all over my body)…and also oilier skin.
On the science side of things, I know that when we are stressed, we release excess cortisol—a stress hormone. Cortisol is known to reduce collagen production, which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. Cortisol also impacts oil production, which can cause more breakouts.
That’s not good.
I felt it was time to get that stress in check before it did some real damage to my skin so I bought a Spire. (Note: There are other products out there that you can try as well: like here and here. This does not count as an endorsement of this product, and I did not get paid to write this review. I just chose this device as a way to manage my stress.)
Spire is a device that looks like a small stone on a metal clip that you attach to your bra or waistband. It communicates with your smartphone and helps you to be mindful of times when you are stressed. The science behind Spire is fairly simple. When stress triggers the brain’s fight-or-flight response, heart rate elevates, breathing becomes shallow and muscles tense up. Spire picks up the body’s information and sends this data to your phone, which in turn signals you when a stress response occurs. When you are tense for a few minutes, you get a little buzz from the device. (I missed this in the instructions and practically had a heart attack the first time my Sprire zinged me with a warning that I was stressed. If I wasn’t stressed before, I sure was after that. Ha ha!)
Anyway, once you hear the buzz, you look at your phone, which tells you that you have been tense for some period of time and invites you to do a breathing exercise to calm down. It’s absolutely amazing how quickly a few slow, deep breaths can settle you down to a calm state again. Breath is so powerful!
Overall, the idea behind the device is to create mindful moments where you notice the stress and do something constructive to counter it. I also found that wearing the device helped me to become aware of what triggers stress for ME personally. This is a powerful tool and, for me, brought some surprises.
I wore my Spire in all sorts of settings—on a business trip…during a regular work day…while just hanging with the kids. In my life, stressful times were tied to emotions more than to situations. I noticed that a long security line at the airport does not stress me, yet watching two people argue over their place in line in the airport restroom did. Simply thinking about an area of concern with my teenage son caused a tense moment and buzz, whereas face-to-face discussion with him about the same topic was not stress-provoking. I found that my internal thoughts are my stress triggers versus external events, which means that managing stress is totally within my control. (Of course!)
By creating a mindful moment, I am empowered to make a decision about how I will stop a stressful thought from settling into my body and doing harm. This is a must-have tool in my beauty toolkit, right alongside my favorite skin-care products!
What are your favorite stress-management tools that help keep your face worry-free? Let us know in the comments!
Click here to read Ginger Hodulik Downey’s book The Esthetician’s Guide to Outstanding Esthetics.