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Article: Skin Healing Series: Chapter 2

Skin Healing Series: Chapter 2

'I CAN FEEL IT IN MY SKIN'

HOW DO EMOTIONS INFLUENCE OUR SKIN?

Have you ever blushed from embarrassment or felt goosebumps when scared or inspired? These may feel subtle, but they are obvious signs to indicate just how much our emotions influence our skin. It comes as no surprise to learn that stress and other strong emotions or psychological influences can cause or worsen skin issues. 

BRAIN > SKIN

Between the skin and the brain, there is a strong communication pathway. This pathway allows messages to be sent back and forth between the two. When we feel stressed, emotionally overwhelmed, or mentally challenged the brain releases hormones down this pathway. These hormones can signal immune cells and certain chemical messengers to direct inflammation to the skin. 

SKIN > BRAIN

On the flip side, what we externally experience can also impact our bodies stress levels.  If we expose ourselves to an unhealthy cocktail of external environmental factors for a long period of time e.g.  UV rays, pollution, chemicals, wind/cold, then these can also initiate a stress response in the body and perpetuate the internal stress cycle. 

 The science is clear on how our mental and emotional wellbeing can impact the health our skin. Yet to get a deeper understanding of this connection, we must also think about it from an energetic/human to human perspective. 

Hot, inflamed, skin conditions can represent internal conflict or war. We must ask ourselves how we feel about our identity, our relationships, and our place in this world. Are we at war with ourselves? Do we like what we see in the mirror each day? 
Our emotional state is one of most important areas to support when we are healing the skin. We are not suggesting that this is something quick and easy to address. It is not like we suddenly wake up in the morning completely stress free and in love with ourselves. 
It’s truly a repeated process of acceptance of the self in all phases and stages of life. We must prioritise reflection and self-compassion as a key pillar in the skin healing process. 
CONNECTING TO THE SELF
Below are some simple ways we can begin to support our emotional wellbeing. We are all individuals, so it is important we find what works for us to align with our unique needs.  
  1. Find JOY in the day – create an endless list of things that light you up and consciously choose to do one of those things daily.
  2. Put pen to paper to translate your thoughts into written word – download the thoughts out of your body and onto something you can see. Often thoughts lose their power once they are on the page and no longer swirling around in the head causing havoc in the body.
  3. Find your breath – diaphragmatic or deep belly breathing is proven to re-establish a restful state and connect you back to yourself. 
  4. Body work – move the emotion out of your body. Get a massage, do a yin yoga class, dance around the room, stretch and release. 
  5. Seek external support – sometimes seeking professional guidance whether that be in the form of an energetic healer or psychologist, can help to unpack the underlying issues that are preventing us from moving forward. 
Supporting our emotional wellbeing is an ongoing process because we as human beings are constantly in a state of growth and change.  We are adjusting, altering, ageing, and transforming through life’s phases. 
Let us remember to be kind to ourselves and honour the space we are in. 

- Written by Hunna Armstrong and Kat Bibby from @totum.naturopathy


 

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