Emotional resilience, the ability that some people have to withstand stress, was once thought to be a genetic gift. But recent psychological research suggests that emotional resilience can be developed. This truth is good news for those who've made stress-reducing measures like yoga part of daily living. Not only will asanas nourish the internal organs, but they benefit skin health and complexion as well.
"Our face and complexion are the physical manifestation of all that we think and do—an exacting mirror of the soul," notes practitioner Dr. Pratima Raichur in her book Absolute Beauty: Radiant Skin and Inner Harmony Through the Ancient Secrets of Ayurveda. "If you want to change your appearance, you must first change the thoughts, emotions, and habits where stress and aging originate."
According to Ayurveda, a major factor influencing the deterioration of the skin comes from ignoring the needs of our unique body types. Each of us is born with a certain mind-body constitution, determined by the degree of dominance of the three doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha—in our body. All three body types experience different challenges and age differently. Paying attention to the needs of our personal constitutions is the first step in maintaining healthy skin.
"Work-related stress can be a major contributor to adult acne or occasional to frequent breakouts," says Raichur. "Stress causes hormonal changes, and the body goes into fight mode, which releases testosterone, a major culprit for breakouts."
Here's her six-step anti-stress plan to leave you glowy and radiant from the inside out:
Don't bottle things up, especially anger.
Anger is another manifestation of fear: fear of losing your job, losing power, a hurt ego. Learning to let things go and practicing gratitude are effective ways to soothe angry emotions. Release negative thoughts from your mind and focus on the positive.
Warm your water.
Drinks lots of warm water or make your own herbal tea by adding 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, and 1 teaspoon fennel. Mint tea is also recommended.
Avoid junk foods, or unhealthy foods, at all costs.
Busy schedules mean that you sometimes compromise your diet, but eating poorly has such a negative impact on your body—specifically your skin (after all, what's on the outside is a reflection of what's inside). Also avoid tomatoes, spicy (hot) foods, and all dairy, acidic, and fermented foods. Avoid foods that make you constipated, as this causes acne as well. Add more greens into your diet, as well as lentils.
Remember to breathe.
Sitali breathing helps calm anxiety, stress, and anger. Practice this when you feel the need to cool down.
Change your perception.
Stress is a concept; it's not real: It is simply your perception of an event or an emotion. When you feel stress about something, ask yourself, "Is this important enough for me to get upset about? How much will this matter later on?"
DIY Acne Mask
- Mix ½ teaspoon crushed cumin seed and 1 teaspoon coriander into a few drops of water.
- Apply over blemishes and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse. Repeat 1 to 2 times per week.
By creating a self-care skin routine that suits your Ayurvedic constitution, and by managing the impact of environmental factors on your skin, you can enjoy the outer radiance that reflects a deep inner state of balance and overall well-being.