Stress less, smile more

Nikki Natividad

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Stress less, smile more
Stress is an unavoidable fact of life, but it doesn’t have to show

MANILA, Philippines – Overdue bills, looming deadlines, a recent breakup – what do these have in common? Other than the fact that everyone has to deal with these things sooner or later, heartache and the pressures of responsibility are some of the most common things that cause the dreaded S word: stress. 

Stress is an ugly fact of life. Anyone caught in its vile clutches is left anxious, panicked, and distraught. And the worst part is, left to its own devices stress can slowly sap your energy and eat away at your sparkly good looks. Here are some of the ways that stress physically manifests itself:  

Tired eyes

Have your eyes lost that youthful glint to them? Puffy, tired eyes are among the first signs of stress because they mean you haven’t been getting enough sleep. And when you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t get rid of all the excess fluid that it needs to. So where does it go? It pools right underneath the delicate windows to your soul, so all people see is how stressed you’ve been about tomorrow’s pending to-do list. 

Bad skin 

Stress is your skin’s worst enemy. Depending on how your body responds to stress, it can either make your skin as oily as a tar pit or dry and flaky as crepe paper. That’s because stress throws your hormones all out of whack. This fact, coupled with lack of sleep, is the perfect recipe for fine lines and acne, as well as other skin eruptions like rashes and hives. 

Sensitive teeth

Lastly, what people seem to overlook is that stress can actually deal a good amount of harm on your mouth. When you’re stressed, or feeling tense and anxious, you may resort to grinding your teeth while you sleep, which can potentially shave off tooth enamel, leading to a set of sensitive pearly whites.

The best way to deal with stress is not to surrender to it, but to manage it. When channeled properly, stress can actually help you rise to the challenge rather than bring you down. Here are some ways you can prevent stress from taking over your life: 

Avoid indulging in substances 

Be honest, sometimes you use stress as an excuse to drown your sorrows in coffee, alcohol, or nicotine. But this doesn’t numb or dissipate your stress; it can actually have the opposite effect. Taken in large quantities, these substances can act as stress stimulants instead. Plus, oral fixations such as these are not good for your teeth – coffee can brown them, nicotine can stain them, and alcohol can actually contribute to the buildup of plaque.

If you need a soothing sip, drink an herbal tea or a natural fruit juice to stay hydrated and keep the stress at bay instead.

Get physical 

To de-stress, try moving around. Physical exercise can help you get your mind off of your current situation and into a more relaxed state. And it doesn’t have to be 20 sets of burpees too. Something as simple as breaking out in a few yoga poses or a brisk walk out in the open can help you unwind. Plus, the exercise can also help you sleep better at night. 

Try different relaxation techniques 

Whether it’s meditation or deep breathing exercises, anything that will help keep you focused and calmer is a welcome practice in your life – especially something that you can do anytime, anywhere. Say, when you’re stressed out at work, find a routine where you can just sit on your desk and tune out for 5 minutes to bring back a tide of calm. Or, when you can’t sleep at night, call on a self-affirming mantra that will help bring stillness to your mind. Remember, relaxation is a skill, and one that’s worthy of mastering.

Do good to look good!

Sometimes, there’s just no avoiding the consequences of stress. And when that happens, all you can do is simply double up on your daily hygiene routines. Cleanse your skin, slather on some moisturizer, and zap those pimples to hell with a dot of peroxide. As for your teeth, remember to brush 30 minutes after every meal, and do so in circular motions – not briskly from side to side!

Stress is an unavoidable fact of life, but it doesn’t have to show. –

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