Mind and Body

How stress affects your body

1. Skin Problems
A stress-induced chemical reaction in the body can make skin more sensitive and reactive. Oil-producing glands then go into overdrive, triggering acne and other skin issues. Stress can also worsen hives, rosacea and eczema.

Fix: Prepare a bath.
Fill a tub with lukewarm water and add 2 cups of collodial oatmeal (make your own by grinding non-instant oats in a blender or try ready-to-use product. To help skin heal, soak in the tub for 20 to 30 minutes.


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2. Painful Periods
A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that abdominal and lower back pain during menstruation was twice as likely in woman who felt frazzled than in those who claimed to be calm. The reason? Experts say stress produces prostaglandin, an inflammatory hormone that causes cramps.

Fix: Raid Your Medicine Cabinet
Aside from daily stress-shedding hobbies and exercise, you can take ibuprofen. It stifles prostaglandin production, thus relieving the pain (especially if taken a day or two prior to your period).

3. Tooth and Jaw Pain
Clenched teeth are a common sign of anxiety. Biting down strains the delicately balanced network of muscles and tissue in your jaw, leading to soreness.

Fix: Relax (and Emote!)
Put a sticker on your computer or phone to remind you to relax your jaw, no matter what crises arise. Also, be open about you demotions. Stuck in a situation where you are upset? Try accepting what you feel; give yourself permission to be angry, and then you might find it’s easier to let it go. Ibuprofen also can ease discomfort, as can mentholated ointment applied to just below tender teeth.