Research shows modern life has us more stressed than ever. Add to that the uncertainty and constant change we are experiencing as a collective thanks to COVID it’s more important than ever that we focus on self-care rituals to look after our well-being.
Keeping stress at bay has many mental and physical benefits, including increased focus and productivity, greater emotional regulation, it boosts our immunity, improves our sleep and one lesser talked about bonus is that it improves the look and feel of our skin. When our body isn’t busy producing stress hormones for the ‘fight of flight’ response (which is activated every time we feel stressed), it has more resources and energy to heal and renew our beauty bits – our hair, nails and skin.
Some simple, science-backed anti-stress rituals that your skin will thank you for include:
Yoga is revered for its physical benefits, and we’re now learning more about the positive physiological effect this ancient practice has on not just our body, but our minds too. Yoga has been found to strengthen social connections, reduce stress and relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Simply by breathing deeply as we practice yoga and as we hold the long, slow poses, we can turn off the ‘fight or flight’ response and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for ‘rest, digest and repair’, the opposite of ‘fight or flight’ and this is where we feel calm, relaxed and welcome healing. As well as send nutrients to our skin!
Many of us eat the same way we do everything else amid a busy day...mindlessly, whilst rushing and probably multitasking. Mindful eating is simply paying attention to our present moment experience, whilst being fully attentive and engaged with what we are eating, using all our senses. And bringing our minds back to our food when our thoughts start taking over.
There are many benefits of mindful eating, including that we simply enjoy our food more and we can digest the nutrients more efficiently. But also, it creates purposeful space for us in our day to enjoy a mindful moment, giving our busy brains a break from the onslaught of 21st Century Living. Mindful eating is an invitation to slow down – an opportunity to create a positive shift in brain chemistry that leads to physical and emotional health benefits.
The science world is firmly on board with mindful colouring. Research has shown it can help to lower stress and anxiety, increase focus, enhance creativity and even slow our heart rate.
There’s something about the small, repetitive strokes and use of colour that calms the brain and participants report finding it very hard to think about anything else whilst they are colouring – it really encourages our minds to be present, resting and restoring our mental and emotional energy amid a busy day. Keep a mindful colouring book in your drawer at work or home and pull it out for 10 minutes of colouring every time you feel mentally fatigued or stressed. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
The Mental Health Foundation have an excellent mindful colouring page available.
Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Whatever you call it – forest bathing, ecotherapy, mindfulness in nature, green time or the wilderness cure - humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your brain benefits from spending time in nature.
Whether watching a sunset, sitting by a stream, walking the beach, camping in the bush or even eating your lunch in the garden or park during your workday, make some time each week to leave your phone inside and connect with the great outdoors.
Mindful skincare ritual
We all feel the pressures of time and responsibility and this often means rushing through our beauty routine without really being present. But Syrene's beautiful skincare range is there to remind you to find moments in your day to relax, be mindful and enjoy your lovely products. Our morning and evening skincare routine offer a lovely opportunity for daily mindfulness and to turn your routine into a mindful ritual.
Simply shut out any distractions, slow down and take a few minutes to tune into each of your senses and really soak up the beautiful sights, smells and feel of your products, the water and your skin. By doing this, we can reconnect with ourselves and find a little space in our busy day, whilst looking after our mind, body and our skin.
For more science based strategies to reduce stress so you can enhance health, happiness and performance, visit the Mind Bright website or follow Mind Bright on Instagram.