Does beauty come from within?
And not just physical beauty but true beauty.
How you look look on the outside is a reflection of how you feel on the inside.
But how do you make use of that, how do you apply it?
Well, did you know that science has actually proven a link between feeling good inside and having beautiful skin on the outside?
Just had to check I'd spelt it correctly!
Yes, pyschodermatology studies the relationship between mind and skin. A scientific look at how your skin can manifest what’s going on inside—and how you can heal and beautify your skin through a happier inner life.
In fact, a “meta-study” published by the British Journal of Dermatology found that changing negative thought patterns and cultivating a meditation practice helped heal skin diseases and inflammation in more than 900 patients across 22 studies!
Discovering this was really inspiring for me ... really inspiring because it confirmed something I already knew—when I feel happier and more relaxed, I automatically look better too.
Meditation reduces stress—and less stress makes for healthier skin.
When you’re stressed, your body has all kinds of automatic responses that kick in.
BOOM! Your nervous systems react ... they mobilise the systems in your body to help protect you from stress.
But, when that happens too often in response to small, daily stresses; your systems get worn down. And in turn the systems that feed and nourish your skin are 'taken down' too!
So what can you do to help?
Well, meditation helps your body and brain distinguish between the little stresses of everyday life and real threats that you actually need to respond to.
Over time, meditation stops your body from overreacting to everyday stresses. When your system isn’t overreacting to stress, it can spend its energy healing and repairing.
In one study, psoriasis sufferers listened to meditation tapes while receiving UV light treatments—and healed four times as fast as the non-meditators.
It's Time to Break the Cortisol-inflammation Connection.
When you're stressed your body sets off all sort of automatic responses; one of which is a surge in the hormone cortisol.
The STRESS hormone!
I feel a little stressed even writing about it!
Cortisol triggers inflammation.
Inflammation can break down collagen, which is the protein that keeps skin plump, firm, and vital.
The more cortisol circulating in your system, the more inflammation taxing your skin cells and sapping your collagen supply.
BUT! One of the most effective ways to reduce cortisol levels is regular meditation. One recent study showed a 20% decrease in cortisol levels after four months of regular meditation.
But that doesn't mean you've got to sit crossed legged on the floor, arms raised a little, fingers pinched, eyes closed in the middle of your busy crowded office, sat in the car outside the school run or in the lounge while the family is out!
Start with “mini-meditations.”
If you don’t already have a meditation practice, starting one can feel like just one more thing you’re “supposed” to do.
Meditation shouldn’t feel like one more obligation or stressor. But your skin (and your whole being) will benefit from any amount of mindfulness you can manage.
I’ve found that little things like bringing my attention to my breath for one or two minutes, putting down my phone and tuning into my body as I walk down the street, sitting quietly for thirty seconds in the morning, all help.
If I practice these mini-meditations over time, they make me feel so much more relaxed and happier. It also makes it a whole lot easier to gradually step it up to those twenty minutes, five days a week.
Any amount of meditative awareness you can bring to your day reduces your cortisol levels and calms inflammation. That will lead to more radiant skin.
If you'd like a guide to help you then Henry has found a wonderful 'app' called 'Headspace' that he loves. I'll often find him laying on the sofa, eyes closed with his earphones in! I think there's a free and paid version, we don't have any affiliation in any way shape or form with Headspace.
And go easy on yourself, don’t expect perfection, and experiment with practicing in whatever small ways feel accessible to you.
Before you know it, you’ll be chilling out your neural pathways, calming down your fight-or-flight responses, and nurturing your skin’s innate ability to heal and repair itself.
You might even find a more radiant reflection looking back at you in the mirror!
And remember, no matter what ... you are AMAZING!