It’s a vicious cycle. First, you’re stressed, then you’re stressed about the impact of stress, then you’re stressed about how the hell to curb stress so that you can reduce the impact of stress. And on it goes in a maddening loop.
If you’ve recently endured a traumatic experience, or you suffer from chronic stress as a result of work or lifestyle factors, the very last thing you need is another reason to worry – like losing your hair.
As we know, there are two types of hair loss: telogen effluvium, when hair prematurely moves into its ‘resting phase’ stopping growth, and alopecia areata which is when the immune system attacks the hair follicles causing major shedding.
In both of these scenarios, stress has been indicated as a potential cause. The first step would be to see your doctor to figure out which one of these types of hair loss you’re dealing with and how stress may or may not be involved.
If your hair loss is stress-induced, the next step would be implementing a stress reduction strategy, which isn’t as daunting as it sounds.
Even small changes to your daily practices can have an impact – the key is consistency and patience!
Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing is the quickest way to slow the heart rate and relax the entire body.
A round of inhales to the count of four followed by exhales to the count of six, holding briefly between breaths, will almost immediately activate the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest and repair.
Yes, this is about yoga – an ancient practice that helps to relieve stress by releasing pent-up energy, softening tight muscles and calming the mind through slow, precise movement.
Even a few simple daily yoga poses in your living room will be of benefit.
Studies have shown that daily meditators enjoy a wide range of health benefits including a reduction in blood pressure, inflammation, depression and anxiety.
These benefits are largely attributed to meditations' ability to decrease stress and reset the mind and body back to stasis.
GET OUT IN NATURE.
Ever heard of shinrin-yoku? It relates to the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’, which simply means hanging out in a forest, doing nothing, and connecting with the natural world unencumbered by devices.
Studies on the practice of regular forest bathing have shown very real health benefits including a measurable de-stressing effect.
But if you don’t live in proximity to a forest, that’s ok, immersing yourself in nature of any kind - a beach, a park full of trees – should do the trick.
Why do the remarkable centenarians found in those famous ‘blue zones’ live so long? Because they hang out together and laugh. A lot.
Pleasurable social interaction is key to reducing stress and maintaining overall health. Studies have shown that loneliness is comparable to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, shockingly, smoking as a risk factor for heart disease.
So join a group, make time for friends and engage in human interaction as part of your daily wellness prescription.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT.
Some foods exacerbate the inflammatory stress response, and some foods help to quell it. To combat inflammation avoid sugar, processed foods and trans fats, and stock up on fresh whole foods like vegetables, high-quality protein and healthy fats.
Stress can also deplete the body of essential nutrients such as B-vitamins and Vitamin C, so it may also be helpful to introduce a high-performance supplement like Hair Activist specifically designed to promote hair growth if you’re experiencing stress-induced hair loss.