“Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress. It requires hard work and dedication, but over time, you can equip yourself to handle whatever life throws your way without adverse effects to your health. Training your brain to manage stress won’t just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.”
Stress and your body
Stress is a part of the body’s natural response system, and as such, there is an evolutionary advantage to stress (most notably in survival situations). When we experience stress certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol increase. These hormones impact our bodies in a very particular way. Adrenaline gives your body a massive boost of energy, increases heart rate, and elevates blood pressure. Cortisol raises the glucose levels in the bloodstream and helps to enhance your brain’s functions. Cortisol also reduces functions that are not necessary for a typical fight or flight response, for example, when stressed the immune system and digestive system are both suppressed.
Typically, the body’s stress response will subside naturally, and the stress “symptoms” (i.e., blood pressure and heart rate) will return to baseline. The real threat of stress lies in long-term activation. With prolonged stress, you can start to experience some massively damaging side effects such as anxiety, digestive issues, problems sleeping, heart complications, and even hair loss!
How stress impacts your hair
There are known hair loss conditions associated with high levels of stress such as trichotillomania, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium.
Trichotillomania usually develops around puberty and is defined as the compulsion to pull out hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, or scalp hair. Trichotillomania is a response to stress, frustration, anxiety, and other uncomfortable emotions. In a sense, this condition serves as a coping or calming mechanism as the person is able to redirect their focus from what they are feeling to a more structured and repetitive behavior, that is hair pulling. Trichotillomania is a very complex disorder, one that may require professional assistance to resolve completely. Luckily, there are resources available if you or someone you know has trichotillomania.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. In the case of alopecia areata, it may be an inaccuracy to say that stress in the cause; stress can trigger alopecia areata and the subsequent hair loss, but not directly cause it. As the condition is genetic some people simply have a predisposition to this form of hair loss.
Telogen effluvium is a condition in which immense stress causes a large quantity of hair follicles to enter the resting phase in the hair growth cycle prematurely. Within a relatively short period (a few months) the hair that has been impacted might fall out as a result of interact action (like washing or brushing). To effectively combat telogen effluvium, you must first determine the underlying cause.
How to reduce stress in your daily life
Regardless of whether or not you are experiencing hair loss due to stress, reducing the amount of stress, as well as developing coping mechanisms can be beneficial. Here are a couple of ways to help you manage stress.
Firstly, avoid known stressors in your life. While it’s impossible to avoid things that may stress you out entirely you can reduce the amount of exposure to stressors in your life to some degree. Reduce the amount of time you spend watching the news and excuse yourself from stressful situations when possible. Also, be mindful of how you start your day. Do your best to get your day started off positively. According to research conducted by University of Pennsylvania exposure to negative news for just 3 minutes increased the chances of having an unpleasant day by almost 30%.
Find coping mechanisms
We cannot control every aspect of our lives, but we can control our reactions. Incorporate a few coping mechanisms into your life to help reduce stress. Practicing breathing exercises, and meditation are a couple of ways some people deal with stress. Find out what works best for you. The less time you experience stress, the less stress will impact your health, body, and mind.
While we don’t have a magic product that will eliminate stress from your life we can help you recover from some stress-related hair loss conditions. To learn about any of our hair regrowth products or how they can help call us at 1-800-800-7577.