“Un-gray’ your hair by making these simple lifestyle changes
(NaturalHealth365) These days it’s tough to avoid stress. It seems that the more technology we get to make our lives easier, it ultimately ends up stressing us out. For some, it’s just a matter of being too busy. For others, it’s work situations. And still, others have family and personal issues that bring stress on them, like a freight train.
The truth is, no matter how many new gadgets are introduced to our society, we are overstressed. And while chronic stress can take a toll on our health in a number of ways, one of its most well-known consequences is the unwanted gray hair.
75 percent of American adults experience symptoms of stress
Stress is a part of life in modern society. We cannot escape it, no matter how hard we try. And the numbers don’t lie:
- More than ¾ of U.S. adults report having classic stress symptoms like sleep problems, tiredness, and headache
- Almost half of adults in the U.S. report that stress has had a negative effect on their behavior
- More than 80% of employees in the U.S. say that their work environment is stressful
And how has stress affected these people?
- 49% say it affected their behavior in a negative way
- 32% say it caused them to struggle when making fundamental decisions like what to eat or what to wear
- 21% say it increased tension in their bodies
- 20% say it caused them to be irritable and “snap” at people
- 20% say it caused them to have mood swings unexpectedly
If you’ve been feeling the stress and noticed a few grey hairs emerging, take heart. It’s not too late to stop stress-related grays in their tracks. And even if you have a head full of gray hair, you can still benefit from these science-backed stress relievers by making you healthier and feeling more positive.
Practicing yoga releases muscle tension and relieves stress … plus, much MORE
Yoga is an ancient practice that is believed to unite mind, body, and spirit. It involves a series of disciplined and deliberate poses, breathing techniques, and meditation.
How you do it: There are many different types of yoga so it may require some trial and error to find the one that is right for you. A guide will take you through a series of poses and breathing techniques and often some form of meditation to quiet the mind.
The science behind it: Yoga increases blood flow to the muscles through stretching, isolating specific muscle groups, and tense-relax techniques. That increased blood flow extends to the brain and organs as well so that the body is more balanced. Stretching relieves knotted muscles, releasing tension while the focused approach calms the mind. Focused breathing keeps the muscles, brain, and body oxygenated, reducing the fight or flight response.
Make THIS centuries-old practice part of your daily routine
Meditation is a centuries-old practice that addresses mind and body. It can bring a person to a state of deep relaxation of the body and quiet the mind. Its benefits extend to physical health as well as emotional health.
How you do it: Depending on the type of meditation used, it can involve silently repeating a calming phrase, thought, or word; visualizing things to ground you; or even just controlled, mindful breathing.
The science behind it: Meditation done regularly for at least one month increases blood flow to the brain, specifically the cortex, prefrontal cortex, midbrain, thalamus, caudate, and putamen. Studies show a significant difference in the thalamus, particularly in areas related to autonomic function and emotion. It also reduces cortisol secretion, which indicates a reduction in stress and a reduction in the reactivity to stressors.
Use guided imagery to calm the mind and body
Guided imagery uses visualization techniques that help move the mind and body into a state of relaxation. It is used in many therapeutic settings for emotional trauma, PTSD, and stress, but also for managing chronic pain and illness, even treating certain types of cancer.
How you do it: Some types of guided imagery have a person who acts as a guide to talk you through the visualization session. Other types allow you to guide yourself. For example, you find a quiet place with no distractions, sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and imagine something that relaxes you. It involves all the senses so you will visualize the sounds, sights, and tactile experiences, such as the sun on your skin during the session.
The science behind it: Guided imagery uses the brain’s power to put the body in a stress-free space. As the person visualizes the place and adds the details, the brain accepts the input as reality and believes the person is in that place. The body responds as if the person really is in that place so that the breathing becomes deeper and more regular, tension is released, and the mind is calmed.
Improve your mood with regular exercise
For decades, runners have known that regular exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve mood. A “runner’s high” is a common occurrence in not just runners but many people who exercise in many different ways. And this is what makes it such a great stress management technique.
How you do it: The type of exercise does not really matter as long as it gets the heart rate up and keeps it up for a period of time. Walking, running, dancing, strength training, interval training, and biking are all great types of exercise. The key is to do these exercises a minimum of three times a week, preferably five times a week.
The science behind it: Exercise boosts the body’s production of endorphins, improving mood and reducing stress by producing a feeling that is often referred to as euphoric. It also increases adrenaline in the body in a way that closely mimics stress response. In this way, it acts as a training ground to teach all of the body’s systems to work together for a more effective and efficient way of managing and responding to stress.
A simple technique you can try to manage stress more effectively
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a technique used for relaxation and stress relief. It helps to release tension in the muscles which can relieve chronic pain as well as ease anxiety and stress.
How you do it: Tense your muscles, then relax them, one muscle group at a time.
The science behind it: PMR is believed to reduce symptoms of stress by increasing the blood flow to the major muscles and decreasing stress hormone activity, which decreases muscle tension.
Even if these stress-relieving techniques don’t exactly “un-gray” your hair, they will make you feel better and improve your health and wellbeing. So try one or several and see what a difference these natural stress relief techniques can make in your life.
As a “side note:” Here is a non-toxic way to eliminate gray hair.
Sources for this article include: