Holiday time is here…and with it comes an increase in stress levels. While most everyone looks forward to and enjoys the holiday season, it brings with it some of the most stressful times of the year.
It is noted by the American Psychological Association that almost 40% of people reveal that their stress levels increase during this time of the year and most people say that they feel some stress most other times during the year.
Chronic stress, or spiks due to the holidays or other external factors, can disrupt your sleep, affect your energy levels, increase your risk for illness, and it’s very damaging for your hair health.
Prolonged stress can even force your hair from the Anagen, or growth phase, into the Telogen, or resting phase, very quickly and with more than normal hair shedding can cause thinning across the scalp.
A couple of months after the hairs are forced into the Telogen phase you will experience more than normal hair loss as the body sheds those hairs rapidly causing you so see more scalp. This can be very disturbing and cause additional stress creating a “vicious cycle” of increased stress and hair shedding.
There have even been recent studies to prove these scenarios to be true.
A recent Harvard study details how stress contributes to hair loss.
In this study, researchers subjected mice to prolonged stress over many weeks.
What’s interesting is not only did this stress shift mice hair into the telogen phase, forcing their hair follicles into the resting phase… they also lost the ability to regrow new hair!
Scientists believe that stress affects the dermal papilla, a cluster of cells at the base of the hair follicle that acts like a “seed” for new hair.
In conclusion….stress is damaging for the look, feel, and health of your hair.
If you’re shedding more hair than normal, and you’ve been under stress, it’s likely the two are linked.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce stress, which can help you feel better and improve the health of your hair as well.
Regular exercise id the best way to reduce stress for the body.
Exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates production of endorphins (“feel-good” hormones), helping you feel calm and relaxed.
As little as 15 minutes of aerobic exercise — such as a jog or brisk walk — can reduce stress.
Studies have shown that just spending some time in nature is a great stress reducer.
You can also relax through meditation, acupuncture, yoga, prayer, or taking an afternoon for “me time”.
For those of you that are already exercising and practicing relaxation techniques but you’re still feeling stressed, there are additional tools to help keep your stress in check as we move towards the holiday season.
A supplement called ashwagandha may help in reducing your stress and calming your body.
Ashwagandha is a generally safe adaptogenic herb that’s been used for centuries to help people cope with stress in a healthy way.
Modern studies confirm what ancient healers have known for centuries: ashwagandha works wonders to help address the negative effects of too much stress.
In a recent clinical trial, scientists gathered a group of adults with a history of chronic stress.
Half of these participants were given 1200mg of ashwagandha for 60 days; the other half were given a placebo.
At the end of the study, the scientists were stunned by the results.
The folks taking a placebo were just as stressed out as ever.
But the men and women taking ashwagandha reported feeling significantly less stress and anxiety.
What’s more, blood tests revealed that these men and women also had dramatically lower levels of cortisol (the “stress hormone”) coursing in their veins than the people who only took a placebo.
In conclusion…do everything you can to reduce the stress levels in you life to aid in overall increased body and hair health.