Staying Healthy Tips 7-10
7. Your skin is a mess.
Freak out, and the next thing you know you might break out. "Stress can affect the levels of the male-like hormone called androgen in the body, which trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to clogged pores and pimples," says Diane Berson, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New York City. Stress also stimulates the skin's nerve endings, causing flare-ups of skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis. Even cold sores can be blamed on too much tension. "Stress wears down your immune system, enabling the viruses that cause these sores to reactivate," says Rena Fortier, M.D., a dermatologist with Long Ridge Dermatology, in Stamford, Connecticut.
8. Your cuts and scrapes just won't go away.
A study from Ohio State University, in Columbus, found that psychological stress can make injuries take longer to heal. In the study, doctors gave women who were caring for chronically ill relatives and women in a control group small skin wounds on their forearms. Despite receiving the exact same methods of cleaning and bandaging, the caregivers' wounds took an average of nine days longer to heal. Just think what mellowing out could do for all those unsightly nicks from shaving your legs.
9. You forget your kids' names.
The babysitter's late, you're due at a parent-teacher conference in five minutes, and your preschooler just tried to flush the cat down the toilet. You try to shout at him to stop, but you draw a blank -- or call him by his sister's name. Have you finally lost it for good? Not quite. "High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can temporarily impair your ability to recall well-known information," explains James McGaugh, Ph.D., director of the Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California at Irvine. Even more depressing: Research shows that chronic stress may actually damage brain cells.
10. You may have a harder time getting pregnant. "Stress negatively impacts every organ of the body, including the reproductive system," says Parents adviser Alice Domar, Ph.D., author of Conquering Infertility. "The more stressed and depressed a woman is, the less likely she is to conceive." There's good news though: Learning how to use relaxation techniques and stress-coping skills to reduce your psychological distress can boost your chances of getting pregnant. "Not only does learning how to control stress help you conceive, but it also makes you a healthier, happier person," Dr. Domar says. And let's face it, what mom doesn't want that?