How Anxiety and Stress Affects Our Appearance


Feeling anxious and stressed out is no fun for anyone. Mounting tensions at work, issues at home, a rough commute or a rocky relationship can all lead to feeling less than our best. Unfortunately, when we’re anxious and stressed out, our looks can also be affected for a number of reasons. Fortunately, when we learn to be more aware of this, we can take steps to be more aware of our stress and anxiety, learning to manage them more effectively.

How We Treat Our Bodies When We’re Anxious

Anxiety and stress are notorious for having physical tics. This can mean biting all your nails off, twirling your hair and breaking the ends, picking at your skin, scratching, or even pulling your hair out depending on the severity of your distress. All of these actions have obvious, tangible, negative impacts on our physical appearance, but these tics can be extremely hard to manage – especially when you’ve had them for a lifetime.

Additionally, when we’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, we tend to over-rely on unhealthy vices to get us through. For some people, it’s as simple as eating a box of chocolates, but if you’re eating unhealthy food every night, drinking to excess, using drugs or smoking cigarettes, it’s not hard to see how anxiety affects appearance. These and other unhealthy addictions may require professional help.

How Our Bodies Treat Us When We’re Anxious

The way stress hurts our looks isn’t just external. There are more complex things happening inside our bodies when we’re feeling anxious and stressed, and they’re not good for our overall health. Extreme instances of bottled up stress can have a detrimental impact on our health. For example, this source for California based treatment of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder delves into the high risk of self-harm and suicide as a result of not finding a way to manage the emotional anguish accumulated from time spent in war zones.

Stress can also cause the release of the hormone cortisol, which can interact with neurotransmitters and other hormones to cause your body to do counterproductive things. Cortisol can cause your hair growth cycle to speed up, only to leave you stagnating in the hair-loss part of that cycle, leading to thinning hair and greying hair due to finite amounts of follicle pigment being exhausted.

Effectively Handling Stress

Looking and feeling our best means finding a way to effectively handle stress and anxiety. Mental health is very important, and taking the time to check in with ourselves every day is crucial. Begin by making sure you are sustaining yourself by getting a full night of sleep, eating balanced meals and meeting your calorie counts without going too far over or under, and avoiding the excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

Find time every day to do some meditative exercises. A half hour of calm, meditative breathing in the sounds of nature or following your favorite guided meditation can help you to reclaim some of your time and find balance. When it comes to managing personal and work stress, learn to delegate and be honest. It’s okay to say no to going out if you’re overworked, and it’s okay to ask for extra help or clarification on a project.

When we allow stress and anxiety to take over, they wreak havoc on our physical bodies especially our appearance. When we take steps to combat these negative forces in our lives, we are moving towards systemic wellness, a radiant appearance, and full-body healing.