Your Mind and Your Skin

Do you ever wish your skin could look flawless like the cover models on the magazines?

Well, so do those models.

In America we have an unhealthy obsession with unobtainable and unrealistic standards of beauty. The models on magazines don’t really look like that. They have makeup, professional lighting and then the one picture chosen out of 100 is airbrushed to remove any hint of reality. They might have eczema, psoriasis and zits like the rest of us—-it is just painted over. What difference does it make how they look anyway?

It’s important to check in with yourself about your beliefs and feelings about beauty and your skin. Whether you realize it or not, your mind may be affecting your skin.

The Pearls and Reasons

1. Moderate Stress

Life can be hectic and crazy. Some people feel and know that stress flares up their eczema, psoriasis or other skin condition. When they are under stress their eczema flares or they get zits or dermatitis. If this applies to you, it would be good to figure out some stress reduction techniques. Look into Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation, Deep Breathing Techniques, or even exercise or long walks to burn off some stress.

2. Try Using Attraction

Your mind is powerful. The “Law of Attraction” (as recently popularized in “The Secret”) tells us that what you think creates your reality. Do you find yourself thinking you are ugly? Do you think of yourself as having horrible skin? Do you tell yourself there is no hope? Do you tell yourself that you will never get rid of your zits, eczema, or psoriasis? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you may be programming your subconscious to maintain these flaws and keep your body producing these problems.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not think it is “all in your head”. There are real imbalances in the skin and in individual health that cause psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, etc. But, I DO believe that what you tell yourself can limit improvement or make your problems worse and also cause you more emotional suffering.

Rather than focus on the negative, why not try changing up the mindset? It may take some real effort to change old mental habits, but there is nothing to lose in trying and alot to gain.

Was there a time that your skin was healthy or at least better? When was your eczema or psoriasis under control? Do you have a picture from that time? If so, that shows good potential. You can use that to remind yourself that it is possible for your skin to be better.

Below I give some links on the Law of Attraction but here are a few simple techniques you can apply immediately:

  • Stop negative Self-Talk—Catch yourself each time you start telling yourself that your zits are horrible or your eczema will never go away. Step back and in your mind label this as “negative thinking”. Do not give yourself a hard time about it, but also do not continue. Keep interrupting this tendency and you will take away its sting and break the habit.
  • Program Your Subconscious with the Positive—Two times a day take a few minutes, first thing in the morning and just before bed. Focus your mind and picture your skin at its best—you can use a picture of yourself at that time if you have one. Use the present tense (not the future) and tell yourself your eczema or other skin condition is getting better all the time. Believe and know it, and tell this to your own subconscious with emotion. You have to believe it if you want your mind to be convinced and act upon it. Do it consistently and be patient. You are reprogramming old bad habits and it may take some time. At the very least you will benefit from tapping into the potential power of your mind and ridding yourself of negative views.

3. Know You Are Worthy and Beautiful

Skin problems or not, life is too short to feel crappy. You are not just your skin. You are much more than your eczema or psoriasis. As mentioned above, if you have negative self views, it is possible to cultivate a positive self image. Your negative self talk may be very deep-seated and even from childhood. It may take effort to change, but it is well worth it.

Know that you are beautiful and worthy and cultivate your inner beauty. If you are a centered, happy and fulfilled person you will be attractive to others (and yourself) regardless of what is going on with your skin.

4. Address Unhealthy Obsessions

Are you obsessed with your skin and its flaws? If you are honest with yourself, would you say your focus on your skin is unhealthy? Do you pick at or freak out over every tiny blemish? Do you feel ugly or overly self conscious about what others would consider tiny or normal flaws?

You may have a real condition that should be addressed by a mental health professional. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a condition in which a person has an unhealthy obsession with minor or imagined flaws in their appearance. The problem may not be your minor blemishes or pores; it may be mostly in your head. One study showed that 73% of people with BDD are obsessed with minor flaws in their skin.

If your obsession causes you extreme suffering, depression or causes you to isolate yourself, it may be more an issue of low self-esteem, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder or even a chemical imbalance. If this applies to you, you should seek help from a mental health professional.

Additional Gems

Are you embarrassed by your skin? Do you think everyone is looking at your eczema or psoriasis and judging you? Think again. Reevaluate the reality of this assumption. Do you really pay much attention to or care about other people’s flaws? Most likely not. Everyone is too busy with their own stresses. People don’t have time to worry about your skin problems. If they do pass judgment on you because of your skin then just remember what mom or grandma would say, “If they are so shallow that they judge you based on only what they see, they are not worth your trouble.”

Links for Readers Who Want More

About the Law of Attraction:

The Wikipedia entry on the Law of Attraction is a good place to start. Here it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Attraction_(New_Age)

Another good starting point is the website associated with The Secret. The book and movie of the Secret popularized the Law of Attraction in recent years. Their presentation of it is a bit cheesy, but it is accessible and can get you started:

http://www.thesecret.tv

About Body Dysmorphic Disorder:

If you are concerned that you might really have a problem, here’s a good intro:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_dysmorphic_disorder

Further Reading (Good Books)

  • The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hahn, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0807012390
    A lovely little book on being present and thankful in every day life.
  • Peace in Every Step, Thich Nhat Hahn, Bantam, ISBN 978-0553351392
    Another classic by the same author.
  • The Power of Now, Eckart Tolle, New World Library, ISBN 978-1577314806
    A very accessible and helpful book on breaking negative mental patterns and living to one’s potential.
  • As A Man Thinketh, James Allen, Tarcher; Rev Upd edition, ISBN: 978-1585426386
    Originally published in 1902, this is a classic on the Power of Thought and an early presentation on the Law of Attraction.
  • Think and Grow Rich, Napolean Hill, Filiquarian Publishing, ISBN 978-1599869872
    A great classic on the Law of Attraction as applied to business and financial success, originally published in 1937. Though geared towards success, Hill’s presentation of the principles is very clear and can be applied to any aspect of one’s life.
  • The Secret Rhonda Byrne, Beyond Words Publishing, ISBN 978-1582701707
    A bit cheesy and sensationalist in its presentation, but a good modern interpretation and intro to the Law of Attraction.

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