A little stress can be a great motivator, but chronic and acute stress levels can create a host of problems, one of them being hair loss. While this is rare cause of hair loss, if stress is the cause of your hair loss, there are things we can do to manage our stress levels and minimize its impact on the health of our hair. The key is early recognition followed by appropriate lifestyle modifications. Here are ten tips that all chronically stressed men should consider:
1. Make sure you have enough emotional support
Depending on our upbringing and other factors, many men have been taught to avoid emotional sharing. This can create a tendency to internalize problems out of a belief that silence equates to strength. Unfortunately, those tendencies can completely exacerbate stress levels. The onset of hair loss can be emotionally devastating and can be a source of increased stress in and of itself.
Being able to talk about problems and challenges with a few close friends and family members will provide you with an emotional outlet that could change your life as well as your hair health. Taking advantage of that outlet will allow others to provide the emotional support you need in order to more effectively manage periods of high stress.
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2. Reduce physical stress
The first step in effective stress control is the ability to recognize common symptoms of stress. In addition to hair loss, those symptoms could include: headache, reduced energy, insomnia, stomach problems, unusual aches and pains, and loss of sexual desire. Pay attention to your body. It will tell you when your stress levels have reached a point that is detrimental to your overall health and well-being. Try to get outside and play sports or go to the gym to blow off steam.
3. Examine your workplace stressors
Our workplaces are prime sources of stress-related hair loss. Are you aware of what is causing your stress at work? Spend some time evaluating that question. Take an objective and holistic look at your work environment and try and identify those areas that create undue stress. Those stressors can be related to people, activities, workload, specific responsibilities, etc. Some may be obvious, others may be subtler.
Once you have identified your primary stress points, you can begin to take steps to mitigate their impact. In some cases, just being aware of the stress triggers can be beneficial. That knowledge will allow you to take steps to either avoid those triggers entirely or to develop strategies to more appropriately respond to them.
4. Talk to a therapist
Don’t be afraid to consult a therapist. Being able to openly discuss problems with a trained professional can be an extremely effective stress-management technique. You may find that you are willing to share issues more freely with a third-party than you are with friends and family.
As with most things, the benefit you derive from therapy will only be as good as the effort you put into it. Try to be honest when discussing your issues and treat all feedback you receive as objectively as possible.
5. Laugh on a daily basis
Laughter is indeed a universal balm. At times of great stress, a simple chuckle can take the edge off of your anxiety. You are unique, with your own sense of humor. Take time out of your day to search for those things that make you laugh. Don’t hesitate to laugh at yourself. Some of our stress can be related to our own sense of self-importance. Put yourself back in perspective with some good self-deprecating humor.
6. Avoid unhealthy relationships
Part of the human condition is the inevitable formation of relationships that turn out to be unhealthy. We have all had them. If you have stressful relationships that are taking a toll on you, look at whether you have set healthy boundaries with these individuals. Do you feel like you can take time to yourself away from them without issue? If so, this is a sign that you have good boundaries. Boundaries ensure that others respect your need for freedom and your need to take care of yourself. Look into healthy boundary setting if you feel that you have too many people in your life who just add stress.
7. Eat healthier
We all know the effect that poor diet has upon our physical health. But what about diet and stress? Some foods can create stress while others can help relieve it. Pay attention to your intake of sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed carbs, caffeine, and alcohol. Too much of any of those substances can increase your stress levels. Some stress-friendly foods to consider would include: nuts, fruits, dark chocolate, and foods that contain natural, non-processed, carbs. Focusing on your dietary habits can help control your stress levels.
8. Start working out
Few things provide natural stress-relief like exercise. When acute stress has you wound tighter than a clock, a half-hour or so of your favorite exercise will miraculously relax those clock springs and gears.
Establish a workout routine that works for you. Make sure the routine is something that you can adhere to and that your objectives are realistic. You do not have to run marathons to reduce your stress levels. Pick activities that you enjoy and that you will look forward to doing. Making this a long-term commitment is one of the most important things you can do to manage stress and holistically support your hair growth regimen.
9. Use music to help you relax
At the end of a long stressful day, or even during the day if possible, plug into music. When it comes to music of choice—different strokes for different folks. Listen to what works for you. If possible, listen in an environment that is free from sources of distraction.
10. Spend time in nature
For many of us, spending time in the natural world can have an incredibly calming effect on our minds and bodies. Being on or near a body of water or expansive greenery can be both fun and soothing at the same time. Take walks and hikes. Part of the stress relief will come from merely listening and observing. Make nature excursions part of your life’s routine. Mere anticipation of your nature retreats will help reduce your stress levels.
Pay attention to your stress and you can prevent hair loss
Stress-related hair loss can be prevented. The key is early recognition and action. Paying attention to your sources of stress and taking steps necessary to manage your stress levels will help you avoid, or at least minimize, your hair loss. Reduce your stress and keep more of your hair.