Three keys to combat stress

Stress is one of your skin's worst enemies

Did you know that stress can add years to your complexion? Tension and worry provoke a veritable avalanche of free radicals, as well as generating natural irritants that cause damage to even the healthiest of complexions. Avoiding and reducing stress won't just benefit your skin, though: it will raise your defences and be good for you both physically and mentally.

Breathe deep
When it all gets too much and you feel you're about to explode: take time out. Count to ten. And while you're doing it, focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, feeling your lungs fill with air, and then out through your mouth until you feel them empty completely. It's a simple trick that can help you calm down almost immediately.

Keep fit
Quite simply, regular, moderate exercise is good for you. It brings with it a number of health benefits – weight control, circulation, blood pressure – but in particular it releases tension and helps you sleep better. Remember that keeping fit doesn't necessarily mean spending hours working out at the gym: it could be taking a dance class or going for a brisk walk with the dog when you get home from work.

Relax your mind

Nowadays, we are probably exposed to more information and mental stimuli than ever before, and the accumulation can leave us exhausted and intellectually empty. This means it's essential to take time each day to recharge your batteries. You can do this with relaxation or meditation exercises, or with Eastern techniques such as yoga or tai chi, which have proved extraordinarily effective in increasing mental and physical health for all ages.

Remember: stress builds up over time; rather than waiting for it to become a problem, it's best dealt with it by adopting regular, healthy habits as part of your daily routine.

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