Honestly, I had never given much thought to stress being able to change our brain. I knew stress could directly impact our bodies and our health but never our brains. Or so I thought! This article might help you understand better, what stress can do to our brains.
Why does stress cause hair loss?
“There’s a condition called Telogen Effluvium, where large numbers of hairs are lost after a stressful experience,” explains Annie Chiu, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in California. Normally, Dr. Chiu explains, hairs only shed when they enter a stage called Telogen, and most hairs are in a constant growing phrase, called Anagen. But when you experience stress or shock, Telogen Effluvium, it “pushes growing anagen hairs into telogen, so you will see a ton of hair loss in a short time,” she says.
How quickly can stress affect hair loss?
Eva Proudman, a clinical trichologist in London, says that significant hair loss can be observed a few months after a stressful period. However, the exact ways in which stress manifests itself are complex and will vary based on the person, says Sophia Kogan, M.D., the co-founder and chief medical advisor of Nutrafol. “Someone who has chronic high stress may notice the effects of a stressful event more immediately, compared to others who may need a major stressor or long-term stress to have a meaningful effect on their hair growth,” Dr. Kogan says.
How common is stress-induced hair loss?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 50 percent of women will experience noticeable hair loss in their life. Of those, most of them will experience female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), as this affects roughly 30 million women in the U.S. This is different than stress-induced hair loss, but the Cleveland Clinic confirms that stress is a popular cause of female hair loss.
Can you recover from stress-induced hair loss?
This type of hair loss is temporary and almost always resolves in full recovery. However, it may take longer for someone prone to chronic stress to recover than others since their stress isn’t episodic. Ultimately, Dr. Kogan says that shedding stops when stress stops.
How can you stop or slow down stress-induced hair loss?
The first step seems obvious: relieve yourself from stress. But of course, that’s easier said than done. Dr. Chiu recommends yoga, meditation, lavender aromatherapy, drinking chamomile tea before bedtime, and practicing self-care to help to slow down your stress brain waves. Dr. Kogan agrees, saying that combining lifestyle changes with nutritional shifts can be helpful in reducing stress both inside and out. She suggests taking ashwagandha, a botanical that has been clinically shown to help balance stress hormones and build resilience in chronically stressed adults. Additionally, Dr. Kogan suggests avoiding strict diets or cleanses during a particularly stressful time since they could be additional stressors on the body.
What supplements can help stop hair loss and help hair grow back?
Dr. Chiu advises getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients from your diet first, then considering supplements such as biotin. According to one study, 38 percent of women complaining of hair loss have a biotin deficiency, and since biotin helps convert some nutrients into energy, it can help with both hair and nail growth. “I always recommend 500mcg of oral biotin per day to push through the hair loss cycle faster,” Dr. Chiu says. Additionally, she recommends supplements like Nutrafol and Foligain to address overall hair loss. Nutrafol, as Dr. Kogan notes, contains the stress adaptogen, ashwagandha.
Are there any topical products that can prevent further hair loss and stimulate hair growth?
Yes! Look for products with minoxidil, an FDA-approved active ingredient that’s proven to promote hair regrowth with continued use. According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects may include itchiness and skin irritation, so always do a patch test and wait 24 hours to see how your skin responds to it.
I feel it crush me from the inside
It gives no room for comfort or relief
Constantly grinding and replaying the same way
I feel as if my chest will crumble under the weight of it all.
Looking around for one person strong enough to help
Yet never finding one
Swirling around, they are, from the winds in their own lives
Not able to grasp their own remedy, let alone mine
In one moment, things change
It can go from comfort to distress in the same minute
Sometimes, it comes as if it were a thief
Sometimes, it comes in as cold as ice
This is the life of a person torn into different frays of their life
This is how it will come, how it presents itself
No one is safe from this.
No one, not no one.
1. Remove stress from your life
Make a list of your top sources of stress in your life.
It could be your job, a toxic relationship, your schedule, where you live etc. Then make a plan to make a change.
Completely remove the source of stress OR redefine and restructure the source so it no longer causes you stress OR try to find peace with it.
2. Practice Daily Affirmations and Gratitude
How you show up for your day is how your day will go.
If you start the day dreading your job, if you’re running late and rushing, or if you’re unhappy at home – you’ll show up stressed and unhappy at work.
You’ll be reactive, you’ll be irritated and you will return home at the end of the day stressed, unfulfilled and unhappy.
Alternatively, if you…
- practice affirmations and gratitude in the morning
- nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods
- give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning
….you’ll show up to work calm, balanced and in a good mood.
You’ll be ready to take on the day and everyone in it. You will be more likely to have a positive day and show strength even during stressful times.
3. Do More Deep Breathing and Meditation
If you can control the breath, you can control the mind.
Taking a deep breath is one of the most simple and powerful things you can do to combat daily stress.
When you encounter an obstacle and feel your body going into fight or flight (when you get agitated), close your eyes, take a DEEP SLOW breath.
Breathe in through your nose and release it out through your mouth with a sigh. Do at least 3 rounds of this, bringing your focus inward, focusing on your breath.
Intentional deep breathing will calm the body and the mind and can prevent the activation of your sympathetic nervous system.
In order to reduce stress and have balance in our lives, it’s so important that we find time to wind down and RELAX!
For me, this is where yoga practice comes in. I practice a very mellow, traditional yoga style that helps calm my mind and my body.
For some of you, this might be laying on the couch and watching a movie, taking a bath or cooking. So whatever helps you to relax, wind down and take a break from the grind, DO IT weekly!
How does stress impact your body?
- Adrenaline is released and your adrenals start pumping cortisol
- your heart rate increases
- blood pressure rises
- you become short of breath
- your muscles constrict and tighten
- the digestive system shuts down
- your neurotransmitters and sex hormones go all over the map
Some people get headaches, body aches or pain, diarrhea, acne, anxiety, ulcers, hernias or inflammation.
It’s easy to see that the consistent push into fight or flight mode can have a detrimental effect on our bodies over time. All of this can even lead to things like heart disease and cancer.
Loved lightning only from a far distance
Yet he was like both thunder and lightning.
Strong and poignant
Reckless and sure
His love became her cure.
Only one thing would light up her heart.
It had been him right from the start.
More passionate than tame
He was the fire to her flame.
Inhibited with him she’d be
Even giving up her chance to be free.
It was him and her
The ultimate “we”,
Until that summer late January.
He was on his way to work
He cut his wrist, the blood started to squirt.
He had played with his knife on many of days,
Maybe he shouldn’t of drifted in the way
The semi didn’t see him in time
He lost control and then jack knifed.
The impact was hard as stone
From the lips of a cop, she was suddenly alone.
No more thunder,
No lighting bolts asunder
She couldn’t find her own strength anymore,
Instead she just collapsed upon the floor.
She lost her heart and then her life
If only, he hadn’t opened his knife!