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My Skin Tells A Story

It has been interesting to me to learn and see how closely linked our mind, body and soul health are. And how important the health of each facet are to us as humans. I will start my sharing of these deeply linked pieces by sharing the story of my skin.

10 years ago, I randomly noticed my skin developing some kind of reaction that over the course of about 2 weeks, changed in severity and location. I broke out into a pretty intense hive reaction. Welts started to show up on my arms - itchy and raised. The following day they would be in different places on my arms, and legs, with the welts from the previous day having completely disappeared with no lingering evidence of their existence. It was a skin reaction only - I didn't seem to have experienced any other accompanying symptoms (no swollen throat or itchy eyes, for example). And after about 2 weeks, they disappeared altogether. No known explanation for them - no new foods or products or places visited. No insect or animal bites. Allergy medication helped somewhat, but didn't clear it up.

Now if you know my history -- I have always had sensitive skin that has reacted on various occasions to creams, makeups, and scents -- then you will understand when I wasn't overly concerned once they disappeared. It wasn't highly unusual for my skin to show reaction to something I'd put in or on my body. However, it happened again a few months later. And a few months after that. 10 years later, I am still having these unexplained outbursts of hives, but I have been chasing answers with a variety of health providers during that time so that the severity has lessened, but the frequency has increased. They have become manageable and something I have grown used to living with. That being said, I still don't like it and I still am in search of answers.

This, however, is not my point. What I have discovered, as it was an event that initiated a decade-long health awareness and journey. In this time, I have become more aware of what I put my body through, and I notice that my skin is telling me a story, I just haven't quite learned it's language yet. What I have come to understand, however, is that what I put in my body matters. What I feed it -- and I don't just mean physically - makes a difference day to day. I have discovered what triggers a reaction and what conditions tend to keep things calm and less irritated overall. We all know that what we physically put into our body matters. When we eat more fat, grease and unhealthy foods, our bodies react. They change shape, they eliminate waste differently, our skin sometimes shows us physically what we've done. The interesting piece that I continue to learn, is how the mind and the soul play a great roles in the story too. When I feel a lot of sudden stress, my skin reacts and hives start to show. I have become more aware of how things like meditation and yoga help keep my body (and mind) in a calm and stress-managing state. How feeding these activities to my body, provide a different kind of nourishment - one that goes hand-in-hand with the food I eat.

I find this relationship particularly interesting when one area (let's say food intake) is not well-chosen, directly affects another area. For example, when I eat really bad-for-me foods for too many days in a row, I start to physically feel the effects, but I also emotionally feel the effects. I feel blah, and more negative or grouchy. I want to make a change and know I need too, but it feels hard and my mind can't put the positive motivational spin on it quite as easily. My mind, my body, and my soul health are all related.

Let's look at the opposite affect. When I am really good at getting outdoors and trail walking -- surrounded by nature -- my soul is being fed (the best meal ever, in my opinion). There is nothing that feels quite as healing to my soul, as this. And what I quickly notice, is when my soul feels satisfied, my mind follows suit. I suddenly have more mental clarity and ideas. My motivation is high to push myself and my health forward. I have more energy, which means I will spend time making healthy meals for myself. And the positive healthy cycle continues. My skin becomes less reactive, has a glow, and just "feels" right.

I have managed to create positive healthy routines for myself in the last several years. Eating (mostly) healthy is more natural and more of a lifestyle now.... although I do enjoy food and sugar/alcohol are not eliminated completely. I have created the routine of working out - even when I'm on vacation. This doesn't mean I don't get off track sometimes, but it does mean that I know when I've gone too many days without exercise and my body/mind/soul/skin tell me to get back to it! What I'm now exploring a little more, is my mind and how powerful it is. I know it's closely linked to health by what I feed it. And I also know that it's human nature to feed it a lot of negative thoughts. So I'm more conscious now of what I feed my mind. What I listen to, what I read, what I watch. And most importantly, what I say. How I speak to myself. I'm trying to be more aware of the negative thoughts and beliefs that come up and immediately turn them around. Changing my mindset one thought at a time. This will be a lifelong effort, but that seems to be what good health is. And it is an effort that is worthwhile.

I am training my mind to "love the skin I'm in". I have the power to love myself in all steps to better health. My skin is telling that story. It's the package that's wrapping me up and presenting me to the world. I want to take good care of it by allowing what I do to my mind, body and soul to shine through. Literally.

"Look after yourself from within, and your beauty will shine through on your skin" ~ Shanina Shaik

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