Having acne sucks, I know. Even though it’s not a life-threatening or serious disease, its impact on our emotional health is immense. God knows why it’s so powerful at making us feel so inadequate, isolated and insecure – perhaps because it’s so visible? Or perhaps because our appearance is so closely linked to the way we perceive ourselves? Acne will try and take over your life if you allow it to.
It can make people feel ugly and unloved enough to get angry at themselves or at the world. And acne can lead to a sense of loneliness and isolation. (WebMd)
Remember, being unhappy and stressed will only make acne worse, so don’t let it win! There are ways to make yourself feel better, and you can start right now. Keep reading if you want to learn how to stop acne from taking over your life, in 10 simple steps!
Step 1. Accept it.
That doesn’t mean stop fighting it. Just accept that you have it. Even the deepest problems in life become much more bearable once we accept them. There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about having acne – 3/4 of teenagers have it, and most people have had it at some point in their lives.
“Try to change something you don’t like, and if you really can’t change it, change your attitude towards it.” (WebMD)
Acceptance is a huge step towards finding a solution – sometimes it’s all it takes to unlock your subconscious intuition and knowledge of your body.
Step 2. Stop acne from taking over your life by using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
It’s a popular method of releasing painful emotions. It’s based on the premise that stress worsens acne, so it’s important to wipe out whatever it is that makes you feel stressed. In acne sufferers, it’s usually acne itself or any other negative emotions associated with it.
If you have low self-esteem, you’re probably saying that once you get rid of acne, you’re going to be so self-confident, you’re going to dress up more, you’re going to make more of an effort with your appearance, etc. But the reality is that once acne goes away, self-esteem issues remain. In my case (and I’m sure it applies to many acne sufferers), my anxiety went from being upset about the actual acne to worrying about it coming back. So every single new pimple would cause an army of negative thoughts and emotions racing through me.
The Emotional Freedom Technique is a great way to get rid of those negative thoughts before they take over your life and cause any more pimples. I first read about it on The Love Vitamin – check this page for detailed step-by-step instructions. It works on the same principles as acupuncture and doesn’t take a long time at all. Just tap on certain points of your body in a sequence explained in the article above while focusing on those painful negative emotions, and watch them go away!
Step 3. Build a support system
Find a friend or relative who will listen to you when you need to vent. It’s even better if they have/had acne or any other skin issues in the past. There is nothing better than realizing that you aren’t alone in this battle.
Thanks to the wonderful Internet world, we now have a lot of fantastic support groups and forums online as well. Not only will you find support that you need and will be able to share each other’s best practices but you could potentially find great friends, too!
Step 4. Find ways to nurture yourself
You are special, so treat yourself accordingly. That of course doesn’t mean you need to go on a shopping spree or indulge in an unhealthy dessert. There are so many amazing ways to treat yourself without spending lots of money or making yourself feel guilty.
My rule of thumb: if a treat is going to make you feel worse the day after – maybe you should go for something else.
Pampering yourself is a great way to improve your self-esteem and just in general to feel more positive about yourself and your life.
Just some ideas for feeling nurtured:
- Have a lovely warm bath with candles and aromatic oils.
- Give yourself some time to cuddle up and read your favourite book (I don’t know how about you but this is the treat of my dreams right now – haven’t had time for it in ages).
- Cook a lovely healthy dinner for yourself and your family. Set the table, light the candles and have a lovely glass of red wine – don’t you feel better instantly?
- Go for a relaxing massage or, if money is tight, get your partner to do it for you!
- Buy yourself something small but meaningful – something that will instantly make you feel more beautiful, sexier and just more confident. I’m not a big fan of treating yourself by spending money but sometimes it’s necessary – especially for us girls.
Step 5. Be confident
Don’t let acne stop you from doing things that you want to do. I’ve definitely experienced that in the past – on bad skin days, I used to avoid putting on nice makeup or beautiful clothes. Somehow I just wanted to blend in and I hoped nobody would notice me. Wrong! How about faking the confidence until you actually start feeling more confident? It’s a bit like smiling until you actually start feeling happier. It truly works, have you tried?
Acne doesn’t define you, it’s not who you are – it’s just a little nuisance that will go away sooner or later. There are so many other things in you that are great and unique. Sit down and write a list of everything you love about yourself. See? I told you that you’re great. So why would you want to focus on one annoying little aspect called acne?
Step 6. Stop obsessing over mirrors and picking your skin
I’m not saying that you should cover all the mirrors in your house (although for some it might be a good idea at the beginning) but limit the time you spend obsessing over every single spot in front of a magnifying mirror. I admit I also used to be one of those people who spend ages analysing every single pore. And I did it every time I stepped inside the bathroom! I’m not even talking about the fact that bathroom lighting makes everything look a hundred times worse.
Obsessing over mirrors surely isn’t good but it often leads to skin picking, which will make your skin look much more irritated and may potentially leave scars. It’s a vicious circle and you should definitely get out of it – the next step will help you achieve it.
Step 7. Keep your mind busy or take control of it if you want to stop acne from taking over your life.
Go out with friends. Focus on your studies. Work hard on your dreams. Learn something new. Find a new hobby. Go hiking. Do whatever it is that rocks your boat.
Or you can take control of your mind by practising no-mind. Remember, our mind is just a computer and we should be in control of it. But sometimes our mind gets out of control and takes over our life with destructive negative thoughts. Read more about no-mind and reclaiming your mind back in these two life-changing books: The Power of Now by Eckhard Tolle and A Bug Free Mind by Andy Shaw.
This topic fascinates me, so I’ll certainly be writing more about it in the near future. Stay tuned!
Step 8. Be positive by being grateful and practising visualization
Write down a list of everything you are grateful for: experiences, emotions, things, people you love, etc. You can even be grateful for people who have hurt you because they’ve made you stronger and wiser.
Then spend 15 minutes every day focusing on each point one by one, trying to relive the happy moments, focusing on the feelings of intense gratefulness. You’ll feel instantly recharged.
Visualization is also a great tool – not only will it make you feel better but it will bring you closer to clear skin as well. Have you heard the saying that thoughts materialize? Both positive and negative! A lot of acne sufferers deep down don’t really believe they will ever have clear skin – I’ve certainly been there. The longer you spend battling with it, the harder it is imagining yourself with clear skin.
Try this exercise: close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine yourself with perfectly clear and beautiful skin. Imagine real situations, such as you walking on the street greeting people with a wide smile on your beautiful face and lots of confidence, imagine getting compliments for your skin or your loved one caressing your cheek and noting how soft is. Be as detailed as possible – the aim is to make it feel real.
With each day of practising it, having clear skin will feel less and less like a dream and more and more like a certain future.
Step 9. Stop acne from taking over your life by exercising regularly
In addition to exercise actually improving your acne, it will also make you feel much more confident and happy, as well as release any accumulated stress. Exercising never fails making one feel empowered – and if you feel empowered, acne will have to hide!
Step 10. Get more sleep
You might be wondering what sleep has to do with your emotional health or acne. Well, it actually does a lot! It’s been proven that “the risk of psychological stress increases by 14% for every hour of sleep you lose a night” (WebMd). Not only will your skin look drier and redder after a bad night’s sleep but you’ll also be more stressed. So don’t skimp on sleep tonight if you want to wake up calmer and happier tomorrow!
And finally, here’s a little picture I made for you – stick it on your fridge, hang it over your desk or pin it to Pinterest. And when you have one of those low moments, just read through the list and pick one of the things you could do right now to make yourself feel better.
Remember, acne will not affect your emotional health unless you allow it to. So don’t wait, put these 10 steps into practice and claim your life back from acne right now!
How do you cope with acne? Do you practise any of the steps? Or would you simply like to leave a comment to say hello?
Title image courtesy of Camdiluv ♥ from Concepción, CHILE (Colours) [CC-BY-SA-2.0] / Wikimedia Commons
Printable image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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