As if it weren’t bad enough that stress screws your mental well-being, it also messes with your good looks.
Your weight, your hair and your skin all take a turn for the hideous when your worries start to overwhelm you. Even more incredibly, stress hurts your attractiveness on a subliminal level, too.
Studies supporting the idea of stress-induced weight-gain are no fat surprise. Anyone who’s inhaled a fast-food cheeseburger because they’re too damn swamped to prepare a kale protein smoothie knows it well.
But your expanding ass isn’t the result of one stressful week or one shameful trip through the Burger King drive-thru. It’s years of persistent stress screwing with your hormones, cravings and body’s fat storage system.
Studies have found that chronic stress is causally linked to weight gain. Anxiety forces your body to release cortisol, which stimulates your appetite for high-sugar, high-fat foods.
When you’re stressin’ out, greasy food gives you a good ol rush of dopamine. It’s like taking a hit of heroin, with fewer needles and more french fries. Still, an addicting cycle can ensue — you get stressed, and comfort food literally comforts you, so you’ll indulge until you’ve drowned your anxiety in fried chicken.
What’s worse, stress also has a habit of affecting your fat storage system, making you pack on the pounds, particularly around the belly. Before you know it, you’re frazzled and on the fast-track to a dad bod.
Beyond weight, anxiety also takes a toll on your beautiful head of hair. One study found that women who deal with high stress are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss than ladies leading chiller lives. Anxiety also causes premature graying, which can turn you into a silver fox before you even turn 30.
Of all its offenses, stress is cruellest to your skin. It makes you furrow your brow or purse your lips — which inevitably causes wrinkles — and leads you to anxiously pick your skin or bite your nails.
Stress also triggers gross acne and slows your skin’s cell renewal process, generating signs of early aging and making you look like a zit-faced witch.
Perhaps worse than any physical imperfection, however, is what anxiety can do to your subliminal attractiveness. As one fascinating study found, higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol made women appear less attractive to men.
As the lead researcher explained, high levels of cortisol somehow make you look less fertile. Even if you never want to pop out a few kids, you’re still instinctually attracted to the mates most capable of giving you healthy babies.
Do whatever you must to unwind, my hideous friend, because stress does ugly things to us in more ways than one.