For some, having acne can tear at self-esteem, create anxiety in social situations, and even lead to depression. The emotional and psychological issues that acne creates are many and, some would say, underestimated. Fortunately, there are healthy ways to fight the stresses associated with having acne. These include realizing that bodily perfection is a myth, grounding yourself emotionally and spiritually, and channeling negative energy into productive physical expressions. Focusing on the value of your inner spirit and joining support groups to talk to others with acne issues can also work wonders on your journey to self-worth in the face of a visible skin condition.
Realize That There Is No Such Thing as Perfection
Rejecting the bodily perfection myth can be the first, big step towards accepting your skin’s condition. No person can claim to have a perfect body. Even the most beautiful person you can imagine will change physical appearance throughout the course of his or her lifetime. Comparing yourself to others, identifying and criticizing your “flaws”, and idealizing any body type can trap you in the cycle of having a negative body image. Those activities block your acceptance of yourself, as you are. Once you stop criticizing yourself for having acne – and comparing yourself to those with clear skin – you are more likely to feel better about yourself as a whole.
Relax, Practice Gratitude, and be Zen
Focusing on physical flaws makes it easy to take for granted all the amazing things your body does for you every day. Many people in the world deal with body issues that are much more than skin deep – they may struggle with diseases, disorders and illnesses that can make acne seem like a walk in the park. Practicing gratitude is a great way to train yourself to recognize positive qualities about your body. Not only will you feel better about your physical vessel, but you will also likely notice a shift in how you perceive your environment, others, and your life, in general. You don’t have to belong to any organized faith to cope with having acne in a spiritual sense. Instead, you can try mental and emotional exercises like meditation that can relieve the stress or anxiety you feel about having acne. So much of the emotional response towards having acne is worrying about what other people think. If you have humility, you are without pride, and you have a better chance at being at peace with yourself. If you practice mindfulness, you can also learn how to better live in the moment, and not worry so much about your acne. Remember that stress can make your acne worse, so do your best to relax.
Sports can be a great outlet. They’re a physical activity, which means that the emphasis is on your body, not your face. The many advantages of participating in sports include an increased ability to cope with stress, decreased depression, and better body image and self-esteem. One final benefit of sports is that they cause you to sweat, and help your blood to circulate, which can expel toxins and reduce the incidence of acne. Sports will also help you build more friendships and recognize the value of teamwork, instead of letting you fall into the trap of self-imposed isolation that many acne suffers experience. Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that has a spiritual component to it. You can even splurge on a facial, acupuncture, or a massage to pamper yourself in a physical way.
Focus on the Inner You
If you think that having acne makes you “ugly”, consider this: having acne can be an opportunity to look within, and see your inner beauty. Your personality, interests, charm, talents, and intellect will always be more important than your skin’s texture. While acne can come and go, those things are here to stay. So, whenever you feel the urge to be down about your acne, take the time you would’ve spent on negative emotions and apply it to participating in your favorite activity, making a new friend, or learning something new. You can even volunteer, as helping other people will make you feel needed and important. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought about your skin, stop yourself and replace it with a positive one about your inner being. You can also try to re-frame negative concepts into positive ones. For example, instead of saying, “I hate my acne”, you can say, “I am thankful for my acne, because it’s taught me so much about acne causes, treatments and coping mechanisms.” Your emotions and spirit will be better for it in the long run.
Join Support Groups
With the strong emphasis that society puts on beauty, it’s not hard to imagine that dealing with acne can be a traumatic experience for some. This experience, however, is not a unique one. More than 80% of the population has suffered from some form of acne, at some time in their lives, with many cases being severe. One way to overcome your anxiety, fears and negative feelings about acne is to connect with those who have it, too, or others who suffer from the same emotional stresses as you. As the saying goes, there is power in numbers, and you can help each other combat your issues together by sharing experiences, trading advice, and offering support.