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Stress May Cause Hair Loss

by Evenes Ruth Mafupa
Don't stress. Be happy

Don’t stress. Be happy!!

If you think you are the only one who is always stressing about something or another, think again. This world is full of stressful things most of which we can’t do anything to change the situation but we stress about them anyway. When a person is stressed for a long period of time without any relief, that person will become distressed or enter into depression and this will lead to an imbalance in the body system which will manifest through physical symptoms like high blood pressure, migraines, chest pain, ulcers, weight gain or loss and excessive shedding of hair.

Stress is said to be the main reason for unexpected hair loss in most people. Alopecia areata which can be caused by severe stress, is a form of hair loss where by white blood cells attack the hair follicle and stops the growth of hair, leading to hair falling out. Emotional or physical stress may also push large numbers of hair to go into resting phase and within a few months, the affected hair will fall out simply by combing or washing it. This usually occurs up to three months after a stressful event and hair may start to grow back after 6 or 9 months. I think this contributes to excessive shedding after childbirth. However it’s said, after childbirth or surgery, hair may also shed excessively because the body registers a time of emergency or time out on hair production in order to concentrate on healing and recovery. This may also lead to hair loss but as I said this kind is only temporary and the hair will grow back.

So, what can be done to avert hair loss due to stress? The answer unfortunately is not clear cut. Since stress is a part of life, we just have to come with ways to manage it. Stress management has become very important for most people just to stay healthy and keep going. There are ways to manage stress and I have listed some of them below.

  • First, you need to identify the source of your stress. Because these are not obvious, start with yourself, your stress inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
  • Accept the responsibility for being stressed. Do not blame it on someone else or something.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress. This includes people who stress you, learning to say “No” if you cannot do something and avoiding conversations that stress you.
  • If you can help it, alter the situation to prevent a stressful outcome.
  • If you can’t alter the situation, then adapt to it so it does not stress you anymore. Something comes to mind right here. The Beitbridge Border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa is so hectic especially during public holidays. At first I used to get so stressed about spending 4 to 6 hours to cross over into Zimbabwe or back to South Africa until I started expecting it to happen and soon it did not stress me anymore. When I can help it, I do not go to Zimbabwe during public holidays especially the Christmas break because then border is just something else.
  • Accept the things you cannot change. So many things in life apparently are not in our control especially other people’s actions. It is indeed a waste of time and energy stressing over them. Rather look at the thing that you can control and that is how you react towards the things that you can’t change.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. There it comes again. Exercise, a balanced diet, less caffeine, less sugar all will help you to manage your stress better.
  • Make time for fun things and relaxation. Go to the local park for a picnic with the family, chat to a good friend and make sure you laugh a lot, go for a walk and be in nature. These are just examples but there are thousands of things that you can do to have fun and relax.
  • Get enough sleep and rest your body. I know there maybe that deadline that you need to meet on a project. Maybe you need to learn how to manage your time well.
  • Don’t drown yourself in alcohol thinking it will save you from your stressful situation. Things like alcohol, cigarettes and drugs will only increase your stress levels in the long run. Stay away from them at all costs.

So hey, stop stressing. Go out and get some fresh air, smell the roses. It is actually a beautiful world out there. Thank God for yet another day. Make the most of your life instead of stressing through life. Laugh, play, rest, relax, take it easy, love, give, cry, pray, forgive especially yourself and others too, be true to yourself and live life as a gift that God gives you daily. If not to yourself, you owe it to Him to be happy.



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