Our emotional struggles can end up being reflected in the way our faces and our bodies look. Stress caused by work, family demands and financial responsibilities may physically be expressed in the form of acne, weight loss or gain, or bags under the eyes. The best way to bag the puffy skin under your eyes is to take better care of your body and your mind. Eating and sleeping right, getting professional help for your stress and applying cold compresses can help you get rid of eye bags that are caused by stress.
Sleep It Off
Eye bags are a culmination of fat and fluid gathering under the thin skin near your lower lids. One cause of this accumulation is an inadequate amount of sleep, which can affect your mood and your decision-making ability, and it can sometimes lead to obesity and disease. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep each night in a dark, quiet and comfortable room. If falling asleep is a challenge, try listening to soothing music before bed, and avoid electronic devices such as televisions and computers starting an hour before you go to sleep. You can also consult your doctor about taking an over-the-counter sleep aid when you find that staying asleep is difficult. In addition, try elevating your head with two pillows when you are in bed. The extra slant allows excess fluid to drain downward and keeps your lower lids less puffy.
Take Care of Your Body
Cardiovascular exercise like jogging, or meditation exercise such as yoga, can help reduce stress hormones and increase your mood-enhancing endorphins. In addition, take care of your body by eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables rich in vitamin B1, folate and zinc -- all known to help depression, even out your hormones and keep weight in check. To directly reduce eye bags, drink plenty of water, add a daily cup of green tea to your diet, and limit coffee, salt and alcohol intake. According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, eating antioxidant-rich chocolate can actually help firm up under-eye skin. Also, try getting a massage; massages release the hormone cortisol, and can help lower your blood pressure and lift your mood.
Relax Your Mind
Leave work behind on the weekends and relax your mind. Consider going technology-free for at least one day a week to give your mind a break and allow for more time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. Take time to meditate, either alone at home or in a class; meditation helps to balance out your nervous system, take your mind off of your worries, and decrease your stress level. You may also want to seek the help of a professional psychologist or therapist who can identify the root of your stress and help you cope. If money is a source of stress, contact a financial adviser to help you gain more control of your financial situation.
Home Is Where the Remedy Is
Place a cold compress -- a bag of frozen peas, two cold, wet tea bags, or an eye mask chilled in the fridge -- over your eye bags to restrict the blood vessels and temporarily reduce swelling. Keep these items over the eye bags for at least three minutes while sitting upright. While creams and serums won't get rid of eye bags, they may smooth out the skin and make any wrinkling and puffiness less obvious. Concealer can also help camouflage the bags until you get rid of them for good. A yellow-based concealer covers blue marks, while a yellow-peach conceals brown and yellowish hues.
- Reader's Digest: Under Eye Treatments: What Works and What Doesn’t
- American Psychological Association: Your Mind and Your Body Work Together
- Harvard Health Publications: Benefits of Exercise – Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Helps Fight Depression, From Harvard Men's Health Watch
- Health Services at Columbia University: Bags Under the Eyes -- How? Why?
- Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School: Sleep and Disease Risk
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.