Stress-Induced Habit

I Touch My Face—A Lot.

Stress induced habits are not exactly allergies—but maybe it would help to treat them like allergies. For the next 40 days, my version of Lent, I will be treating my face-touching habit as an allergy. It’s been two days so far (ehem, yes I know… I started Lent a little late). I think I’m grinding my teeth, but so far, so good.

I usually take the 40 days of Lent to try—and inevitably fail—to be super healthy. But, let’s be honest, between a gluten, dairy, carrot, coffee, and some obscure tree allergy, removing something from my diet for Lent just seems like self-torture at this point. I am barely surviving as it is! Instead, I’m going to attempt to refrain from touching my face and, ideally, break a life-long? (not sure when it started) habit.

In my post Trial and Error, I talked about being allergic to my makeup and having to change it. Naturally, the allergic reaction to my makeup resulted in breakouts (more than usual), but what I failed to mention in that post was that I also contribute to those breakouts. Stress does crazy things to you. It makes my hands wander to my face.

Why? Why do I spend nearly 20 minutes at the end of every day poking and prodding at my face for no good reason? Honestly, I don’t know…I guess some people bite their nails, others touch their faces.

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Let me take a moment to defend myself by saying that I wash my hands a lot—a lot! I wish I could say that this hand-washing habit is related to touching my face… hands are everywhere and touch everything. You really don’t want them near your face too much. Is this hand-washing habit related to my face-touching? No. No it is not. My hand-washing habit has to do with my slight germ phobia… (it really is very slight, but it costs me a lot of soap…). But I digress.

So I wash my hands a lot. That makes touching my face just fine, right? No. Believe me, I’ve read article after article about the negatives of touching your face. One of my favorites is the one by The Huffington Post Why You Should Stop Touching Your Face. Believe me, I know.  I know about the germs, and the breakouts, and the potential scarring. I still do it.

Does it grant me some sort of odd sense of satisfaction or relaxation? No. It really doesn’t. My stress levels stay the same. My sense of satisfaction isn’t heightened. The only thing that’s different is that I show up to classes during mid-term and finals week looking like some sort of science experiment from the chin up. Actually, it looks like I’ve had a visible allergic reaction to something or other (So.. ha! Sort of allergy related…not really).

I’ve tried to stop. Once, my mom even half-heartedly threatened to take my Xbox One away the next time I touched my face. I touched it. She didn’t take the Xbox.

And  I’m not willing to try the hypnotherapist (what? Yeah… I don’t know what that is either) thing, as The Huffington Post article suggests. Honestly, who has time for hypnotists anyway? I’m going to take this Lent time to try mission impossible once more.

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So far, the subject has refrained from touching her face on day one and two. Experiment continues.

Wish me luck!

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