How Stress Speeds Up The Aging Process

Have you ever found yourself stressed about stress? The truth is, it can come from a variety of sources such as work, relationships, financial pressures, or health problems that we can’t always control…And while stress can be motivating and help us achieve our goals, excessive or chronic stress can actually create negative physical and genetic changes in our bodies. Stress actually speeds up the aging process.

Changes do happen when we deal with chronic stress.

Stress is a real thing. However, the majority of stress stems from our thoughts. This happens as we anticipate future events, or dwell on the past. It is not so much the physical action of stress, but what our brain (mind) is doing. Psychological stress is responsible for oxidative stress, which in turn actually causes tissue damage. This is why taking time to address what is going on in your mind is so important. 

As we age, our body’s ability to handle stress declines. Our stress response system, which involves the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, becomes less efficient. This means that mental stressors that we might have handled with ease in our younger years can now take a greater toll on our health. Keeping tabs on the mental load you are dealing with can help minimize the mental stress your body is experiencing. 

Telomeres and aging

Our bodies contain structures called telomeres (actually located on the ends of our chromosomes). Each time our cells replicate, these telomeres keep our DNA intact. Without telomeres, important DNA would be lost every time. Our telomeres can actually lengthen, or shorten, depending on the amount of stress our bodies are under. The longer the telomere, the healthier the aging process is. When these shorten, we actually age faster. How do you lengthen your telomeres? Reduce the amount of stress your body is under. 

Physical stressors can play a role in aging too. 

Stress is not just mental, physical stressors can create issues as well. Addressing things like inflammation, blood sugar imbalances and liver health can help reduce the overall stress on your body. This is where the term “inflammaging” comes from…which is an actual increase in the aging process due to inflammation in the body. You have to address the root cause, in order to also lower the physical stress on your body. 

Tips for dealing with stress: 

It’s true that certain supplements like adaptogens and antioxidants can help your body better deal with stress. However, it is better to just not stress

I know what you are thinking… How do I NOT stress?! 

Although we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control how we respond. Luckily, there are several strategies that can help you deal with the stress you encounter physically and emotionally. 

Practice stress-reducing activities such as prayer, meditation, journaling, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. These techniques can help to calm the mind and body and reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. Even a daily walk can help lower cortisol and improve your mood. 

Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. These activities can help to boost overall health and resilience, making it easier to cope with stress. 

Just a note: It is important to seek help when needed. If you are struggling with chronic stress, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist or counselor who can provide support and guidance.

If you need support, reach out to our team! We can help you set up a stress-proof plan that works for you.

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