How Stress Can Accelerate the Aging Process

How Stress Can Accelerate the Aging Process

You may stress about getting older, but unfortunately that will only speed up the process. There are only five places in the world where people regularly live to be 100, and one of those places is in Costa Rica. Outside of genetics, lifestyle choices largely determine a person’s longevity. Researchers at the U.S. National Institute on Aging have stated that people in “blue zones,” where life expectancy is the highest, stress less and socialize more than the average person.

When you look at the affects stress can have on the body as we age it becomes clear that a relaxed lifestyle is the key to longevity.

{5 Surefire Ways to Reduce Stress Levels}

Lowering your stress levels doesn’t require much time or energy. Doing these five activities on a regular basis is all it takes to relieve the majority of your stress.

Massage

Having a massage isn’t a luxury. It’s a great way to instantly relieve stress, relax muscles and lessen pain without medication. With new products like an electric lift massage table, even mature patients with mobility issues can benefit from the service.

Meditation

Meditation can mean many different things. Chanting, breathing exercises, visualization and praying are all different forms of meditation. The one thing that they all have in common is that the process is meant to relax you and put you in a positive state of mind.

Exercise

The U.S. National Institute on Aging’s reports have also found that being physically active is another common trait among people who age well and live the longest. Staying physically active is a healthy lifestyle choice that lowers stress and can help slow the aging process in the brain.

Reading

Studies from the University of Sussex have found that reading is one of the best relaxants. Getting immersed in a story or article can relax you quicker than listening to music or going for a walk.

Volunteer

Researcher Dan Buettner who studied the blue zones found that people with a purpose live longer, happier lives. Volunteering also increases your social interaction, which is another characteristic of healthy, stress-free people.

{5 Ways Stress Affects Your Body As You Age}

From your brain to your skin, stress impacts nearly every part of your body. Here are 5 ways that stress can have a serious affect on your health as you age.

Inflammation

Stress can cause inflammation in the body, and chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of health disorders. For years doctors have known that stress increases a person’s likelihood for a number of diseases, but they weren’t sure exactly why. Now research has shown that inflammation in the link. A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that chronic psychological stress inhibited regulation of the inflammatory response system.

Accelerated Cell Aging

Stress affects you right down to the cellular level. A study from UC San Francisco found that just thinking of a stressful activity is enough to accelerate the aging of cells. Other studies have found that work-related stress can negatively impact cell DNA. Stress can shorten what’s known as the telomeres in DNA. These can naturally shorten with age, but stress can expedite the process, which leads to cell damage.

Affects Brain Health

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Research has found that chronic stress is a contributing factor in the diseases’ development. UC Berkley researchers also found that the gene activation and deactivation process was accelerated in women that have higher levels of stress. They believe this is one factor that explains why women are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

Deadens Your Senses

As you age, vision and hearing can become less sharp, but stress will make both senses worse. When you are stressed out the body releases adrenaline. This hormone constricts blood vessels, which can cause temporary vision and hearing loss.

Increases Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices

When you’re stressed you are more likely to turn to alcohol, drugs and other means to cope with the stress. Doctors have also found that people who experience chronic stress are less likely to exercise and eat healthy. All of these lifestyle choices have a significant impact on your overall health as you age.

The moral of the story is to live like a Costa Rican – enjoy the world around you and let the stress roll right off your back.

Editorial Team
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