A little stress can be good for your mental and physical health, but too much stress can lead to nervousness, depression, and other health problems. So it’s important to learn to manage stress if you don’t want to grow old. Studies have shown that people who are unable to manage their stress have a 43 percent increased risk of premature death. This may be due to the effect of stress on DNA.
DNA is found in almost every cell (except red blood cells). Your cells constantly make copies of themselves and sometimes mistakes can happen during this process, especially at the level of DNA. These mistakes cause changes in the DNA, due to which the cell becomes carcinogenic. Cells have protective caps on the ends of the DNA, called telomeres, to prevent these mistakes.
stress damages telomeres
Stress management is not beyond our control. Telomeres are damaged due to smoking, excessive drinking, being overweight and stress. When a person is under extreme stress, the telomeres do not work properly and due to this, they start looking prematurely. Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect the lifespan of our cells.
This process can be reversed by improving lifestyle and good eating habits. Apart from this, physical activities like vigorous exercise can also increase telomerase activity, that is, by adopting a healthy lifestyle, the process of aging can be slowed. Managing stress can also keep yourself young for a long time.
May speed up the process of aging cells
As we mentioned earlier, stress is not always bad. According to psychology, there is a difference between positive stress and negative stress. Positive stress is essential to being successful in work, sports, and relationships. When stress becomes so high that it becomes difficult to manage, it is called negative stress and it can accelerate the process of aging your cells. So there is no need to protect yourself from all kinds of stress. Only negative stress needs to be kept away.
In addition to problem solving, social support, and effective stress coping strategies, being mindful can also be helpful in managing stress. In addition, activities that generate positive emotions, including reading a book, listening to music, or playing computer games, can reduce stress. If making lifestyle changes can help you deal with stress, you’ll want to make these changes, and they may increase your lifespan.
(Jolanta Burke and Pedriac J Dunne, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences)