You’ve probably heard that stress can kill, and that is true. However, a recent study shines new light on the issue: It isn’t how often we encounter stress but how we deal with it that influences longevity, especially for women.
The Key to a Long Life
It all revolves around inflammation. When you are stressed, your immune system produces inflammation as part of its response to protect the body. A health threat develops when the inflammation becomes long-term, otherwise known as chronic, because it plays a role in obesity, cancer and heart disease.
Recent research finds the key to a long life is to respond to stress with a positive attitude, as it can considerably reduce inflammation. Any factor that reduces inflammation promotes longevity.
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“A person’s frequency of stress may be less related to inflammation than responses to stress,” said lead author Nancy Sin. “It is how a person reacts to stress that is important.”
Study’s Takeaway: Respond to Stress Calmly
In an 8-day study at Pennsylvania State University, scientists asked 872 adults to report daily on whether or not they encountered stressors. The research team also required participants to rate their positive and negative emotions. This data was compared with the results of blood test for inflammation markers. Examples of stress included arguments with coworkers, family members or friends, as well as discrimination.
The findings, published in Health Psychology, showed inflammation occurred more frequently in those who reacted negatively to stressful events. Women were shown to be particularly at risk.
Although it may be difficult to react to minor everyday stresses calmly and cheerfully, the team involved in the study highly recommends it to decrease inflammation. People who have difficulty coping with stress could have a greater risk of age-related maladies like cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and frailty, noted Sin. The results add to the body of research that shows the emotional response to stress has health implications.
How to Cope with Stress
Emma Young, author of Sane, shares tips on coping with stress with The Telegraph.
• Have a positive attitude. Focusing on the good things in life rather than on the bad can lead to a more optimistic outlook in general.
• Develop friendships. Feeling connected to others is the antidote for loneliness, which can breed depression.
• Exercise to boost the “feel-good” chemicals. Aside from facilitating the release of endorphins in the brain, regular exercise enables people to calm down faster after a stressful event
• Get out of your comfort zone. Instead of avoiding all stressors, push yourself to do something that intimidates you a little. This will build confidence.
Young’s insights center on improving overall mental health. The underlying premise seems to be if a person is emotionally healthy, they will be better able to cope with stress.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.