Spring is a season of new beginnings. It evokes thoughts of renewal and growth, and is often a time when we look at starting to get healthy (again!), or do a spring clean of the house, getting rid of things we no longer need to make space for the new. Spring can be an inspiring season and I hope it inspires you to look at how stress may be affecting your life and how you can change it. Happy reading!
HOW STRESS CAUSES AGING
We have heard time and time again that stress is harmful for our health without necessarily taking much notice of it. Recently, interestingly, science has proven this to be a hard fact: stress can affect us negatively deep down to our cells’ building blocks (more specifically our telomeres, which are the tips of chromosomes). To find out more you can watch the TEDmed talk with Calvin Harley and Melissa Epel.
These microscopic telomeres play a huge role in our health and aging process: if they get shorter, they become unstable, and in turn results cells that can no longer divide, causing tissue and organs to fail. Unhealthy habits like skipping exercise, being under stress or indulging in too many fatty foods slowly dwindles the telomeres. Research has shown that people under stress have shorter telomeres, implying greater chances of genetic mutations, disease, and accelerated aging. Chinese Medicine has long advocated a more preventative approach to health, and this recent research only supports the idea that preventing cell aging will help prevent disease to take hold.
Stress can wreak havoc on the tiny telomeres and consequently on the whole body, but we don’t have to let ourselves be ruled by it. Trying to changes our lifestyle and thought processes can be a great help:
Sleep: Give yourself time to replenish your energy.
Eat Well: Stay well nourished in order to be better able to cope with life’s demands under stress.
Exercise: Get the blood pumping to detoxify your mind and body.
Get Acupuncture: Numerous studies have shown that acupuncture reduces the effect of stress through the release of endorphins and the decrease of neuropeptide Y (those tend to be elevated in those with chronic stress and thought to contribute to the physiological stress response).
Meditate: This ancient practice stands the test of time. It allows you to align your breath, body and mind to bring you into a peaceful state.
Talk About it: if the stress is traumatizing you may find the guidance of a licensed therapist or experienced counsellor helpful.
Make your Happiness a Priority, be it through making time to see friends, doing an activity you enjoy, be it yoga, dancing, tennis or even zumba!