Mitigating the Tolls of Stress on Your Body: Part II

In the last installment, we talked about a recent Fox News Health article that covered a study that showed aging and decline in cell health can be accelerated by stress but that these detrimental effects can be slowed and managed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle even during stressful times in life.

While it’s all well and good to try and maintain a disciplined and healthy lifestyle during stressful periods, we all know that it’s very easy to use bad days as excuses to slip into bad habits.  Bad breakups or losing a job can often lead to unhealthy eating, excessive drinking, lack of sleep and other habits that not only make you feel worse in the long run but could actually be doing damage to your cell health.

So how can we avoid those pitfalls and maintain our discipline even in hard times?  Here are a few techniques that might just help keep a measure of consistency during the good days and the bad.

Get Spiritual

Spirituality means different things for different people.  It can be as structured as daily prayer and attending regular religious services or as free form as meditation.  If you have some form of spiritual expression that helps keep you calm during stressful times, make sure you keep up with it on a consistent basis.  If yoga class helps you achieve some serenity, don’t skip it because you had a hard day.  If anything, those are the times that sticking to your schedule can be the most helpful.

Have Someone to Talk To

Stress can be made worse by bottling it up.  Make sure that when you’re stressed out you have a good support system.  Talking about your worries and your fears with someone you trust will help you share some of the weight of your worries. Sometimes just getting your concerns off your chest will make you feel worlds better.

Don’t Get Lazy with Your Diet

If you have a healthy diet that works for you, try not to use stress or life speedbumps as an excuse to cheat. Eating junk food might give you some temporary comfort, but you’ll almost always regret it and end up feeling worse in the long run.

Exercise Regularly

Dealing with stressful situations sometimes leads to shirking your workout regimen.  Make sure you make time to keep your body active.  It’s been proven time and time again that consistent exercise and being outdoors can help lower stress levels. If you’re stressed about a big project at work, take a break and go for a run, even if it’s only twenty minutes.  Your body and mind will both thank you and you will probably end up being more productive overall than if you had continued staring at your computer screen.

Following these simple rules will help mitigate the tolls of stress on your body.

Feel free to share any techniques for staying disciplined in times of stress in the comments!

Mitigating the Tolls of Stress on Your Body

Effects of Stress

There are many ways to mitigate the physical and mental effects of stress on the body.

Between work, family, and relationships, it can be easy to let stress get the best of you. Many people turn to faith or their spiritual guide to help them through difficult times, but it’s important to remember the steps you can take on your own to make sure the stress you’re feeling at work or at home isn’t taking a toll on your body.

Many studies have shown that stress is not only, well, stressful, but can actually have serious physical effects on your body if not manages correctly.  A recent Fox News Health blog post talks about some of the ways you can take care of your body in times of stress.  You can check out the full article here.

A recently concluded study that followed 239 women over the course of a year found that healthy living practices such as eating well, exercising, and getting the proper amount of sleep can help the detrimental effects of stress on the cellular level.

Telomeres, which the article puts into laymans terms as “the protective caps at the end of chromosomes” can be measured for length.  Every time a cell divides, the telomeres shorten slightly which researchers believe is one of the primary causes of aging.  Stressful events like divorce or loss of a job led to a higher rate of telomere shortening, but healthy living was shown to slow the rate of telomere shortening and in theory, slow the aging process somewhat.

Women with similar stress levels but a less healthy lifestyle showed signs of greater reduction in telomere length and more advanced aging tied directly to stress.

So what does this mean for your day-to-day life? It means that staying disciplined even during times of great stress can lead to better health and slower rates of aging.

That can be easier said than done so check out part 2 where we discuss some methods for making this a reality.