Stress and Ageing
Stress is difficult to define because it is a personal sensation associated with varied symptoms that differ for each of us. In addition, stress is not always a synonym for distress. Situations like a steep roller coaster ride that cause fear and anxiety for some can prove highly pleasurable for others. Winning a race or election may be more stressful than losing but this is good stress.
As the level of pressure gets too great, stress eventually surpasses our ability to cope with it in a positive way. Often, people describe themselves as being stressed out, burned out, or at wits end. At this point, it is important to find positive and productive ways to deal with the stress and, more importantly, to address the person or situation that is causing the stress.
You may likely feel a stomach ache coming or experience diarrhoea when you're stressed out. You also tend to feel hunger pangs resulting to weight gain. Stress also makes you susceptible to sickness like colds and other infections in addition to skin problems, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and loss of sex drive.
Stress also speeds up aging. According to a study done by the doctors in University of California at San Francisco, chronically stressed women displayed chromosomal changes characteristic of increased ageing. They found out that the telomeres (found at the ends of the chromosomes) of these women tend to be shorter than the less-stressed women. Telomeres trim as we age; thereby the length of the telomeres is an indication of ageing. When telomeres cannot be possibly any shorter, they die out which is evident in skin wrinkles, organ failure, etc.
That's why you need to lower the level of stress in your life. You can do that by taking care of your body and leading a healthy lifestyle. Have a balanced diet, sleep well, and have regular exercise. Relax and try to be optimistic everyday. Take up a hobby that will help you take your mind off things like reading, knitting, collecting stamps, playing sports, or gardening. Join a club or organization where you can meet other folks with the same hobby's. Try joining the community play, take up dancing classes and acting workshops, help in local charities or fund raisers. Who knows you might even discover your hidden talents?
To get a handle on stress, you first need to learn how to recognize it in yourself. Stress affects the mind, body, and behaviour in many ways all directly tied to the physiological changes of the fight-or-flight response. The specific signs and symptoms of stress vary widely from person to person. Some people primarily experience physical symptoms, such as low back pain, stomach problems, and skin outbreaks. In others, the stress pattern centres around emotional symptoms, such as crying jags or hypersensitivity. For still others, changes in the way they think or behave predominates.
Another good tip is having your regular medical check-ups to ensure your good health every time. Sometimes, when your level of stress is remarkably high, you need to get help. Seek out the support of friends and family, change jobs, re-prioritize your life, or consult with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker.