Has anybody told you, you look tired when you’re under a lot of stress? Most of the time, people say “tired” instead of “old” to be kind. But does stress actually age us?
The answer is yes. Stress actually accelerates the rate of aging and this is scientifically backed up. Many are now calling stress as the new biological clock. The bad news is that stress is so powerful that not only does it makes us age faster it also affects our health.
Take for example the current United States president Barrack Obama. For sure, being a president of a nation comes with a lot of stress. And after just a few months of being a president, President Barack Obama’s hair turned grey. On the skin, aging manifests as wrinkles, fine lines, saggy skin, dark circles around the eyes and eye bags.
So how does stress hasten the rate of aging? Scientists started studying telomeres in 2004. Telomeres are the tips of strands of DNA. Picture telomeres as the end tips of your shoelaces. Telomeres actually protect DNA from fraying. When DNA starts to fray, the cell is no longer healthy. In the case of a skin cell, what happens is it stops functioning properly and starts to look aged. In the case of the DNA in a brain cell fraying, memory starts lapsing.
Telomeres act as a protector of the chromosomes in our body’s cells. The body cells continuously divide and as they get damaged, what happens is that the telomeres get shorter. Telomeres are actually an accurate marker of a body’s biological aging.
It has been discovered that the main enemy of telemores is stress. Signs of aging such as graying hair, wrinkles, fine lines, saggy skin, eyebags, etc. are actually due to the damage caused by stress in telomeres.
Luckily there are ways to combat stress and prevent wrinkles and fine lines from invading your skin very early as well as minimize their appearances.
Perhaps many of us, if not all, hate stress. Although stress has many negative effects, they do come with some positive ones. Stress drives us to achieve and help us feel. There is a distinction between good stress and a bad one. Remember that kind of stress you felt before going down on a huge slope on your skis? This is a good stress as once you went skiing down, the stress went away and instead you were enjoying the ride down. Good stress is those that you only allow to bug you for a short time and the bad ones are those that you allow to linger on and linger on some more. The more you let stress hormones stay in your blood, the more damage they inflict to your telomeres therefore making you age faster.
How you manage stress makes a whole world of difference on the speed at which your body ages. For example, if you’re stuck in a traffic jam and you start tearing your hair out, mumbling and cursing and basically going crazy negative then you’ll be stressed a lot more. But if you just accept the fact that you can’t do anything about the situation and you allow yourself to just sit back and relax, you won’t feel stressed out anymore.