Studies show that chronic stress can reduce your lifespan, but you have the power to change this

Studies show that chronic stress can reduce your lifespan, but you have the power to change this

I read something this week and I can’t stop thinking about it:

For men, being under heavy stress shortens their life expectancy by 2.8 years. For women, being under heavy stress shortens their life expectancy by 2.3 years.

Absolutely shocking!

This statistic was captured by a Finnish study in which researchers from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare calculated the effects of lifestyle risk factors to the life expectancy of men and women. The study was based on data collected from men and women aged 25 to 74 in the Finnish National FINRISK Study 1987-2007 through questionnaires and measurements. The rate of mortality was followed until the end of 2014.

Further, in a recent Yale research study, which used an “epigenetic clock” – which is a way to measure biological age by tracking chemical changes in DNA that occur at different times in different people.

The two questions raised and answers (below) were:

1) How much does chronic stress accelerate a biological clock?

  • Stress does make one’s life “clock” tick faster
  • Prolonged stress can increase the risk of heart disease, addiction, mood disorder and PTSD
  • Stress can affect our body’s metabolism leading to obesity and diabetes

2) Are there ways to slow down the epigenetic clock and extend a healthy lifestyle?

  • Individuals can help manage factors by strengthening emotional regulation and self-control
  • Stress doesn’t affect everyone’s health in the same degree.
  • From the study of 444 people, aged 19-50 who provided blood samples – those who scored high on emotional regulation and self-control were more resilient to the effects of stress on aging and insulin resistance
  • Those who were more psychologically resilient, the higher the likelihood that they would live a longer and healthier life.

Key takeaways:

We have the power to make healthier lifestyle choices. Reinforcing emotional regulation and self-control skills – we can actively take measures to increase our life expectancy.

One of the researchers of the Yale study, suggested mindfulness as a strategy to cope with stress. This is taking a few minutes each day to pause, reflect on how you’re feeling, which includes journaling.

To practice mindfulness every day, I choose to take 5-10 minutes of my day with a daily ritual of gua sha. Gua sha massage releases stress in the skin and promotes a sense of well-being. The massage strokes release the ‘feel good hormone’ oxytocin which lowers stress levels in the body, whilst firming the skin.

Choose to take power to change your lifestyle from ‘stress’ to ‘stress-free’ and join the SHANTI 3 community for tips and tricks on reducing your stress levels through gua sha.


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