posted on January 23, 2010 22:17
There are 4 major factors that lead to accelerated aging and the erosion of your health.
- Insulin Resistance
- Chronic Stress
- Lack of Sleep
Understanding the causes of aging will help as we look into the steps needed to invigorate our health and improve our chances for healthy longevity.
Stress and Modern Living
Modern life causes us to experience higher stress levels than ever before. Our bodies were created to respond to a few life-threatening situations spaced out over a long period (like coming face to face with a saber -tooth tiger once in a while); situations that called for the "fight or flight" response. These situations create acute stress, that is not long term, not on-going.....and the body responds with adrenalin and cortisol.
The body creates adrenalin which speeds up the heart, and jump starts your muscles, but the primary stress hormone is cortisol. A certain amount is needed to maintain a healthy metabolism, but too much cortisol is linked to a wide range of health issues, including obesity and aging. Unfortunately, our modern lives are filled with stressors...schedules, dead lines, family activities, job demands, traffic, the pervasity of electronic communications; all of which end up being causes of chronic stress.
Common external causes of stress
- Major life changes (moving, marriage, divorce, births, death)
- Relationship difficulties
- Financial problems
- Economic Difficulties
- Being too busy
- Family and children
Common internal causes of stress
- Inability to accept uncertainty
- Negative self-talk
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of assertiveness
Potentially Serious Consequences of Chronic Stress
When faced with chronic stress, people begin to maifest physical symptoms. At first symptoms are relatively mild, like re-occurant headaches and increased susceptibility to minor illnesses (colds/flu). Daily, weekly, monthly chronic stress can create or worsen more serious health problems. Estimates place as many as 90% of doctor’s visits are for symptoms that are at least partially stress-related.
Some stress-influenced conditions:
- accelerated aging processes
- autoimmune diseases
- cancer (possibly)
- cognitive decline
- digestive problems
- disrupted thyroid function
- hair loss
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- increased belly fat
- insulin resistance
- lowered immunity
- obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder
- pain of any kind
- sexual dysfunction
- skin conditions, such as eczema
- sleep problems
- tooth and gum disease
The long list of potentially devastating effects of chronic stress, make it vitally important to learn how to manage stress.
While we can’t eliminate stress from our daily lives, we can take steps to improve the way we deal with it, starting with diet and lifestyle.
Strengthen your relationships
A strong support network is our greatest protection against stress. The pressures of life do not seem as insurmountable when we have trusted friends and family members to count on. Spend time with the people you love and maintain or build a social life.
- Get in touch with old friends
- Take a co-worker to coffee or lunch
- Enroll in a class
- Learn a new hobby
- Meditate or Pray regularly
- Learn Yoga
- Look for the joy in life
- Live with Gratitude
Eat healthily....take multivitimins that include antioxidants which combat the free radicals of stress.
You cannot eliminate stress from modern life, but you can determine how it affects you. Practice restfulness, look for joy, stay calm under pressure, be flexible in body and mind, forgive yourself and forgive others.