Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:28 July 2018
Stress doesn't just make a person feel older. In a very real sense, it can speed up aging.
- The Washington post conducted a study in 2004 in which scientists identified the first direct link between stress and aging. Chronic stress appears to hasten the shriveling of the tips of the bundles of genes inside cells, which shortens their life span and speeds the body's deterioration (according to a study involving mothers caring for chronically ill children).
- Also a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that stress can add years to the age of individual immune system cells. Researchers checked both the telomeres and the stress levels of 58 healthy premenopausal women. The stunning result: on average the immune system cells of highly stressed women had aged by an extra 10 years.
The study focused on telomeres, caps on the end of chromosomes. Whenever a cell divides, the telomeres in that cell get a little shorter and a little more time runs off the clock. When the telomere becomes too short, time runs out: The cell can no longer divide or replenish itself. This is a key process of aging, and it's one of the reasons humans can't live forever.
The study didn't explain how stress adds years to cells making up the immune system. As the study authors write, "the exact mechanisms that connect the mind to the cell are unknown." Researchers do have a not-very-surprising theory: Stress hormones could be somehow shortening telomeres and cutting the life span of cells.
- Years of emotional distress may even increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. A five-year study of nearly 800 priests and nuns published in the journal Neurology highlighted this potential hazard. The subjects who reported the most stress were twice as likely as the least-stressed subjects to develop the disease.
Things to keep in mind
At any age, stress is a part of life. Both young and old alike have to face difficult situations and overcome obstacles. While young adults struggle to establish a career, achieve financial security, or juggle work and family demands, older people may face failing health or dwindling finances or the challenges of retaining their independence.
The body's natural resilience to stress can gradually reduce with age. However, many seniors manage to sail through their later years. "Successful agers" tend to have a few things in common:
- they stay connected to friends and family
- they exercise and keep active
- they find ways to both reduce and manage the stress in their lives - often they meditate
- they avoid overeating and eat a wholesome diet
- they supplement with herbals that support youthful vitality, reduce inflammation and nourish the body and the mind
Healthy Aging Tips
Vata dosha governs life from 55 - 60 years onwards. Therefore it is good to favour Vata pacifying foods generally and to add seasonal fruit and vegetables as the seasons change. In this way you will be effortlessly maintaining balance as the seasons change. The key thing is to take food and drink warm or at room temperature, to avoid excessive dry, bitter, astringent or raw foods and to favour warm and unctuous foods. Other tips include
- Boost immunity and healthy cortisol levels
The link between cortisol and vitamin D is high. Get outside and enjoy the sun! Ten minutes of vitamin D on your face is all you need to boost immunity and cortisol levels
- Meditate regularly
Learn about Transcendental Meditation. It has been shown to reverse many of the physiological and neuro-physiological changes associated with the aging process.
- Take helpful herbals
Take Stress Relief 2 tablets prior breakfast and 2 tablets at bedtime. This formulation helps the body to adapt to stress and helps balance the body’s production of cortisol.
Take Youthful Mind to support rejuvenation of the mind, to enhance memory, increase alertness and develop resilience to mental stress, regardless of your age.
Take either Nervous System Support as a general tonic for the mind and body or if your budget allows take Amrit Kalash Nectar and Amrit Kalash Ambrosia. Amrit Kalash supports the mind and body at its innermost essential level and it has been called the Nectar of Immortality.
- Do a Seasonal reset
Complete a gentle seasonal cleanse to remove impurities that have accumulated through the previous season from your body and mind. Aim to do a seasonal reset at the start of Spring, Summer and Autumn.
- Deal with emotion when it arises
Harbouring unresolved grief, anger, excessive emotion or feelings of resentment affect energy levels, sleeping patterns and your ability to manage stress effectively. It can be helpful to talk to someone, a loved one, friend, or someone skilled in listening.
- Set realistic goals and deadlines
A study in the UK showed that when people wrote to do lists the length of a list can be daunting enough to overwhelm you. If this is familiar for you try this instead: write a list of the things that aren't essential to do and then forget about them. Reducing the clutter in your mind increases time efficiency in the day.
- Switch Off: Mentally unwind at the end of a day with an activity you enjoy. Watch the news, play a boardgame, write poetry, anything you like - and enjoy laughter!
There is a traditional saying… Ayurveda gives life to your years, and years to your life. May this be true for you too!
Wishing you the bliss of balance.