Stress can come from just about any avenue of your life. You might be stressed out from work, after an argument with a family member or even as a result of a particularly bad traffic jam.
When stressors like these start to add up, your health may become impacted. Joint pain, gray hair, fatigue, trouble sleeping, weight gain, mood swings—these may sound like the symptoms of getting older, but they’re also the symptoms of a stressed-out lifestyle.
Chronic stress can have drastic effects on your body, mindset and quality of life, expediting the aging process significantly. This is why stress management is a valuable part of any anti-aging program.
How Can Stress Affect My Health?
Chronic stress can impact your mental and physical health, and the effects aren’t always as temporary as you might think. Stress can actually accelerate the aging process, adding an array of discomforts to your life that you may not have otherwise have to deal regularly.
Here are five ways that stress can influence the aging process:
- Higher risk of cognitive decline: Chronic stress can affect your long and short term memory, impair the learning process and increase mental fatigue.
- Higher risk of health conditions: One 2012 study found that work-related stress significantly increased an individual’s risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s. Stress can also cause high blood pressure.
- Vision and hearing loss: Chronic stress can cause blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to dulled vision and hearing loss. These changes are not always permanent, but can become so if high stress levels become chronic.
- Sleep disturbance: Stress impacts sleep in several ways. Stress can make it harder to get to sleep, leave you unable to sleep soundly and keep you up to take care of problems. When severe, stress can also cause sleep disturbances like nightmares and night terrors.
- Weight gain: Many people cope with stress through an unhealthy diet, battling their anxieties by overeating or eating fatty, sugary comfort foods. This can lead to weight gain, which can cause joint pain and increase your risk for obesity-related diseases.
How Can I Manage Stress?
You can start managing stress more efficiently right now. Simple stress-relieving strategies can promote a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk of developing stress-related health problems.
Try managing your stress by:
- Taking short breaks in between stress-inducing tasks at work
- Practicing deep breathing techniques
- Exercising regularly
You don’t need to quit your job to get a handle on stress. Practicing stress management strategies can help you avoid these problems, helping you to focus on rejuvenating your health during your antiaging program.