Caption: The way we cope with stress can affect our health.

Alternate Text: The way we cope with stress can affect our health.

Issue Codes

Nutrition

While the body’s natural responses to stress were once an essential asset to our survival as a species, in this day and age, fight-or-flight scenarios tend to be few and far between. Of course, that doesn’t stop the onslaught of cortisol and andrenaline that seems to flood our systems whenever we get reprimanded by a superior at work, or caught in a traffic jam on the way to a big social event.

Given the health complications that can arise when this natural instinct sets in too frequently, it’s clear why so many people are looking for ways to cut down on the amount of stress in their lives. But, according to a study released by Pennsylvania State University, the way that we cope with anxiety-inducing events as they happen may have a greater impact on our future health than the actual amount of stressors we encounter regularly.

ScienceDaily reports that researchers from Penn State reviewed data from the National Institute of Aging and contacted 2,000 individuals in 1995 and 2005 to discuss their lifestyles, including how often they felt frazzled and how they coped with various stressors. Based on these surveys, the analysts discovered that people who were better able to move on after a stressful event, rather than fixate on it for an extended period, were more likely to age gracefully and suffered from fewer chronic conditions 10 years after their initial interviews.

So, even if you encounter a heavy dose of stress in your professional or personal life, the researchers concluded that you can counteract the effects of stress-based hormones by taking a deep breath and training yourself to simply let go of any lingering anger or resentment following an uncomfortable event.

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Extract:

The body’s natural responses to stress were once an essential asset to our survival as a species

                Marina M. Pearsall, M.D., Ph.D.

                Gurney F. Pearsall, Jr., M.D.

                Longevity Centres of America

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