STRESS, DIS-STRESS AND AGING

by Wayne Gendel

Stress is acute, Dis-Stress is chronic. Short term is considered a normal part of life.

When it is chronic or long term – weeks, months and years this is one of the biggest factors in pre-mature aging! It reduces hormone output!

Reducing stress is a key factor in our survival for avoiding chronic illnesses. Stanford University doctors found that women with metastatic breast cancer whose daytime levels of stress hormones such as cortisol (a marker for psychological stress) were higher than normal died on average one year earlier than those whose stress marker hormones were lower. (Journal of National Cancer Institute, 7/00)

It was also noted in the Okinawa Program, 2001 that the rate of breast cancer in longer lived healthier cultures was only one in 16,666 as compared to one in ten women in North America, and half the death rate from it as compared to North Americans.

Excess stress leads to elimination of potassium from our cells and retention of sodium. This is the exact opposite of what human cells need. Like a battery the cells create energy from minerals and the ideal ratio in nature is 4 to 1 potassium to sodium!

Chronic stress from unresolved emotional issues, physical injury, spiritual and nvironmental causes can create a lowered immune system due to the excess neurochemicals such as nor-epinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol stress hormones. The hippocampus area in the brain has been documented to shrink during excess chronic stress. This is the main area for memory function in the brain. No wonder memory loss is such a common factor among stressed elders.

Meditation, guided imagery, music, physical exercise, yoga, massage, optimistic/positive attitude, breathing and good diet are among the many mind-body techniques that can help manage dis-stress. The above mentioned techniques have been shown to have a calming reaction to reduce flare-ups of psoriasis, lower blood pressure, lessen addictive cravings, relieve depression and even help with overcoming infertility by boosting fertility rates!

The Biggest Factor? Attitude!

Thinking positive might yet be the most important factor in living a long healthy life. Just read Louise L. Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Body” and learn how negative emotional thoughts and unresolved emotions affect our bodies! Norman Cousins in his book “The Anatomy of Illness” tells how he watched comedy videos and laughed himself well. Many who have cancer report that when they start to laugh and even at themselves, they feel better!

One of the best examples of a low stress attitude is from Jeanne Calment – the oldest documented living person at 122 years young who was quoted by her biographer Jean-Marie Robine – “If you can’t do anything about it, then don’t worry about it”. Bravo Jeanne!

Live Long and Stay Forever Healthy!