Fresh research findings further link stress with heart disease and with damaged chromosomes. The evidence that stress is detrimental to health is definitely overwhelming. Still, the research studies give a more in-depth understanding of how the damage is being done, which can be used to better apply successful solutions. Natural stress solutions supply lasting relief and promote renewed health.
Link Between Stress and Heart Disease
The European Heart Journal has reported on a study that confirms the link between elevated stress hormones and an increase in the risk of heart disease. There has also been renewed chatter about a November 2004 study, showing how high stress levels affect the body on a cellular level, wearing away and breaking the telomeres (ends) of chromosomes.
Both of these studies verify that stress causes you to age prematurely, and makes you more susceptible to life threatening illness and disease. Stress increases levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the body, and this causes blood clots, which cause heart disease. Stress also causes high blood pressure, which is also a precursor to heart disease. Chronic stress wears down important chromosome telomeres which advances the aging process and causes more susceptibility to tumors and cancer.
Although the body is naturally equipped to repair and regenerate, the natural process of aging and the accelerated aging effects of stress do manifest a physical deterioration.
“The enzyme telomerase restores the length of the telomeres when they get worn and replenishes a portion of the telomeres, allowing the cell to repair itself. As we get older, telomerase production lessens, and consequently our bodies age. As more cells die, the visible effects of aging—diminished eyesight and hearing, wrinkled skin, and loss of muscle—become apparent.” – ABC News
“We were astounded,” Blackburn says, “…the shorter the telomeres were, the worse stress people had had. … that these cells … aged much faster than they should have been aging if they had not had that stress. It was as though there had been in excess of 10 years of extra aging in these individuals’ blood cells. … And that’s actually an underestimate. That’s a very conservative estimate.”
Adequate Sleep and Exercise Reduce Stress
Dr. Marc Siegal of the Fox health team has verified that adequate sleep helps reduce stress hormones and that exercise helps to keep the telomeres healthy. Exercise and meditation is the common prescription doctors give for managing stress. Exercise and meditation increase endorphins in the body, bringing pleasure and releasing stress. They also lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation which effectively wards off cardiovascular disease.
Oftentimes, the level of stress in life dominates the frequency of exercise. There is a need for additional protection and counter measures, to address the insurmountable amounts of stress that invade the life process in these modern times. Natural support is supplied by herbs that are adaptogens. Adaptogens provide balance and they boost the body’s ability to manage stress.
Herbs for Stress
Some formidable herbal adaptogens are Siberian Ginseng, Olive leaf and Rhodiola Rosea. They all reduce stress hormones; induce relaxation, and increase clarity and energy. Rhodiola Rosea also stimulates neurotransmitters; namely, serotonin, which enables the body to adapt to stress by stabilizing moods and enhancing feelings of well being. All these herbs provide assistance and relief during times of stress.
The Most Empowering Way to Eliminate Stress
The most empowering way to eliminate stress, however, is through the thought process. Your view of life, as it presents itself to you, determines your reaction to it; even on a physiological level. Stress can be cut off at the root by maintaining a positive attitude, and an inner faith that you can meet life’s challenges with strength and success.
This doesn’t mean a denial of real and serious circumstances, but it does require an inner calm and an inner joy that reflects onto all your life experiences. Thoughts do become manifestations. Therefore, you can choose the appropriate thoughts to manifest less stressful circumstances in your life. You can choose to pace yourself. You can choose healthy priorities in your life. You can choose to be resilient if disaster hits. You can choose to address conflict with calm control.
In light of the continual confirmations of the ill effects of stress, protecting yourself from stress is of paramount importance. Natural and effective stress solutions can be incorporated into your life. You can effectively combat and even pre-empt stress, and live a healthier and more rewarding life.
Andrea Phillips writes on an array of topics like Health and Nutrition, Organic Agriculture, and Relationships, to name a few. She has also written for a publishing company in Washington, DC, and an organic agricultural newsletter in Israel.