Stress causes premature aging

During this back-to-school period, consider signing up for Yoga, Tai-chi, meditation groups, etc. stress. This is important for your health because it is now clearly established that emotional imbalances influence the functioning of the body and thus can promote the development of several diseases. This close connection between body and mind is well illustrated by a recent study which shows that excessive and chronic stress changes our chromosomes and thus causes premature aging. Managing your stress and fears will help you live longer and healthier lives.

The brain is an organ that works in close synergy with other organs. In practice, our way of thinking and our emotions are strongly influenced by events taking place in the rest of the body (an injury or illness), just as an imbalance in our mental processes can also favor the development of certain pathologies.

Stress is a particularly eloquent example of the close connection between the brain and the functioning of the body in general. Under normal conditions, stress allows us to anticipate negative events that may occur in the future and to prepare ourselves adequately to deal with them (studying before an important exam to avoid failure, for example). On the other hand, a person who is too stressed can become paralyzed in the face of a difficult situation and be unable to solve the problem they are facing.

Even if this stress is first and foremost a state emotionally, it can then be expressed in the form of unpleasant physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, tremors, dizziness, and even, in the most severe cases, in the form of panic attacks. What goes on in our head can really influence the rest of the body!

Telomeres: the chromosomes in the first line

In addition to being associated with a host of physical problems, studies have shown that excessive stress can also promote the creation of a climate of chronic inflammation and increased stress oxidative in the body. These conditions increase the risk of certain chronic diseases. Research in recent years has revealed a multitude of mechanisms by which this action is exerted.

Telomeres are structures present at the ends of chromosomes that prevent too rapid a loss of our genetic material and thus prevent premature aging of our cells. Could excessive stress accelerate aging by interfering with this protective function of telomeres?

Stress, premature aging of 6 years

American researchers recently examined the relationship between the integrity of telomeres and the presence of phobias, an excessive stress disorder. They took blood samples from 5243 participants aged to 69 years (mean age of 59 years) and examined the length of telomeres present in white blood cells. At the same time, the stress level of each of the participants was assessed based on their responses to a specialized questionnaire (Crown-Crisp index). The results are unequivocal: people who present several symptoms of excessive stress have significantly shorter telomeres than those without them, regardless of other lifestyle factors (smoking, body weight, type of diet). . According to the available data, this decrease in telomere length corresponds to premature aging of 6 years!

Premature development of age-related diseases

Stress appears very often at a young age and can persist chronically for most of life. In light of the results of this study, the proper management of stress and anxiety is very important, to reduce its impact on aging and the premature development of several age-related diseases.

To stay young and in good health, it is better to start meditation today.


Okereke OI et al. High phobic anxiety is related to lower leukocyte telomere length in women. PLoS One .; 7: e 40516.

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