You go through a difficult time in your life, then one morning you look in the mirror and as if over night your face has taken a leap 5-10 years in time without you. I too have been there, done that. Unfortunately, it’s no myth, stress indeed does cause premature ageing. Many scientist believe stress can make your face age by a DECADE. Stress is the new biological clock. – It is so powerful, so bad for us, not only does it wreak havoc on our health, but suddenly the signs are etched in our face.
Researchers examined structures inside cells called telomeres. Telomeres are the tips of chromosomes (strands of DNA) rather like the tip of a shoelace. Telomeres stop DNA from fraying: When it frays, the cell stops being healthy. The molecules that carry genes, every time a cell divides, telomeres get shorter. In the natural aging process, the telomeres eventually get so short that the cells can no longer divide, then they die.
As more and more cells reach the end of their telomeres and die, the process produces the effects of aging – muscles weaken, skin wrinkles, eyesight, and hearing fade, organs fail, and thinking abilities diminish.
Researchers have also measured levels of an enzyme called telomerase, which helps to stave off this process. Telomerase levels naturally decline as we age. As the telomeres shorten, telomerase is trying to keep up. Over a long term, our telomeres do get shorter and we lose the race.
Chronic stress appears to accelerate the process. The shorter the telomeres, lower the levels of telomerase, the higher level of “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress is a process in which “free radicals” in the body damage DNA, including telomeres.
But isn’t stress avoidable? It is – However, how we choose to react to those triggers in life is up to us. Rather it be from heavy traffic, a boss or job we utterly cannot stand, an illness or the devastating loss of a loved one.
Sometimes in life dealing with stress is much easier said than done. I always hear the words of my mother “This too shall pass” and eventually every moment and situation in life in fact does. As you wake up that morning seeing as if you aged overnight, so does it seem the same with actual time.
Life goes by so fast, slow down, enjoy it and remember no matter what stressful moment may cross your path – This too shall pass.