Overcoming Stress Can Extend Your Life
Okay, there’s a caveat to consider in terms of reduced stress expanding how long your life ultimately is. The caveat? Nobody can control how long they live. There’s a famous story, apocryphal or not, about a man taking no chances with ending his own life.
He took poison, jumped from a bridge with a noose tied around his neck, and took a pistol with him to end it all on the way down. When he jumped, his shot missed, cut the rope, the force of him hitting the water caused him to puke up the poison, and he later died a long drawn-out death of hypothermia.
Now is that story true? Who knows; but it illustrates a point in terms of possibility, and that is this: we don’t have the control we think we do over our lives. Even if that story is totally fiction, there are many failed suicide attempts. Still, provided you’re doing everything right, you may not extend life. A jogger might jog right out into traffic at the wrong time under the influence of a “runner’s high”. You could step off a curb wrong and break your neck! So we can’t control life overall. But we can control our responses, and how we respond to stress. And stress reduction may well increase lifespan.
1. Exercise Is A Fine Stress Reduction Technique
The most stress-free health nut in downtown Nagasaki didn’t make it through the blast when it came toward the end of WWII. However, his life was easier and he had fewer troubles until that time came. If you take away uncontrollable factors, then, objectively, stress reduction extends life through telomerase retention.
Telomerase is an element that we gradually lose with age, and which promulgates aging. Essentially, think about telomerase like the tape at the end of a shoestring. When that tape goes, the shoestring follows. In this scenario, the “shoestring” is your DNA. As you lose telomerase, your DNA doesn’t work as well, and you begin to age.
Stress—negative stress—eliminates telomerase more quickly. So if you can reduce stress, your DNA will retain its integrity longer. Accordingly, your lifespan is apt to increase—provided, of course, no extraneous factors beyond your control interrupt biological functionality. Everybody has a destiny!
Stress reduction develops from positive physical activity. Hiking, biking, swimming, sports, exploring new locales, running on the treadmill—these things all act as “positive” stress, “tightening” your physiological form and facilitating longer life in ideal circumstances. Here are some of the best treadmill opportunities to explore for indoor exercise.
2. Music, Entertainment, And Creativity
Another thing that reduces stress overall is beauty. Films, music, artwork, dances either watched or engaged in—all these things have a sort of cathartic effect on the mind. Such catharsis is satisfying and helps you forget about stress. A newer feature of entertaining catharsis involves those “how it’s made” videos on YouTube. They surely help you “destress”.
Beyond conventional stress relief through what might be called “art therapy”, you might do something creative. You could plant and maintain a garden, mow the lawn, build a model with legos or other modeling options, write a novel, paint a painting, or make a little movie. Granted, there’s a balance.
Serious artwork that you create can actually stress you out. This is especially true with notoriety and an associated budget.
3. The Spiritual Angle
Much of what makes us stressed out in modernity is ephemeral—it’s non-eternal, it’s temporary; in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Things like suicide are permanent choices for temporary situations. But you don’t have to kill yourself to make an unnecessarily stressful, dire choice based on that which is impermanent.
There’s something worthwhile to living in the moment, but you must have a proper perspective. You’re not going to be cleaning those dirty dishes for all eternity. You’re not going to be fighting the underside of your car to install an alternator forever.These things are temporary. What you need to do is remove yourself from that which causes temporary stress. Spiritual mindsets help you transcend the moment, accordingly reducing its stress. Notice, we’re not advocating specific spiritual choices here—though some are certainly more recommendable than others; you’ll have to figure that out for yourself.
Reducing Stress Naturally
Spiritual angles, artistic angles, and exercise represent three pillars of stress reduction that, properly applied, may even increase your lifespan. If you’re really having trouble, consider options in these areas—and if all else fails, take a little time off, change your scenery, and start thinking about things in a new light.