Stress is the norm in our Western world. The common belief goes like this: if you’re not feeling, or at least looking, stressed, then you’re probably not working hard enough.
This pro-stress belief is damaging for a number of reasons.
Not only does our cultural addiction to stress sabotage our personal time, family time, and quality of life, but it can ultimately shorten our life, according to research. In a 2013 study published in Lancet Oncology, researchers observed
a small group of men and analyzed their diets and emotional health. The men who changed their diets and met their emotional needs had lengthened telomeres in their cells.1
This discovery is mind-blowing, once you understand the purpose of telomeres in healthy cells. Telomeres, found at
the end of chromosomes, regulate cell aging. Whenever a cell divides, part of its telomeres break down and are eventually depleted, ending the life of the cell. When Dr. Dean Ornish, lead study researcher of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and University of California San Francisco, observed the chromosomes of 35 men diagnosed with prostate cancer over five years, he detected noticeable changes in the men who ate better, exercise regularly, practiced stress management, and participated in support groups.
These men had a lower incidence of prostate tumours compared to men who didn’t participate in the programme. Men who made four major lifestyle changes related to diet, exercise, stress, and support had higher levels of the enzyme telomerase that counteracts telomere shortening every time a cell divides. These men essentially had cells that lived longer, with an increase in telomere length by 10 percent in just five years. An earlier 2011 study published in Biological Psychiatry confirmed similar results: People exposed to chronic stress or with recurrent depression had shorter telomeres in their white blood cells.2
Dr. Ornish called his work the “first controlled study showing that any intervention – in this case, lifestyle changes – can increase telomere length and begin to reverse aging at the cellular level.”
STRESS IS THE SILENT KILLER
Now it’s clear that when you’re feeling stressed – related to work, family, finances, and more – it affects much more than just your mood. Dr. Heidi Fowler, an American psychiatrist, explains, “Stress affects most people in some way. Acute (sudden, short-term) stress leads to rapid changes throughout the body. Almost all body systems (the heart and blood vessels, immune system, lungs, digestive system, sensory organs, and brain) gear up to meet perceived danger. These stress responses could prove beneficial in a critical, life- or-death situation. Over time, however, repeated stressful situations put a strain on the body that may contribute to physical and psychological problems. Chronic (long-term) stress can have real health consequences and should be addressed like any other health concern.” 3
Dr. Martin V. Cohen doesn’t hold back – he considers stress the “silent killer” plaguing our modern society every minute of the day, ranging from levels of slight to intense. “Studies have shown that too much challenge, hardship or change cause an increase in the risk of illness. Experts refer to stress as the ‘silent killer,’” says Dr. Cohen.4
Research supports this, with countless studies that back the deleterious effects of chronic stress. Based on statistics, it’s a near-guarantee that you or someone you love is under a crippling amount of stress, putting their health at risk.
The American Institute of Stress says that 44 per cent of us feel more stress than we did just five years ago. One in five people are under “extreme stress,” characterized by depression, shaking, and heart palpitations. Work stress results in 10 percent of strokes, and stress is pinpointed as the cause of 60 per cent of all human illness and disease.5
Three-quarters of all doctors’ visits come from stress-related ailments.
Stress is costing us. It’s robbing us of relaxation and free time. It’s stealing our quality of life by burdening our health.
It’s even taking our money in the form of unnecessary doctors’ visits and extraneous healthcare costs.
Stress may be invisible, but it is always with us. Unless you proactively address the stress triggers and responses in your life, it will be almost impossible to get this stress in check. Stress that runs rampant day after day, stress that you can’t switch off even as you try to relax before bed, is affecting every cell in your body for the worse. Stress creates a chemical reaction in the body that can spiral from unpleasant physical symptoms to devastating illness and deadly disease – if it is not stopped.
RELAXATION IS WITHIN YOUR REACH
If your body has been burdened by months and even years of stress, it may be crying out for your help – though you may not be able to hear it over the buzzing of stress in your ear. A body overloaded with toxic and chronic stress is in desperate need of support.
Stress recovery and resilience comes from powerful nutrition and much-needed rest.
As we’ve already learned from supporting research, a well-rounded approach to stress rehabilitation is most effective. Daily physical activity and breathing exercises can help to lower dangerous cortisol levels associated with the body’s stress response. Mindfulness meditation has proven benefits to help your body process the mental and physiological effects of stress.6
This leaves us with stress nutrition.
Your body needs key nutrients to create an anti-stress buffer that will allow for restful sleep. Sleep is an essential time
to replenish, regulating brain activity and memory, improving digestion, and bringing stress down to a manageable level. Broken, interrupted sleep never gives your body time to repair and recharge – and so the vicious stress cycle continues.
One quick way to address daily stress is to prep your body with powerful nutrients before bed. B vitamins work in combination to promote restful, healthy sleep patterns. When vitamins B3 and B6 are taken with L-Tryptophan and L-Theanine, these nutrients come together to combat stress and restlessness during times of peak physical and mental demand. This relaxation support can help to reduce high levels of the stress hormone cortisol and replenish essential nutrients depleted as a result of stress.
If you want to live long and live well, it’s time to take stress seriously. If you want to regulate stress while you rest, it’s as easy as supporting your body with the right relaxation nutrients before bed.
Relaxwell is a professional strength, super nutrient formula which uniquely combines L-Tryptophan, L-Theanine, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B3.
1. Lancet Oncology. Volume 14, No. 11, p1112– 1120, October 2013.
2. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j. biopsych.2011.09.015.
3. Dr. Heidi Fowler, HealthTap.
4. Martin V. Cohen, Ph.D. “Stress: The Silent Killer – an Article by Martin V. Cohen, Ph.D.”
5. “Stress Is Killing You | The American Institute of Stress.” The American Institute of Stress.
6. Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2011; 6(6): 537-559.