Psychological stress causes cells to divide more quickly. Those with psychological stress typically have shorter telomeres. This group includes those with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), those suffering early childhood emotional trauma, battered women, female caregivers, and post-menopausal women.
Physical stress slows down the cellular replication process. Physical stress includes exercising, meditating, and other actions to control our mental and emotional states. Vigorous exercise (minimum three times a week) has a beneficial effect on telomere length. Exercise is a well-known method of psychological stress relief. It reduces the total number of base pairs lost with each cell division.
It was not known, until after studying those subjected to long-term emotional stress, that early damage to telomeres could be somewhat negated. Two groups with similar emotional stress were studied. One group was composed of early childhood trauma. The second group was composed of post-menopausal women. With carefully monitored stress management programs, both groups showed significant improvement in the rate of subsequent telomere loss. We can’t fix what we have previously lost, but we can address what we could possibly lose in the future. Stress management is key to improving our health in so many aspects (emotional, physical and psychological) of our lives.
We encounter stress on a daily basis. However, it is not the actual stress that is the problem in most cases. It is the acceptance that we attach to the stressor. We should be doing something on a daily basis to remove or lower stress levels in our bodies. It should be managed daily. Why allow other people, or events, to control our emotions? If we can’t remove ourselves from the immediate stress, then we should consider other measures to combat it effectively. For longevity and better health is is wise to relieve stress several times daily.