Stress may lead to a decrease in lifespan.
‘The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another’ – William James, American philosopher
Stress is a psychological and physiological response to external situations, choosing to get ready to fight or get away actively.
People who are stressed over long periods tend to have physical illnesses leading to almost all diseases including infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. It may also lead to a shorter life span.
A study of Telomere length (Telomere is the DNA at each end of a chromosome that indicates lifespan) in persons with the highest levels of perceived stress and depression, found that they had Telomeres shorter than normal persons .
Stress management in the past was focused on the management of external stimulants. For example, if the environment makes individuals stressful, then the problem or stimulant which is related to the environment must be removed.
However, over a period, such techniques have been found to be ineffective.
Individuals’ social relationships, combined with their feelings, help convey their thoughts to others and recognize the value of life, which contributes to good health.
A meta-analysis study of 148 studies among almost 300,000 participants, concluded that participants with stronger social relationships had a 50% increase in the likelihood of survival compared to participants with poor social relationships.
This finding remained consistent across age, sex, initial health status, and cause of death. Positive thinking and being optimistic are primary conditions to being healthy, followed by food, exercise, and having friends.
However, most of the evidence-based studies about interventions for stress management had similar conclusions, that mindful meditation is the most tangible effective intervention for stress management.
We will discuss stress management information for a tension-free life in this section which is as follows -
- Evidence-based studies of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- Mindfulness-based treatment (MBT)
- Sitting meditation