In conversations about aging, exposure to harmful UV rays and poor lifestyle choices usually top the list of culprits. But there’s one cause that’s under-reported: stress and aging. Emotional distress speeds up cellular aging. In other words, stress makes us old.

According to experts, when we’re experiencing chaos, it creates a flight or fight reaction in the body, which releases stress chemicals. These chemicals (cortisol and adrenaline) lead to biological changes, accelerating aging. While beneficial short-term, providing energy and focus, too much stress over time can throw our systems off-kilter.

Stress speeds up the clock.

Yes, it’s does add years to the age of individual system cells. As a cell divides, telomeres in the cells get a little shorter, and when it becomes too small, it no longer divides (and unable to replenish itself). This is the process of aging.

But don’t worry! There’s plenty you can do.

Okay, so maybe the fountain of youth is a myth. There’s a lot you can do to reduce the chaos that stress brings to your body. It’s best to think of it like a two-pronged approach: with internal and external strategies.

Invest in stress management strategies to manage both mental and emotional upheaval. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet (low in energy-spiking sugar), yoga and meditation, journalism, and being part of a community.

Pair these strategies with anti-aging products like Zinzino’s Skin Serum. This isn’t any other cream you’ll find like in this category. It helps to modify aging systematically, by improving the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) – the fine mesh of microfibres that empowers the skin.

You can also settle unnerving butterflies with supportive supplements such as Viva. Packed with natural energy-boosting vitamins and other botanical ingredients, Viva helps relieve normal stress and promotes a positive mood.

Dig down into the root of the stress.

While it’s good to educate yourself on the common causes of stress (and the supportive products that can help improve daily life), take the time to explore what might be triggering your worries.

Is it work or a relationship? Concerns about a past event or anxiety around an unknown future? Is your diet off or you’re not sleeping enough? Understand that what you’re experiencing is related to your lifestyle or more of a mental issue, and that you can manage it through cognitive strategies.

Don’t allow stress and anxiety to override your life. Yes, it’s more common in modern life, but it doesn’t need to invade yours.

Life is too short.

Get a boost

When normal, everyday fatigue strikes, there are ways to boost your energy levels, says Dr. Salamon. For example:

  • Drink a cup of coffee or tea. A little caffeine can jump-start your day, she says. “You don’t need more than that, but it can offer a mental and physical lift, especially if you have trouble with morning fatigue.”
  • Go for a 30-minute walk. “If you can’t get outside, walk around your house in bouts of 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times a day,” says Dr. Salamon.
  • Take a nap. A midday nap can help overcome tiredness later in the day. Keep naps to about 20 to 30 minutes, as studies have suggested that napping for 40 minutes or longer can have the opposite effect and leave you feeling groggy rather than refreshed. Also, don’t nap too late in the day.
  • Skip the alcohol. Cut back on your alcohol intake, or even eliminate alcohol for a few weeks. Men may be surprised how much better they feel without a daily drink or two.

A medical checkup can identify issues that may cause fatigue.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Stress in Older Adults

  • Feeling tired
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Unnecessary worrying
  • Headaches and other pains
  • Negative feelings or attitude
  • Feeling out of control
  • Poor concentration
  • Frequent crying
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, it is important to be proactive about finding ways to manage your stress before the damage becomes irreversible.

5 Tips For Managing Stress

Here are a few stress reduction techniques.

  1. Take care of yourself by exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet.
  2. Get involved in community events.
  3. Volunteer for a cause you care about.
  4. Learn strategies to help you cope with stress such as relaxation techniques and mediation.
  5. Focus on the things you can control as opposed to those you can’t.