How does stress impact health-span?


Do you ever feel like stress is the unwanted party guest... the miserable b****** that is putting a downer on everyone else? It turns out, stress isn’t just an emotion that lives with us, but also a menace to our health-span. 

The stress trigger: Your body’s instinctive response. 

Stress affects us all at some point, no matter how big or small. Either way, we don’t want it. The stress trigger activates a part of our body called the sympathetic nervous system. In essence, your body starts to react as if it’s about to battle a woolly mammoth (even though it’s probably just a pile of work emails), triggering the classic “fight or flight” response. This subsequently cues, heart racing, palms sweating, and a brain that’s certain the world is about to end. 

The stress - Health-span connection: Unravelling the facts. 

Now, if we get down and dirty into the science, in a more fun, and less wanting to fall asleep in the back of your high school science class way. Chronic stress is the catalyst for a whole parade of health issues. Picture this: your cells are having a wild party, but instead of confetti, they’re releasing inflammatory molecules that upset your immune system and increase the risk of diseases. Not only can stress impact physical health, it also strains on your mental health - a double whammy no one wants. To name a few of the effects, stress can cause you to imagine the worst, feel irritable, overwhelmed or low, have issues concentrating or struggle to make decisions. Which in turn, can cause inflammation and damage to DNA, accelerating ageing and reducing our health-span. So, in essence, stress is like the chaotic party planner of your health. 

Stress eating: The kale to cookies transformation

Ah, stress eating - where kale magically turns to cookies. Your body craves quick energy fixes when stressed, and you can’t blame it. Unfortunately, the tendency to reach for comfort food might have you on a first-name basis with the cookie jar, impacting your health-span. But fear not, you can still enjoy the cookies; just don’t let stress be the dictator of your menu and enjoy them in moderation. 

Stress and ageing: Who invited those wrinkles? 

Ever felt like stress could be the next Picasso? Sketching those wrinkles and fine lines onto your face. Well, turns out stress can be a big contributor to premature ageing. So, next time you’re stressing about a deadline, remember, worrying won’t make those laugh lines disappear - though laughter might help! 

Stress-busting strategies: Your guide to chillaxing. 

Now that we’ve painted the picture of how stress is impacting your health, let’s add some jazz with ways we can kick stress to the curb (or at least politely show it to the door.) Whether you’d prefer to get moving, or run yourself a bubble bath, there are plenty of ways to destress. One we love here at JOLT, is a good belly laugh. These are all perfect remedies to escort stress out before it wreaks havoc on your health-span.  

Raising a glass to a stress-less health-span! 

In the grand scheme of things, stress will always be that unwelcome visitor who might show up uninvited, but that doesn’t mean it has to overstay its welcome. Through understanding its impact and finding ways to manage it, in a way that works for you, it can significantly boost your health-span and make life much more enjoyable. So, here’s to kicking stress out the door and embracing a longer, laughter-filled life!

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