Stressed? Long Term Effects

Prolonged Psychological Stress

The impact of prolonged psychological stress on the body causes cell aging and influences disease processes according to a scientific study reported in the November 30th issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The surprising results of this study show the damage which is expected from living with constant stress, however, the same damage was found in women with perceived stress. How you handle stress has a major impact on how fast you age and on the state of your health.

Work Stress

source sevencounties
source sevencounties

Biologic Response

The UCSF researchers determined that chronic stress and the perception of life stress both had a significant impact on three biological factors. The findings are a bit complex to put in simple terms, however, I will do my best. Ultimately DNA protein complexes called telomeric DNA diminish with chronic stress, and the aged cell stops dividing. The cells that the tissue normally form are affected by this factor. The telomeres are critical to the number of times a cell divides, its health and its life span. The enzyme telomerase replenishes a portion of the telomeres with each cell division and protect the telomeres. Oxidative stress causes DNA damage and negatively affects the whole process.

Chronic Stress vs Perceived Stress

The other very interesting outcome of this study is the women with the perception of being stressed; exhibited anxiety symptoms which correlated with the caregiver group having the same biological markers, which means they also underwent the equivalent of 10 years of additional aging just as the mothers of chronically ill children. This is the first evidence that chronic psychological stress and how a person perceives stress can equally accelerate the rate of aging.

Are you a drama queen? Do you overreact over every small thing in your life that doesn’t go just right? Some examples might include a flat tire, an unexpected guest, a headache, a long form to fill out and the result is little annoyances and big problems evoke the same amount of stress. If you get stressed over minor inconveniences or when unexpected problems arise, you are in the group that has chronic stress over perceived events which will age you considerably faster than normal.

Humans are constantly anticipating what is going to happen, sometimes accurately and often incorrectly. Many people dwell on the good and bad possible consequences of their actions and choices. These actions certainly increase your symptoms of stress. If you are in this group it is time to make some changes, and there are many excellent ways to reduce your stress level.

Stress Cartoon

Stressed Out Multi-tasking Assistant source clipartof
Stressed Out Multi-tasking Assistant source clipartof

Dr Whiting on Stress, Cortisol, and Natural Anti-Depressants

Ways to Reduce Stress

Here are restorative ways of reducing your stress. Harvard cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson discovered that the automatically triggered parasympathetic nervous system response that normally ends a stress episode can be triggered in a conscious and intentional fashion through the use of a variety of stress reduction techniques. He suggests:

  • Pick a focus word or phrase. (Benson suggests the words "one" or "calm", but any word you find restful will work well.)
  • Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Relax your muscles.
  • Breathe slowly and naturally, repeating your focus word or phrase as you exhale.

The direct route to the parasympathetic nervous system activation is through the breath. Conscious deep rhythmic breathing has a calming effect on the body, and tends to help the heart rate to slow down, the mind to quiet and attention to turn inward towards the sensation of inhalation and exhalation.

Suggestions for Mom to Get Help

If you have a chronically ill child you need help from other family members or friends. It is important for you to have some time to yourself and for you to get enough rest.

  • Ask for help from other family members or even pay someone to come in at least one afternoon a week so you can get out of the house and do something good for yourself.
  • If there is a support group available be sure to join as you will have someone to talk to that is living with the same problems, and they will probably have suggestions that will make your life easier.
  • Eat food that is healthy.
  • Exercise when you can if it is just a quick walk around the block.
  • Learning Yoga can be very helpful.
  • Learn to meditate and when your child is sleeping meditate or get some rest if needed.
  • Keeping a diary and writing your feeling even if it is just a few lines a day can be helpful..
  • It is important to have a support system, so you don’t feel like you are in this position all by yourself.

Book Description

  1. Columbia University School of Nursing, N.Y. Second edition of a clinical text on home care for infants and young children with serious medical problems, for nurses.
  2. “It would be difficult not to be stirred by Vicki Forman's story; but what makes This Lovely Life so good goes well past story and into idea, with which her book is so rich.  The idea of love; of choice; of ambivalence; of imperfection; of purpose: these are all here, in a narrative that is propulsive, startling and vivid, like motherhood itself.”
  3. In this chronicle of a late-in-life pregnancy, New York City playwright and theater artist Cohen recalls an unlikely chain of events that, at age 44, transformed her life
  4. This provides a research-based discussion of common childhood chronic illnesses, and their etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and management. Topics include asthma, diabetes, and psychosocial management. Focuses on family coping, stress on child, and adherence. Resource for nurses and health practitioners

Yoga for Abdomen & Digestion, Stress

Helpful Books on Stress

  1. An Integrative Approach to Counseling: Bridging Chinese Thought, Evolutionary Theory, and Stress Management offers a global and integrative approach to counseling that incorporates multiple concepts and techniques from both eastern and western perspective.
  2. What you can do for yourself concerning your health, god will not do. It’s up to you to do it now. Most diseases are caused by unhealthy lifestyles, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and inadequate sleep. This book, based on best-selling author Dr. Don Colbert’s life message, reveals seven fundamental principles that will enable people to walk in and enjoy the health God intended.
  3. This is a very welcome text that examines informal caring from a holistic perspective, exploring the emotional and social implications of caring and the impact of societal and professional attitudes on careers. Theoretical perspectives and research findings are integrated well, supported by plentiful examples of real life experiences.
  4. With over two million copies in print, this classic women's daily meditation book offers inspiration and guidance for dealing with the challenges of recovery

In Conclusion

Whether you have perceived stress or stress that is based on serious life circumstances there are some things you can do to get some relief. Taking care of a chronically ill person will certainly produce stress, and it takes careful planning to find some relief from the situation. Obviously you can’t work full time outside of the home, and it is difficult to plan events, but usually you can get some relief if family and friends help. It is important to ask for help when you need it and not to fall in the roll of a martyr.

Stretches and deep breathing even for just a few minutes relieve stress. Listen to upbeat music which usually makes you feel good. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath when your mate is home and you have a few minutes to yourself. You may have to think of the little things that make you feel better and more in control of your life, but the effort is so worthwhile. Make sure you have at least one person to talk to that you trust so you can vent when necessary or just talk and laugh. If you are spiritual, prayer and meditation will give you a great deal of relief. Live in this day and don’t worry about tomorrow as that will come soon enough.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

Stres Poll

Do consider stress a problem in your life?

  • I take everything easy and seldom get stressed.
  • Stress is a problem for me as I have too many responsibilities.
  • Stress is a problem for me because the income is less that the expenses.
  • Stress is a problem for me due to difficult family members.
  • #2 and #3 are true for me.
  • I get stressed all the time. I can't quit worrying about everything.
  • All the above except for #1.
See results without voting

Comments 71 comments

ssaul 5 years ago

this is great and very important for us to know and remember. Over a period of time chronic stress can hamper one health very severely.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

ssaul, I agree. I didn't realize perceived stress was just as serious as stressful life situations. Thanks for your comment.

DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

Happy unstressed New Year to you and your family, Pamela.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Diamond, Thank you for your comments. A happy non-stress New Year to you.

HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 5 years ago from Utah

I deffinatly think this is something more of us need to take seriously. We have a choice. Do something to manage stress now, or do something tomorrow. Sooner or later stress will catch up with us.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Hanna, I considered this a serious topic as a person who lived under great stress for many years when I was younger and ended up with several medical problems. By life has been good for the past few years and the medical problems have lessened considerably, so I know this was true for me. Thanks so much for your comment.

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Stress is a killer,my father died from long complications due to stress...

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Pamela, you have some excellent suggestions on way to help reduce stress. I enjoyed your hub, it's very informative without being preachy. Great job.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Mentalist Acer, Stress has long been under rated as a cause of illness. I'm sorry to hear about your father. Thanks for sharing your comment,

KKGals, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks so much for your comments as they are much appreciated.

tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

Pamela first off belated Merry Christmas to you and a heppy New Year as well. Now I know what causes liberalism , they are not just crazy , they are stressed out ! :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Tony, I think you are spot right on target. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well.

katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

It is really good to know about some tips to reduce stress. I always enjoy reading your hubs. Happy new year Pamela:)

ghomefitness profile image

ghomefitness 5 years ago from Chicago,IL

Pamela, very helpful info. Eating antioxidants and exercise helps me. Happy New Year!

acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Stress is just so scary and all the things it can do. This is an eye opener Pamela an I really thank you for this information.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

katrinasui, I;m glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you so much for your comments. Happy New Year to you also.

ghomefitness, It sounds like you are on the right path. Thanks for your comment.

acaetnna, I am glad you liked the hub and I appreciate your comments.

rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 5 years ago from NY

Thanks Pamela, I never realized all the health concerns associated with stress. I much rather enjoy being blessed than stressed. Excellent hub!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

rpalulis, Amen! I like that and I prefer to be blessed as well. Thanks for the comment.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Pamela. Lily Tomlin once said, "For fast-acting relief, slow down!" She was so right and your edifying hub proves it.

Thanks for this important research and information - you have performed a public service.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

drbj, I always appreciate a compliment from you and I think Lily Tomlin was right. Thanks for the comments.

Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

We need more articles like this one. Stress is out there more than ever with the lack of jobs, foreclosures,and rising prices. Akk! Gas $3.19 up another dime in Saginaw Mi. Just thinking about it is stressing me out! RJ

FloBe profile image

FloBe 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Good information. When life has a regular, predictable routine the stresses are manageable...often it's the accumulation of the little things over time that cause me to overload and have a "crash." Then I have to take time out to refresh and regain balance. Each person has to figure out what works for them and you gave some ideas that are very useful.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Thanks for the very informative read. Stress, whether real or perceived produces the same detrimental effects--thanks for sharing this. Rated useful.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Reynold, That is so true. There are many things for everyone to be stressed over at this time. Thank you for your comments.

FloBe, I also find I get through the big crisis but an accumulation of little things can bring me down. Thanks for your comments.

Anginwu, I didn't realize that until I came across the research article but it makes perfect sense. If you are stressed out your physical body doesn't know whether it is perceived or real. I appreciate your comments.

esatchel profile image

esatchel 5 years ago from Kentucky

The stress response is tricky, isn't it. Even perceived stress leading to the same effects as actual stressful events. It shows what a miracle our body is, yet we must take care of ourselves and treat even negative attitudes that build up inside. Even the feelings can lead to physical harm. Wow!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

esatchel, This is something I think many people don't know. Our body doesn't know where the stress comes from so our job is to try and eliminate the stress as much as possible. Thanks so much for your comment.

brandrocker profile image

brandrocker 5 years ago

Thanks for wonderful suggestions. The methods you have suggested are helpful. I think it is better to exercise YOGA to keep stresses always under control.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

bandrocker, I think yoga is a great way also. Thanks for your comments. Happy New Year.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Another most interesting and informative hub of our queen lecturer. Pamela, I am so in awe of your ability to transfer knowledge. You make things I could not understand so easy to understand. I don’t bookmark all the hubs I read, but all yours get bookmarked even before I’ve reached the middle. Have a lovely last day of the year, my friend.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Martie, I thank you for your kind remarks. I am glad you enjoy my hubs as I know some of them about medical issues are complex. I have seen medical hubs with inaccurate information on Hubpages and other sites as well, so I like to write on medical issues based on my my 22+ years of nursing experience and some good research. I always appreciate your remarks. Have a wonderful New Year.

HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 5 years ago from Utah

I am going to link this hub to my webpage. I think it is something everyone needs to understand. The fresh air purifier I sell works wonders to aid in combating stress. But, you also have to put some conscious effort into trying to relax to get the most out of it. And just knowing that you need to 'unwind' is at least 35% of the solution.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Hanna, Thank for linking my hub. I need to look at your air purifier again. I appreciate your comments.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Pamela please don't get stressed over the Holiday. Happy New Year. Rest up and feed your body. God bless!

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Hi Pamela-This Hub is a terrific treatment of the subject of stress. Perceived stress can be just as damaging as 'real' stress. Thanks for the write.

Take good care!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Excellent hub, Pamela. I concur with lorlie that perceived stress is just as destructive as "real" stress. It is possible to dethrone yourself from drama queendom -- it just takes self-care! Happy New Year! MM

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Mickey, Don't you worry, I'm just bouncing along smiling and singing. Going to eat some good food shortly. Have a wonderful New Year. God Bless.

Lorlie, Thanks so much for your comment. Have a Happy New Year!

Mighty Mom, I agree with you also. Thanks so much for your comment.

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Great hub Pamela, thank you for sharing. This is critical, that people reduce stress. I recall talking to a man whose mother was turning 103, and he said her secret to long life was that she never stressed out about anything. I found that rather interesting to say the least.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Wow! What a timely hub. Great tips too. Thanks Pam for the great info and videos. Happy New Year to you.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

oceanssunsets, It is amazing that stress had such an impact on our health and longevity yet this was totally unrecognized by physicians until very recently. Thanks for the comment.

Denise, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks so much for your comments.

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Stress can certainly impact your health if not managed properly. I don't believe we can (nor should) live stress-free, but the levels of stress with which we deal on a daily basis can be life-threatening! Great hub

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Stephhicks, Everyone will have some stress in their lives as we all have our problems, but how we respond to that stress seems to be the key to good health and longevity. Thank you for your comments.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love this information. That's why I have to try avoid any kind related with stress. We might difficult to avoid this, because our life is so complicated. Thanks, Pamela. You always come up with solution and informative hub. My vote always for you. Happy New Year 2011. I hope this is the best year for us. Cheers.....

Blessing and hugs,

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

An absolute super hub and very timely with all the financial pressure on us.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Prasetio, We should all avoid stress and just try to solve problems that arise without getting all stressed out. I believe 2011 will be a great year for us. Blessings and Hugs to you.

Hello, That's true as these are tough times for many. Thanks for your comment.

 5 years ago

Our mind not distinguish what is true from what is imagined. Therefore we should be able to cultivate positive thoughts, in every situations.

We have the power to affect on our life more than do the external events.

Often we are under stress only becouse we are not able to manage our emotions, but we can learn to do it. Thanks for your useful and stimulating Hub

fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

1 minute ago

Our mind not distinguish what is true from what is imagined. Therefore we should be able to cultivate positive thoughts, in every situations.

We have the power to affect on our life more than do the external events.

Often we are under stress only becouse we are not able to manage our emotions, but we can learn to do it. Thanks for your useful and stimulating Hub

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

I never had a comment without a name before, but I appreciate a comment that adds to the information of my hub, so thank you very much.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Fucsia, now your name is up and again thank you. I always appreciate your comments.

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

My dear Pam, wow this is so excellent, stress, when I was young was my motavator. Now, I want to part of it, so soul is peaceful and my life is quiet in a nice place. I enjoy seeing the rainbows, and right now there is so much snow outside, that is so beautiful, peace is the answer, and you my friend, give that to all of us and I love you and your hubs. You are so awsome and I am happy you are in my life. Peace & Love darski rate up

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Darsky, You are so precious to come and write such loving comments on my hubs. I appreciate you so much. I am glad you are at peace with the snow. Peace and love to you girlfriend.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Excellent article about the effects of stress on our bodies. I like your attitude about 2011 being a good year. Happy New Year, Pamela. Let's hope that it is peaceful as well as happy for all of us who inhabit this small planet.

Bee Bee 5 years ago

Pamela, this was very eye opening and very useful. I have to thank you for posting this valuable information. Like many women, I shoulder a lot and stress is something I think I deal with but I've noticed it taking it's toll on my health. The book "This Lovely Life" is something I am going to buy. Thank you again!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Good points on stress management and techniques, Pamela. I think stress is something we've all become accustomed to dealing with or living with and we forget that we can actually relax ourselves if we try!

Happy New Year!!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, Thanks your for your comment and I certainly agree with your sentiments. Happy New Year to you and your family.

Bee Bee, I'm g;ad the hub was helpful to you. Thanks for your comments.

Audry, They is probably true but after reading those results I want to focus on living stress free. Thanks for your comments. Happy New Year.

GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 5 years ago from California

pamela..This hub came at an important time for me. I have been dealing with all sorts of stress for quite a while. I'm currently making the life changes to find a sort of "calm" in my life. The strange part about stress is for someone like me... who can juggle a million things at once, I never seem to think that I am stressed! It sort of comes out sometimes in strange ways. Back aches, congestion, anxiety attacks (not often), but when I am REALLY overwhelmed. I'm currently moving away from a few key people who have caused me extreme stress in my life. I'm also starting yoga again after a few years. Thank you for writing this. I like the videos too. Best, G

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

GPAGE, It does sound like this hub is perfect timing for you. Sometimes in life we do have to change the people we are around. It is important to make choices that make you healthier. I appreciate your sharing and wish you the best of luck for a great 2011.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

I saw the real-life effects of stress when my mother took it upon herself to care for my grandmother in her last years...a task far beyond her ability but she had no idea at the time and was overcome with the love of her mother. The stress she endured took a toll on mother's health for years and she still talks of that time today..many years later, she can still relive the stress of it all. Your article does a great job of creating an awareness that we do have some choices and methods to either avoid or minimize these factors in our lives. All of us make too much of too many an example, try to remember what you were stressed about this time last year. You probably cannot because in reality it was likely not that important although it seemed so at the time. I love the adage, "Nothing very good or very bad last for very long." We would do well to heed that. Thanks for sharing Pam! WB

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Wayne, I like that adage also. Thanks for sharing the experience with your mother. I am caring for my mother now but she is still fairly independent but will be 87 next week. I love her dearly though so I understand your mother's situation. Thanks so much for your comments.

Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 5 years ago

Hi Pamela

Wishing a very happy and stress-free 2011 to you and your family.

Caring for a relative is extremely demanding and stressful and I believe that guilt can play a very big part in the stress that a woman feels. When compromises are made something has to give and this is what creates the guilt because for some unknown reason the woman thinks she should be able to do it all!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Amber, I think we were raised to believe that and it just isn't true. I appreciate you comments. I wish you a happy, stress free 2011 also.

mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

Such great advice! I've watched my former sister-in-law age so badly (the drama queen) these last few years especially! Just a 10-minute walk will do a world of wonders. I had to force myself to "step away from the desk" because I was putting in 10-14 hour days on the computer and it finally caught up to me! Stretching - also great advice. One of my clients (I own a bookkeeping business) gad a note posted to the door of the office. It was eye level in bright pink neon and it said, "BREATHE" If she had not posted that note for herself, I think I could have easily had her killed. So, I can tell you, that the one word 'aid,' really does help! Keep up the great work!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

mwatkins, Thanks for the suggestions and you are right just a deep breath or short walk will do wonders.

lindatymensky profile image

lindatymensky 5 years ago

I'm following you because ladyjane1 said you were a good writer. You are. I think stress is a huge problem in the modern world. It's all chronic.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

lindatymensky, Please thank Lady Jane for me. I appreciate your comments.

Inese profile image

Inese 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

Thank you, Pamela99 for your contribution to such an important subject.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Inese, I appreciate your comment.

celeBritys4africA profile image

celeBritys4africA 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Good review, and very intelligent to present it, stres is so omni-present in our society.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

celeBritys4africA, Thank you for your comment.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Pamela~~ this is the first of many interesting articles I look forward to reading... starting out very well cited/ academic and emerging into a very practical piece of work/ filled with many excellent resources/ books/ suggestions for us... I am grateful to be out of this phase of my life but can certainly attest to the profound damage of ongoing stress without relief.

Voted UP, USEFUL & AWESOME~~ thank you!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

marcoujor, It is very nice to out of the very stressed phase of life and I very much appreciate your comments.

Anaya M. Baker profile image

Anaya M. Baker 5 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for this informative hub! Yet another reason for us all to get our stress and anxiety under control. Sometimes it seems like its easier to just keep on going the way we have been rather than doing the real work to combat the problem-- I know for me stress and anxiety had just become such a part of my daily existence that I didn't realize it was a problem until I started having panic attacks. It was a real wake up call to look at both my lifestyle and my mindset.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Anaya, I think that it is easy to get so caught up in are problems that we don't realize the amount of stress that we have sometimes. I'm sure the panic attacks got your attention and that's a great time to start making some changes in your life to get your anxiety level under control. Thank you so much for your comments.

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