With such a large amount of scientific and anecdotal evidence linking physical and emotional wellbeing, it is quite absurd that a disconnect between mind and body still exists in our Western society.
The science of emotion is a legitimate and fascinating field of study. Bottom line, negative emotions correlate directly with negative physical health. And positive emotions are essential for positive physical health.
This blog post is about stress and why we should bother reducing and managing it. Specifically, since this is a fitness blog, here is yet another reason to adhere to your regular exercise regimen.
Stress is an example of a negative emotion. It is a particularly nasty one. We know that stress is bad for us. It begins in our minds and then finds its way into every cell in our body. Or does it? Actually, it is the other way around.
So the body feels stress, which then tells the brain about it, specifically the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then coordinates a heightened response of increased adrenaline and cortisol, quickened heart rate and breathing, slowed digestion and a host of other physiological phenomena.
Stress has the power to shorten our lives at the microscopic level of our DNA in every cell in our body. Scientists are not quite sure how many cells are in the human body, guessing anywhere from 5 billion to 200 million trillion. Regardless, that is a lot of DNA under the influence of stress.
Yikes. Here’s how it works.
I know, it is a bit of science garble, but read that last paragraph again. I have a science degree in genetics, but my last university exam was almost twenty years ago. Which was the last time I encountered the word ‘telomere’ before delving into the fitness profession. Geneticist or not, it seems that we want to keep our telomeres as long as possible, and not let stress eat away at them.