Many things can speed up aging including a diet high in fats and white sugar/carbs, not getting enough exercise, lack of sleep and too much exposure to the sun, but stress is number one! As business owners we know what stress is! We know what high stress is! And we know what prolonged stress is!
A little bit of stress is not always bad, it wakes us up and makes us alert. We learn better sometimes when we have a little bit of stress. The danger of aging comes when we have prolonged stress and don't know how to counteract the negative stresses.
A stress response starts in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which is called the mind-body connection, or where the brain and body intersect. When the hypothalamus and pituitary are stimulated, they activate the adrenal gland, which releases chemicals into the body that rev the body for a "fight or flight" action. When your body gets stressed, such as in times of emotional distress, exercise, surgery, illness, or even daily living, hormones are produced by the adrenal glands called Glucocorticoids. One of them, Cortisol. Prolonged adrenal stimulation will eventually lead to adrenal fatigue, a condition I speak more in depth about on my website.
So what can you do about Stress? Life style change is by far the best antidote to stress.
1st is to breathe correctly from your diaphragm, this powerful muscle in your stomach can calm the vagus nerve which helps aid in balancing your body. This nerve sends branches to the heart, the lungs, the intestinal tract. And what it's saying to your system is to calm down.
2nd is through meditation or prayer. This can strip decades, literally, off your life. If you find still meditation difficult, you can also use techniques like yoga, tai chi, or chi-gong. Just spending as little as 10 minutes alone, in silence will reset your endocrine system. You may say you don't have time, or you can't afford to take ten minutes. You really can't afford not to.
3rd, as we've all been told before, eat more fruits and vegetables!!! Specifically those rich in antioxidants like tomatoes, blueberries, carrots and broccoli. They can boost your immune system and help your body fight off the negative effects of stress.
4th, add magnesium to your diet. Magnesium is a well known anti-stress mineral. Look for it in whole grains, beets and raisins. Magnesium can also be taken as a supplement monitored by a health care practitioner.
5th, let it go! Relax. Don't sweat the small stuff....and it's all small stuff. Learn to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy. Don't focus on the negative and stressful. Most of us need some help with this. There are many relaxation techniques out there such as guided visualization and hypno-therapy that can help. Check out the book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff," by Richard Carlson, PH.D, highly recommended!
Lastly, and this may be needed in cases of extreme prolonged stress and exhaustion, is monitored Adrenal Gland rebuilding by a certified Doctor. Each gland in your body can be rebuilt using proper herbs a supplements. Adrenal gland testing my need to be performed to see just how stressed your body is and the rebuilding starts from there!
So, relax. Breathe. and Sleep!