Monday, June 8, 2009

How to de-claw the stress monster

Stress. We all know the harm it can cause to your life -- including health problems, a shortened lifespan, relationship woes, etc. Now add: Looking older. Yikes! According to an article in Real Age, stress can help cause wrinkles by "increasing the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that also stymies collagen production, one of the natural substances skin needs in order to plump itself, repair itself, and keep wrinkles at bay."

"Oh great," you may well mutter to yourself. I mean, it's not as if many of us have any control over the amount of stress in our lives today -- what, with lost jobs, foreclosures, mounting bills, killer workloads, battling spouses, troubled kids, you name it.

But the folks at Real Age aren't just interested in disseminating bad news about harmful elements in our lives; they're also out to help us combat the negative effects of these elements. Thus, the site also provides some hints at how to stave off wrinkles. To wit:

Tactic No. 1: Do some quick deep-breathing exercises (close your eyes, sit up straight with uncrossed legs, and then breathe in deeply and release it slowly for a few rounds). Ahhhh! Feel yourself relaxing? That's good! Now, get back to work -- but do these exercises again, as often as you can!

Tactic No. 2: Hum! Yes, hum! Apparently, humming has been scientifically proved to boost nitric oxide (NO), a body gas that has a stress-reducing effect in small doses.

Tactic No. 3: Practice meditation (for as little as 5 minutes a day) to calm yourself and help gain a better perspective on your life. For tips on how to meditate, see the handy Real Age page on the subject.

So, to the stress monster, I say: Take that, you unrepentant bully!


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