The study pinpoints high stress people, worry-warts, and those with neurotic personality traits and finds that in some cases the risk of premature death was due to the methods these people are prone to use to alleviate their stress levels such as tobacco, alcohol, and over-eating. Those however who were able to keep their bad habits under control still succumbed to the same increased risks due to the long-term effects of cortisol on the body, which according to lead researcher, Daniel Mroczek from Purdue University, causes damage to arteries and the hippocampus.
The Washington Times recently reported on these findings:
Mr. Mroczek says his research can help in the treatment of high-anxiety persons whose surges of negative emotions sometimes threaten to consume them… "If we can identify who is prone to do damage to their body, it's easier to target and design a treatment," Mr. Mroczek says. "It could be part of a preventative care program provided by employers."The take away from this is twofold from my perspective. One, we all need to understand the importance of relaxing and not worrying too much. A while back I posted on the power of positive thinking and this research shows us one such reason to remove negative thoughts from our lives. Second, this research identifies a major flaw in humanity in that we are prone to overcome stress and negativity with activities which harm our bodies. This suggests that if we are able to deal with the stressors of our lives in other more healthy ways we might be more healthy and happy.
There are of course healthy mechanisms for stress relief, some even are just as effective as medication. Exercise has long been proven to improve mood and emotion just as good as medication does. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be a creator of happy people. Your diet does not have to consist of only meat and potatoes or greens and lentils. Throw in some nuts and fish and maybe some purslane into your diet and go for a walk. Stay calm and stop worrying. The bottom line is you should try optimizing your diet and participating in activities which support a healthy attitude otherwise you might just succumb to unnecessary and avoidable disease.
Journal of Research in Personality
The Washington Times