According to Sinha, continued stress increases the risk of mood disorders, addiction, heart disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also affect metabolism and by boosting obesity-related disorders such as diabetes. Thinking clearly and emotional regulation are also affected.
For the study, 444 participants ages 19 to 50 were enrolled. They gave blood samples to evaluate the age-related chemical changes from GrimAge and other health markers. They also answered questions meant to show levels of stress and psychological resilience.
After accounting for demographic and behavioral factors, researchers discovered that people who scored high on measures due to chronic stress showed accelerated aging markers and psychological changes, such as increased insulin resistance.
But stress didn’t affect everyone in the same way.
Participants who had high scores on emotion regulation and self-control were more resilient to the effects of stress on aging and insulin resistance.
The more psychologically resilient the subject was, the greater chance they’d live a longer, healthier life, according to Zachary Harvanek, a resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, who helped lead the team with Sinha.
“These results support the popular notion that stress makes us age faster, but they also suggest a promising way to possibly minimize these adverse consequences of stress through strengthening emotion regulation and self-control,” Harvanek said.
“We all like to feel like we have some agency over our fate,” Sinha said. “So it is a cool thing to reinforce in people’s minds that we should make an investment in our psychological health.”
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