How Stress Can Affect Longevity

Jul 03, 2016

Many of us like to groan about how our job is “killing” us. Unfortunately, for some people, this seems to be true, literally. The impacts of stress can be seen in a person’s face, and it contributes to shorter lives.

Stress and Longevity

We all know stress can come from everywhere – from work to other aspects of your daily life. Scientists say that stress can make you look and feel older faster. It can also have an effect on your quality of life, which can contribute to shorter lifespan.

Shorter Lifespan

People who suffer from too much stress are more prone to various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, weight problems and certain cancers. 

Stress in the Workplace

A team of researchers from Harvard Business School and Stanford University found that stressful workplaces make it more likely for workers to die earlier, although the effects differed based on race and educational background. 5-10% mortality rate of well-educated people was associated to stressful jobs while their less schooling counterparts had 12-19% mortality rate.

DNA Damage

A 2012 study in the journal PLoS ONE indicates that chronic stress such as what we go through in high stress occupations actually causes damage in critical parts of our DNA over time. This damage can increase our chances of shorter lifespan.

The study showed that people who are chronically stressed have shorter telomeres. Telomeres are the protective edges that bind the ends of DNA strands together. Often when telomeres reach a critically short length, the cell dies through a programmed cell death, or apoptosis.

However, some cells don’t die. They become old. Scientists call these cells as “senescent”. They sputter along, making genetic errors and causing damage.

Basically, the length of telomeres is directly tied to our longevity.

Klotho, the Longevity Protein

Researchers from University of California – San Francisco (UCSF) performed a study comparing mothers of children on the autism spectrum to low stress controls. They found in their study that women under chronic stress have significantly lower levels of klotho, a hormone that regulates aging and enhances cognition. Findings suggest that klotho could be a link between chronic stress and premature disease and death.

Simple Stress Management Tips

Learn to say no. If you’re piled up with deadlines and obligations or cramming too many activities into too little time, there’s only one word you need to say – “no”. Being overcommitted makes you more likely to feel run-down and possibly get sick. Just accept the fact that you can’t do so many things at a limited amount of time.


Get a good night’s sleep. Go for at least 7 hours a night. Sleep is the ultimate energizer, restoring all the energy you’ve lost during the day and making you prepared for the challenges you’ll be facing the next day. Just avoid caffeine later in the day so you won’t have difficulty sleeping.


Attend Reformer Pilates Classes. Reformer Pilates emphasise both physical and mental strength which are good ways to fight stress. It is an incredibly powerful exercise to help you relax, rejuvenate and release tension. It lets your mind focus on the present moment, leaving your worries outside.


Do you need help in stress management and enjoy longer happy life? Book in for your Free Pilates Body Assessment (valued at $80) today!