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    Inflammaging Part 2: Stress Management

      |  Apr 06, 2023

    In a previous post, we discussed that chronic inflammation is the largest driver of aging, which is why it’s often referred to as “Inflammaging.” Chronic stress is a major problem for many adults, and is directly linked to inflammation related aging.

    Our bodies respond to stress similarly to trauma, sending out fighter cells and preparing our body for protection - leading to inflammation. When we’re constantly stressed and our body is always in defense mode, we exacerbate our system and our cells and organs develop wear and tear faster.

    If you’re feeling chronically stressed, it’s never too late to take charge and reduce your stress to get inflammation under control. Here are 4 main ways to manage stress:

    1. Self-care:

    Don’t we all love a little self care? Managing stress with self-care is a great way to improve your mental and physical well-being. Here are some ways to practice self-care:

    Take breaks throughout the day to recharge and relax. You can take a short walk, read a book, or practice deep breathing exercises.

    Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. This can involve speaking kindly to yourself, taking time to relax, and forgiving yourself for any mistakes or setbacks.

    Taking time to take care of yourself physically - like getting a facial or taking a long bath

    To practice self-care effectively, it's important to be mindful of activities that may seem enjoyable but can actually be detrimental to your well-being, such as excessive use of social media or consuming distressing news content. It's ideal to set aside some time each day to disconnect from electronic devices and screens, allowing yourself to recharge and focus on more positive aspects of your life. Ultimately, the goal of self-care is to cultivate a more positive and fulfilling existence.

    2. Mindfulness:

    Mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. This involves focusing your attention on the present moment, and can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

    You might take advantage of a guided meditation app or simply set a reminder on your phone each day to take a pause and reflect on what’s around you, how you’re feeling, and guiding yourself toward acceptance of that feeling.

    There are also options like Neurofeedback Therapy, which are under the supervision of a clinician, that can help encourage more efficient brain activity and lead to improved mood, concentration, sleep, and even eating habits.

    3. Community Bonding:

    Make time for social connections and spend time with friends and family. Social support can help reduce stress, improve your overall well-being, and may even help you live longer.

    Find a local facebook group that aligns with your interests and meets in person regularly for events and activities. Join a book club. Add a recurring event to your calendar each to pick a different friend to call each week. It’s incredibly important to feel connected to and supported by those around you!

    4. Therapy:

    If you walk away with just one recommendation from this post, it’s this: Try therapy. Working with a trained therapist can be an effective way to manage stress, and they can help you find the therapy approach that is best suited for your needs.

    Therapy offers you the opportunity to talk to a trained and impartial professional who listens to you without judgment. This expert can provide you with valuable insights and practical guidance on how to manage your daily stressors, and help you develop strategies to become the best version of yourself. Therapy is an incredibly effective form of stress reduction, and improves quality of life and cellular heath. I recommend it to all of my patients who haven’t already tried it and are motivated to do anything to slow down the aging process.

    About Michaela Robbins, DNP

    Michaela is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Board-Certified Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. She completed her nursing education at Columbia University with a background in comprehensive wellness and occupational screenings, ENT, Pulmonary and GI medicine. She has completed training through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine to integrate lifestyle recommendations into chronic disease prevention and management. By pulling from different areas of medicine, Michaela offers an individualized approach to achieving highly personalized health goals to feel good inside and out.

    Learn more about all of our Modern Age clinicians here.