Written by Vera Coetsee, Health and Nutrition Coach

18 September 2023

Stress, a common and often unavoidable experience, can have profound effects on both physical and mental well-being. Research has increasingly shown that chronic stress can negatively impact longevity, leading to a range of health issues and a decreased lifespan. Understanding the complex relationship between stress and longevity is crucial for individuals seeking to enhance their overall well-being and lead a longer, healthier life.

Chronic stress can affect the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illness and infections. Moreover, stress can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, or drug abuse. These behaviours can have detrimental effects on physical health and increase the risk of developing chronic conditions that can reduce longevity. Additionally, stress can contribute to the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Finally, stress can also affect sleep patterns, leading to sleep disturbances or insomnia. Lack of quality sleep has been linked to various health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and impaired immune function, all of which can impact longevity.

Managing stress is crucial for improving longevity and overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you effectively manage stress:

  1. Identify the sources of stress: This could be work-related issues, personal relationships, financial concerns, or any other triggers.
  2. Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga. These techniques help calm your mind and body, reducing stress levels.
  3. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps release endorphins, which are natural stress-fighting hormones. 
  4. Prioritise self-care: This can include reading, taking baths, getting a massage, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy.
  5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
  6. Seek social support: Share your feelings and concerns with trusted friends, family members, or a support group.
  7. Time management: Organise your time effectively by setting realistic goals and priorities. Create to-do lists, delegate tasks when possible, and learn to say no to unnecessary commitments.
  8. Practise positive thinking: Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on gratitude, practising self-compassion, and reframing negative thoughts. Surround yourself with positive influences and engage in activities that bring you joy.
  9. Limit exposure to stressors: This might involve setting boundaries, reducing exposure to negative news or social media, or making changes in your environment to create a more peaceful atmosphere.
  10. Seek professional help when needed: If stress becomes overwhelming and starts to significantly impact your daily life, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor who can provide guidance and support.


If you need support with stress management, make an appointment with our counsellors here.



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While AE, Clark LL. Management of work stress and burnout among community nurses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Br J Community Nurs. 2021 Aug 2;26(8):384-389. doi: 10.12968/bjcn.2021.26.8.384. PMID: 34343046. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34343046/