Longevity: Reducing Stress

Read an excerpt from Dr. Robert Butler’s new book The Longevity Prescription, discussing how stress reduction is key for a long and healthy life. Dr. Butler has been called "The Father of Geriatrics" and is the founder of the National Institute on Aging (a part of the NIH) and the International Longevity Center at Columbia University. To purchase your copy of The Longevity Prescription, click here.

Posted on | By Dr. Robert Butler

Change Your Thinking About the Importance of Stress

Your thoughts play a crucial role in stress management. The brain is a key activator that, at both conscious and unconscious levels, disposes us to disease or tilts us toward health. The consequence of too much stress is wear and tear on the body. That in turn can play a role in the development of such conditions as obesity, type-2 diabetes, brain atrophy, heart disease, loss of sexual function, high blood pressure, loss of muscle and bone strength, suppression of the boy's immune system, and depression. In many ways, de-stressing is as important as diet and exercise. The goal here is to reduce stressors in your life for health and longevity.

  1. I suggest you approach de-stressing this way:
  2. Think about a computer that's overwhelmed by too many complex tasks at once; it will crash.
  3. Think about you under stress: Don't you feel as if your effectiveness has frozen up, too?
  4. Find ways to reboot.

Stress Reducers

 Here are some different ways of thinking about our life.

  • Find quietude. The human body is better able to counter or reduce the ravages of excess stress if you find the opportunity to escape the tension for a time. Exercise seems to be doubly effective in reducing stress when it is paired with such relaxation techniques as deep breathing, self-hypnosis, yoga, meditation. While training sessions, books, and other forms of guidance are available to help body, but an engagement with family, friends, and community can be life enhancing for the very old, the old, or those of us wondering at the impact of aging.

    Borrowing from the life facts of Kirk Douglas's career, think of your life you master specific techniques, you may already know how to find the calm you need. Once you identify it, take regular recourse to your personal place of escape.

Article written by Dr. Robert Butler
Dr. Butler has been called "The Father of Geriatrics" and is the founder of the National Institute on Aging (a part of the NIH)...