How To Shield Your Telomeres From Stress

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In Telomeres, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel tell us:

Feeling threatened is not the only way to respond to stress. It’s also possible to feel a sense of challenge. People with a challenge response may feel anxious and nervous during a lab stressor test, but they also feel excited and energized. They have a ‘bring it on!’ mentality. … Athletes who have a challenge response win more often, and a study of Olympic athletes has shown that these highly successful folks have a history of seeing their life problems as challenges to be surmounted. The challenge response creates the psychological and physiological conditions for you to engage fully, perform at your best, and win. The threat response is characterized by withdrawal and defeat, as you slump in your seat or freeze, your body preparing for wounding and shame as you anticipate a bad outcome. A predominant habitual threat response can, over time, work itself into your cells and grind down your telomeres. A predominant challenge response, though, may help shield your telomeres from some of the worst effects of chronic stress.

Back to the challenge response again. We can feel anxious and at the same time excited and energized. Remember a predominant challenge response may shield our telomeres from the worst effects of chronic stress. The perfect mantra “bring it on!”.

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