Our Response to Everyday Stressors Can Affect Health Years Later

To some, the idea of “letting things go” is much easier said than done—yet, others can easily move on from small, everyday stressors quite easily. New research is showing that the people who have a harder time letting go of stressful stuff from day to day tend to have health implications follow them into later life, including physical limitations and more susceptibility to chronic illness.

A study published in Psychological Science analyzed a representative, longitudinal study of adults called the Midlife in the United States Survey. This survey included self-reports of negative emotions felt over the last 24 hours and the stressors endured each day. Ten years later, participants also answered questions related to their ability to complete basic functional tasks (like carrying groceries or climbing a flight of stairs) as well as any diagnoses of chronic illnesses.

It came as no surprise that the first surveys revealed how people who had experienced a stressor the day before also experienced negative emotions. However, there was also a relationship between this type of participant response and the likelihood of having chronic illness and/or physical limitations later in life. Interestingly, these associations remained after researchers controlled for basic factors such as gender, as well as same-day emotional responses.

“This means that health outcomes don’t just reflect how people react to daily stressors, or the number of stressors they are exposed to—there is something unique about how negative they feel the next day that has important consequences for physical health,” Kate Leger of the University of California, Irvine explained to Science Daily. “Our research shows that the strategy to ‘just let it go’ could be beneficial to our long term physical health.”

Further research will, of course, need to be done to understand the strength of this relationship. Yet, the fact that there are clear signs between our ability to manage everyday stressors and long-term health means we should consider improving our stress management skills today.

There are several places to start with creating (or improving) a stress management regimen. First of all, there are several different types of stress that can plague us every day. Secondly, it’s important to note that we can make attempts to halt stress in its tracks. Also, we don’t have to stick to the usual methods we have tried before—all overthe world people have found a variety of ways to keep stress at bay. Reevaluate your current management techniques to see if they need an upgrade.

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55 comments

Megan S
Megan S5 months ago

people with high stress levels should try eating a big breakfast - I stopped skipping it and my anxiety levels pretty much halved (just make sure its healthy lol)

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Megan S
Megan S5 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y5 months ago

Thank you

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE5 months ago

Thank you

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Cathy B
Cathy B5 months ago

Thank you.

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Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Winn A
Winn Adams5 months ago

No surprise here . . . . .

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Kathy G
Kathy G5 months ago

Thank you

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Vicky L
Vicky L5 months ago

As long as this "letting go" isn't emotional repression or denial as these are well known to contribute to illnesses. Very important article nonetheless . I wish it was circulated to all employers.

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Danii P
Past Member 5 months ago

Thank you.

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