Reactions To Stress Could Affect Health 10 Years Later, Study Finds

Get Stressed Easily? It Could Affect Your Health Later On

It's not just the stress, but how you react to it, that could have an impact on your health down the road, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University researchers.

Published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found in the study that people who were more stressed out and anxious about the stresses of everyday life were more likely to have chronic health conditions (such as heart problems, or arthritis) 10 years later, compared with people who viewed things with a more relaxed lens.

"I like to think of people as being one of two types," Almeida said. "With Velcro people, when a stressor happens it sticks to them; they get really upset and, by the end of the day, they are still grumpy and fuming," study researcher David Almeida, a professor of human development and family studies at Penn State, said in a statement. "With Teflon people, when stressors happen to them they slide right off. It's the Velcro people who end up suffering health consequences down the road."

The study included 2,000 people who were part of the Midlife in the United States study, who were surveyed via phone for eight nights in a row. In the surveys, they were asked about the events -- including stressful occurrences -- of the previous 24 hours, as well as how they handled them. The researchers said that they did this for eight nights in a row in order to see the participants' pattern of behavior -- who was constantly having a reaction to stressors, and who was not having such a strong reaction.

The researchers also took some of the participants saliva to measure cortisol, the stress hormone.

Then, they repeated the same process 10 years later. They found that the people who seemed to react the most strongly to stressors 10 years prior were the ones more likely to have gone on to develop health conditions.

Specifically, researchers found that older people -- those age 65 and older -- handled stress worse than younger people, possibly because younger people are more exposed to stressors, they said.

Is life a little too much on the overwhelming side lately? Here are some tips for de-stressing, naturally:

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