Are you Teflon or Velcro?

Stress. We know that too much of it is not good for us. Not good for us physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, “contrary to popular perception, stressors don’t cause health problems — it’s people’s reactions to the stressors that determine whether they will suffer health consequences, according to researchers at Penn State.”

Research at Penn State shows that how you react to your daily life happenings predicts your chronic health conditions 10 years in the future, independent of how healthy you are today! So if you are stressed or grumpy about a work report due today, you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than your colleague who is not bothered by the deadline. Or, if you are irritable or angry about being stuck in traffic, guess what, you are more likely to have health problems 10 years from now than the person who decides to not be bothered by the traffic and use the time to listen to music or catch up on a few phone calls.

The team that was involved in the study “found that people who become upset by daily stressors and continue to dwell on them after they have passed” were more likely to suffer from pain (such as that related to arthritis) and cardiovascular issues, among other conditions.

David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Penn Sate described two types of people: Velcro people and Teflon people. With Velcro people, stress sticks to them and they cannot shake it off. With Teflon people, stress just slides right off. Velcro people end up suffering more negative health consequences 10 years down the road!

Big take home message: You may not be able to reduce your daily life stressors like long hours at work, deadlines, driving your kids around, or dealing with a rude colleague or family member. But you can change your reactions to these stressors. There are many proven ways to lessen reactivity to stress, such as practicing meditation, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.

The foods you eat or don’t eat also play a big part in how you react to stress. For example, if you are drinking a few cups of coffee every day and eating sugary snacks, you are more likely to have blood sugar highs and lows, and not be able to deal with even the mildest stressors when your blood sugar takes a nose dive! Drinking a glass of wine in the evening may make you feel more relaxed for a few hours, but that glass of wine also affects your cortisol and blood sugar levels during the night, making you less likely to cope easily with stressors the next day!

Are you a Velcro person? Are you easily stressed out? Over and over again, participants that complete my three week cleanse program discover that they handle life’s daily stressors much more easily. Their stressors (i.e. kids, work, commute) don’t go away, they just don’t get as bothered by them. As I like to put it, participants find that they handle stress more gracefully! Ready to become a Teflon person so that you can enjoy your life NOW, and be healthier in the FUTURE? My next cleanse starts January 10th. Be sure to sign up by December 21st to receive $150 off registration!

Penn State (2012, November 2). Reactions to everyday stressors predict future health.ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2012.

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