Stress Can Make a Mess of Your Life

iStock/Thinkstock(CORVALLIS, Ore.) — Everyone’s got to shuck their mortal coil at some point but perhaps there are ways of delaying the inevitable.

One option, at least for men, is to try and eliminate stress from their lives. An Oregon State University study contends that high stress will shave years off an older man’s life compared to their peers who aren’t as bothered by everyday hassles or traumatic life events like job loss or divorce.

Interestingly enough, Carolyn Aldwin, who heads OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research, says that these two types of stressors aren’t necessarily related, that is, a man who experienced some major bad luck in his life may nonetheless be able to easily handle everyday annoyances.

In her study, Aldwin looked at life events and daily hassles that caused stress to 1,300 men over 16 years and then followed them for another five. During that period, 43 percent had passed away.

It soon became clear that men who experienced fewer traumatic life events and better managed the stress of everyday life had a far lower mortality rate than men who reported higher numbers of stressful life events and regularly lost their cool at stuff they often couldn’t control.

As Aldwin explains, “It’s not the number of hassles that does you in, it’s the perception of them being a big deal that causes problems.” Her advice? “Don’t make mountains out of molehills.”

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