time the anxiety induced by another gloomy bank balance or the threat
of yet more redundancies in your office convinces you that the recession
should come with a government health warning, think again.
Dr Marios Kyriazis,
a GP and expert in geriatric medicine, is among a growing number
of health professionals claiming that stress isn’t the one-way road
to illness and an early grave that most of us assume. In fact, provided
it’s relatively short-term, it appears that stress can do wonders
for the immune system and ageing process, not to mention keeping
the likes of Alzheimer’s, arthritis and certain cancers at bay.
to blame stress for everything from exhaustion to bad moods to heart
disease, but it’s all a myth. Far from being bad for you, stress
is vital for survival. I advise people to seek out stress because
it can make you live longer. I actually think the recession –
even if it means losing your job – will, for many people, be
good for their health. It’s people who have routine, uncomplicated,
unchallenging lives that tend to be harder hit by ill-health,"
explains Kyriazis, who is president of the British Longevity Society
and author of the book Anti-Ageing
It’s the degree
of stress that is crucial. "There’s a lot of research and it
all points to mild and moderate stress working in the body’s favour
by increasing the production of regenerative proteins that nourish
brain cells, enabling them to function at peak capacity. These cells
reinforce the neural connections and physical repair pathways that
usually deteriorate with age," he says.