Unchecked tension doesn’t just put you in a lousy mood. It also boosts inflammation in the body, which can speed aging and make you more likely to get sick, according to a Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study.
In fact, findings suggest that the majority of diseases are related to chronic stress. Stress hormones like cortisol are also thought to negatively impact memory and contribute to brain shrinkage starting as early as our late 40s, according to a Neurology study.
Finding ways to unwind can make a difference—even if it’s only for a minute or two. “Even if you’re pressed for time, take a moment and take one restorative breath,” Dr. Kaiser says.
Have some more time to spare? Try working yoga into your day. In a study of middle-aged adults, performing yoga for 90 minutes, five days a week was found to lower levels of inflammation and stress hormones, as well as slow down the rate at which cells age.