STRESS MYTHS: TRUE OR FALSE?
STRESS TURNS YOUR HAIR GREY
This is probably true. After all, we’ve seen country leaders go grey within weeks of taking office. The subject hasn’t been studied much, but a paper published in
Nature in 2013 did find that hormones produced in response to stress can cause the melanocyte stem cells that determine hair colour to leave our hair follicles.
STRESS WILL GIVE YOU STOMACH ULCERS
Nope. Common stomach ulcers are caused by an infection by Helicobacter
pylori bacteria, not by stress. However, stress and other lifestyle factors like drinking alcohol and eating spicy food may make existing ulcers worse.
STRESS GIVES YOU WRINKLES
Probably true. At the end of our chromosomes is a protective cap of DNA called a telomere. Telomeres shorten as we age, and studies have shown that stress can prematurely shorten telomeres, speeding up the ageing process. One study showed that long-term anxiety caused by phobias was linked with shortened telomere length, suggesting that stress might accelerate ageing.
A POST-WORK DRINK HELPS YOU DE-STRESS
Wrong again. There’s evidence that people who report high levels of stress tend to drink more. In the short-term, alcohol can help you relax and take your mind off troubles. But studies indicate that regularly using booze to de-stress has the opposite effect – your body becomes immune to alcohol’s effects and stress hormone levels rise.