Science Shows Why You Really, Really Shouldn't Sweat the Small Stuff


Not to stress you out or anything, but a little bit of stress can actually kill you.

"People who always perceived their daily life to be over-the-top stressful were three times more likely to die over the period of study than people who rolled with the punches and didn't find daily life very stressful," Carolyn Aldwin, director of the Center for Healthy Aging Research at Oregon State University and the lead author on the study, told NPR. "There are a number of ways chronic stress can kill you."

The science: Aldwin and her team analyzed a sample of 1,293 men with a median age of 65 from the Normative Aging Study (NAS), a Department of Veterans Affairs project started in the 1960s to study long-term health issues among veterans. This was a longitudinal study, and some subjects were tracked for more than 20 years.

According to Aldwin and her team, the problem is chemical: Regular annoyances, like major moments of stress, lead to increased levels of cortisol — the "stress hormone" — which leads to a degraded capacity for learning and memory, lower immune function, increased blood pressure and cholesterol, enhanced weight gain and a higher risk of heart disease.

Or, just take a lesson from the Costanzas:

h/t NPR