Is life’s hustle and bustle draining out people? If yes, then what can be done to avoid stress in everyday life? As per a study conducted by University of Glasgow scientists, facing more stress in our life is likely to reduce the number of years we live. To add to it, the analysis also reveals that stress experienced in early life by our near ones(ch) may also reduce life expectancy.
As interesting as it may sound, this study included a small bird named zebra finch as the participant. Responses that these birds undergo are similar to those in animals of the higher order as well as human beings. They also apparently form strong relationships with their mates.
To mimic a stressful location, the scientists administered normal dose of stress hormones to nearly half of the birds for a duration of 2 weeks while the other half was not dosed. This period was the time when the birds were chicks. Subsequently, they were all exposed to a common stress-free location as they reached adulthood. It came to light that birds which received stress hormones in early life were seemingly more sensitive to stress when they became adults. Contrarily, birds that were not exposed to these stresses apparently reacted normally. While this increased responsiveness could lessen the chances of birds falling prey to predators, it may be a bad attribute as far as health is concerned.
The birds were then divided into sets of 2 and were inspected as they lived. Their lifespan was continually being checked. The investigators found that that the birds which faced a lot of stress when they were chicks appeared to live less when they became adults. Strikingly, their mate even if not exposed to the hormone, still seemed to have a shorter life. This could be a worst situation if 2 birds exposed to stress are in a team-up. The influence did not seem to be affected by the gender of the birds.
“Other research led us to expect that increased stress exposure in early life would reduce adult lifespan but we were not expecting such a big effect on breeding partners. Unstressed birds had mortality rates that were four times higher than normal if they were simply given partners that had experienced stress earlier in their lives,” cited Professor Pat Monaghan and leader of the study.
The outcome of the study was surprising to the scientists. The analysts believe that one of the reasons for this could be that living in with a nervy partner may be a discomfiting experience. As per Monaghan, the essential message of this study is that a wrong life partner is likely to affect health and wellness.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.