How To Reduce The Harmful Effects Of Chronic Stress

Episode 651 1h 9m


Stress has somehow become a perceived right of passage for adults in the US. Many people feel that if they’re not stressed, they’re not working hard enough. And almost all of us have had stress build throughout our lives, a combination of trauma, life experiences, and our state of mind.

Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m excited to talk to Dr. Elissa Epel about the wide-ranging effects of chronic stress on our health and how to mitigate it to feel better and even slow the aging process. Dr. Epel and I kick off our conversation by talking about the idea of uncertainty tolerance and how we can work on finding comfort in the unknown. Our individual histories and traumatic experiences set our ability to tolerate uncertainty and Dr. Epel explains what different levels of that look like. While stress does serve an evolutionary purpose for us, there is a huge difference between how acute stress and chronic stress impact our bodies. Plus, our state of mind plays a foundational role in how we experience stress, meaning an event could be extremely stressful for one person, but the same event may not feel as intense for someone else.

Dr. Epel’s research on stress and aging gives us a helpful lens to reframe longevity, mindset, and happiness. Stress actually impacts mitochondrial function, leading to the symptoms we’ve come to consider a normal part of aging. But in pursuing small amounts of “good” stress, or hormetic stress, we can boost mitochondria and cell function, clear away damaged cells, and become more resilient to the negative impacts of chronic stress. It’s impossible to avoid all stress. This episode is full of so many helpful tips on assessing the impact of stress in your own life, taking a proactive mind-body approach, and offsetting the negative effects. I hope you’ll tune in.


This episode is brought to you by Cozy Earth, Rupa Health, Essentia, and AG1. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • Uncertainty tolerance and finding comfort in the unknown


  • How our trauma history impacts our ability to tolerate uncertainty


  • The difference between acute and chronic stress


  • How our mind states impact how we experience stress


  • The impact stress has on mitochondria


  • Incorporating hormetic or “good” stress into our lives


  • How meaning, purpose, and mindset impact our lives


  • Taking a stress inventory of your life


  • Telomere health and aging


  • Mitigating stress at the start of your day


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Resources Mentioned

Host & Guests


Automatically generated. Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Coming up on this episode of The Doctor's Farmacy.

Elissa Epel:
Our sense of purpose and our ability to make meaning of when traumatic things happen is critical to how well we can live.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman. That's farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And if you ever feel stressed or feel like stress is taking over your life, then you might want to listen up to this podcast because we're going to be talking with one of the experts in the research on stress, Elissa Epel, who wrote a book called Seven Days to More Joy and Ease, which is a subtitle. The title of the book is The..

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Ep. 651 - How To Reduce The Harmful Effects Of Chronic Stress