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Want to live longer? Chill out

Saturday - 4/12/2014, 3:00am  ET

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Freaking out? Cut yourself some slack and relax, doctors say. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON -- Not forgiving yourself for past mistakes or bad choices is unhealthy. New research suggests cutting yourself some slack can help you live longer.

The research from Brandis University says stress has a major effect on our lifespan. The more we stress the less healthy we become.

"Self-condemnation can have physical health effects, mental health effects, relationship effects and also spiritual effects, it's pretty devastating," says Virginia Commonwealth University Psychology Professor Dr Everett Worthington.

In his book, "Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past," Worthington says some people feel they let themselves down.

"And once they get into that cycle of playing it over and over again in their mind, it's hard to kick out of that cycle," He says.

The study, published in the journal "Brain, Behavior and Immunity," states the psychological stress can induce biological responses similar to getting an illness or getting injured. Those responses cause inflammation.

In a healthy person this inflammation fights infection but when unchecked could lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.

The best bet is self-forgiveness and self-compassion or, as the study suggests, "cut yourself some slack." Don't let the small stressors in life such as a traffic jam take any life time away from you.

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