The effects of stress on the mind and body are already well documented - from irritability and anxiety to headaches and muscle tension.

But now a new study has shown that high levels of stress could also impact on our hair by turning it grey prematurely.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina found that when people experience stress, their bodies release chemicals that can damage their DNA.

This can speed up the aging process and cause hair to lose its colour.

More worryingly, it can also increase the risk of certain diseases, as the body produces less of the proteins needed to protect cells from abnormalities.

"This could explain how chronic stress may lead to a variety of human conditions and disorders," said lead researcher Professor Robert Lefkowitz.

"They range from merely cosmetic - like greying hair - to life-threatening disorders and malignancies."

The good news is that stress can be managed using a variety of techniques, from diet to relaxation and meditation.

Herbal oils and supplements, such as ashwagandha capsules and lavender oil, can also help to alleviate stress naturally.

Lavender is often used to calm the senses and promote sleep, while ashwagandha is recommended for those with a tired and exhausted nervous system.

Other organic remedies that can be used to tackle stress include brahmi capsules, coconut oil and valerian.

Of course exercise is also widely recommended for those suffering with stress, and Yoga can be an excellent choice.

Some forms of Yoga focus intensely on relaxation and breathing techniques, which can work wonders at the end of a hectic day.

Exercise also releases a chemical called serotonin, which makes people feel instantly happier and less stressed.

Posted by Matilda Jones