6 ways to get to eternity faster
We all will get to eternity, however and wherever we think it is, but not all at once (unless some nitwit causes a thermonuclear war). There is a process to get to eternity and it is called “aging”.
We all age but at different rates, depending on what we were born with (genes) and where and how we live (lifestyle and environment). You probably don’t need to know where to find a clinic, a potion or a doctor to treat or even counter your aging woes. They are everywhere and it would be another column for another day which ones offer scientifically proven ones. But if, for whatever strange reason, you want to zoom to eternity, i.e. grow old faster, science could help you get there.
Science knows what to suggest to hasten your aging process because it has found from many studies what aging looks like, not just in terms of how we look and the aches and pains that plague us, but what aging actually looks like when it comes to the genetic material we all have: our chromosomes. The minute we are born, we grow and develop because our cells divide but there is a cost to living and it is aging. Most of our cells contain chromosomes – the bundles which contain our genetic material – our DNA. Every time cells split, the tails (telomeres) of our chromosomes, shorten and this is what causes aging and other age-related diseases. Here are the ways that your “tails” could split faster:
1. Smoking. Many studies including this one has shown that smoking enhances the shortening of telomeres. Your cells do all sort of housekeeping functions in order to keep you alive. One of them is being able to generate energy for you and to do this, it cannot help but also produce trash. This trash can do all sorts of damage in your body. Smoking is sort of the local politician who messes with the trash collection in your body, causing all that trash to cause damage all over your body. This trash problem inside you has been seen in studies to hasten the shortening of your telomeres, and thus pull you to the grave faster than if you did not smoke.
2. Obesity. Excessive body weight has also been seen in studies to cause the kind of cell damage (oxidative stress) that is associated with shorter telomeres. Scientists think that this is because the excessive fat present in obese humans is not processed properly and thus cause the damage that in turn speeds up the shortening of telomeres. This is not to say that faster aging is the fault of those who are obese. Obesity could be caused by many other things and not merely by a whimsical desire to eat that has gone awry.
3. Air pollution. Now this is worrisome for all of us who breathe and live in cities like Metro Manila. A study has found that being exposed to air pollution also shortens our telomeres. They found this in a study that compared the telomeres of traffic workers versus office workers. Thus, even if you are not a traffic enforcer, if you are exposed to breathing city air in doses as a traffic enforcer is, then you also run the risk of aging faster than you should.
4. A habit of anger and hostility. The joke that Pinoys say often - “huwag ka na magalit, tatanda ka agad” (don’t get mad, you will grow old faster) has biological basis. In a study, scientists found that people whose default mode is distrust and seething anger have shorter telomeres than those who may get impatient but do not act on it with flagrant hostility. What is very interesting about this study is that even when the hostile men who were studied had high telomerase (an enzyme whose job it is to maintain the health of the telomeres), the “tails” of these men were still 30% shorter than the ones who were not habitually angry and hostile. This could mean that even if you had been genetically gifted, it may not be enough to counteract the snipping power of your hostile self over your telomeres.
5. Pessimism. Always seeing the dark side of things may actually cause you to get to eternity earlier than if you were sunny about your outlook in life. A study on menopausal women has found that pessimism actually registers an association with shorter telomeres.
6. Dwelling. Whether it is ruminating on your stress or unwillingness to let go of negative feelings or the past, these mental habit pulls eternity closer to your reach. Dwelling is being in the room with the same thoughts and memories with the curtains drawn. You never get to see anything else. This is not just about being stressed and being aware of it (since that it is probably all of us) but ONLY thinking about how stressed without coming up with solutions to ease their stress. These are the people who ONLY complain and lament their stressful situations. This kind of dwelling or “rumination”, only leads to depression/anxiety, which in turn is associated with shorter telomeres. “Dwelling” also means you want and love to let the pain remain, as the song goes. Well, that would be of course your personal choice but just so you know, you can let the pain remain but you also surrender your life to eternity faster that way. You cannot have both.
So from here to eternity, we actually have some leeway in terms of choosing the rate at which we will travel. Science has given us some wayfinding tips. The rest is, as much of what life is, up to us. – Rappler.com