Running out of life

A happy life consists in tranquility of mind. ~ Cicero

I’ve come to the conclusion that stress equals death. At least, that’s my take away after reading the opening paragraph’s from Jonah Lehrer’s Wired article over at ScienceBlogs. Why is this important? Mostly because my doc keeps harping on me about my levels of stress. Why? Jonah so thoughtfully explains…

Here’s one example of how stress destroys the body. Elissa Epel, a former grad student of Sapolsky’s and a professor of psychiatry at UCSF, has demonstrated that mothers caring for chronically ill report much higher levels of stress. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that these women also have dramatically shortened telomeres, those caps on the end of chromosomes that keep our DNA from disintegrating. (Women with the highest levels of stress had telomere shortening equal “to at least one decade of additional aging.”) When our telomeres run out, our cells stop dividing; we’ve run out of life. Stress makes us run out of life faster.

If that doesn’t scare the sh*t out of you, then maybe this little tidbit will (especially if you’re a guy – emphasis mine)…

Stress hollows out our bones and atrophies our muscles. It triggers adult onset diabetes and is a leading cause of male impotence. In fact, numerous studies of human longevity in developed countries have found that “psychosocial” factors such as stress are the single most important variable in determining the length of a life. It’s not that genes and risk factors like smoking don’t matter. It’s that our levels of stress matter more.

No wonder my doc keeps saying “cut it out!”

Here’s to living a happy and LOOOOONG life! Cheers y’all!

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Categories: Health, Stress | Leave a comment

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