You’ve heard about amazing centenarians who swear that they reached their 100th birthday thanks to their good genes. Or clean living. Or selectively dirty living. Or the glass of wine a day that killed the germs. Or the weekly cigar that did the same. Or the strict exercise regimen that kept them running until their grandkids had kids of their own.
But researchers say there may be another reason: They live longer because they learned how to not just manage stress, but rebound from it.
There’s a direct link between psychological stress and biological aging, says Thea Singer in her new book, “Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind.” And that link goes all the way down to our cells.
In a groundbreaking study, 2009 Nobel Prize-winning cell biologist Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., and health psychologist Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., both at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that that chronic stress “literally gnaws at our DNA—its tips, or telomeres, to be precise—speeding up the rate at
which our cells age.” In fact, Singer says, “Women who perceived themselves as being under the most stress had telomeres that were shorter by equivalent of 10 years.”
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