> HOW DO I TURN MY PSYCHE INTO A FORTRESS?
The psyche is one of the most underestimated factors that influence regeneration. For a long time the medical profession did not recognize that our feelings play a very significant role in the physical regeneration and aging processes. But that is precisely the case. Still, what makes stress so dangerous? Answer: Allostasis, a phenomenon that neuroscience researcher Bruce Mcewen was the first to observe, is compensation for physical wear and tear. It’s primarily the stress hormone cortisol that increases our allostatic load. The consequence: significantly accelerated aging of skin, muscles, and bone tissue. By implication this means reducing stress is one of the most effective anti-aging strategies known to us. But how can an affected individual break out of the stress trap?
The problem is, many people don’t take the idea of stress as a medical problem seriously. “Even moderate stress can be absolutely deadly in the long term,” says Carolyn Aldwin, director of Oregon State University’s Center for Healthy Aging Research. In addition to the establishment and maintenance of social connections (which are proven to relieve stress and lengthen life by several years), relaxation exercises are an effective way to avoid the stress trap: yoga, tai chi, meditation, etc. The reason: Telomeres—structures at the end of chromosomes that determine a cell’s age—decrease in length more slowly and thus slow the aging process.