The great ageing hoax: how to live to 150
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It might not be a change in diet, hours of exercise a week, or a secret potion from China that slows down the ageing process …
Open a magazine or read a newspaper, and you’ll find promises of eternal youth. Whether it involves expensive face creams, faddy diets or state of the art rubs, peels and wraps everyone is out there to offer you something.
If growing old gracefully isn’t your thing, then read on; the solution may be right under your nose.
In his book “Why kindness is good for you”, David Hamilton suggests that ‘being nice’ can make you happier, reduce heart disease, combat imflamation and slow down some of the ageing processes!
Makes sense to me; how often have you performed a Random Act Of Kindness or gone out of your way to help someone and felt an enormous buzz afterwards?
Volunteering charity TimeBank found that 71% of volunteers who offered their professional skills said giving up their free time to help others helped them combat depression.
“There is growing evidence that regular kindness can be an antidote to heart disease” says David. “When kindness involves eye contact, a connection or bond (however temporary) is formed between two people. This bonding produces a hormone called oxytocin (huge amounts of this are released when a woman gives birth). Studies show that oxytocin is a ‘cardio protective’ hormone, which means it helps protect the heart and cardiovascular system from disease.”
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Acts of compassion also stimulates the vagus nerve. This nerve regulates inflammatory responses, and is linked to heart disease, as well as degenerative brain disorders and certain cancers.”
From this we can deduce that being kind might slow down some of the ageing process! Inflammation doesn’t just contribute to disease, but to how we age. Specialists in the ageing process have gone so far as to suggest that if they could find a drug to combat inflammation we would typically live to around 150 years old!
If that isn’t enough to convince you to perform a few acts of kindness, then there is some evidence that regular kindness produces endogenous opiates in the brain. These are natural versions of opiate drugs and produce what is known as ‘helper’s high’ – that psychological feel-good buzz you get from being kind. More significantly, these endogenous opiates also serve as potent painkillers.
“Even a small, genuine act, like holding a door open makes a difference to our health”, says David “It’s really about developing an attitude of kindness.”
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