Telomeres and Longevity
While we all strive for happiness, we equally want our cells to be happy. For the past few decades, more and more research about a part of our cells called telomeres has come to show just how much our daily life choices affect us. Telomeres are the ends of our chromosomes, protecting our DNA strands as our cells divide. The shorter they get, the more likely we are to suffer from illness and age-related decline; the longer they remain during cellular division, the longer we are likely to live free from illness and disease. As these chromosomal ends fray and shorten, the more likely the affected cells will release pro-inﬂammatory substances into our systems, before they eventually die altogether, causing pain and illness.
What modern science has also revealed in study of these microscopic cellular bits is precisely what Chinese medicine has proposed for thousands of years—and is also articulated in Dr. Mao’s book, Secrets of Longevity: A combination of healthy life practices leads to longer lives. These practices include a healthy diet ﬁlled with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables; daily exercise including Qi Gong and Tai Chi; regular mindfulness practice and meditation; touch and intimacy with someone you love, as well as reaching out to friends and family to encourage a sense of community and connection; and managing your stress with positive thinking.