Negative Thoughts Harm Your Health By Damaging DNA


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Lose your temper on the road? Frustrated with colleagues at work? You may be cutting your life short, warns molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn--who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009--and health psychologist Elissa Epel, who studies stress and aging.

The authors claim in their new book, The Telomere Effect, that negative thoughts harm your health at the DNA level. Research has shown that a person’s “social relationships, environments and lifestyles” affect their genes. “Even though you are born with a particular set of genes, the way you live can influence how they express themselves.”

Blackburn and Epel say components of DNA called telomeres determine how fast your cells age. Short telomeres are one of the major reasons human cells grow old, but lab tests have shown that they can also grow longer. In other words, aging “could possibly be accelerated or slowed and, in some aspects, even reversed.”

The aging and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell’s chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Blackburn likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel.

In one study, telomere length, an emerging biomarker for cellular and general bodily aging, was assessed in association with the tendency to be present in the moment versus the tendency to mind wander, in research on 239 healthy, midlife women ranging in age from 50 to 65 years.

“People who score high on measures of cynical hostility tend to get more cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease and often die at younger ages. They also have shorter telomeres.”

Pessimism shortens telomeres too. “When pessimists develop an aging-related illness, like cancer or heart disease, the illness tends to progress faster…They tend to die earlier,” warn the authors.

Ruminating over a bad situation is also destructive. “Rumination never leads to a solution, only to more ruminating…When you ruminate, stress sticks around in the body long after the reason for the stress is over.” The resulting depression and anxiety only make your telomeres shorter.

Trying to suppress thoughts and feelings makes matters worse. “The more forcefully you push your thoughts away, the louder they call out for your attention…In a small study, greater avoidance of negative feelings and thoughts was associated with shorter telomeres.”

Even lack of focus is bad for telomeres because “when people are not thinking about what they’re doing, they’re not as happy as when they’re engaged.” To reverse the harm to telomeres, try meditation and long-distance running.

This article was republished from Prevent Disease.

See also:
Online Musings: Belief-Based Healing
Hope, Medicine and Kundalini Yoga

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February 19, 2018

Fittingly for President’s Day, the Moon is in Aries, a sign of leadership. A late morning lunar trine to Mars lifts the spirits of parade goers and marchers alike. It also provides plenty of energy for athletes and exercise buffs…
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February 2018

Spend a cozy winter weekend with colleagues diving into the rich material contained within the Dàodéjīng. While each class builds upon the material covered in the previous...

Cost: $325

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
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Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
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Great readings at a great rate - only $20 for 15 minutes. Join us for a great day with lots of specials too! Our web site is not currently able to take registrations for the psychic fair. Please...

Cost: $20 for a 15 minute reading

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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Join us for an afternoon of messages from your loved ones on the other side. As an empath and a healer, I am able to connect with random loved ones on the other side and connect them with the right...

Cost: $30 in advance/$35 day of show

Where:
Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church
9 Ayer Road
On The Common
Harvard, MA  01451
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Sponsor: Wachusett Music Series
Telephone: 978-365-2043
Contact Name: Jean or Denise
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February 18 - 23, 2018 With Rev. Michelle Renee Pelletier, founding director of the Center for Psychic Healing, Harwich, MA.

Where:
Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
Calistoga, CA


Sponsor: Center for Psychic Healing
Telephone: 707-849-7793
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Are you curious about yoga but don't know where to begin? The Intro to Yoga Series is a great place to start your practice. This series will provide a safe, non-competitive and welcoming...

Cost: $90 for series

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YogaLife Institute
6 Chestnut St, Suite A
Exeter, NH  03833
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Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is...

Cost: $11-$15 per class

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Chelmsford Wellness Center
3 Littleton Road, 2nd Floor
Westford, MA  01886
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Sponsor: Cultivating Qi
Telephone: 978-856-8118
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A guided tour in discovering, confirming and verifying your personality, behaviors and habits. A three part series at the Waltham Public Library Monday, February 5 7:15PM Monday, February 12...

Cost: Free

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Waltham Public Library
735 Main Street
Waltham, MA  02451
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Sponsor: Waltham Public Library
Telephone: 781-314-3429
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February 20 - 22, 2017 Three day training including new techniques for advanced Reiki training, Reiki master training, and Holy Fire II upgrade. Includes discussion, demonstrations, practice...

Cost: $1025 ppd.

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Women of Wisdom
, MA


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
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Experience the power of singing gospel music with more than 250 others as part of the Mystic Chorale, led by award-winning director and composer, Jonathan Singleton. Join Mystic as we prepare...

Cost: $105

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First Parish Unitarian
630 Mass Ave.
Arlington , MA
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Telephone: 781-738-1920
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Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is integrating into treatment plans. By...

Cost: $12-$17 per class

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Ceneter
176 Jackson Road
Devens, MA  01434
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Come by anytime during open shopping hours! Friday, February 23: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday, February 24: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Sunday, February 25: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm We are very...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
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6 Week Series with Sherri Snyder-Roche Start your year with greater awareness. In Kundalini Yoga, we harness the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the...

Cost: $90

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State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 East Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
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Telephone: 508-278-2818
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Come by anytime during open shopping hours! Friday, February 23: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday, February 24: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Sunday, February 25: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm We are very...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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Romy Valdez There are few instruments like the Gong that can heal us through its purification properties of sound vibrations. In this energy field, the beginnings of removing all blocks can...

Cost: $30 early bird ($35 at the door)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Westborough, MA  01581
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Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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