Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"What Eats You...Eats You" --Coping With the WCG Experience


The WCG experience is the gift that keeps on giving in one's perspectives, attitudes and mind. Memory insures it is with us to the end. What is our balance between seeing now what we did not see then and letting it continue to wreak havoc in our real lives now?
People who score high on measures of cynical hostility have shorter telomeres.
Deep within the genetic heart of all our cells are telomeres, or repeating segments of noncoding DNA that live at the ends of the chromosomes. They form caps at the ends of the chromosomes and keep the genetic material from unraveling. Shortening with each cell division, they help determine how fast a cell ages. When they become too short, the cell stops dividing altogether.



Excerpted from the new book 
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer 
by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel. 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Elizabeth Blackburn was awarded a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009 for her pioneering work in discovering the molecular nature of telomeres. She is president of the Salk Institute.

Elissa Epel is a health psychologist who studies stress, aging and obesity. She is the director of UCSF's Aging, Metabolism and Emotions Center and is associate director of the Center for Health and Community.

"Scientists have learned that several thought patterns appear to be unhealthy for telomeres, and one of them is cynical hostility. Cynical hostility is defined by high anger and frequent thoughts that other people cannot be trusted. Someone with hostility doesn’t just think, “I hate to stand in long lines at the grocery store”; they think, “That other shopper deliberately sped up and beat me to my rightful position in the line!” — and then seethe. 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. In a study of British civil servants, men who scored high on measures of cynical hostility had shorter telomeres than men whose hostility scores were low. The most hostile men were 30 percent more likely to have a combination of short telomeres and high telomerase (an enzyme in cells that helps keep telomeres in good shape) — a profile that seems to reflect the unsuccessful attempts of telomerase to protect telomeres when they are too short.

1.  Cynical hostility is defined by high anger and frequent thoughts that other people cannot be trusted. Someone with hostility doesn’t just think, “I hate to stand in long lines at the grocery store”; they think, “That other shopper deliberately sped up and beat me to my rightful position in the line!” — and then seethe. 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. 

2.  Pessimism is the second thought pattern that has been shown to have negative effects on telomeres. When our research team conducted a study on pessimism and telomere length, we found that people who scored high on a pessimism inventory had shorter telomeres. This was a small study of about 35 women, but similar results have been found in other studies, including a study of over 1,000 men. It also fits with a large body of evidence that pessimism is a risk factor for poor health. When pessimists develop an aging-related illness, like cancer or heart disease, the illness tends to progress faster. Like cynically hostile people — and people with short telomeres, in general — they tend to die earlier.

3.  Rumination — the act of rehashing problems over and over — is the third destructive thought pattern. How do you tell rumination from harmless reflection? Reflection is the natural, introspective analysis about why things happen a certain way. It may cause you some healthy discomfort, but rumination feels awful. And 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, in the form of prolonged high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and higher levels of cortisol. Your vagus nerve, which helps you feel calm and keeps your heart and digestive system steady, withdraws its activity — and remains withdrawn long after the stressor is over. In a study, we examined daily stress responses in healthy women who were family caregivers. The more the women ruminated after a stressful event, the lower the telomerase in their aging CD8 cells (the crucial immune cells that send out proinflammatory signals when they are damaged). People who ruminate experience more depression and anxiety, which are, in turn, associated with shorter telomeres.

4.  The fourth thought pattern is thought suppression, the attempt to push away unwanted thoughts and feelings. The late Daniel Wegener, a Harvard social psychologist, once came across this line from the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy: “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” Wegener put this idea to the test through a series of experiments and identified a phenomenon he called ironic error, meaning that the more forcefully you push your thoughts away, the louder they call out for your attention.

Ironic error may also be harmful to telomeres. If we try to manage stressful thoughts by sinking the bad thoughts into the deepest waters of our subconscious, it can backfire. The chronically stressed brain’s resources are already taxed — we call this cognitive load — making it even harder to successfully suppress thoughts. Instead of less stress, we get more. In a small study, greater avoidance of negative feelings and thoughts was associated with shorter telomeres. Avoidance alone is probably not enough to harm telomeres, but it can lead to chronic stress arousal and depression, both of which may shorten your telomeres.

5.  The final thought pattern is mind wandering. Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth(TED Talk: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment) and Daniel Gilbert (TED Talk: The surprising science of happiness) used a “track your happiness” iPhone app to ask thousands of people questions about what activity they are engaged in, what their minds are doing, and how happy they are. Killingsworth and Gilbert discovered we spend half of the day thinking about something other than what we’re doing. They also found that when people are not thinking about what they’re doing, they’re not as happy as when they’re engaged. In particular, negative mind wandering — thinking negative thoughts, or wishing you were somewhere else — was more likely to lead to unhappiness in their next moments."


There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. For example, you can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself. 
Eckhart Tolle

3 comments:

James said...

"(TED Talk: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment)"

Or smoke marijuana! https://tinyurl.com/y7c2b8e9

Stephen Schley said...

Welp I'm doomed lol

Connie Schmidt said...

Hostile minister types may have shorter telomeres.

However, I believe the real reason they have high hostility is because they have "Shorter Johnsons" !