The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology in Medicine was awarded jointly to three geneticists: Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Jack Shostak. They’d concluded that there are five paths to delaying human aging.
1. Optimism reduces harmful stress
Medical findings show that approximately two-thirds of human diseases (e.g. cancer, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, peptic ulcers, irregular menstruation) are related to depression. They are therefore called psychosomatic diseases.
2. Having life goals stimulates vitality
Working toward your life goals can stimulate a sense of vitality. Personal well-being data from a 7-year follow-up survey of 40-90 year olds in Britain showed that those without a clear goal in life are twice likely to die from sickness or suicide. The occurrence of cerebrovascular diseases was also doubled, as compared to those with active daily lifestyles.
Research also noted a dramatic increase in physical and mental health problems after retirement when many respondents simply lose their purpose in life.
Creative activities that stimulate the mind — such as calligraphy, singing, painting, and chess — can help uplift your mood and add meaning to life while providing stimulation through practical skills.
3. Helping others can heal the body
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industry business magnate, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history. However, his health deteriorated due to moderate depression and digestive issues. After deep introspection, he decided to contribute his time and wealth to charity, and find ways to help those in need. After some time, he became very content and his health gradually improved.
Researchers have found that giving material things to help others can reduce the mortality rate by an astonishing 42 percent, and give mental support to others can reduce it by 30 percent. It is thought that the sense of well-being that comes from helping others can fend off depression, therefore contributing to one’s vitality.
Indeed, medical scientists have discovered that when one is kind and often does good deeds, “good hormones” are increasingly produced, which in turn, reduce stress hormones. Psychiatric epidemiologists have also noted that helping others can help to prevent and treat depression.
4. Harmony in the family
A Georgian peasant woman, Antisa Khvichava, lived for over 100 years. When a journalist interviewed her, she replied that harmony in her family was the main reason for her longevity.
Over 20 years of research by two psychology professors in the U.S. concluded that among the decisive factors that affect life expectancy, “human relations” ranked number one. They suggested that harmonious human relations among family members may be more important than eating habits, exercise, or physical examinations.
A survey of 268 males by Harvard Medical School found that what really matters in a person’s life is their relationship with family and others. Lack of social and educational activities can be as harmful to health as smoking.
5. Being friendly
Being friendly — whether with a smile or a humorous expression — can increase the concentration of immunoglobulin antibodies in one’s saliva, thus enhancing one’s immunity.
“There is a magical energy in giving and receiving. While one is paying, there is returning energy in various forms. It is just that in most cases, we do not realize,” explains a U.S. professor of bioethics — a phenomenon that has become known as the “essence of echoes.”
Harmonious interpersonal interaction includes human traits such as humor, kindness, forgiveness, sympathy, loyalty, and being a good listener.
It turns out that the secret to longevity may come not from an external source, but from within ourselves — let us live in longevity by embracing positivity, gratitude, tolerance, and empathy!
Translated by Chua BC