Thursday, 21 June 2018

Edition 31 – August September October

Health & wellbeing

Life, Holidays & Happiness! – Powerful Simple Free Ways to Age Healthier & Younger!

By Bernadette Dimitrov aka Mrs Claus

Can we turn back the clock? Science says we can!

I discovered some wonderful findings on aging well in my current course, the Diploma of Positive Psychology and Well-being, which I’m excited to share with you. Some great science backed findings that will fundamentally change the way you think about aging and awaken your power within. You don't want to wait to do something only when crisis hits. Don't leave your aging to fate. You can do a number of simple things that will affect from today onwards how you continue to age. You can steer your aging better than we ever thought possible and it's never too late to start.

Recharge your telomeres - recharge your life!

Harvard trained Dr Ed Park, an aging well expert, says there’s a simple explanation for aging and all illness, and that telomere shortening as we age, has a lot to do with it. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes. Everyday our telomeres shorten, correlating with stem cells becoming more dysfunctional.

Telomere activation has the potential to change how we continue to age. And aging in some form starts from the age of 25. In his book "Telomere Timebombs: Defusing the Terror of Aging", Dr Park goes into detail about how telomere activation recharges your stem cells making you younger naturally, from the inside out. While he advocates a specific supplement, nutraceutical TA-65, proven to enhance and recharge telomere activity and currently costing thousands of dollars for a six month supply, he also shares some simple free ways you can improve telomere activity in your body right now, if you are willing to put in a little effort. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Practise gratitude - practise being mindful of your blessings each day. When you open your eyes be grateful. Do the same right before sleep. Let your body rest in a positive higher vibrational state. Everyone experiences suffering or challenges and a variety of emotional states from sadness to joy. That's normal. However you can find gratitude during tough times too. This will also help you to shift from getting stuck in negative emotions for too long, which cause more stress and age you. You could, for example, simply be grateful for the opportunity to practise letting go of grasping on to negative emotional mind states and be grateful for the miraculous rejuvenating breath in and out of your nostrils, and flowing throughout your body into every cell, giving you miraculous life. Catch yourself being negative and move into gratitude and your telomeres will bless you.
  2. Breathe - do you sip your breath? If so you’re not serving your body, mind, health or aging well. Get your energy flowing through your body with deep purposeful breathing. An abundance of improvement comes from deep breathing daily. Start with five deep breaths a day - even that will make a difference.
  3. Laugh - it will lengthen your telomeres. And it has bountiful healing benefits not just physically but mentally and socially too. It releases endorphins, the brain's "feel-good" chemicals, gives us a healthy buzz, releases stress and negative mind states, connects us in a positive way, brings calmness to arguments and discords, and that's just naming a few benefits. So, to age healthier and happier, in the wise words of Lord Byron "Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine".
  4. Sleep - your body will love 8 hours if you can. If you like naps during the day, 15 to 90 minutes at a time is good too. Sleep is essential, providing regenerative and preventative maintenance for your body. It's the time your body does its healing and repairing. It’s at this time telomeres rapidly work to produce stem cells as well as to help kill off dysfunctional ones. Dr Park says "Sleep is far from wasted time. It is the nervous system’s ‘disc defragmentation’ and preventative maintenance that you absolutely need to be healthy. "
  5. Make peace with you - start loving your warts and all. No one is perfect. There is no such thing. You are unique and whatever you don't like about yourself, find ways to make peace with it. And if you cannot do anything to change it, you can change your mindset about it to find a gift, a learning, or some kind of meaning in it. It's another mindset choice to get you unstuck from staying too long in negativity which produces the stress hormones that age you quicker.

Remember no one outside of you can ever bring peace to you. Your choice of mindset will give you this calmness and freedom. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, in his book "Man’s Search for Meaning", made peace within during what would have otherwise been continued intolerable stress. He made his greatest challenge into his greatest strength by finding meaning in the midst of extreme suffering. It's worth a read. We really can choose peace no matter what. It will help us continue on and age in the healthiest and most supportive way from within.

Go back in time...

The famous monastery study conducted in 1981 by Professor Ellen Langer, Harvard University, took a group of 70 and 80 year olds to a monastery where they were split into two groups. Both groups were ‘taken back’ to living 22 years earlier, in 1959. The first group was asked to pretend they were young men living and enjoying life back in the 50s as if it was now, for the one week stay. The second group was told to only reminisce about the era and stay in the present which brought back a flood of memories. Both groups were surrounded by 1950's mementos such as a vintage radio, black and white TV, 1950’s issues of Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post. Both groups discussed events and sports of the time that they were reminded of in the magazines and newspapers in their rooms. They watched popular 1950's movies and listened to radio shows from the 1950s too.

Both groups took cognitive and physical tests before and after the stay. After just one week there were dramatic positive changes. The group who acted as men living in the 50s had significantly more improvement. They seemed to have bodies that were actually younger. However both groups improved. They were stronger, their joints more flexible; intelligence improved as well as weight, gait, height, hearing and vision. Shoulders were wider, fingers not only more agile, but longer and less contorted by arthritis. One man even threw away his walking stick! So the message is, to associate with a younger, better version of yourself because where your mind goes your body goes too.

Another study conducted with Langer and Judith Rodin from Yale University, found that simply giving each nursing home resident a plant to take care of, not only improved their physical and psychological health but their longevity too. According to Langer it's not our physical state that limits us, it's our mindset about our own limits and our perceptions that draws the lines in the sand and puts breaks on how well we age.

Kindness makes us younger

In his book “The Five Side Effects of Kindness” David R Hamilton, PhD. shares how kindness has healthy aging side effects. Here is a brief summary of some of his findings:

  1. Kindness increases dopamine - that's the molecule produced in the brain that makes us feel good. It’s created through the brain making its natural versions of morphine and heroin known as endogenous opioids that cause elevated levels of dopamine creating a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’. Low dopamine levels can lead to lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behaviour, mood swings and memory loss, and can mimic the same symptoms as depression. All of which doesn't help us to age well. So perform acts of kindness and increase your dopamine levels for free.
  1. Kindness protects the heart. Oxytocin and nitric oxide are known as the two molecules of kindness because they are produced in the body when we’re kind. The emotional warmth associated with acts of kindness produces oxytocin not only in the brain but throughout the body. But only if it is genuine kindness. We now know oxytocin has a significant role in the cardiovascular system, as oxytocin releases the chemical nitric oxide in blood vessels causing blood vessels to expand. This reduces blood pressure thus protecting the heart. It protects cells from oxidative stress and inflammation which play a big role in heart disease. When there’s not a lot of oxytocin around, there’s more oxidative stress and inflammation. Levels come way down upon arrival of oxytocin in our arteries. So be kind and help protect your heart to age well.
  1. Kindness helps regulate blood pressure, circulation & cholesterol. Dr Louis Ignarro, Nobel Prize recipient for his work on nitric oxide, shares the miraculous benefits of this molecule that can be produced through kindness. It helps regulate blood pressure and causes blood pressure to come down if high or, if low, nitric oxide toughens up the arteries to increase the pressure. Nitric oxide also helps circulation and helps maintain an optimum balance of HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  1. Kindness slows aging. Two things which result from making unhealthy lifestyle choices that speed up the ageing process and play a major role in heart disease are the production of free radicals, and inflammation. Research now shows we can reduce both through oxytocin generated by emotional warmth and kindness, which affects the whole cardiovascular system and thus slows down the ageing process. Interesting new research has been done on the Buddhist loving kindness meditation where scientists measured inflammation in the body and found regular practice reduced this, comparable to what some drugs can do. We also know oxidation causes wrinkles (aging of the skin) and kindness can stop or slow it down, as the molecules of kindness cause anti oxidation.  

  1. Kindness creates more smiling! Acts of kindness often make us and the other person smile. Smiling makes you look younger, more attractive, and appear healthier and more competent. Yes, smiling can help you age more healthily. It has therapeutic effects. It reduces stress hormones, increases mood enhancing hormone levels and lowers blood pressure. Plus, when you smile, others smile too. Even someone you thought was dismissive or grumpy did smile back. Research out of Sweden proved when you smile at someone, their muscles manoeuvre into a smile as well. It can be so quick that it is not visible to the naked eye. So be kind and smile more. It's good for everyone.

So you can now age healthier, happier and younger with your new insights and with you at the reins.

More love, peace, health and happiness to you!

Bernadette Dimitrov aka Mrs Claus
Author, Trainer, Peace & Happiness Ambassador

About The Foothills

The Foothills magazine is truly appreciated by the local community. It covers business, community and tourisms news, events, local success stories and more. The site features electronic newsletters, feature stories, recipes, photographs and news, all from the Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey and Tecoma communities.

From the Editor

Welcome to the first of the digital editions of The Foothills community news. Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers that has put this edition together. Many are long term volunteers who you will have followed over several years and others are new writers inspired by the opportunities of the new digital edition.

We are keen to grow the Foothills with your contributions. If you have a club, a school or an interest that you’d like to tell us about each quarter then please contact me so we can arrange for your own column. We also welcome photos and quick news stories that we can use to update the Foothills between editions. Send those contributions and messages to

Thanks and happy reading.


The Foothills Editor