What do you think was the most common factor in people living over 100? Of course, good genes are a great help. But the most important factor for which people had some level of control was their ability to handle stress.
Centenarians overwhelmingly cite stress as the most important thing to avoid. Their lives are marked by as many stressful events as the rest of us, but they differ in how well they manage their stress. Rather than dwelling on it, they let it go.
"What we are finding with our twin experiments is that one little factor difference can have a very major impact on them, and there is some evidence that mildly optimistic people do live longer than pessimistic people," says Prof Tim Spector, an expert on ageing from Kings College London.
Stress initiates the release of a variety of hormones that make your pulse race and cause your blood pressure to rise. The hormone cortisol, released to lessen these effects, also creates problems when it remains chronically elevated.
Spector suggests that the difference in how a person views the same situation could actually have an impact on the genes affecting their brains which in turn could change certain chemicals and alter stress levels. All this could potentially have an effect on health and longevity.
It is important to understand, we need not be a victim of stress. Remember, that stress is not the event; stress is a result of our reaction to the event. We react based on stresses lodged in our nervous system from our past reactions. Without a meditation practice that reduces stress, modern man is just caught in a loop of adding more and more stress into the nervous system.
Through a daily, regular practice like the Art of Ascension, the nervous system is freed from stress as consciousness expands; consciousness expands as the nervous system is freed from stress. Both happen simultaneously. Indeed, one is impossible without the other.
As stress decreases and is removed from the nervous system, the conflicting demands from the mind change; this alters enzymatic production to allow for maximum effect from digestion and the health tends to improve. Also as stress decreases, the mind starts functioning more clearly to inspire one to make better choices. The practice of the Art of Ascension includes an open-eyed practice that reduces new stresses from adding to the nervous system. The close-eyed meditation practice dissolves old stresses. So it need not take nearly as long to eliminate the stress in the nervous system as it took to accumulate it!
Whether we live to be 100 or not, don’t we also want to live all our years in greater health, happiness and more consciously?