The Secret Ingredient for Health is Happiness

| 9/30/2016 3:49:00 PM

Tags: family health, happiness, Eleni Roumeliotou, Spain,


A happy childhood leads to a healthy adult life. This is what scientists found when they examined the effects of childhood adversities to DNA. They found that the tiny protective caps of our chromosomes, which are called telomeres, shorten prematurely when kids consistently experience traumatic events. Scientists have found that long telomeres are associated with health and vitality, while short ones are usually found in seniors or chronically sick people. Telomeres somehow record the accumulative impact of different lifestyle factors in our health.

Although the way they do that is not clear yet, one thing is certain: They are sensitive to oxidative stress. It is well known that psychological pressure exposes our cells to dangerous free radicals. This could be a reason why telomeres become prematurely short. Research shows that adults who had difficult childhood years have consistently shorter telomeres and are at higher risk of chronic and debilitating disease early in life.

Trauma and Brain Biology

Psychiatric research also indicates that childhood maltreatment affects brain structure and in fact, the more serious the level of abuse, the more obvious neurobiological abnormalities are detected, especially in susceptible subjects.

More studies have found that children who experienced or even observed domestic violence not only experience more often depression, anxiety and reduced cognitive abilities, but also have detectable structural differences in the part of the brain that processes visual stimuli. This may potentially impact brain functions, such as figure recognition, object naming and conscious perception of visual movement, all modalities that are controlled by the affected brain structure.

Happiness “Programs” Baby DNA for Long-Term Health

A happy pregnancy is important for having a healthy baby, not just during infancy, but as an adult as well. It turns out that the emotions of pregnant women can affect greatly the telomere length of their unborn babies.

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