• Sophee Payne

The Anti-Aging Benefits of Loving Your Enemy

What could be more effective than the latest skin cream from the $50 billion anti-aging industry? Try loving your most formidable foe.

Research from Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn and one of the most prominent researchers on stress Elissa Epel has shown that there is a type of meditation that centers on practicing love and compassion for everyone — even the people we wish would fall off the face of the earth. By practicing this meditation, these researchers demonstrated that subjects reported a greater sense of purpose in life; in turn, the subjects’ blood showed an increase in an anti-aging enzyme called telomerase. Telomerase repairs our DNA, keeping us healthier for longer.

What is this meditation called you cry desperately, clutching onto your telomerase as hard as you can?

Loving-kindness meditation. It won’t add to the billion dollar industry of fighting against the clock, but it could be one of the best tools in the toolbox for a happier, longer life.

There are many free guided loving-kindness meditations on the internet. The basic idea is to first think of yourself. Think of the pain you have endured in your life. The experience of sadness, insecurity, and all the emotions that have caused you suffering.

Next, remember the joys, achievement, and happy moments that happened as well. Now think of someone you love. Acknowledge that in their life that they must have felt these things too. The same experiences of pain and joy have happened to them as they have to you. Dwell on this and mentally transmit this message to them like they could receive it wherever they are right now: “I wish you happiness and a life free of suffering.”

Apply the same thought process to someone you don’t know very well and have a neutral feeling towards (ex., this morning’s barista, a stranger you briefly held eye contact with, etc.). The hardest part may be the final act of applying this to someone you do not like. You may even despise them. If it is too difficult to do this with a certain person, pretend you are talking to them as if they were a child version of themself.

You may be surprised that if you care about longevity, this could be a very important part of your anti-aging routine. Practicing this regularly will connect you to your purpose and create a better life for you and the ones around you.

Perhaps give the gift of added years of life and send this article to a beloved friend - or archnemesis.

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