A telomere is essentially a section of ‘empty’ DNA that the body doesn’t need that is found at the end of your genes. Sometimes this is described as being like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces – designed to stop the shoelaces from fraying. What’s really going on, it that every time your cells divide and reproduce via mitosis, they end up losing a little bit of information from the ends of the DNA. Because telomeres are unneeded, they act like a ‘buffer’.
They are the first things to go and it doesn’t matter because they don’t contain any information. But after a while, you’ll find your telomeres ‘run out’ and that’s when your actual DNA starts to be degraded. Guess what? Studies show that the more stressed you are, the shorter the telomeres become. And this is also true when you’re suffering from depression. If you are very stressed at work, you will age faster. And if you feel lonely, isolated and frustrated in an old-people’s home, you’ll feel stressed too.
The good news? As you become less stressed, you can actually end up restoring and rejuvenating your telomeres to some extent.