I was reminded on recently when we were at Costco buying a storage shed, just how many kind people there are in our community.
The box with the unassembled shed in it was incredibly big and heavy, so we had to get help loading it onto the flatbed. Once at the car, a new problem presented itself. The carton was too big to fit in the back of our vehicle. The only chance we had of getting it home was to put it on the roof rack.
I’d been no help getting the box onto the trolley, so I was pretty sure there wasn’t a chance in Hades that I’d be able to lift it above my head to place it onto the roof.
As we stood looking at our predicament, a man came by and offered to help. He took my place lifting the box onto the roof rack. The next step was to find a way to secure it. I went back into the store to find some cords.
I returned with a package of rachet straps that were perfect for the task. The instructions on the back made the process look easy, but it wasn’t. As we struggled to figure out how they worked, a fellow parked beside us and offered to help. His family stood patiently while he showed us how to work the rachets.
The kindness of these people came quickly and willingly without us having to ask.
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a great story, but you might be wondering what any of this has to do with reducing wrinkles.
Let’s start down that path by talking about oxidation, free radicals, and antioxidants.
Your body is approximately sixty percent H20, or water. The H represents hydrogen and the O oxygen. Oxygen looks like two circles joined together by a bridge. If you want a visual, think of Harry Potter’s glasses.
Sometimes the bridge breaks and the oxygen atoms get separated. This turns them into free radicals. Free radicals don’t want to be single. They want to be part of a pair and will do pretty much anything to reestablish a relationship.
If they can’t find an appropriate atom, they’ll link themselves to healthy cells in places like your skin, the lining of your arteries, your brain, or even your immune system causing the healthy cells to breakdown. This is known as oxidation.
To get a better idea of what oxidation means, think about a slice of apple that’s left out in the open. What happens to it? It turns brown. This is oxidation. When oxidation happens in your body, collagen breaks down and results in wrinkles, loose saggy skin, dark spots, and fine lines.
Oxidation is a natural process, but you may not want to encourage it to happen too early, or too quickly. To keep free radicals under control, the body uses something called antioxidants. As their name implies, they are against (anti) oxidization.
Antioxidants are willing and able to partner with free radicals and can do this without damage to the body. If you have enough antioxidants to mop up the free radicals, you can slow the aging process.
You naturally have antioxidants in your body, but you can increase their population by eating certain foods. Kale, spinach, raspberries, blue berries, cinnamon, dark chocolate, green tea, and olive oil are all high in antioxidants.
Another way to limit oxidation is to increase the amount of oxytocin released by your brain. This is a feel-good hormone that you can’t get from your diet. It has to be produced internally.
This is where kindness comes into the equation. Kind thoughts, actions, and feelings turn on an oxytocin tap in your brain, slowing down oxidative stress in your skin, muscles, arteries, and immune system.
You can also slow down oxidation by limiting the number of free radicals you have. Stress is a major contributor to breaking the bridge between oxygen atoms.
Decreasing the amount of stress you experience is probably the best strategy, but if that’s absolutely impossible, minimize its effect by breathing deeply, spending at least a few minutes surrounded by nature every day, exercising, hanging out with people you like, or being kind.
Being a kind person doesn’t mean you won’t age, but it will slow down the process. And remember, kindness shouldn’t be reserved only for other people. It’s important to be kind to yourself and to animals.
Acts of kindness don’t have to be major. Small gestures are just as effective when it comes to reducing oxidation and therefore wrinkles and aging.
In the words of novelist Henry James, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.”
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.