4. Factors That Shorten Life
Dr. Georgi Z. Pitskhelauri is a Russian gerontologist who has been researching those factors responsible for the long life of Abkhasians and others living in and around the Caucacus mountains. His studies show that centenarians:
- do not smoke—in fact, only a few smoke at all.
- do not drink alcoholic beverages to any extent—their primary drinking is a few sips of wine prior to mealtime.
- do not ordinarily eat before noon.
- sleep eight to ten hours daily.
- are very active, doing almost all their work out of doors.
- sleep out of doors for most of the year.
- their foremost foods are grapes and citrus with other fruits being a good part of their diet also. Vegetables in salads constitute a substantial part of their fare.
- animal products were sparse to nonexistent in their diet.
Dr. Pitskhelauri reports this in such a way it is clearly obvious that:
- smoking is life shortening.
- alcoholic beverages shorten life.
- morning meals are not healthy.
- inadequate sleep is not conducive to long life!
- lack of activity will deteriorate the body.
- being cooped up indoors away from fresh air and natural light shortens life.
- animal products are not healthful in the diet.
Those factors which shorten life seem to predominate in our society. Thus it behooves you as a practitioner to recognize those influences which destroy health and bring on early death. While these life-sapping factors are multitudinous, they arc easily recognized for their anti-vital character. Let’s explore some of them.
4.1 Polluted air
Relatively pure air is our foremost need of life.
It has been said that the world’s air has been contaminated to some extent. Penguins at the South Pole have been found to be contaminated somewhat by particulates generated thousands of miles away in industrial complexes.
Even though pure air may be impossible in today’s world, we are able to breathe much better air overall by taking a few steps to better the air quality in home and workplace. Outdoor work and outdoor sleeping are two measures that will vastly improve the quality of the air we breathe. Further, the light we’ll be using will be from the sun. Natural light is wholesome whereas artificial lighting of all types is less wholesome.
We have had lessons dealing with the subject of air and the multitude of pollutants that beset it in homes and cities. I suggest that you review these.
While our nasal and lung faculties have a certain capacity for purifying air, it is a talent best little employed. Certainly it is debilitating to continually assault this capacity with heavily polluted air until these faculties are destroyed. Pure air is essential to best health and to long life.
4.2 Vitiated Social Environment
On the obverse side of a congenial and assured social environment of peers is perhaps the most demoralizing influence of all. In a condition of strife, bickering, lack of mutual appreciation, economic insecurity, aggressive and exploitative individuals and groups, humans wither. This leads, of course, to enervation, disease, suffering and early death. The social and economic situation must be one where the means of life are readily available for reasonable efforts. Where the products of one’s labors are consumed in a community of peers—where relative sufficiency and stability exist within the social group with which one identifies, gregarious, creative and constructive tendencies are met. We feel useful and a part of our environment rather than a consuming/nonproductive member.
Our social situation more than anything else generates positive or negative emotional states. Negative emotions destroy us whereas reinforced and positive feelings are a prerequisite of well-being.
4.3 Economic factors that distress the organism
An adverse social setting is perhaps the most demoralizing and debilitating influence, and economic conditions are usually the soil from which social situations develop. Of course this can be good to bad.
Most Americans are perpetually distressed by earning less than will satisfy their wants. An exploitative society strives to create an even greater market for its products. The promotion of products somehow imbues most people with the idea that happiness can be realized if they have I this and this and that. This unceasing quest for more and more mirrors the basic unhappiness of most of American society’s members. The propaganda of commercial promoters drives us to seek happiness in possessions.
Further, the nature of the economic system can be most vitiating. Ours has often been characterized as “a dog eat dog” system. Competitiveness has driven many to play the game viciously. People who are by economic circumstances forced to work in an atmosphere of maximum production and minimal pay feel the injustice. In turn, this gnawing sense of revulsion and resentment is a cancer upon emotional well-being that leads to physical debility.
The longest lived peoples in the world are largely self-sufficient. They live mostly on their own products, yielding little if anything to “bosses,” landlords, owners, stockholders, etc. Their life is generally simple economically. Simplification of lifestyle leads to economic independence which is often a key factor in exuberant well-being and long life.
4.4 Environmental hazards to life
In addition to polluted air, vitiated social and economic environments, we may be subjected to life-sapping forces from our working and living environment of which we are little aware. These may be summarized briefly as:
- noise or sonic pollution.
- drab, depressing and unaesthetic living conditions.
- use of chemicals and unnatural substances in workplace and home.
- polluted water…fluoridated, chlorinated, contaminants, etc.
- polluted food due to insecticides, chemical residues, other impurities not due to processing, preserving, cooking, etc.
- physically hazardous working and living conditions that dispose to injuries, even fatal ones.
Ferreting out the multitude of unwholesome influences that debilitate clients can be an onerous task. Informing your client of the many possible disturbing and dangerous elements in his or her surroundings may enable the individual to remove himself from subjection to them. On the other hand, they may not be able to free themselves from unwholesome influences and a knowledge of them may cause a worrisome preoccupation and unconscious sense of danger that amounts to the reverse placebo effect. The reverse placebo effect is the belief that harm is being done which becomes so depressing as to be harmful. It is the power of negativity that affects us deleteriously.
Ideal in the human environment are natural influences that we identify as supplying the needs of life. Trees and plants, especially food-producing ones, are aesthetic and life-enhancing. An environment that is totally bereft of our natural values as might be found in buildings, streets and alleys have adverse influences upon humans. Deeply inherent in humans is our pristine place in nature and the negation of its salubrious influences destroys the qualities and values needed for healthful living and long life.
Many of us in both home and workplace have chemicals, oils and soaps coming in contact with our hands and other body parts. Needless to say, anything that is not normal to the body can cause derangements that detract from health. Any chemical or toxic material that interferes with vital body activities at any point can cause many pathologies including cancer.
Working and using unsafe equipment often inflicts little cuts, abrasions and bruises upon clients. All such injuries are life-sapping and take their toll upon us.
When dealing with clients, survey their entire lifestyle in the search for factors that contribute to human suffering.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Achieving Natural Life Potential
- 3. Food And Short Or Long Life
- 4. Factors That Shorten Life
- 5. Exercise And Vigorous Purposeful Activity As Life Essentials
- 6. Mental And Emotional Factors In Living A Natural Life Span
- 7. Happiness, Enjoyment And Pleasure As Factors In Realizing Life Potential
- 8. Questions & Answers