Stress. We all have it — from working a 9-5, familial problems, money issues, or even problems as small as a flat tire. Stress has been linked to serious problems with health, taking a toll physically and mentally, causing:
- Heart disease
The list goes on. But we have some positive news: stress can be managed, and may be all about finding your “zen.” Mindfulness meditation, for instance, has been shown to have a huge effect on lowering individuals stress levels. The meditation regimen in several studies were shown to greatly reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders in study participants, likely leading to other health benefits down the road.
Recently, another health benefit of meditation has been quantified — increased telomere length. For a quick synopsis of the importance: telomeres are the protective end-caps of chromosomes which have been shown to decrease in length with poor health and age. When they reach a critical point, called the “hayflick limit,” the cells cease to divide, which leads to cell death.
However, telomere’s are the good guys, and we want to keep them strong and intact. A variety of meditative techniques have shown to be a strong factor in maintaining telomere length, likely leading to a longer, healthier life.
The mechanism appears to lie in meditations ability to lower stress levels, which has been shown to cause all of the aforementioned indications as well as to shorten telomeres. It also appears to be due to meditations role increasing telomerase expression — Telomerase is an enzyme which preserves the length of telomeres.
Meditation may just be one of the key ingredients to a long-healthy life, so we highly suggest trying it if you haven’t already!
Note: If you do meditate, or if you are considering starting, and would like to be a part of a citizen science initative to confirm such findings and identify similar ones, please consider participating in our Indiegogo campaign, where we have launched a telomere testing kit.