Meditating Has Positive Physical & Mental Health Outcomes
According to a new study from UC Davis and UCSF, meditating can lead to higher levels of telomerase activity. And what the hell is telomerase, you might ask? It's an enzyme that's important for the long-term health of cells in the body.
The study examined participants in a three-month intensive meditation retreat in Colorado. The retreat participants were instructed in meditation techniques from a Buddhist scholar, attended group meditation sessions twice a day and meditated individually for six hours a day. The people in the study's control group, who did not participate in the retreat, were matched for age, sex, education, ethnicity and meditation experience.
The researchers found that telomerase activity was about one-third higher in the white blood cells of the retreat participants. The participants also showed increases in psychological qualities like perceived control over their lives and surroundings, mindfulness (observing experience in a nonreactive manner) and purpose in life as well as decreased neuroticism. Decrease neuroticism? Less inner chaos sounds good, but on the other hand, can you imagine a life without Woody Allen or Ben Stiller?
The researchers believe that these positive psychological impacts, which help people cope with stress and maintain feelings of well-being, are the cause for the increased telomerase activity in the mediating participants. More evidence that feelin' good emotionally helps promote physical longevity. And, who really wants to miserably live a long life...aside from that crazy you dated right after college (there's always one)?
University of California - Davis (2010, November 3). Positive psychological changes from meditation training linked to cellular health. EurekAlert! Retreived from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-11/uoc--ppc110310.php