The Science Is In: Meditation Affects Aging and Telomere Length

Science is all about precision, controlled studies, and measurable, repeatable results. So for years researchers resisted working on alternative practices such as meditation, dismissing the few studies done as “fuzzy science,” “subjective,” or “impossible to duplicate.” But as research methods have advanced, so has the accuracy of the latest research. There is ample evidence now that stress leads to increased risk of health problems and that meditation reduces stress. What’s new are the studies showing how stress is related to aging and telomere length.

Thanks to groundbreaking work from researchers such as molecular biologist Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and psychiatrist Elissa Epel, (video) we can now definitively link meditation with slowing, and perhaps even reversing the aging process. Blackburn, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize for the discovery of telomeres, the protective caps on our chromosomes that wear down from aging, decided to study the effects of meditation on telomere length. Blackburn, named one of Time magazine’s 100 “Most Influential People in the World” in 2007, effectively launched the field of telomere research. Blackburn and Epel have now released a book with their research, The Telomere Effect – Living Younger, Healthier, Longer, and have appeared on Dr. Oz and other tv shows.

On his Natural Health website, www.lifespa.com, John Douillard writes, “Dr. Blackburn followed the logical paper trail: shorter telomeres cause accelerated aging, highly stressed people had shorter telomeres, and short telomeres are linked to health concerns….. meditation has been found to increase the activity of an enzyme called telomerase, which protects the chromosomal caps, called telomeres, from shortening. These chromosomal caps protect our cells from aging, degeneration and disease. Chanting, yoga, and other Ayurvedic lifestyle practices were shown to also increase the activity of telomerase in the body.” In addition to his website for natural health and Ayurveda, Mr. Douillard (video) has developed the Transformational Awareness Technique (TAT), a practice that combines meditation with action.

Delay or Reverse Aging with Qigong, Meditation, Yoga & More

Merlian News Podcast with Teresa Hale on Meditation


Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over twenty years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

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Delay or Reverse Aging with Qi Gong, Meditation, Yoga and More

| by Merlian News

There’s increased evidence showing that practices such as qi gong, meditation and yoga can not only prevent disease, but actually reverse it and delay aging as well. As scientists learn more about such topics as gene expression, what turns a gene on or off, and how to prevent telomeres, (the strands of protein in our cells that control aging) from unraveling, it becomes impossible to ignore just how much our good lifestyle choices can pay off.

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Sounds Wonderful by Rick Heller

It’s common to meditate while listening to beautiful music, but I’ve found that meditating to ambient sounds—whatever sounds are present at this very moment—is not only a wonderful meditation, it provides a deep insight into where we can find joy in our lives. I lead weekly meditations at the Humanist Community at Harvard, and one of our mainstays is the ambient sound meditation. I first learned it myself when I attended a workshop by the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. The idea is to pay attention to all the sounds around you with a friendly welcoming spirit. This includes the sounds of trucks and buses going by, sirens, coughing, rustling and other sounds that we typically label as “noise.”

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Meditation: What IS the Real You? by Dada Jyotirupananda

| by Dada Jyotirupananda

Dada Jyotirupananda (video) writes, “The book, “Meditation: Searching for the Real You” came out of my experience as a meditation teacher. Why do I meditate? I first heard about meditation in my university days and gradually understood that it could help me in various ways…

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GAIN Resilience and Reduce Stress with this 3 Minute Daily Mindfulness Practice

Two potent inducers of stress are (1) uncertainty about the future and (2) a world that does not comport with our wants and needs. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brings both conditions and rampant, world-wide stress. Stress causes increases in adrenaline and cortisol in our bodies, increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Acute stress may be adaptive, enabling us, for example, to escape a predator by focusing our attention and directing blood flow to our muscles so we can run faster. When stress lasts for days, weeks, and even months, however, it is maladaptive.

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Teaching Transcendental Meditation to the Neediest

Teaching Meditation to the Neediest: John Samuel Hagelin is an American particle physicist, three-time candidate of the Natural Law Party for President of the United States, and the director of the Transcendental Meditation movement for the US. He is also an educator, public policy expert, and leading proponent of peace…. But it is his work teaching meditation to the homeless, prisioners, and at risk children that has really made headlines.

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Remembering We Are One World by Stephen Thomson

At the end of a period of meditation, I slowly opened my eyes and saw my friend Everett, who had passed away three years earlier, standing in front of me.  Everett seemed so present – so alive – in that moment, and his vital presence remained as I came into full consciousness. Realizing what I was seeing, I was overcome by a whole range of emotions, the most intense of these being feelings of love and joy at being once again in the presence of my beloved friend.

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How Meditation Can Affect Your Heart, Brain, and Creativity

Many people have tried to sell me on the idea of meditating. Sometimes I try it, and have an incredible, refreshing experience. But usually, as I close my eyes and focus on my breathing, while I know that I’m supposed to be letting all thoughts go, more and more fly through my mind. Soon I have a laundry-list of “to-dos” in my head … and then my legs fall asleep. It’s all downhill from there…. www.themindunleashed.org

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What is Mindfulness, by Linda Lehrhaupt, PhD

Mindfulness meditation has been described in many ways in recent years, but I still find that one of the definitions by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, is very helpful. He says that mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally. He added in an interview on YouTube…“as if your life depended on it.”

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