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Meditation and Aging

For thousands of years, meditation has served as an excellent source of stress relief and relaxation. Through active practice, people can even see improvements in their health, including reduced blood pressure, a slower heart rate, and a stronger immune system.  But did you know that it might also help reduce the process of aging?

Recent studies have found that people who practice mindful meditation (focusing on the present) had improved telomere health.  For those who aren’t neuroscientists, telomeres are the protective ends of our DNA that prevent the ends of chromosomes from fusing with nearby chromosomes or deteriorating.  The healthier the telomere, the greater its ability to fight off this deterioration, which is the cause of aging.  Through the process of active, mindful mediation, the body is able to strengthen its telomeres leading to a reduced aging process.

According to, the study, which was conducted by the University of California at San Francisco, studied 239 healthy women between the ages of 50 and 65 to see how the body reacts to thinking in the present versus letting their mind wander. The study revealed that the women who let their mind wander had shorter telomeres.  Although the study is not conclusive, it does arise a new theory on how mindful meditation can help strengthen the body’s telomeres, ultimately leading to a decreased aging process.

So how can you reap the anti-aging benefits of mediation? First, you must find yourself in a quiet room free of distractions.  Close your eyes, breath slowly, and try to focus on nothing but the moment you are currently in.  The anti-aging benefits of mediation come through the process of removing all thought from your mind that does not reflect the present.  If you find outside thoughts enter your mind, don’t fight them, as this will only make them grow stronger.  Instead, accept them for a moment, then let them go.  Once you have more practice with meditation, these thoughts will enter your mind less frequently. Meditate whenever you can find free time and need to relieve the stress in your life, and you may also see the benefits of a reduced aging process.

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