We all know that meditation is useful when comes to dealing with psychological issues and emotional imbalances. But could it be that meditation also holds the key to slowing down the aging process?
In this latest post from The Guardian, Jo Marchant takes a look at recently published results from a meditation study called the Shamatha Project. Based on data collected during two three-month meditation sessions at the Shambhala Mountain Centre (Northern Colorado) in 2007, the study reports that participants not only had improvements in perception and well being, but also had significantly higher telomerase activity. Telomeres play a major role in how cells age.
The Shamatha project used a mix of mindfulness and compassion meditation. The researchers concluded that the meditation affected telomerase by changing the participants’ psychological state, which they assessed using questionnaires. Three factors in particular predicted higher telomerase activity at the end of the retreat: increased sense of control (over circumstances or daily life); increased sense of purpose in life; and lower neuroticism (being tense, moody and anxious). The more these improved, the greater the effect on the meditators’ telomerase.
Read more on this meditation study here.