If you’ve been paying attention to the emerging research on meditation lately, you know that the powerful alternative healing practice can help you to live longer. While not a slam dunk, I mean some higher power probably has some say in it, meditation studies have shown that the practice actually increases telomerase, an enzyme that repairs and lengthens telomeres (a DNA protein complex which affects how fast cells age).
Why am I telling you this?
To give you some background on Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa’s latest Huffington Post on a recent conference where Dr. Ellisa Epel, the lady who figured out the above, spoke about the benefits of meditation when it comes to the aging process. According to Epel, apart from the biological impact meditation has on a person, taking the time to focus within can have profound psychological ramifications on a person’s psychological well being (PWB). Below are her findings:
PWB is made up of the following six characteristics:
1. Self Acceptance: You learn to compassionately accept yourself as you are and accept others as they are as well.
2. Self Confidence: You have the perception that you can handle whatever comes your way with strength and grace.
3. Independence: You are not reliant on other’s approval and feel you are healthy enough to take care of yourself. You want to live at home and not have to go an assisted living facility, for example, later in life.
4. Personal Growth: You sustain a desire to learn new things and have new experiences. You remain mentally active.
5. Positive Relationships: You surround yourself with people who love and support you and forsake those who don’t.
6. Purpose and Mission in Life: You continue to have a reason to live, be it giving back to society or taking care of your children or grandchildren.
Dr. Epel told me personally that meditation is the fastest way to PWB. This is substantiated by emerging medical research. In one recent study, practicing mindfulness meditation for six hours a day, for three months in a retreat setting, increased telomere length and enhanced PWB. In two studies in which I’ve been involved, one published and one presented in abstract form at the conference in Sweden, it was revealed that PWB can be increased by practicing a simple twelve minute meditation called Kirtan Kriya (KK). Practicing KK for 12 minutes a day, for eight weeks, increased telomere length by 43 percent, which is groundbreaking.
Read more from Khalsa on using the benefits of meditation to successfully age here.