This article takes about two minutes to read and by the end of it you should have a clear idea of why mindfulness and meditation are so important for maintaining and developing excellent physical and mental wellbeing
Meditation, longevity and physical wellbeing
We exercise so that we can enjoy a long, healthy and happy life. We also practice sports to bring us closer to others and help us learn more about ourselves.
I hope this article explains why I spend at least an hour every day practicing some form of meditation and why experts around the world are confirming that meditation needs to be at the center of life. We don’t meditate to disconnect from life but rather to fully connect with ourselves and positively connect with the world around us.
Amazing research over the last few years indicates that in addition to exercise and a healthy diet meditation has a profound positive impact on the aging process.
In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of the protective caps on chromosomes called, “telomeres.” Every time a cell divides, these protective caps wear down, and over time, the telomeres shorten. As the telomeres shorten, the cells start to malfunction and lose their ability to divide. Today, based on Blackburn’s research, scientists use the measure of telomere length as a metric for ageing and disease risk.
She also discovered an enzyme called “telomerase,” which protects the chromosomal caps from the wear and tear of cellular division, or aging. Therefore, the more telomerase you have, the longer your telomeres will be; the less telomerase you have, the shorter your telomeres will be. The shorter your telomeres, the more exposed to ageing, degeneration and disease you become.
In follow up studies by Blackburn a meditation group was seen to have up to a 30% increase in telomerase activity. In another study conducted at UCLA, showed a 43% increase in telomerase activity.
Over the next few years there will be a revolution in health and wellbeing. The three cornerstones of health will be exercise, diet and meditation. As the old saying goes you are what you eat but you are what you think as well. As we clear our head of thoughts and learn to focus, we reduce stress levels and re build our bodies at the cellular level.
And this is just the physical benefits. People who meditate regularly feel more centered, calm, focused and feel better placed to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Our Australian Mindfulness courses
Our next half-day course is on the 14th August in Townsville and then our 8-week course starts in October. To reserve your place go to www.breathe-australia.com/sessions
London Mindfulness courses
Our next 8 week course in London starts on September 3rd. To reserve your place go to https://www.breathe-london.com/shop/8-session-mindfulness-course-starting-3rd-september-2016-central-london
If you cant come along here are a few simple exercises:
- Take a few long breaths in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. As you breathe in silently count to 4 and as you breathe out count to 8
- Imagine there is a balloon beneath your tummy button. As you breathe in the balloon inflates and as you breathe out it deflates. Focus on getting the balloon to rise slowly and fall slowly breathing in through the nose and out through the nose as you do
- Download one of the great apps out there including Headspace and many others. Also do a search in the app store for Binaural beats
- Get into the habit of slowing down. Eat when you eat, drink when you drink and give your friends and colleagues your full attention