There’s not much in this world that feels better than a good, solid meditation sesh. It gives you a wondrously light feeling like you’re floating on sunshine. All the tension in your body is gone. You are entirely free of stress. You are basically Lucy in the Sky with friggin Diamonds, you feel so good.
When meditation leads to the feel-good vibes, real changes are happening in your brain and your body. You feel so amazing because your body is DOING amazing things: protecting, repairing, resetting, and resting.
Turns out, meditation prevents you from getting crotchety! Meditation can significantly help you become the vibrant, active, good-humored, calm, and joyous lady you always wanted to be. (With good posture and a sharp wit, to boot!)
Meditation And Your Noggin
As we age, our brains shrink up like a raisin. Our gray matter and cortex start to thin out. Our minds get punier, less flexible, less focused, and the slide to cognitive decline begins! (Wait, why did I walk into this room again?)
Meditation helps turn back the clock. It protects the brain from aging. It preserves brain structure throughout the years. It protects against memory loss and cognitive defects.
Brain scans show that the average cortical thickness of meditators in their 40s and 50s is comparable to that of 20- and 30-somethings. You might not be in your twenties anymore, but your brain doesn’t know that.
According to a 2009 UCLA study, meditators have a more gray matter in brain regions associated with attention, body awareness, and emotional regulation. Meditators have younger, more flexible, more focused brains. They’re more chill, relaxed, and happy.
That’s why, when you begin meditating, you start to sit up straighter, complete each task with calmer focus, and reframe problems, so they’re less harmful in your mind.
After Only 8 Weeks of Meditation, New Meditators Experience:
•Shrinkage in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for stress response in the body.
•Growth in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.
•Improvement in attention span and focus.
Meditation’s Effect on Telomeres
Telomeres are the sweethearts of longevity. These protective caps on the ends of chromosomes help cells divide and refresh. Each time a cell replicates, telomere length shortens as part of the natural aging process.
The shorter the telomere, the worse the immune system, the poorer your cardiovascular health, and the more susceptible you are to degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. You don’t want this short end of the stick. Shorter telomeres mean dying cells, disease, stress, and rapid aging.
Keep your telomeres long and sexy by meditating. A 2004 study shows that women who have high-stress levels have shorter telomeres on average by a TOTAL DECADE of additional aging compared to low-stress women. Meditation means less stress. Less stress means long, luscious telomeres.
Meditation’s Effect on the Body
Meditation is good for our brains and telomeres, that lengthen and strengthen our lives. But there’s also a hugely positive impact that meditation has on our bodies, too.
•Significantly reduces blood pressure and stress on the heart by increasing blood flow throughout the body
•Suppresses more than 1,000 stress-related conditions such as inflammation, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, and accelerated aging.
•Bolsters the immune system by causing a weaker stress response in the body, which allows immune cells to stay active in warding off illness and infection.
Try it out. Give meditation a whirl.
The easiest way is to either sign up for a local meditation and yoga class or to download the Headspace app, which teaches you meditation from the convenience of your phone.
Twenty minutes a day is all it takes. Don’t wait! Start enjoying stress-free days full of joy and clarity. It’s like a breath of fresh air.