Lately, large amounts of research on the positive effects of meditation on the human body have proven, indisputably, that we can all benefit in a multitude of ways from daily meditation practice. These positive side effects include stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, and greater overall happiness levels. These side effects alone can persuade anyone to start meditating, but recently, scientists are beginning to understand the long-term effects of meditating – it may actually slow ageing and improve life expectancy, in addition to better health in old age.
Scientists have discovered that meditating actually increases the lifespan of cells within our bodies, and it is thought that this may be linked to the relationship with stress. Too much stress in our lives can reduce the lifespan of cells, but if we manage that stress, that process can be reversed.
In addition to the cellular effects, meditation can also alter our brains. The grey matter in a normal brain will slowly begin reducing from the age of 30, but a brain that is practising mindfulness meditation will slow that loss. In fact, researchers now believe that practising mindfulness throughout adult life will effectively preserve the brain.
Because meditation and mindfulness are already linked to better health, the longer lifespan of adults who meditate may also simply be linked to staying in better health and lower risk of illness. So, no matter what age you are now, it’s going to be worth it to start including a meditation practice into your health routine.
To get started with meditation, try a guided audio track. Make sure you have a comfortable space, free of distractions, and ensure that you won’t be interrupted. Make time for yourself – even if it’s only a few minutes. Think of it like going to the gym, but for your brain!