As I have been writing more about mindfulness, I was interested to see this new research on meditation.
University of California researchers have determined that the positive feeling you get from meditation is linked to improved cell health. Telomerase activity was measured in participants after a three-month intensive meditation retreat and found to be about one-third higher in the white blood cells of participants who had completed the retreat versus those in a matched group of controls. Telomerase is an enzyme which has the potential to promote longevity in immune cells, thus having a significant impact on our health.
What exactly does this mean? According to researcher Clifford Saron at UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain:
The take-home message from this work is not that meditation directly increases telomerase activity and therefore a person’s health and longevity,” Saron said. “Rather, meditation may improve a person’s psychological well-being and in turn these changes are related to telomerase activity in immune cells, which has the potential to promote longevity in those cells. Activities that increase a person’s sense of well-being may have a profound effect on the most fundamental aspects of their physiology.
Theses feelings of well-being were defined as related to psychological qualities including mindfulness. This research ties in nicely with the findings I discussed recently about mindfulness being associated with happiness.
Can you imagine how useful this could be for trauma survivors? With dissociation? Or really anyone! So many of us live a fast paced, multi-tasking lifestyle that lends itself to doing things on automatic, mindlessly. This robs us of the opportunity to be fully present in our lives.