Could Regular Meditation Slow Down the Aging Process?

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Entropy is a normal component of life. As processes are used, they begin to wear down, slow down, or age. From a cellular standpoint, entropy occurs because the protective caps of the cells, called telomeres, begin to shorten as they wear down. When the telomeres become too short, the cells malfunction and can no longer divide.

People have an enzyme that helps to slow down this process, much like enamel helps to slow down or even prevent tooth decay. Called “telomerase,” it protects the protective caps on the cells. If you have a lot of stress in your life, then there is a corresponding amount of lower telomerase in your body. The result is that up to 10 years of your life could be lost because stress has reduced the cellular protections your body needs.

Less Stress Means More Telomerase

It’s a logical progression: if there is less telomerase in people who have stress, then there will be more telomerase who have lower levels of stress. Research from Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn into this phenomenon proved that regular meditation actually slows down the aging process. When stress isn’t as present in a person’s life, their telomeres are better protected. This creates improved cognitive abilities, better overall health, and a longer potential for life.

Dr. Blackburn believes that if people had more knowledge about the essential functions of telomeres, they would be more willing to embrace meditation as part of their daily routine. Although environmental and situational factors still could create variations in the results, studies that Dr. Blackburn have conducted show that meditation does indeed have the power to change a life and slow down the aging process.

You Don’t Need To Meditate For Long Periods of Time

In a small pilot study that occurred in Northern Colorado over the course of 3 months, it was discovered that just 12 weeks of regular meditation could increase the amount of telomerase activity in the body by up to 30%. Another study that was conducted at UCLA showed that just 12 minutes of meditation per day for just 8 weeks showed a 43% increase in telomerase activity compared to those who chose not to mediate at all.

Listening to relaxing music or doing something you enjoy doesn’t count as meditation, according to the research of Dr. Blackburn. It has to be some form of meditation. It could come from chanting, mindfulness, or just regular traditional methods, but it needs to be conscious meditation.

If you can spare 12 minutes out of your day, then you could extend your life by up to 10 years. That one amazing fact is enough to inspire many toward the practice of regular meditation. If you haven’t gotten into a routine of meditating daily as of yet, then keep working at it. Don’t allow distractions to get in the way because the rewards, as Dr. Blackburn have shown, are well worth the effort.

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You Can Still Practice Mindfulness Even If You Are Busy

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Mindfulness is a term that is being used very frequently these days. It is a skill that allows a person to be more aware of their present circumstances. Instead of allowing a day to sail on by, a person practicing mindfulness will look at the perfection of each moment as it comes, no matter what their circumstances might be.

Why practice mindfulness even when busyness is the rule of the day? What mindfulness does is create a more rational mind. By being able to set emotions aside, a person practicing mindfulness is able to be more rational with every choice that needs to be made. Instead of having choices that are dominated by joy or fear or our flight-or-fight reflexes, a decision can be made using logic and reason.

How Can You Begin To Practice Mindfulness?

Here is one simple fact that we often choose to ignore: being busy is a choice. In many ways, the level of busyness that we have during the day is a badge of honor that we wear proudly. Because we are so busy, we take joy in the fact that we are unable to do the things that we actually love. It is a lot like an addiction. Just like you can be a workaholic, you can be a busy-a-holic. Mindfulness seeks to change that.

All you need to do to get started is to set aside 60 seconds. Take that one-minute and meditate during it. It can be as simple as sitting at your desk, closing your eyes, and taking three or four deep breaths. In those few seconds, your mind will begin to practice mindfulness. A natural side effect of these micro meditation periods is that you will feel less stress, feel less overwhelmed, and feel like you have more time to accomplish the things that need to get done during the day.

Sometimes Mindfulness Requires Action To Succeed

It is common for a mind to allow thoughts to wander. Sometimes we call this daydreaming. When you’re in the middle of an important business meeting, having your thoughts stray can be a bad thing. You might suddenly miss what was just said. You might “space out” for several minutes. This is wasted time that could be used for mindfulness.

Finding the perfection in any given moment means actively seeking out what is perfect. Sometimes perfection can be found in the words that we are hearing from someone else. Sometimes you can go beyond the words that are being said and find perfection in the ideas that are behind the words. Instead of spacing out for daydreaming, try focusing your concentration in the next business meeting you have on every individual word. By not allowing your mind to wander, you are being more mindful. You are training your brain to be in the present moment, right here and right now.

If you have 60 seconds, then you have time to start reprogramming your mind to accept mindfulness. Don’t accept the excuse of being busy anymore. When mindfulness is in your corner, you have an amazing opportunity every day to achieve great things. All you must do is decide to take advantage of those opportunities.

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How to Make Meditation a Part of Your Life

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It’s no secret that meditation has many benefits that can help you with all aspects of your life. Meditation is a powerful tool you can use to get clarity in your life, peace in your heart, and wisdom in your soul. That’s why it is important to include meditation in your daily activities. Let’s talk about some of the ways that you can include meditation into your daily schedule.

A lot of people have the misconception that they must dedicate hours a day in order to get the maximum benefit out of meditation. This is simply not true. One of the things you’re going to want to do when you’re first starting out with meditation is to pace yourself. You don’t need to spend hours meditating, in fact its best that you ease into it because you can burn yourself out if you try to spend too much time meditating. It’s best to keep it short and start out with 5-minute sessions to begin with. Just like lifting weights, you’re going to want to start out slow and work your way up. The quality of your meditation always is better than the quantity of time you spend in meditation.

It’s very important that you set a schedule you’ll be able to stick to. By writing a schedule for your meditation, you commit to that appointment. You also say to yourself that you value your own well-being enough to take time during the day for yourself. Put 5 or 10 minutes aside each day to have your meditation session. You don’t have to have your meditation session at the exact same time every day, but it’s best that you try to keep it generally at the same time of day. This will condition your mind to go into a meditative state at the same time each day. As long as you’re making an effort to meditate once a day, at around the same time you are cultivating more stillness into your life.

We all need a sacred space that we can escape to and connect with our own higher power. It helps recharge our energy and keeps us balanced. Creating your own sacred space lets you express your very human need for ongoing spiritual nourishment. You can meditate anywhere you feel like such as your bedroom, garden, beach, etc. However you will increase the effectiveness of your meditation if you meditate at the same location every time. It will condition your mind to immediately go to a meditative state or to move there faster. A meditation space reminds us of our intention to practice stillness. By creating a sacred space that encourages you to cultivate and nurture a devoted practice, you are one step closer to making meditation a part of your life.

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7 Proven Methods To Improve Your Concentration

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If you feel like you’ve lost your focus, then finding a way to improve your concentration is necessary. You’ve got to be able to find a way to get your mind off of many things and put it onto just one thing instead. It all begins when you make a decision on what it is that you need to stay focused upon. Become part of what you need to focus on, make it part of you, and you’ll be ready to use these additional proven methods.

#1. Copy what others are doing. People can find concentration in a number of different ways. Some people can’t concentrate unless the television is on. Others need headphones that are blasting out music. A quiet room helps others. The environment helps to bring a stillness to that person. Their breathing slows down. Their mind is active and their body is relaxed, but the distractions are in the background, not the foreground.

#2. Don’t switch your attention. Changing your focus from one task to another could rob you of 15 total minutes of productivity for each change you make. If you stop what you’re doing to check your email, then that’s up to 15 minutes that you can’t get back.

#3. Be calm. Your thinking power must be directed at the task at hand. Emotions will directly affect that thinking power. As you become angry, you actually lose the ability to think clearly as a direct result. The peak of your anger is also the lowest point of concentration that you will have in life.

#4. Stay in control. There is only a limited supply of energy that you have in any given day. You can give your physical body fuel, but your mind can only process so much data. Once you reach your quota, you’re going to shut down. Control your energy output and you’ll be able to handle more input.

#5. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Many people have to sit to complete tasks today. Our society has become based on information, which means sitting in front of a computer or a screen. Get up out of that chair, take a walk outside, and you’ll feel energized. If you have an active career, such as a construction laborer, then the opposite applies. Shut yourself down during your break, allow your mind to rest, and you’ll be just as recharged.

#6. Observe. You need to know what your body does when your concentration levels begin to fall to recognize how to react. Note how your breathing might change, what your emotional state might be, or other physical symptoms you experience when your concentration is going away. Then adapt, stay in control, and you’ll stay focused.

#7. Increase the amount of time you meditate. If you aren’t meditating on a daily basis, then consider starting today. If you are already meditating, try adding an extra 5 minutes to your routine. You’ll be able to enhance your concentration, even if you’re just focusing on meditation techniques one at a time. Here’s the best part: when you focus on one element of meditation at a time, you’re actually increasing your concentration!

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How Could 3 Days of Mindfulness Change Your Life?

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The benefits of mindfulness meditation have long been promoted, but it has been thought that it can take an extensive amount of time for these benefits to kick in. According research from Carnegie Mellon University, however, it may take just 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation for three consecutive days to alleviate psychological stress. By paying attention to one’s breathing and the condition of one’s surroundings, it has been found to be moderately effective to battle pain, anxiety, and even depression.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect Meditation

One of the most common obstacles that people face in meditating is that they feel like they need to be perfect in order to get the benefits. That simply isn’t true! You don’t have to be able to clear your mind of every thought or preconceived notion that comes your way. The mind is designed to think, file thoughts away, and strategize. It’s actually more unnatural to try to force a mind to be completely empty than it is to let it naturally process the surrounding environment.

The goal with mindfulness meditation simply needs to be finding a better focus. Hearing sounds and then processing them doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong. It simply means that you’re meditating in your own way. There are some things you can do, however, to facilitate an improved meditation experience:

  • Find comfort. If your mind can focus on your environment and breathing rather than the fact that your leg is going numb, then you can have a better experience. Make a specific spot your meditation spot, find a comfortable position, and then settle in for the next 25 minutes.
  • Observe. The more you are aware of your surrounding environment, then the better your meditation session is going to be. It’s the sensations of mindfulness that make it such a powerful phenomenon.

Why Is Focused Breathing So Important?

Deep breaths will automatically relax the human body. Patterns of breathing can relieve pain. That’s why pregnant mothers are taught specific breathing patterns during childbirth preparation classes. By allowing yourself to create a focused pattern of breathing that lets you control your body movements, you can free yourself of all the things that can hold you back over the course of a day. Regrets, worries, sadness, and even anger can dissipate in as little as 5 minutes of controlled breathing.

Most importantly, however, mindfulness meditation means being still. One cannot experience their environment until they allow the environment to interact with them. Being busy all the time means that we are forcing ourselves to ignore the moments of perfection that surrounds us every day. By spending just 25 minutes for 3 days in a row exploring these moments, all of your stress can be gone.

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Purposefulness Through Mindfulness: 6 Ways To Achieve Better Meditation

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As research as shown that 3 days of purposeful mindfulness meditation can eliminate most, if not all of the stress that someone is feeling, it is important to know how to achieve this. Being purposeful means more than just scheduling an appointment to meditate in your calendar every day. It’s a concentric effort that brings all of your senses to bear.

It all begins with a better approach to paying attention to things all day. Perfection can be found in many things if we’re willing to look for it. Even the flavor of our toothpaste has a certain perfection to it, but only if we’re willing to notice it through mindfulness.

1. Take a Break. You must be willing to allow yourself to take a break from your own world every now and then. We all create barriers to the real world in our haste to get through any given day. Mindfulness allows us to take these barriers down so that we can take a break from our fantasy worlds that we construct to cope with life’s stresses.

2. Weave It In. Mindfulness can be a lifestyle approach if you’re willing to adopt it. Every touch, every taste, and even every emotion has a deeper quality to it if we’re willing to take notice of it.

3. Categorize It. The mind is used to having to calculate billions of things at once. Think about it. Your brain is causing your heart to beat, your lungs to breath, and your eyes help it to understand these very words. It’s used to creating categories to file experiences and thoughts into, so allow it to do so. What does your shirt feel like right now? How comfortable is your chair? Do your shoes need to come off?

4. Accept the Emotion. When the mind tries to relax, it tends to think of something that creates an internal trigger. These triggers then force a response that creates sadness, anger, or regret. We so often keep busy simply because we want to avoid these difficult emotions. By focusing on mindfulness, we can stop running, forgive ourselves, and then begin to move on.

5. Be Neutral. Mindfulness meditation stops the instant we begin judging ourselves on the quality of our thoughts. We must be able to take a neutral approach to the various states of mind that we have. If we do not, then we’ll create new barriers to mindfulness that will never allow us to eliminate stress. Why? Stress is created with the formation of every barrier.

6. Let It Go. What mindfulness meditation does better than anything else is forgiveness. It gives the mind a medium that allows it to let go of things that it may have held onto for years. We are not defined by our past, but we so often live in our memories and allow them to drive us. It’s now that matters. It’s whom we will be in the future that matters. That’s what mindfulness allows us to focus upon.

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Meditation Will Change Your Life and Here’s Why

meditation will change your life

The reasons why you might choose to meditate are your own. Everyone can benefit from the daily practice of meditation. No matter what techniques you prefer or how much time you decide to spend meditating, you will change your life in profound ways if you start to meditate.

It Organizes the Hard Drive of Life

You know how the files on your computer’s hard drive can get fragmented from time to time? This happens because some files get deleted, others get displaced, and the end result is a computer that starts to run more slowly. The same thing happens to your mind! Meditation is like the defragmentation program for the brain. It helps to organize your mind so that it can be more productive and function like it should.

Just like a computer will start to speed up once it gets organized again, the mind will become more focused and have greater clarity when it is in a more quiet state. You can be more creative, think more clearly, and stay at a task for a longer period of time. Because your mind is more focused, it takes less energy to get all of the work done! In return, you feel energized even after a long day or you get more work done during the same amount of time. It’s all because of meditation!

You Have Finite Energy For Each Day

Why do you feel drained after a long day of work? It is because you have spent energy pushing away the negative components of life that are near you. You’ve spent energy worried about what the future may hold. By meditating, you’re able to remove these negative influences using less energy and you spend less time worrying about things outside of your control because your body’s hard drive is balanced and fine-tuned to accept new information.

So often we focus on just the physical benefits of meditation, and maybe rightly so because more energy and focus and creativity are good things. The mental balance and clarity that meditation brings, however, truly changes your life because you can put things into a greater perspective. Instead of being focused on the tasks that are at hand at this very second, you can have a vision toward the future.

The choice is up to you. You can meet each challenge with positive ambition and a minimal amount of energy or you can push the negative away as you always have. Through meditation, the balanced approach gives you better processing power, more flexibility, and ultimately a more positive and consistent result.

That’s why meditation will change your life. Start the process today and you won’t believe how quickly you can get your mind organized!

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6 Ways To Make Family Meditation Part of Your Daily Routine

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Life can get to be pretty hectic. That hectic energy has to go somewhere and it is often dispensed inside the home. Meditation is a great way to disperse this energy and even kids as young as 3 can meditate with you to bring a level of serenity back into life.

Meditation is also a great way to bring extra time into the routine for parents and kids to connect with each other. If you’re ready to make some changes so that your routine can include family meditation, then here are 6 ways to get started.

1. Be the Role Model

Kids are going to replicate what their parents are doing. If you start meditating, then they will become curious about what is going on. They might even ask to join you! Kids don’t need to have perfect form as they get started – and neither do you! Sometimes being there in the moment is a better goal than trying to achieve meditative perfection.

2. Get Into the Routine

Kids are more habitual than you might think. Changes of routine are sometimes difficult to accept at first, so be sure to schedule in meditation at the same time everyday. Plan for 20-30 minutes, but it’s fine if your kids make it 10-15 minutes at first. It’s more important to practice some than not practice at all, so don’t keep time limits.

3. Give Yourself Some Room

Meditation is easier to start when there are fewer distractions. Create space in your home that is free of electronics and other distractions.

4. Consider Music

There are a number of good music options that can help you meditate. Classical, Baroque, or even soft piano music can all help to sync up the mind with the heart and eliminate those racing thoughts.

5. Don’t Force It

Meditation is best embraced on an individual level. Your kids aren’t going to meditate in the same way you will. Neither will your spouse. If you have more than one child, they’ll even meditate differently from each other! All of this is fine, normal, and needed so that everyone can embrace family meditation.

6. It’s Not Going to Be Perfect

The key to making family meditation a success is to not give up on the process. Some days are going to be better than others. Sometimes kids will just look at you when it’s time for meditation like you’re a bizarre alien from an ancient moon who has come to steal their sugared cereals! What matters is that you stay in the routine. When you can do that, the kids will eventually come around to join you because they see value in it.

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5 Easy Ways to Make Meditation Part of Your Daily Routine

Daily Meditation Routine

Did you know that your daily routine can become part of the way you meditate? Many of us tend to do the same things every day as we get ready for work, eat lunch, or drive home along the same route after a stressful day. By changing how we view these routine items so that we’re more mindful of what is going on, it becomes possible to create meditation moments throughout the day that can create a barrier against stress.

Here are 5 ways that you can begin to make that happen right now!

#1. Use cleansing as a meditation ritual. Whether you wash your face in the morning or you have a shower at the same time, take this moment as a way to start off your day with meditation. Let the warmth of the water surround you. Take notice of the soap or cleansers and how they smell. Feel the smoothness of the lotion as it glides on your skin.

#2. Take moments to breathe. What gets so many of us in trouble during the day is forgetfulness. It’s not that we forgot a deadline or the gallon of milk we were asked to pick up. We forget to breathe! There are numerous moments throughout the day where you can just take a couple moments to enjoy a deep breath. Let the experience overwhelm you and relax your muscles. You might just find more patience to tap into when you do this on a regular basis.

#3. Lunch is perfect for meditation. There’s a good chance that you’re practicing mindfulness during lunch without even realizing it. Great flavors and a wonderful atmosphere that allows you to be quiet and contemplative will create an enormous level of personal satisfaction… and that translates into relaxation!

#4. Take a walk to decompress. Exercise helps to reduce stress, so imagine what combining mindfulness and exercise could be like! Take a brisk walk and enjoy the movement in your muscles as your feet hit the ground. Feel the brush of a leaf against your arm or the grass beneath your bare feet. Let your thoughts wander, send them away if you wish, and focus adding a breath to each footstep for an incredible experience.

#5. Check your speech. It’s easy to have a sharp retort. It’s not so easy to speak words that can empower others to do something great! The tongue really is a double-edged sword, but a moment of mindfulness can make the decision to create kindness much easier to make. It isn’t just to other people that you can practice this either – negative self-talk can be just as damaging as if someone else spoke those words to you.

With so many ways to add perfect little moments of meditation to your daily routine, it will become easier to incorporate mindfulness into life. Try these five methods today and you will see some immediate changes begin to develop that include more patience and the ability to withstand stress in better, healthier ways.

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Could Slow Reading Be a Form of Meditation?

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Have you ever noticed how a good book can relax you? You settle in for a few minutes of reading and before you know it, the entire night has almost passed you by! What is unique about a slow read is that your mind is solely focused on the words being read and how that relates to the pictures that are created in your mind. You know what else creates that same effect? Meditation.

Is Reading a Good Book the Same As Meditating?

If you’re trying to read for speed, then your mind is not solely focused on the book or ebook that is in front of you. You’re trying to get through the book for some specific purpose and that purpose is at the forefront of your mind, driving the experience. Speed equates to stress and that means meditating benefits are ignored for the benefit of obtaining speed.

For a slow read, however, your mind is focused on every word that is observed and then given comprehension. It’s like meditating with your eyes closed and choosing to focus on a single idea, thought, or experience. Your mind gets tunnel vision, closing out the racing thoughts and other problems that may be surrounding you at any given moment because the next word is powerful and profound.

Slow reading does more than just break the chains that the outside world tries to put onto you. It helps develop the skill of concentration and this deepens a person’s ability to actively listen in any given situation.

How Can You Take Advantage of Slow Reading?

The first and most critical component of using slow reading as a form of meditation is to eliminate all of the distractions that might be around you. Turn off your phone completely because you’ll hear the vibrations, even if you’re upstairs and the phone is downstairs. You’ll want to turn off your computer as well because even with notifications turned off or the volume muted, you will be tempted to check your Facebook page in the middle of a good read.

A slow read also helps with reading comprehension skills. The mind must be fully focused not just on each word, but each part of each word in order to fully understand the nuance and meaning the author is attempting to put into the text. Books also have more formal language than what you’ll find on social media sites like Twitter, which means a complete understanding of language can be developed by the mind. Instead of reading abbreviations to understand them, you’ll start converting the abbreviations to their full meaning in your head before understanding them.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. It means a complete understanding is desired by the mind! That desire will fuel you in a number of personal and professional ways, from feeling less stress to being able to read and understand more effectively.

If you’re struggling with a routine that includes meditation, then try slow reading as an alternative. The benefits are similar to what meditation can provide and you’ll be able to discipline your mind to a new way of thinking. In return, you might just find that life itself can be much more exciting!

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