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.