Chronic stress wears down your telomeres and causes your cells, and your bodies, to age more rapidly. A number of scientific studies have shown that stress shortens telomeres. The reason appears to be linked to the stress hormone cortisol, which has been shown to reduce telomerase activity, and telomerase is your telomere building enzyme.

In one study with healthy premenopausal women, those with the highest levels of perceived stress had telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low stress women. These findings have implications for understanding how, at the cellular level, stress may promote earlier onset of age-related health conditions.

Another study included 2,911 people between ages 30 and 64, who were surveyed on their exhaustion due to work. The researchers also measured the length of their telomeres. The authors wrote in the study: “These data suggest that work-related exhaustion is related to the acceleration of the rate of biological aging (shorter telomeres).”

Researchers believe that cultivating positive mental states, and decreasing negative moods and thinking, through a regular meditation practice, results in a “stress-buffering” benefit for our cells.

This positive change can boost your levels of the telomerase enzyme, which replenishes and lengthens your chromosome protecting telomeres and the lifespan of your cells. It seems that mindfulness mediation practice buffers cells against the long-term wear and tear effects of stress, and is thus believed to slow your rate of cellular aging and promote a healthier lifespan.

In one study, mindfulness meditation was associated with increased levels of telomerase, commonly called the “fountain of youth” enzyme that protects and even lengthens telomeres. Researchers believe this happens because mindfulness meditation promotes the regulation of emotion and reactivity, and is linked to greater psychological well-being.

The lead researcher at the University of California, Davis Center for Mind and Brain stated: “We have found that meditation promotes positive psychological changes, and that meditators, showing the greatest improvement on various psychological measures, had the highest levels of the chromosome protecting enzyme, telomerase.

Here’s an interesting new study on Meditation & Telomeres published in the prestigious medical journal Cancer:

The Relaxation Response is a simple, yet scientifically validated, form of meditation. It was developed by Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard medical School Professor. Here is a report on the Relaxation Response and its positive impact on telomeres:

Here’s a link to an interview on intercessory prayer with Dr. Larry Dossey:

Larry Dossey, M.D. / Reinventing Medicine:

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