The importance of mindfulness
People have been searching for the key to eternal youth and vitality for decades, no matter where we are. Many people want to stay healthy as long as possible and slow the ageing cycle. Managing and controlling eating habits and regular exercise are effective on the healthy physical side.
However, keeping a healthy mind, which keeps our body's intricate processes beautiful, can have excellent benefits.
You can find many anti-ageing products on the market. Moreover, countless research hours have been spent on finding solutions to one of humanity's most critical problems: reducing stress's effects.
Meditation may be one of the most effective anti-ageing methods. Meditation is believed to slow down the effects of ageing.
It is optional to meditate for your pair time every day.
Yoga and mindfulness are also effective. Eastern societies have long believed that meditation can help people to live longer and healthier lives, which is not surprising.
Stress affects our bodies
A combination of stressors can cause internal damage to our bodies. Our bodies react to a Fight-or-flight when a stressful event occurs. The problem is that it is not uncommon for stress to hit us like a mammoth attack, as it did in the past.
On the contrary, many of us frequently encounter stressful situations, such as being late to pick up our children or missing an important deadline at work. Maintaining stressful situations forever is a standard part of modern life.
The fact that our body's classical Fight-or-flight response is not effective increases the frequency of stressful situations. For example, if traffic delays an important meeting, we cannot respond by fighting and fleeing. The body responds by entering the Fight-or-flight phase, but this 'patience' response is fundamentally unhealthy.
How to slow down ageing in the mind and body
Our mind is fully involved in how we think and react to the world around us. The state of our mind significantly impacts everything from our blood pressure, hormone synthesis, and levels to our response to stress. If we want to be as youthful as the number of candles on our birthday cake, it is wise to focus on taking care of our minds.
Changes in the body's stress response system
Understanding how we feel is crucial to understanding what happens to our bodies when stressed. In the days before human stress coping strategies developed, stress had nothing to do with the impending deadline for a construction project or how to pay the mortgage this month. Instead, it could be the anxiety of fending off an ambush from a neighbouring tribe or a ravenous mammoth. It also stems from our bodies' struggle against disease hundreds of years before modern treatments were developed.
The well-known Fight-or-flight response is how humans are equipped to deal with stress. In other words, it is a natural human urge to flee from mammoths, but it is also a choice between fight or flight against an attacking tribe.
Fight or flight
What happens when our bodies enter the fight or flight phase?
Typically, the fight or flight response is to prepare for the challenging work ahead. Our brain first detects a stressful environment. The brain must then activate the body to fight or flee. This affects the body in many ways. For example, breathing becomes harder and faster, and the heart rate increases. At the same time, digestion is reduced, freeing up resources for other bodily functions. This means that glucose and fat are released into the bloodstream as a source of energy to cope with stressful situations. The body's inflammatory response is also triggered.
Effects of Mindfulness and Meditation:
Mindfulness and meditation are the main ways to relieve stress and slow ageing. This is also something that most people will have experienced first-hand in their own lives.
Pick a friend or family member who has experienced something very painful or difficult. Have you noticed how much older they look as a result?
Meditation and anti-ageing are not to be linked only to our own experiences. This anti-ageing concept is supported by scientific evidence.
Anti-ageing benefits of mindfulness and meditation
Both case studies and experimental studies have shown that mindfulness has many benefits, including reduced stress, improved concentration, increased self-awareness, improved immune and cardiovascular function and a significant reduction in ageing. These studies show exactly how essential the benefits of mindfulness are, even if it should not be the main effect of anti-ageing, and here are some of the benefits of mindfulness.
1. Brain activity is reduced during meditation, resulting in healthier brain cells
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have shown that the brain does not process as much information during meditation. Meditators can be said to have more grey matter in their brains and more brain cells. This finding is associated with improved people's capacity for compassion, lower or stabilized blood pressure, and enhanced memory.
2. Mindfulness reduces stress levels
Many studies have argued that psychological and emotional stress can accelerate or exacerbate ageing. Many prevailing ageing theories point to oxidative stress as the leading cause.
Numerous studies have shown that concentrations of lipid peroxide, malondialdehyde and vanillylmandelic acid in urine during mindfulness are reduced. It has been theorised that when these oxidative stresses are reduced, the body's natural repair and regeneration mechanisms slow down the rate of ageing.
3. Mindfulness increases telomerase activity
At the ends of our chromosomes are telomeres, which gradually shorten with age (i.e. ageing and eventual death). Telomerase, the enzyme that protects telomeres from shortening, is known to decrease with age and is a leading indicator of long-term health. Studies have shown that higher blood stem cell and telomerase activity increases life expectancy and quality of life, especially with age.
4. Does mindfulness reduce inflammation?
Numerous studies on mindfulness and mindfulness-like practices (e.g. yoga, self-hypnosis, structured and systematic forms of relaxation) have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects and a calming of inflammation-like immune processes. Recent anti-ageing mindfulness research findings suggest that regularly relaxing the body and mind in a meditative state can significantly reduce physiological age below actual age. A large body of evidence from anti-ageing research suggests that regular deep meditation significantly impacts the synthesis of three important hormones: melatonin, DHEA, and cortisol. Melatonin levels during meditation are said to increase by 98% to 300%. As well as being a sleep-promoting hormone, it has anti-ageing, immunomodulating, antidepressant, and antioxidant effects. It can significantly slow down cell deterioration and maintain energy levels. When practised mindfulness and meditation are present, DHEA production is said to increase by 44%-90%.
*Melatonin also plays an essential role in synaptic synthesis.
A powerful anti-ageing hormone, DHEA is a major determinant of physiological ageing, which declines with age. It protects the body against disease, stimulates libido and keeps the body healthy, energetic and young. Cortisol levels may decrease by 47% during meditation. Besides its negative effects on mental health, cortisol makes the skin thinner and increases wrinkles. In short, this hormone accelerates the ageing process.
Numerous studies have shown that regular mindfulness can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and improve psychological well-being. Armed with the healing power of meditation to control and reduce stress from work, relationships and other environmental stresses, you can lead a healthy and disease-free life.
Have you ever felt that your life is moving forward, and you are just hanging on to it?
This can happen if you have spent a lot of time living your life for others (parents, children, spouse, etc.) or pursuing what you think you want without giving much thought to what you as an individual want from life.
Regular mindfulness meditation can help you clear away the mental rubbish of everyday life and reconnect (or connect for the first time) with your core beliefs and desires. In doing so, you can live your life more intentionally and direct your energy towards the things that matter most. According to some studies, regular meditation not only improves concentration but also makes you happier, gives you a better memory and can even change the shape and function of the brain itself (for the better).
Nourishing the soul
Think you shouldn't have the brain you have now?
Neuroplasticity is the idea that we can build new neural pathways and change our brain patterns as we age, and it is a rapidly growing area of science. Research has even shown that training the brain through reading makes you smarter, sharpens your memory, and slows down the age-related decline in brain function.
In addition to reading, brain puzzles, and mental training, you can nourish your mind through nutrition. For example, there is a large body of evidence that regular intake of supplements such as Ginkgo biloba, Bacova, and Ashwagandha can actively care for brain health and function as we age.
: Spirit and positive affirmations
Repeat positive affirmations such as "I am young at heart." Being 'young in spirit and always adventurous' plays an important role in living a long life.
Our homes, cars, desks, bags, and everything in between are filled with household items. Believe it or not, getting rid of unnecessary things could be your next big adventure. We should only put something in our homes that enrich our lives and gives us joy. If you have been packing all your life, this can change your life.
Real life is messy, and a house that is too focused on minimalist aesthetics can seem cold and uncomfortable. Yet, if you're holding on to things you no longer need simply because they're wasteful or too hard to throw away, it may be time to let go.
Ask yourself what things bring you and your family joy and purpose, and donate, sell or recycle the rest. You'll be surprised how much lighter you feel and how much easier it is to keep your home clean.
: Enjoying small pleasures
By regularly making room to enjoy the little things - for example, a perfectly brewed cup of tea or reading a book in bed before turning off the lights - you can enjoy a little bit of life's simple pleasures every day.
How you enjoy the small pleasures can make an amazing difference in your day-to-day life.