If you’re reading my blog, you’re probably not fully aware of what is happening right now and you are distracted by a torrent of thoughts and feelings. Researchers from Harvard University have found that people spend 46.9% of their waking time thinking about something other than what they’re doing and that this generally leads to a state of unhappiness.
Moreover, negative emotional states like dissatisfaction, stress, anxiety and depression can contribute to and accelerate the speed of cognitive decline. It’s no wonder then that you may be searching for a way to help you improve your life satisfaction and enhance your cognitive abilities. Fortunately, the simple skill of paying attention to your breath can help to soothe your mind you and may even extend your life.
Research has found that learning and practicing mindfulness meditation (i.e., observing your breath and simply noticing your thoughts and emotions non-judgmentally with curiosity, receptivity and affection) can lower your levels of stress, increase telomerase activity (i.e., your telomeres play a key role in the aging of your cells), enhance cognitive abilities like your memory and ability to focus and may even extend your lifespan by warding off the physiological effects of aging.1, 2, 3
This is significant news since research from the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study has found that having early adverse life experiences like physical, emotional or sexual abuse, having parents who divorced, abused alcohol and drugs or family mental illness significantly increases the likelihood that you will experience emotional and cognitive impairments, adopt heath risk behaviors, chronic disease and lead to premature death.4
To learn mindfulness meditation is simple but not easy. Several resources exist, however; to support you and provide guidance as you cultivate a steady practice. The Center for Mindfulness, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn, offers an 8-week MBSR training program. You can also find MBSR programs locally or online.
To your health,
To learn more about how working with a psychologist and holistic health coach can help you to enhance your health and well-being, call or email Dr. Sandoval to schedule a free consultation.
- Epel, E, Daubenmier, J, Moskowitz, JT, Folkman, S, and Blackburn, E. “Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres.” Annals NY Academy of Science. (2009). 1172: 34–53. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04414.Jacobs, TL, Epel, ES, Lin, J, Blackburn, EH, Wolkowitz, OM, Bridwell, DA et al. “Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. (2011). 36(5) 664–681.
- Hölzel, BK, Carmody, J, Vangel, M, Congleton, C, Yerramsetti, SM, Gard, T, and Lazar, SW. “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” Psychiatry Research. (2011). 191(1):36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006.
- Kim, S, Bi, X, Czarny-Ratajczak, M, Dai, J, Welsh, DA, Myers, L, et al. “Telomere maintenance genes SIRT1 and XRCC6 impact age-related decline in telomere length but only SIRT1 is associated with human longevity.” (2012). Biogerontology. 13(2):119-31. doi: 10.1007/s10522-011-9360-5.
- Teicher, MH, Anderson, CM and Polcari, A. “Childhood maltreatment is associated with reduced volume in the hippocampal subfields CA3, dentate gyrus, and subiculum.” Proceedings in the National Academy of Science U S A. (2012). 109(9) 563-572. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115396109.
The information, published and/or made available through the www.drjosesandoval.com website, is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a physician-patient relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information in this post for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Any action on the reader’s part in response to the information provided in this blog is at the reader’s discretion.