Meditation Benefits: Why should Baby Boomers Meditate?

Why should Baby Boomers Meditate

Why should Baby Boomers Meditate

As a member of the baby boomer generation and a long time meditator, I have had the opportunity to experience, first hand, the long and the short term benefits of meditation on my wellbeing. The best known of these benefits is stress reduction, but as we pass midlife, meditation becomes so much more than a simple stress reduction practice and instead can become an important part of our overall health regiment.

Let’s face it, if you’re a baby boomer then you know you’ve started to slow down in the last few years, and while aging doesn’t have to be accompanied by, any health issues, depression, or the loss of desire, ambition and joy, however, it often is.

We know that to enjoy the latter half of our lives we need to take care of ourselves, and how important it is to be physically active and eat right. And now it’s becoming increasingly evident, the third key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and aging successfully, is meditation.

The only true measure of our age is found by measuring our bio-markers. Because we don’t all age at the same rate, three different measures of age have used to describe the aging process. The first is chronological, simply the number of our birthday’s. Second, and closer to our ‘real’ age, is our biological age, a measurement of the functioning of our physiological systems in comparison to the average of the same aged population, and the final type of measurement are the biomarkers of age based on all our different biochemical and physiological measurements and then compared to the group averages of all ages.

One of the more recent findings, regarding meditation and aging, has to do with a simple structure at the end of our chromosomes, the telomeres, which help maintain the optimal health of our cells and genes.

In his article, “Why Aging ain’t no Myth,” Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. spoke with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn (who was awarded the prize for her work on telomere biology), along with her associate, Dr. Ellisa Epel, about the issue of the benefits of meditation and the lengthening of telomeres and the improvement of “many aspects of psychological wellbeing (PWB), a critically important aspect of successful aging.”

PWB is made up of the following six characteristics:

1. Self-Acceptance: You learn to compassionately accept yourself as you are and accept others as they are as well.
2. Self Confidence: You have the perception that you can handle whatever comes your way with strength and grace.
3. Independence: You are not reliant on other’s approval and feel you are healthy enough to take care of yourself. You want to live at home and not have to go an assisted living facility, for example, later in life.
4. Personal Growth: You sustain a desire to learn new things and have new experiences. You remain mentally active.
5. Positive Relationships: You surround yourself with people who love and support you and forsake those who don’t.
6. Purpose and Mission in Life: You continue to have a reason to live, be it giving back to society or taking care of your children or grandchildren.”
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In an earlier study the way older adults defined, for themselves, successful aging (which was considered a critical component for well-being) was in alignment with the six characteristics psychological wellbeing offered by Dr. Epel.

According to the study published in “The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,” defining healthy aging from the perspective of the older adults would only enhance an understanding of the correlations between self-rated criteria and researcher-defined criteria which could lead to development of a valid and reliable model for successful aging.”   

Dr. Epel told Dr.  Dharma Singh Khalsa, “that meditation is the fastest way to PWB. This is substantiated by emerging medical research. In one recent study, practicing mindfulness meditation for six hoursa day, for three months in a retreat setting, increased telomere length and enhanced PWB. In two studies in which I’ve been involved, one published and one presented in abstract form at the conference in Sweden, it was revealed that PWB can be increased by practicing a simple twelve minute meditation called Kirtan Kriya (KK). Practicing KKfor 12 minutes a day, for eight weeks, increased telomere length by 43 percent, which is groundbreaking.”

Another benefit of a regular meditation practice is improved cognitive function, and because there are such a large number of us in baby boomer generation the numbers who are thought to suffer from cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will be proportionally large.

A study published in the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,” tested meditation’s effects on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow in people exhibiting memory loss. The results showed a “number of significant changes in the preprogram baseline and the post program baseline scans in the” group practicing a specific type of meditation. In a low cost meditation practice practiced for only 12 minutes a day over an eight week period showed “positive results in both functional neuroimaging changes as well as an improvement in cognitive function in people with memory loss…”

In the end those who practiced meditation regularly, even for short periods of time, on measures of associative learning, cognitive skills, mental health, and aging, fare much better than those who don’t. So if you meditate, not only will you live longer, but you will think clearer, you will be less likely to suffer from depression and will feel a greater sense of joy and well-being.

A Reduction in Healthcare Costs a Meditation Benefit?

Is there really a meditation benefit that could result in a reduction in our healthcare cost? ᅠI firmly believe the answer is yes. Certainly, on a personal level meditation will impact an individual’s health care coast, which if practiced by enough people, could have an impact on the overall health care system.

A Reduction in Healthcare Costs a Meditation Benefit?

A Reduction in Healthcare Costs a Meditation Benefit?

 

Mind-body fitness is the ultimate goal when it comes to developing a comprehensive approach to wellness and meditation is a key component in this approach because of its stress reliving effects. But meditation is more than an effective relaxation technique. The health benefits of meditation have been shown not only to prevent heart disease but to reverse those effects.

This is what Dr. Robert Puff’s article is all about, so I’ll let him tell you in his own words… ᅠ

The nation’s current healthcare crisis has added a new dimension to the old saying, “Prevention is the best medicine.” With rising co-pays, high deductibles, confusion over coverage, and prescription drug headaches, healthcare consumers recognize that getting sick is more complicated than ever.

So if the solution to a dysfunctional system is to avert illness, then what approaches provide proven results? One answer lies in a practice that dates to the origins of human civilization. Scientific research is pointing to the health benefits of meditation. “Major studies show that a significant cause of illness is stress. And meditation is one of the most powerful ways of reducing it,” says Dr. Robert Puff, a clinical psychologist based in Newport Beach, California.

From a Genetic Standpoint, Some of Us Are Toyotas and Some Are Fords

Stress isn’t the cause of every illness. But many common ailments can be attributed to it. So how are stress and sickness related? Dr. Puff, who has been both meditating and teaching meditation for three decades, compares our bodies to automobiles, where each car’s brand is like a person’s DNA. Just like we can’t turn a Toyota into a Ford, there’s not much we can do to alter our genes.

Imagine that everyday, we slam on our brakes continuously, never change our oil, and overlook all maintenance. At first, our bodies may not reveal signs of damage. Over time, however, the neglect will show — sometimes subtly and other times dramatically. If we are Toyotas, perhaps the result will be a transmission in disrepair. If, on the other hand, our bodies are Fords our transmissions may be fine, but our brakes will no longer function. Similarly, everyone has genetic predispositions particular to him or herself. In the end, we’re all going to wear out, but the speed and how that deterioration manifests itself will be different for each person. Regardless of our own DNA, however, reducing stress significantly elevates everyone’s chances of living longer and experiencing less wear.

Meditation Gives Our Minds a Break

“We can have intense jobs and deal with difficult matters both in and outside of work. But if we meditate regularly, we can still experience peace of mind regardless of our responsibilities,” says Dr. Puff. To illustrate, he provides another analogy. Meditation is like the work breaks we take everyday. If we had to exert ourselves eight hours continuously, without relief, our time at work would eventually become unbearable. But lunchtime and breaks throughout the day allow us to make it through. “Meditation gives our minds time off from constant mental activity. Over the long term, we reduce overall stress, and this, I believe, is one of the main reasons that meditation increases physical health,” he says. And major organizations are listening. Fortune 500 corporations and prestigious hospitals hire Dr. Puff to speak about the benefits of meditation. They are acknowledging the research: meditation increases concentration and decreases stress.

During these difficult economic times, companies are struggling to provide medical benefits, and consumers are having to pay more out of pocket. Getting sick is rapidly becoming cost-prohibitive for everyone. “Meditation is simple, effective, free, and has no side effects — no prescription drug can make those claims,” says Dr. Puff.

Different types of meditation exercises may be more effective than others for specific health problems; meditation benefits are on the whole undeniable. Meditation fosters awareness and awareness of the body increases the desire to maintain feelings of health and wellbeing.ᅠ

One note about a statement made in Dr. Puff’s article, in which he, “compares our bodies to automobiles, where each car’s brand is like a person’s DNA. Just like we can’t turn a Toyota into a Ford, there’s not much we can do to alter our genes.” ᅠIn fact meditation can affect how our genes express themselves and it also affects our DNA because it’s been shown to have a positive effect on telomerase activity in the immune cells. So while we may not be able to ‘turn a Toyota into a Ford,’ meditation may allow us to go from a Ford focus to a Lincoln. And if we can do that then at least we can begin to reduce our personal health care cost. Click here to visit the original source of this post

The Meditation Benefits are in the DNA

At Harvard University researchers analyzed blood samples and found that there was a difference in how genes expressed themselves between meditators and a control group. This met that meditation caused hundreds of genes to turn on and off.

 

Meditation Benefits are in the DNA

Meditation Benefits are in the DNA

 

 

What was the significance? A number of the genes were involved in the body’s response to ‘oxidative stress’ and cellular metabolism. One of our biological responses to mental and emotional stress is oxidative stress, which produces free radicals.

The conclusion of the Harvard study was that there is verifiable scientific proof that meditation has positive genetic effects influencing cell metabolism as well as a positive response to oxidative stress.

Meditation not only affects our genes it also affects our DNA. In a 2010 study, meditation was shown to have a positive effect on telomerase activity in the immune cells. This is important because, telomerase is an enzyme that can repair the telomeres.

And what are telomeres and why are they important? Telomeres are little caps at the end of our chromosomes that protects our DNA. It turn out that these little caps ultimately have an effect on the aging process.

There is a new blood test that measures the length of the telomeres, which can be used to measure how fast a person is aging. The hope being that maybe the test will motivate people to take action, or better yet sit quietly and meditate, to improve their health.

Stress hormones, which play an important part in aging, are regulated by RNA, which is a copy of the DNA. RNA is the active copy and is constantly changing instructions. So by choosing a lifestyle that reduces stress your RNA responds by producing fewer stress hormones

Meditation may not be the actual fountain of youth, and yet, because of the meditation benefit for our DNA created by relieving the symptoms of stress and helping us to let go of our daily anxieties, meditation, just may be as close as we can come.

Here are the posts on this Weeks topic ~ the Positive  Benefits of Meditation on DNA

Spiritual-Wellness-Happiness: DNA and Rejuvenation

Outside the biologists test tubes and flasks, DNA gets influenced by your every thought, feeling, and action. The stress hormones that play such a critical part in aging are regulated by RNA, which is a copy of DNA; even though the DNA

Publish Date: 04/29/2011 7:00

http://s.buddharocks.org/2011/04/dna-and-rejuvenation.html

The Use of Meditation in Cancer Treatment | Neuroscienze.net

The benefits of meditation are therefore in direct contrast with so-called “modern” medicine which is carried out hurriedly, aggressively and using expressions such as “It is useless to look elsewhere, there is nothing else that can be done ”. ….. To explain this hypothesis has been formed that meditation could help to achieve a very good state of balance in biochemical development which would maximize the efficient use of DNA to induce itself to self-repair. …

Publish Date: 05/17/2011 5:44

http://www.neuroscienze.net/?p=1940

Scientific Research – Get Truth About Meditation

Many other researchers have described the benefits of alpha and theta brain wave states. Budzynski has done extensive research on learning and suggestion when the brain is in a theta state. Theta, Budzynski suggested, is the state in which superlearning takes place—when in theta, …. Cells that are at sub-optimal levels are stimulated to ‘turn on’ and produce what they’re supposed to produce, probably through DNA, which is stimulated through the cell membrane… …

Publish Date: 02/01/2001 0:00

http://gettruthaboutmeditationnow.com/scientific-research/

Harvard Study finds that Meditation Impacts DNA | David R Hamilton PhD

People have meditated for years and enjoyed better health (and a slower aging process) but many others have been skeptical as to its benefits. Now, we have solid scientific proof of the positive genetic effects of meditation in that it …

Publish Date: 04/19/2011 4:40

http://drdavidhamilton.com/?p=180

 

Enjoy a couple of You Tube Videos that use binaural beats so your DNA can kick back and relax.

Conscious Release- sonic DNA ascension – Solfeggio & binaural beats

Conscious Release www.unisonicascension.com This Silk Road inspired meditation incorporates 10 Solfeggio frequencies in total, from delicate background sounds, to the featured oriental Koto tuned to: 396Hz, 417Hz, 528Hz, and 639Hz. This beautiful Kot…

528 Hz Alpha Binaural Beat (listen with stereo headphones)

528 Hz Alpha binaural beat HQ mp3 download: www.unisonicascension.com 528 Hz ; the love frequency, is used as a binaural beat at the speed 10 Hz for this 528 Hz binaural meditation. www.unisonicascension.com The 528 Hz Solfeggio frequencie is from an…

ZEN Stillness as a Meditation Benefit

“Whenever you feel Turmoil around you Ensure stillness Surrounds you.”
ZEN Stillness
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From: SuperMojo888
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A short Meditative Break – Zen style.

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Elevating Insomnia a Meditation Benefit

Insomnia is a growing and widespread health problem around the globe, a problem that tends to become worse as we age. Deep, rejuvenating sleep is necessary for regaining our vitality. Almost one in five adults suffers the consequences of poor sleep, which causes daytime fatigue and affect the quality of our lives.

Meditation practiced in the evening before bed is a wonderful way to prepare for sleep, because allows the mind to settle so that the transition from waking to sleep is easy and natural. Many meditators report that they sleep better and need less of it.ᅠ

Insomnia is a big deal these days for more and more people are getting affected by it in the process. If you are one of those suffering from this condition, …

If you find that you really can’t sleep or if you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night, try getting out of bed and meditating.  Even if you don’t become sleepy again right away, you will at least be in a state of deep relaxation. One of the benefits of meditation is that as your regular meditation practice develops, worries and anxieties begin to diminish and as a consequence sleep comes more easily.

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Relaxation Meditation for Stress Relief

Here are three different videos that each creates a completely unique meditative experience.ᅠ

Rob Arthur – Meditation
LifeScapes – Music for Stress Relief 2006
From: southport97
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The first video is light and airy, met, as the title indicates, for stress reduction, to be used as a relaxation meditation technique.

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Traditional Buddhist Meditation Chants for healing

Buddhist meditation health chants
healthchants.com -ᅠ
From: omega7arts
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The second is music of traditional Buddhist meditation healing chants for relaxation and good health.

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BJELILA SOUND MEDITATION

Here are three different videos that each creates a completely uniqueᅠ

Sound Of Meditation By Nikostrat – BJELILA SOUND MEDITATION
Video owned &r licensed by EMI
From: bjelila
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Then  third video takes you on a journey into deep inner awareness, with a Native American electronic feel.

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Buddhist Meditation Music the Benefit – Relaxation

It’s time for a musical meditation benefits interlude. This is a video that can be enjoyed with eyes open or closed. Open, there are wonderful photos of wildlife and nature.

This video is very good for meditation,relaxation and unwinding sit back and enjoy A really relaxing video with music videos from around natureᅠ
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You can make listening to music a meditation itself, by mindful of the music in the same way you are mindful of the breath and listen with full attention.