Here’s How Meditation Leads to a Healthy Long Life
We all want to live a healthy and long life. We all want to reach that age when we are surrounded by children, grandchildren, and why not, great-grandchildren.
According to recent data released by the World Health Organization, between 2010 and 2016, the average life expectancy across the globe has increased considerably. Thanks to significant improvements in the quality of medical services and living conditions, we can now enjoy the benefits of a longer and healthier life.
Longevity has always been a fascinating topic.
Ever since the dawn of civilization, humans have always looked for ways to live longer. From ancient meditative practices to modern medical procedures, philosophers, spiritual gurus, scientists, and health professionals have come up with countless explanations and ‘recipes’ for longevity.
But the real breakthrough occurred in the past decades when the wisdom of the Orient has joined forces with the Western scientific approach, in an attempt to solve the mystery of longevity.
Based on current research, it appears that meditation may play a significant role in our endeavors to understand and cultivate longevity
What Is the Secret to a Long Life?
So far, studies conducted by researchers from all over the world indicate that longevity is conditioned by two essential factors: genes and lifestyle.
In broad lines, the life of an individual is determined by its genetic makeup (25%), the remaining 75% depending exclusively on its behavior and the environment in which it lives.
We know for a fact that aging is often associated with the development of chronic diseases, although it’s not a universal rule. In other words, just because you’ve reached old age doesn’t mean you have to deal with such issues.
To determine the factors and behaviors that are linked to longevity, researchers have identified several communities where the number of individuals who’ve lived past 100 years is abnormally high.
From the mountain villages of Sardinia, Italy, passing through the Adventist community of Loma Linda, California, and all the way to the Japanese living on the Okinawa Islands, scientists have identified several common traits that may represent the keys to longevity.
Aside from having healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, these people also seem to live meaningful lives. They find purpose in everything they do and approach life’s challenges with clarity and self-awareness.
The good news is that the same clarity, self-awareness, and meaning that help these people live a healthy and long life can be achieved through meditative practices.
How Does Meditation Increase Your Longevity?
Throughout the day, we lose a significant amount of energy. From dealing with constant worries and stress to overcoming personal and professional challenges, everything we come across in our day-to-day life will weaken our spirit and waste our energy.
In time, all these adverse factors can lead to problems such as overeating, chronic fatigue, permanent irritability, and even the gradual deterioration of internal organs which, in the end, will shave off a significant number of years of your life.
Considering that many researchers have repeatedly proven that meditative practices can help us cope with life’s hardships better, we could argue that meditation has an indirect positive effect on longevity. In other words, this practice can help us deal with the very factors that shorten our life.
Meditation is a form of self-knowledge, a way of maintaining your health by strengthening the immune system, and a path to a long and peaceful life. It is a practice that helps you cultivate clarity, eliminates tensions, lowers your stress levels, and prevents depression.
Practiced on a constant basis, meditation helps you manage your emotions better, become more optimistic, and calm your anxious mind. And a clear, serene mind is the key to a healthy body and a longer life.
According to a 2009 paper published in The New York Academy of Sciences, “there is abundant evidence in the scientific and medical literatures that the diligent practice of certain yoga‐meditational regimens can lead to a spectrum of health enhancements, ranging from modest to profound, and that these can be investigated in a scientifically rigorous fashion.”
What this research paper tells us is that practices such as meditation and yoga can have beneficial effects on our health and well-being.
Furthermore, another paper published in the same journal argues that meditation and yoga breathing can be successfully used “in the treatment of depression, anxiety, post‐traumatic stress disorder, and for victims of mass disasters.”
But is there a direct link between meditative practices and longevity?
One study indicated that meditation could slow the rate of cellular aging. To quote the authors, “some forms of meditation may have salutary effects on telomere length by reducing cognitive stress and stress arousal and increasing positive states of mind and hormonal factors that may promote telomere maintenance.”
Telomeres are regions of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration.
By facilitating telomere maintenance, meditation can keep our DNA from deteriorating which means a longer life for our cells and entire body.
As for yoga, a 2017 review article which compiled data from 18 studies, revealed that this practice could have a direct impact on our genes. More specifically, methods such as yoga and meditation can promote longevity by reversing changes in genes that are linked to depression and poor health.
All and all, studies conducted so far indicate that practices which aim to improve the mind-body relationship can determine the brain to exercise better control over the DNA processes that lead to physical, emotional, and mental improvements.
However, keep in mind that meditation and yoga alone cannot help you reach a healthy and long life. To achieve longevity, you also need other healthy habits such as: eating right, exercising regularly, having an active lifestyle, and getting plenty of sleep.
Turn Meditation into a Lifelong Practice!
Beyond controversy and preconceptions, meditation has become a lifestyle for many people who are looking to achieve longevity. The reason why many have turned meditation into a regular practice it that it alleviates the unpleasant effects of our everyday stress and worries and helps us widen our mental, emotional, and spiritual horizons.
But aside from improved health and longevity, there are plenty of other reasons why you should add meditation to your daily to-do list:
Meditation gives you a moment of peace and clarity. You learn to put your life in perspective and focus on the big picture, instead of the small day-to-day hassles.
Meditation soothes your mind and helps you eliminate the negative and irrational beliefs that in the way of your success and greatness.
Meditation brings discipline into your life. By turning this practice into a routine, you will feel more motivated to work on the small things and achieve the small victories that will eventually help you conquer your final goal.
Meditation teaches you the value and power of patience. Just because you live in a fast-paced world doesn’t mean you have to work yourself into an early grave. You don’t have to do everything now. It takes time to achieve something great.
Meditation disciplines you. Once you get to experience the benefits of this amazing practice, you will no longer feel the need to procrastinate and waster your precious time on irrelevant distractions.
Meditation improves your ability to focus. By meditating on a regular basis, you will increase your ability to concentrate on a given task better and for more extended periods.
Meditation makes you a better listener and observer. You understand yourself, others, and the world at a deeper level and comprehend difficult concepts at first glance.
A better tomorrow begins with the actions you take today!
If you want to enjoy a healthy, happy, and long life, start by meditating on a regular basis.