A new study reveals a remarkable link to the power of positive emotions and reducing/reversing damage caused by stress to our genes and DNA. At the end of every strand of DNA is a caplike structure called a telomere that prevents the loss DNA from unraveling. Every time your cells divide, your telomeres shorten.
Researchers evaluated the effect of the Loving-Kindness Meditation on the length of telomeres. Fifteen practitioners were compared with 22 people in a control group. They shared around the same age. Each person had their telomeres measured.
Researchers examined relative telomere length in a group Loving-Kindness Meditation practitioners, a practice which utilizes a focus on unselfish kindness and warmth towards all people, and control participants who did not meditate. Their age, gender, race, education, or exposure to trauma, were similar, but the non-meditating control group had a higher mean body mass index (BMI) and lower rates of past depression.
Loving-Kindness meditation focuses on positive intentions, kindness, and compassion towards all people, in other studies was found to produce positive effects in individuals who practice it, including increasing positive emotions and sense of purpose, and bringing about improvement in physical symptoms including headaches, nasal congestion, and weakness.
The practitioners had longer telomeres in comparison to the control group at the trend level. Also, the women practitioners had significantly longer telomeres than controls. This difference remained significant even after controlling for BMI and past depression. While the study size is small, these results suggest that Loving-Kindness Meditation practice, especially in women, might alter telomere length, which is a biomarker associated with longevity.
It’s critical to understand that you have a chronological age, which is the length of time you’ve lived on earth. While your physiological age, your body’s true age is affected by your diet, lifestyle, emotional distress, attitude … and clearly love, kindness, and compassion. An unhealthy lifestyle tends to age your body faster.
Your telomeres are affected by many factors, including your cellular environment. It’s been demonstrated that stress can accelerate telomere shortening and lead to early cellular aging. Telomere length reflects not only the presence of stress but also your body’s response to it at a cellular level. Shortened telomere length is linked to aging, cancer, and heart disease.
Telomeres have become popular because they’re closely linked with the age of the body. Short telomeres tend to mean faster ageing.