Did you know that people with the most job stress have the shortest telomeres? Here’s why this is so important…
Telomeres are little caps on the ends of your DNA strands. They control how fast you
age. Each time your cells divide, the caps get shorter, and your cells get weaker and older. When telomeres get short enough, cell division stops and life comes to an end.
When telomeres in your cells get shorter, you start noticing straggly hair, brittle nails, and dry, wrinkled skin. In fact, stress may shorten your telomeres so much that you look YEARS older than you really are.
Stress damages your cells at the DNA level by shortening telomeres. But you can reverse that damage by turning on your body’s natural telomerase. That’s the enzyme that helps rebuild and maintain your telomeres. You can switch on telomerase in just minutes every day through a simple meditation practice.
A recent study showed listening to relaxing music or meditating for just 12 minutes a day can have a positive effect. After only 8 weeks, telomerase activity in the relaxation group only increased 3.7%. But in the meditation group it shot up by 43%.
Higher telomerase activity means your telomeres are preserving their length and protecting your cells. It slows down the signs of aging that appear in your skin, hair and nails.
Meditation can be as simple as sitting for a few minutes and focusing on your breath.
For beginners, I suggest these easy steps:
1. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. A chair is fine.
2. Rest your hands in your lap or on your stomach. Close your eyes.
3. At first, don’t try to change your breathing. Just notice how your breath flows naturally.
4. Next, gently make your breath deeper, feeling your stomach rise and fall.
5. Notice your breath becoming quieter, slower and more regular.
6. If your thoughts become distracted, bring your focus back to your breath.