Mindfulness: bringing you awareness to the present moment and the breath while letting go of judgement and the ego.
It’s no secret that mindful meditation- a practice that encourages focusing attention on the present moment, can ease emotional stress. You have heard about it from everyone to your best friend to your great aunt who lives in Oklahoma. Bottom line, evidence is mounting that mindfulness may also have key benefits for your physical health, such as lowering your blood pressure and curbing addiction.
A new study conducted by researchers working on Wisconsin, Spain, and France found out that mindfulness can even affect your genes. Specifically, the study shows that mindfulness can limit the “expression” of genes associated with inflammation.
“The changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.” study co-author Dr. Perla Kaliman, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona in Spain, said in a written statement. “Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions.”
For the study, a group of experienced mediators practiced mindfulness over the course of an eight hour period. Talk about getting paid to do nothing…
During that same time period, another group of people simply engaged in quiet non-meditative activities, such as reading and listening to music.
What did research find out you ask?
After the sessions, they noticed a so-called “down regulation” or suppression, of inflammatory genes in the meditators compared to the other group. These results are astonishing because before the start of the study, there were no differences between the two groups.
“The product of genes, e.g , the proteins that they manufacture, will vary with the extent to which the gene is turned on or off,” study author Dr. Richard K. Davidson, psychology professor and founder of the Center for the Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin in Madison said.
In conclusion, Dr. Davidson believes “we can think of genes possessing a molecular volume control that ranges from low to high that will govern the extent to which the gene produces the protein for which it is designed. The genes that we found to be down-regulated with mindfulness meditation practice are those implicated in inflammation.”
So next time you are suffering from inflammation or can seem to get your anger under control, just remember that mindful meditation has been proven to work.
Do you meditate? Has this helped you out in the past to calm your nerves? Let us know in the comment section below!