How does mindfulness reduce stress?

John Douillard, DC
Herbal Medicine
From a scientific standpoint, mindfulness through the practice of meditation has been found to reduce stress through lengthening our telomeres, which are the protective caps on the body’s chromosomes that shorten and lengthen in response to our psychology and environment. Based on Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn’s research, scientists now link shortened telomere length with an increased risk of health problems.

Thus, research suggests that meditation may be associated with increased telomere length (and enhanced health benefits). Studies have shown that mindfulness increases with meditation, which in turn correlates with longer telomere length. Increased mindfulness includes an array of health benefits that decrease our stress, including calming the nervous system, improved cognitive ability, less negativity, better sense of life purpose, improved overall health, and possibly longer lifespans. 

Through adopting a “royal (stress-free) pace” in our lives, and moving through our daily life at a kingly or queenly pace without haste and stress, we can also build a substance in the body called ojas. Ojas governs our immunity, radiance, vigor, mood, rest, digestion, strength, and spirituality, and in this way our health can be boosted and our stress reduced by living a mindful lifestyle.
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Our minds tend to be lost in the past or the future. We ruminate over things that have happened and how we could have done them differently, or we obsess and worry about things that haven’t happened. Stress is connected to these habits of the mind.
If we can learn to train our attention away from the past and the future and bring our mind into the present moment, we can find relief from the stress. The present moment, for the most part, is okay or even somewhat neutral. Learning to consistently return to the present moment reduces stressful thinking and can help with stress-related conditions that arise from these long term challenging mental habits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.