This is sneak peek of one of the article in our Summer 2013 issue of Positive Life. Get your copy delivered to your door by subscribing here.
Mindfulness, a concept of moment-by-moment awareness first advocated by the Buddha, is a term I seem to be hearing more and more about these days. According to one of its biggest pioneers, Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the “Mindfulness-based Stress-reduction” programme in the US, the meditation practice is presently sweeping the western world at a momentous rate, with courses, classes and gatherings occurring in all parts of the world, with eager participants wanting to explore its many benefits – one of which is anti-aging.
It seems the practice of mindfulness (simply becoming purposely present in the moment in order to observe ourselves without judgment) increases an enzyme called Telomerase. Telomerase is responsible for replenishing and protecting these little caps at the tips of our chromosomes called Telomeres. Basically, like the caps on a shoelace, it protects our DNA bundles from unravelling and helps cells divide healthily. As the cells divide (a natural process in our body), the telomeres get shorter and shorter until eventually the cell dies, and this appears to us physically as the aging body. Once thought of as an inevitable process, it now seems we can, in fact, slow the process down by increasing the amount of telomerase enzyme in our bodies.
In 2009, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of what has been dubbed “the anti-aging enzyme”; and luckily for us, one of the most effective ways of increasing it in our bodies is through engaging in meditation and mindfulness. It’s no wonder that the western world has taken to this practice with such fervour!
So, forget those expensive “miracle” anti-aging creams and botox injections. I’m off to find myself a mindfulness class. There’s nothing to get a girl meditating like the promise of no wrinkles!