As T-Schoolers, you already know how powerful your thoughts can be. Whether you’re psyching yourself up for a workout or breathing through a new stretch, you can feel the connection between your body and mind. A new study based on research from Spain, France, and the United States, backs up this theory by finding that meditation can reduce expression of genes involved in inflammatory processes. This interesting article breaks down the science of how one could alter genetic activity through their thoughts and behaviors.
This study also brings up the field of epigenetics, which became popular in the 1990s and looks at how environmental factors might alter genetic activity at a molecular level. There have been other famous studies that have shown how environmental conditions in an individual could impact later generations. For example, as a result of the famine experienced by pregnant mothers during the Dutch Hunger Winter, those children suffered from a heightened risk of disease later in life.
The study found that after subjects meditated for 8 hours, they showed reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes. The subjects may also recover more quickly from stressful situations. So what does this mean for our health? Some medical professionals have seen benefits of meditation for cancer patients and even believe that positive behavior, along with proper nutrition, can help to reduce expression of pro-cancer genes.
If you’re interested in incorporating meditation into your transformation, here are a few tips on how to get started:
- All you need to begin is yourself and your breath, so don’t get hung up on finding the perfect location. Just get comfortable and relax. Sit or lie down, and feel free to use a cushion or a mat if needed.
- Pay attention to your breath. Take slow, deep, even breaths. Some people like to eventually make each breath a little longer than the last. Try counting to be sure you are staying steady.
- Beginning with your feet, think about the tension you may feel in each part of your body, then relax that part completely during the length of the next exhale. Work your way up, focusing on your calves, then your thighs, buttox, hips, back chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, cheeks, eyes, and forehead.
- Continue breathing this way as long as you like, and if you begin to feel tension creeping up again, repeat the previous tip.
- Be consistent. You don’t need to spend a long time meditating; even just five minutes a day can be beneficial. Set a timer on your phone and make it a part of your daily routine!