January 15, 2021


Minute read

Of All The Benefits of Meditation, This May Be the Most Surprising

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the many benefits of meditation, but perhaps you’re still not quiet sold?

Well, I’m going to share something that might just close the deal for you.

But I get it. Sitting on a cushion, doing “nothing,” can feel counterintuitive and counterproductive when you have an ever-growing list of tasks and projects to conquer.

Before I get to this surprising benefit, however, I NEED to make sure you understand just how powerful a tool meditation can be to your overall health and well-being. Cause I have to admit that this sneaky, secret benefit may cause the Buddha to roll over in his ego-free grave.

Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Anyway, here’s the real deal about meditation. When you practice it regularly, it can:

  • Increase creativity
  • Lower stress levels
  • Improve memory
  • Increase neuroplasticity (the ability for your mind to adapt)
  • Make it easier to cultivate new habits
  • Decrease your blood pressure
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Thicken cortical walls (important for cognitive function)
  • Optimize executive decision-making
  • Improve FOCUS! 

That’s a pretty impressive list of things, right? But there’s one more suprising — and almost entirely unknown — benefit of meditation that may be the one that finally gets you to start practicing it: Meditation can make you more beautiful.

No joke!

Now I’m not Gwenyth Paltrow, and I’m not inviting you to steam your lady parts (unless that does something for you or your partner!). This is science, folks! 

You might think I’ve gone entirely nuts, but research has found that those people who meditate regularly are seen by others as more beautiful. Boom!

So how does this work? Well, meditating slows your aging process by protecting your telomeres. Your telomeres are the little protective neucleoprotein caps on the ends of each of our 23 chromosomes that protect DNA from modification or instability. 

Every time your cells divide, are damaged, or subjected to chronic stress, these telomeres reduce in length. Once the telomeres come to their shortest length, our cells stop dividing, and in turn, our body stops producing new cells, associated with things like aging, but also behavioral shifts, expressed in anxiety, neuroticism, or depressive disorders.  

So where does meditation fit in? Researchers conducted a month-long study done in whichparticipants practiced meditation for 30 days. They found that telomere length increased, inflammatory genes were suppressed, and that cell neurosis decreased.

Basically, the aging process slowed a bit!

Meditation has the ability to lengthen and possibly even improve the activity of telomeres, and so some experts believe that you can actually shift your biological age through a mediation practice. 

A company called TeloYears, that measures what it calls telomere-based age, put this to the test. They measured the telomere-age of a regular meditator and found him to be 41. But his chronological age was 69!

And there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence too! “I notice everyone I know who meditates regularly seems to look substantially younger than their real age,” explained Dr. Jennifer Chwalek of New York City’s Union Square Laser Dermatology. 

So, just in case all the health and psychological benefits of meditation aren’t enough for you, we’ve now thrown your ego a bone. And let’s face it, planting your butt on a cushion and giving your mind a rest is better than dropping $500 for a facial, right?

About the Author: Laura Araujo

Passionate about accessible education and evidence-based wellness, Laura founded The MAPS Institute, an educational wellness editorial and platform. Aside from her passion for research and educating, Laura is a classically trained vocalist, sound therapist, and a practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga. She is the creator of the MAPS (Mindfulness, Activation, Purpose, and Surrender) philosophy and is in continual pursuit of helping her students and herself find balance amid the chaos around and within them. When not sifting through Nature Magazine, complaining about their paywalls, she enjoys trying new wine varietals, experimenting in the kitchen, riding her bicycle (sometimes cross-country), and spending time with her husband Charlie, cockapoo Miles, and expected baby girl, Ella.  Click here to follow the MAPS Institute on social media.



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