Mindfulness as a Key Component in Stress Reduction and Longevity

Hello everyone,

I wanted to open a discussion about the role of mindfulness and meditation in promoting longevity, specifically focusing on stress reduction. Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of mindfulness practices in mitigating stress, reducing cortisol, a known factors that can adversely affect our health and aging process.

For example study, titled “Impact of Yoga and Meditation on Cellular Aging in Apparently Healthy Individuals” demonstrates that a 12-week Yoga and Meditation based lifestyle intervention (YMLI) significantly improved both cardinal biomarkers of cellular aging and metabotrophic biomarkers influencing cellular aging in apparently healthy individuals.

Other study, “Molecules of Silence: Effects of Meditation on Gene Expression and Epigenetics” by Sabrina Venditti et al. explores how meditation practices like mindfulness, Yoga, and Tai Chi can positively influence well-being through epigenetic mechanisms, impacting gene expression without altering the DNA sequence.

In my personal routine, I dedicate 20-30 minutes daily to meditation, focusing on breathing techniques and transcendental meditation practices. This time is crucial for me, serving as a reset button for my mind, reducing stress, and contributing positively to my overall well-being.

I’m curious to learn about your experiences and practices. Do you incorporate mindfulness or meditation into your daily routine? If so, what type of practice do you follow, and how has it impacted your life and health? Any insights or personal anecdotes would be greatly appreciated, as I believe this is an important aspect of our journey towards longevity.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences!

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This is important in ways I am only now beginning to understand.

I use HRV biofeedback as a substitute for meditation because I will actually do the HRV work while I do deep, rhythmic breathing. I’m working up to doing actual meditation.

But more. Stress isn’t just the obvious work stress or financial stress. Stress comes from the many micro abuses we voluntarily endure to satisfy our dopamine cravings for stimulation. I take my phone with me into the bathroom so I don’t get bored for the 3 minutes I sit on the toilet. I play podcasts while I shave and brush my teeth. I check my iPhone for news and email and posts to this forum while I wait in line at the grocery store because I can’t bear to be alone with my thoughts for 5 minutes.

It’s no wonder my ANS is unbalanced. I am now working on it.

I’m doing an interview with Brian Mackenzie this week on co2 tolerance as a key to stress management (and athletic performance). I expect more tools for my reset.

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Yes, I also think both body and mind needs training.

To learn/refresh meditation I am using this free app (healthy minds program). It is completely secular and a person knowledgeable of the field lately confirmed that it is one of the best apps on this subject out there.

However I also like Mingyur Rinpoche and his “Joy of Living” program.

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Your insights on the ‘dopamine trap’ really resonate with me. I’ve found myself in similar situations, constantly reaching for my phone for that quick dopamine fix, whether it’s checking emails, browsing forums, or just aimlessly scrolling to fill every quiet moment. It’s like our minds are on this constant quest for stimulation, and it’s so easy to overlook the stress this causes.

I totally get where you’re coming from with the HRV biofeedback as a meditation substitute. It’s a practical step, especially when traditional meditation feels a bit out of reach initially.

On a side note, I stumbled upon a book that you might find interesting. It’s called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s not a cure-all, but it did offer me some valuable perspectives on structuring my thoughts and being more present in the moment. It might give you some additional insights as you work on balancing your ANS and managing stress.

Looking forward to hearing about your interview with Brian Mackenzie and the insights on CO2 tolerance.

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Here’s a challenge for everybody, from Brian MacKenzie:

Drive the speed limit.

See if you can drive the speed limit for 1 week. I’ll bet you can’t do it. I’ll bet I cannot do it. I don’t even want to do it. But I will eventually if I stick with it.

This is the moment where I will change my ability to be in balance: stressed when I must be stressed, and relaxed otherwise…able to get activated quickly and strongly when I need it, but also able to relax quickly and recover to be healthy and ready for the next (real) stressful moment.

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I’ve been doing breathing meditation since 2014 (20min daily non-negotiable).
I consider it an essential tool to understand how my mind works. (Jon Kabat Zinn calls it “exercise for the mind-muscle”)
I learned to become an observer of continuous mindwandering in Past § Future and discover how hard it is to be/stay in the Moment, even for a short amount of time.
The benefit is that it gives me more options to not get carried away by thoughts (mostly negative) in everyday life.

You can ask Chatgpt or Bard(Google) for impacts on Longevity and get:
Meditation has been associated with various health benefits, and while it might not directly guarantee longevity, it can contribute to overall well-being, potentially impacting factors that influence health and lifespan. Here are some ways in which meditation may contribute to improved health and, indirectly, longevity:

Stress Reduction: Meditation is well-known for its stress-reducing effects. Chronic stress has been linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular diseases, immune system suppression, and inflammation. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, meditation may indirectly support better health and potentially contribute to longevity.

Inflammation Management: Chronic inflammation is a factor associated with aging and age-related diseases. Some studies suggest that meditation practices may have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to regulate the body’s inflammatory response and potentially mitigating the impact of inflammation on overall health.

Blood Pressure Regulation: Meditation has been linked to improvements in blood pressure regulation. High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and by promoting relaxation and reducing stress, meditation may contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Improved Mental Health: Meditation has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Mental health is closely linked to physical health, and maintaining good mental health can positively impact overall well-being and potentially contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Enhanced Immune Function: Some research suggests that meditation practices may have a positive impact on immune function. A well-functioning immune system is crucial for fighting off infections and preventing illness, which can indirectly contribute to a longer and healthier life.

Better Sleep Quality: Meditation has been associated with improvements in sleep quality. Quality sleep is essential for overall health, and chronic sleep disturbances have been linked to various health issues. By promoting relaxation, meditation may contribute to better sleep patterns.

Mindful Eating: Some meditation practices, such as mindfulness meditation, encourage awareness and mindful eating. Being more conscious of food choices and eating habits may lead to healthier dietary choices, which can positively influence overall health.

Telomere Maintenance: Telomeres are protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, and their length is associated with aging. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that meditation and stress reduction practices may have a positive impact on telomere length maintenance.

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Thank you for sharing your insights! Tools like Healthy Minds Program app can indeed be very helpful in guiding and enhancing meditation practices.

I’d like to add another dimension to meditation routine: the use of binaural beats with an application like Brainwave. Binaural beats are a form of soundwave therapy. They work by playing two slightly different frequencies in each ear. The brain perceives a third tone based on the mathematical difference between these two frequencies. For example, if a 300 Hz tone is played in one ear and a 310 Hz tone in the other, the brain will process a 10 Hz tone.

The scientific background of binaural beats lies in the brain’s response to these frequencies. Different frequencies are associated with different states of brain activity. For instance, Delta waves (1-4 Hz) are linked with deep sleep, Theta waves (4-8 Hz) with meditation and light sleep, Alpha waves (8-14 Hz) for relaxed but alert states, Beta waves (14-30 Hz) for active thinking and concentration, and Gamma waves (30-42 Hz) for peak concentration and high levels of cognitive functioning.

By using binaural beats, you can potentially guide your brain into a desired state. For example, if you want to deepen your meditation, you might use Theta wave binaural beats to help your brain shift into a more meditative state.

Best regards and happy meditating!

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Thank you for recommendation, @Christoph . I tried that app, and this is really good. Theory/practice/theory practice cycle is really excellent.

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I’m interested in this for sleep. Do you use a sleep monitor? Have you noticed any difference in your sleep from using the Brainwave App?

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The lesson here for me is to do the work. I need to remake myself into a person who naturally has higher HRV. I’m working on it.

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I’ve had my Polar H10 for about 10 days and wear it at night for a sleep monitor. I use the EliteHRV app to do the Morning Readiness test. My score on that seems to bounce all over the place as well as the HRV rate itself. For HRV it says baseline 57, yesterday 88 and today 73. My sleep score (Android as Sleep app) have been consistently very good, not much variation. I’m still trying to get it all figured out.
I don’t have any of the factors on your Table 2 above.

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Sounds like you are good on this pillar of health. Nice work.

Basically, all the measuring is just to get a baseline. I think that my health is pretty good (at least it feels that way) but who am I comparing myself to? The American public (big deal) or the world at large (some good, some bad). When I do the Levine Phenotype Blood calculator and come up with a score that says 10 years younger, they must be using some population to come up with what they think the average measures for your chronological age would be (and then comparing your actual blood levels to that). What is that population and how healthy would you consider them to be? If my Phenotypic age is 10 years younger than the average 70 year old Japanese, I might feel pretty good.
In the end, I just want a comprehensive set or repeatable, scorable tests that will tell me if a healthy person starts taking rapamycin, will they become even more healthy?