These days, it seems that stress is a regular part of daily life for most Americans. In fact, according to a new study published this summer, researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that average stress levels have surged across the country since 1983. Whatever the cause, whether it be a demanding job or a constant struggle to pay the bills, excess stress can bring about a number of health problems, and may even speed up the aging process.
So, what can be done to help alleviate some of this tension? The Huffington Post has a suggestion: meditate. Contributor Sharon Frey explains that developing the ability to calm down and quiet the consistent thoughts and demands that prey on our consciousness is an important part of combatting stress and ultimately feeling better.
Frey cites a 2011 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience that indicated that certain age-related issues like chronic pain may be eased by meditation.
"The subjective experience of one's environment is constructed by interactions among sensory, cognitive and affective processes," the study abstract states.
Meditation has been used for centuries as a means to transport individuals to a different plane, or, as the researchers describe it, "enabling a non-evaluative representation of sensory events,"
To determine if this practice actually had an impact on how the brain responds to the outer environment, scientists from Wake Forest University in North Carolina and Marquette University in Wisconsin monitored the neurological processes of individuals who had undergone basic meditative training. They found that learning to meditate actually altered the way that the subjects experienced the world around them – more specifically how their brains responded to pain.
Based on these benefits, meditation is an attractive option for people who feel generally run down. In addition, the Longevity Centres of America offers other revitalizing treatments such as hormone replacement therapy and oxygen chamber therapy to help you feel refreshed so you can age gracefully.