This month we’re turning our attention to cortisol in support of Mindful in May and, of course, your fat adaptation journey. Why? Because in clinic we find stress (and chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol) to be a significant limiting factor to optimal health and we want to support you with tools to manage it. What might they be? Mindfulness!
As described by mindfulness expert and founder of Mindful in May, Elise Bialylew “Mindfulness is a form of mental training that supports the mind to be more focused, effective and present to what we’re doing as we’re doing it”. Training your mind with mindfulness meditation is one way you can support this.
Research shows us that bedding down a mindfulness meditation practice for just eight weeks will positively impact circulating levels of cortisol in response to stress. If that’s not enough to motivate a regular meditation practice, here are more associated benefits:
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that supports the ability to stay in the moment and focused on what you’re doing. Research shows this is likely due to the correlation between regular meditation and growth in the pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for things like focused attention. In a world where we’re bombarded with information and stimulation I can’t think of an era where this sort of focus has ever been more important. In fact, it’s freedom!
Improved mood and resilience
Through mindfulness meditation it’s possible to train the mind to disengage from the negative thought patterns that spiral out of control and often contribute to low mood. Research shows that mindfulness’ effect on mood actually goes much deeper and that it causes a shift in electrical brain activity to areas shown to be more active in individuals with a more positive view on life.
More specifically, it’s individuals with greater left-sided anterior activation that have been found to show faster recovery after a negative provocation. Showing that the shift in electrical activity correlates with more positive mood and can contribute to greater levels of resilience.
Enhanced immune function
There is evidence to show that mindfulness meditation is associated with reductions in proinflammatory processes and increases in cell-mediated defense paramaters. It’s an area that warrants more research but given the other associated benefits it’s certainly worth the inclusion in your daily practice, even as a preventative measure.
Protection from stress and age-related DNA damage
Studies have explored the effects of mindfulness meditation on the enzyme telomerase, which serves to protect DNA from age and stress-related damage. Reports show that telomerase activity increases with regular meditation, suggesting that meditation can protect our cells from stress related damage.
All of this incredible research shows that mindfulness and associated practices like meditation are more than just a fad. It’s actually fundamental to optimising your health and longevity!
So, if you’ve been meaning to learn how to meditate (especially after reading Why You Need Mindfulness in Your Life) or if this information has just got you curious, join the global Mindful in May meditation challenge. It’s the perfect platform to get you started and help you develop mindfulness skills to support you for life.
Register for the one-month online mindfulness program and for just $49 you’ll receive:
- Access to a world class online mindfulness program starting May 1st;
- Weekly downloadable guided meditations from the world’s best teachers;
- Exclusive video interviews with world leaders in the field of mindfulness;
- Daily emails to support you in making meditation a habit;
- Access to the online Facebook community;
- A digital meditation journal to keep track of your practice;
Registrations close soon so register now!
Dr Elise Bialylew, 2015. Five Scientific Reasons to Practice Mindfulness Meditation. Accessed April 6, 2017.
David Black and George Slavich, 2016. Mindfulness Meditation and the Immune System: a Systemic Review of Randomised Control Trials. ANNALS of The New York Academy of Sciences. Accessed April 6, 2017.
Davidson et al., 2003. Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine 65:564–570.
Jacobs et al., 2011. Intensive Meditation Training, Immune Cell Telomerase Activity and Psychological Mediators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36 , 5:664 – 681.