We’ve probably all heard of the phrase ‘mind over matter’, and scientists have long been intrigued at the connection therein. How much can mindfulness truly affect a person’s well being? While one may feel different after a session of peaceful yoga or other mindful activity, is there a true connection other than a purely psychological change? Researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France are reporting the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice, as published in the Journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
To conduct a study in order to nail down the connection of mental and physical health, researchers first split their subjects into two groupings:
- Experienced Meditators: This group practiced a day of intensive mindfulness.
- Untrained Control Subjects: This group instead practiced a day of quiet, non-meditative activities.
After eight hours, each subject was then measured for a set of scientific parameters aimed at measuring certain physical changes. Some of these physical measurements included:
- Gene-Regulating Machinery
- Pro-Inflammatory Genes
These genetic and molecular measurements, when compared between the groups, revealed some interesting results. For instance, the experienced meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences such as a reduction in pro-inflammatory genes as well as altered gene-regulators. These changes resulted in faster recovery times for those subjects in stressful situations.
While previous studies had shown possible correlations, these new results provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects.
So how does this work? Dr. Bruce Lipton says that because gene activity can change on a daily basis, there’s an opportunity for us to change how these genes are expressed. Indeed, the perceptions in our mind of our circumstances, our feelings, and the world around us are reflected daily in the chemistry of our bodies. Thus, if we change the way we think, we have the ability to change our blood chemistry and, thus, our physical health.
The best way to put these results into practice is by trying it out for ourselves. Practice mindfulness in both our personal and professional lives to reap the benefits of a healthier body. Our Corporate Meditation and Relaxation classes can help one reduce stress, develop a calm mind, and heighten awareness; and with the scientific research backing these claims, it’s worth investing the extra time and effort into promoting mindfulness in order to reap the benefits of healthier employees and healthier selves.