A few weeks ago, our blog talked about how having a negative mindset can affect our physical health in a negative way. This week we’re going to flip the coin and talk about how being kind can have a positive effect on your health. Kindness is one of the most overlooked things we can do to stay healthy. Not only that, researchers are now finding that it can prolong our lives as well.
A new study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has recently found that kindness may help slow the effects of aging. While this study is not conclusive, it makes sense. If negative emotions affect us negatively, positive emotions should affect us positively.
In this study, 150 middle aged volunteers were separated into three groups. One group did mindfulness meditation training, the second group learned about loving kindness meditation, and the third group served as the control group. The researchers measured each volunteers’ telomeres (caps on the end of your chromosomes that protect your DNA) at the beginning and end of the study. As we grow older, our telomeres get shorter. The shorter they get the shorter your life expectancy is, so they are a good marker for longevity.
At the end of the experiment all three groups had shorter telomeres, but the group that had practiced loving kindness had less shortening than the other two groups. The control group’s telomeres were the shortest. The researchers concluded that practicing kindness for just a few weeks slowed aging slightly, prompting hopefulness that we can slow our own aging process by doing the same thing in our daily lives.
This week we challenge you to willfully practice kindness. Make a point of being kind to others and being kind to yourself. Not only will you slow the aging process, you’ll feel great about yourself while making others feel good too. If you need a hand getting into the proper mindset for being kind to others, BrainTap can help. Listening to a positive, motivating creative visualization audio session will help you release stress, sleep better enabling you to be kinder to yourself and others.
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