How many of these stressors have you encountered this week?:
* Work obligations
* A family member in need
* Bank-account angst
* Any front-page headline!
Now, how did you react to those forces? Did you succumb to the stress, letting it do its dirty work on body, face and soul? Or did you consider a different path altogether?
A new study shows that a simple technique for calming your mind - anytime, anywhere - can alter the structure of your genes, conferring key health benefits.
The technique, "mindfulness meditation," is designed to make you forget both the past and the future - even if for just a few minutes - and focus on the here and now.
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Recent research on mindfulness meditation explores how it can help alleviate depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and more. Corporate honchos, government leaders and celebs have all climbed aboard the meditation bandwagon, but don't let that stop you from trying it, too!
Can meditation turn back the clock? You'll have to answer that once you try it, but I can cite three ways in which the practice promises to make your skin look better:
- It stops the frowns. When you're angry, stressed or anxious, you frown. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, coauthor with Dr. Mehmet Oz of You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty: "Stress takes a toll on our faces. We frown more when we're anxious, and chronic stress damages the inner lining of the arteries, which can ultimately create more wrinkles." People who smile, by contrast - or at least don't look angry all the time - manage to look younger, the men say.
- It encourages general well-being. Experts believe that one healthy behavior encourages another. Take up meditation and you may delight in watching some "health dominoes" fall: You'll be inclined to focus much more closely on what you're eating and how much exercise you're getting. The resulting improvements in your vascular health may equate to slowing down your aging process.
- It eases certain skin issues: Thanks to their strong psychological component, skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema may be alleviated by mindfulness meditation.
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You needn't twist yourself into a pretzel, say "Om" or go anywhere near a pair of yoga pants to reap the benefits of meditation. (You should, however, be prepared to pursue it every day; there's a reason meditation is called a "practice.") So the next time you're feeling stressed at the office, sit right down in your chair, close your eyes, take a deep breath and do it.
Unsure how to get started? Check out this short video, part of AARP's "Best of Everything After 50" YouTube series:
For more tips on living your best life, look inside The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts' Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, and subscribe to The Best of Everything After 50 video series on AARP's YouTube Channel.
Photo credit: Wisdom Times
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