Is it possible that the pains and illnesses we all experience while aging are because of stress from the past rather than part of the “inevitable” process of getting older? Studies have shown that 43% of adults have had stress negatively impact their health. It is never too early or too late to apply mindfulness and meditation techniques to smooth our lives’ turbulence. It may even help you live longer.
Health Benefits of Reducing Stress
1. The Mind Leads The Body
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular among senior citizens, and with good reason. The compounded impacts of mental strain on the body can lead to heart disease, a weakened immune system, and decreased body’s resilience to cancer. The US government-funded a longitudinal study following the lives of 202 older adults over 18 years.
Those who had made meditation part of their routine had 30% fewer heart disease deaths and 49% fewer from cancer. The remarkable phenomenon observed here is that the physical mechanism leading to longer lives had, in these cases, a mental trigger. Steering your mind away from harmful thought patterns strongly correlates to living longer.
Read also: 5 Ways To Kill Stress And Live A Happy Life.
2. Beating Cancer
Scott Stephens, a native of Warneet Australia, was shocked when his doctors told him he had skin cancer. He had never sunbathed as a child and had always used sunscreen. Nevertheless, the disease spread rapidly and was setting into his lymph nodes.
At such a stage, cancer is particularly aggressive, requiring serious treatment. He promptly changed his diet, removing meats and dairy. He went on a 12-month course of immunotherapy. Cancer retreated, but after only nine months of remission, doctors discovered a large tumor in his chest. It was successfully removed. Yet, just three months after the surgery, a routine checkup discovered that cancer had spread to his pelvis.
Intensive chemotherapy was the recommended route, but the doctors cautioned that Stephens only had a 5% chance of recovery. The treatments, as expected, wore him down. Facing narrow odds anyway and convinced that continuing the chemo would only sap his strength further, he removed chemotherapy from his treatments. He devoted himself to making the best of whatever time he had left.
3. Meditation Turning The Corner
This was when Scott started practicing Qi Gong, a physically active discipline similar to tai chi.
He meditates three times a day for nearly an hour each session. After three months of his new regimen, he visited the hospital to get the latest report. At first, the doctor thought that they made a mistake and had picked up the wrong chart. The scans showed no sign of a tumor.
The redirection of Scott’s mind through the energy he put into meditation gave his body the extra push it needed. The earlier methods alone had not been enough, but with mindfulness added to his other treatments, he took what was supposed to be a less than 5% chance into the start of a full recovery in only three months. He has been enjoying a healthy life with his wife and children for 11 years since then.
4. Consistent Solutions For Persistent Problems
Scott’s remission feels like a miracle, and rightly so, but underneath the story, there is a logic to his cancer’s remission. The way that he beat it was to face down a steadily advancing disease with treatments amplified by constant mental maintenance through his Qi Gong routine.
And the beauty of this method is that the low impact movements mean that he’ll be safely able to continue this regimen for many years to come. Cancer never rested. So, Scott fought it by removing stress and noise from his body and mind, allowing his system’s defenses to focus on healing.
Stress consumes enormous amounts of energy. Anyone who feels exhausted after a workday of sitting down can tell us that. Just as Scott’s life improved dramatically when the constant advance of his disease was countered by consistent meditation, the daily presence of stress in our lives will build up unless we find ways to release it.
Meditation, with all the pressure it relieves from mind and body, is a handy tool to add to proper diet and exercise. Removing stress will certainly make you feel happier, and it can also help you live longer.
What are your thoughts on the health benefits of reducing stress? Leave behind your thoughts in the comments section below.
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This is a guest post by Sally Perkins.