Mindfulness Reduces Loneliness?

September 21, 2016

 

What if I told you that actively participating in an 8 week mindfulness program could reduce loneliness?  Dr. Steve Cole of UCLA, and colleagues report that an 8 week mindfulness program, aimed at centering the mind in the present, has effectively reduced feelings of loneliness

 

What if I told you that loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and depression? 

 

 Aging naturally brings a time of reflection for many older adults.  This time of reflection is natural; however, issues begin to arise when individuals find themselves "stuck" in the past, or "frozen" as they worry about the future.  This stress is associated with increased activity in the inflammation-related genes that can further the development of a variety of diseases.  This type of meditation (mindfulness-based stress reduction) significantly reduces the expression of inflammatory genes. 

 

So what should we take from this? 

 

Meditation works to reduce the expression of inflammatory genes

Increased stress and subsequent increased expression of inflammatory disease puts you at greater risk for an array of diseases

 

Whether you're an elderly individual suffering with loneliness, or a caregiver experiencing burnout, meditation may be the thing for you.  

 

Check your local senior center or YMCA for classes near you.

 

 

 

 

Creswell, J. D., Irwin, M. R., Burklund, L. J., Lieberman, M. D., Arevalo, J. M., Ma, J., . . . Cole, S. W. (n.d.). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: A small randomized controlled trial. In Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (7th ed., Vol. 26, pp. 1095-1101). Pittsburgh, PA: Elsevier B.V.

 

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