We know that stress can negatively affect your health, from skin health to mental health and more. However, stress can even impact your health on a much deeper level—like DNA level. One study shows that “Psychological stress—both perceived stress and chronicity of stress—is significantly associated with higher oxidative stress, lower telomerase activity, and shorter telomere length.”
Further, “Women with the highest levels of perceived stress have telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low-stress women,” researchers note. Yes, you read that right: High levels of stress may make your DNA appear 10 years older.
Many activities can help you relieve stress, like exercise, breathwork, and meditation. The latter has even been shown to help lengthen and protect telomeres, according to researchers at the University of California: Specifically, they found that meditators have significantly higher telomerase activity than non-meditators. Their findings have even since been replicated.
Ready to start a mediation practice? Here’s a list of different ways to incorporate this activity into your life and how to get started.