Taking Vacations, Doing Meditations Have Massive Physical and Psychological Benefits, Research Confirms
Have you been longing for a break? If you are already planning a vacation or some time off work, DON’T cancel it! Go on and do it!
Researchers from the University of California – San Francisco
recruited a group of healthy participants who are non-meditators to stay at a resort for 6 days. Some participants were assigned to just relax during their stay while some were to join in a meditation retreat at the same venue. These 2 groups were compared to a group who regularly meditates who are also in the same retreat.
The participants had blood draws before and after the retreat and reported their psychological well-being at the same time and a month and then 10 months after. These blood draws were used to assess the patterns of immunity, gene expressions, and markers which are related to cellular aging.
The results proved
that all of the subjects (both meditators and non-meditators) showed changes in gene expression processes which are related to regulating body stress, maintaining good immune function, and metabolizing amyloid beta (a protein segment which can form bad plaque in the brain that is related to the onset of Alzheimers). Additionally, experienced meditators showed positive changes to genes to fight off viruses. They also had increases in telomerase, a biomarker that is thought to fight off cellular aging.
With psychological effects, all participants felt less stressed, less depressed, and had an increase in vitality during the end of their vacation and even one month after. The first time meditators were also able to maintain the health benefits during the 10-month followup, better than those who were just vacationing.
The study proved
that while everyone benefits from taking vacations, both physical and psychologically, learning meditation on the other hand can extend the positive psychological effects for almost a year.
Epel E., et al. 2016. Meditation and vacation effects have an impact on disease-associated molecular phenotypes. Translational Psychiatry 6(8).