And meditate while we are doing it with the breeze coming in from the windows we just opened to let life in.
The best way to address the stress in your life is with consistent mind-body interventions.
With permission from
Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Many people participate in practices such as meditation and yoga because they help us relax. At least those are the immediate effects we feel. But much more is happening on a molecular level, reveal researchers out of Coventry University in England.
Published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, this new research examined 18 studies on mind-body interventions (MBIs). These include practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga. Comprehensively, these studies encompassed 846 participants over 11 years. The new analysis reveals that MBIs result in molecular changes in the human body. Furthermore, researchers claim that these changes are beneficial to our mental and physical health.
To elaborate, consider the effect that stress has on the body. When we are under stress, the body increases the production of proteins that cause cell inflammation. This is the natural effect of the body’s fight-or-flight response.
It is widely believed that inflammation in the body leads to numerous illnesses, including cancer. Moreover, scientists also deduct that a persistent inflammation is more likely to cause psychiatric problems. Unfortunately, many people suffer from persistent stress, therefore they suffer from pro-inflammatory gene expression.
But there is good news! According to this new analysis out of Coventry, people that practice MBIs such as meditation and yoga can reverse pro-inflammatory gene expression. This results in a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases and mental conditions.
Lead investigator Ivana Buric from Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement stated:
“Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don’t realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.
These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.
More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities.”
To conclude, the best way to address the stress in your life is with consistent mind-body interventions. You can begin with these simple practices:
Anna Hunt is the founder of Awareness Junkie, a community paving the way to better health, a balanced life, and personal transformation. In addition, she is the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, an online store offering GMO-free healthy storable food and emergency kits. Anna is a certified Hatha yoga instructor and founder of Atenas Yoga Center. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Visit her essential oils store here.
This article (Meditation and Yoga Change Your DNA to Reverse Effects of Stress, Study Shows) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2017, and is reposted here with permission.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.”
Waking up at the same time every night without an alarm clock might be a sign that you need to pay attention to. You are a human being with energies flowing through your body that you may be unaware of.
Previous articles have explained energy meridians that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. These energy meridians are important for the practices of acupuncture and acupressure.
The energy meridians of the body are also connected to a clock system that according to ancient Chinese medicine is energizing different parts of your body at different times of the day. Waking between 3am and 5am every night is a sign that energies in that corresponding part of your body are blocked or weak.
Between 9 and 11pm is typically bedtime for most people. Difficulty falling asleep during this time is a sign of excess stress and worries from the day. Positive mantras, meditation, or successive muscle tension and relaxation exercises are recommended to help you sleep.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, this time frame is the time that the energy meridian of the gall bladder is active. Waking up at this time frame is associated with emotional disappointment. Practice unconditional self-acceptance and forgiveness of others in order to get back to sleep.
This is the energy meridian associated with the Chinese medicine body clock and the liver. Waking up at this time is associated with the emotions of anger and excess yang energy. Try drinking cool water and taking ownership of the situation that caused you to feel angry in order to rest peacefully through the night.
Waking up between 3am and 5am is associated with the energy meridian that runs through the lungs and the emotion of sadness. To help yourself get back to sleep, try some slow, deep breathing and express faith in your Higher Power to help you.
If the time that you awaken is between 3:00 am and 5:00am, it could also be a sign of your Higher Power alerting you to pay attention to messages that are being sent to align you with your higher purpose. Read more below about this important time frame for wakefulness.
The energy flow is in the large intestines during this time of the morning. Emotional blockages are also associated with this time of the early morning. Try stretching your muscles or using the restroom to help yourself get back to sleep.
IF YOU WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME EVERY NIGHT, THIS MAY BE WHY
Our brains are not quite fully awake when we suddenly awaken at night. According to The NewYorker.com ‘One of the consequences of waking up suddenly, and too early, is a phenomenon called sleep inertia. First given a name in 1976, sleep inertia refers to that period between waking and being fully awake when you feel groggy. The more abruptly you are awakened, the more severe the sleep inertia.’
When we suddenly wake in the night, the prefrontal cortex part of the brain that is involved in decision-making and self-control is not awake yet. We are not capable of intelligent thoughts when we wake in the night so avoid making any important decisions.
Your sleep cycle is a time when you dream and you can also receive messages from the Divine about your path. Dreams can reveal details about the spiritual journey that you are on. As a human being on a spiritual journey, you need to be aware of the signs that your Higher Power is sending to you.
In the same way that emotional problems can manifest in the body as pain, your spirituality can also manifest in bodily form as well. The divine inner spark that we all posses is being called upon at the time that you are waking up. This signal from your Higher Power is something to tune into.
Many people believe that we are here to learn and develop our being and to become the best versions of ourselves. Some people call this process of moving to a higher level of awareness or consciousness an ascension. Being aware of your higher purpose is part of this process.
Breathing is not just for consuming oxygen; it’s also related to brain function and behavior.
June 19, 2017
Northwestern Medicine scientists have found for the first time ever that the rhythm of breathing causes electrical activity in the human mind that boosts emotional judgments and memory recall.
These influences on behavior are based on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the mouth or the nose.
In the research, each person was able to identify a fearful face faster if they saw the face while breathing in compared to breathing out. Additionally, individuals were more likely to recall an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than on the exhaled one. Interestingly, the effect vanished if breathing was through the mouth.
“One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation,” said lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, all across the limbic system.”
The study was published Dec. 6 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The senior author is Jay Gottfried, professor of neurology at Feinberg.
Northwestern scientists first found these differences in brain activity while examining 7 patients with epilepsy who were scheduled for brain surgery. A week before the surgery, a surgeon implanted electrodes into the patients’ brains to identify the origin of their seizures. That gave scientists the opportunity to acquire electro-physiological data directly from their brains. The electrical signals proved that brain activity fluctuated with breathing. The activity takes place in brain areas where feelings, memory and smells are processed.
The discovery led scientists to ask if cognitive functions typically related to these brain areas — especially fear processing and memory — could also be influenced by breathing.
The amygdala is strongly connected to the emotional processing, especially fear-related emotions. So scientists asked about 60 individuals to make quick decisions on emotional expressions in the lab environment as their breathing was being recorded. While looking at pictures of faces expressing either fear or surprise, the individuals had to tell, as fast as they could, which feeling each face was expressing. (NeuroscienceNews.com picture is for illustrative purposes only.)
When faces were shown during inhalation, subjects recognized them as fearful faster than when faces were shown during exhalation. This was not the case for faces expressing surprise. These results decreased when individuals performed the same task while the breathing was through the mouth.
In another experiment — tied to the hippocampus — the same individuals were looking at pictures of objects on a computer screen and tried to remember them. Later, they were asked to describe those objects. Researchers discovered that recall was better if the pictures were shown during inhalation.
According to Zelano, the discoveries indicate that fast breathing may offer an advantage when somebody is in a dangerous situation.
“If you are in a panic state, your breathing rhythm becomes faster,” Zelano said. “As a result you’ll spend proportionally more time inhaling than when in a calm state. Thus, our body’s innate response to fear with faster breathing could have a positive impact on brain function and result in faster response times to dangerous stimuli in the environment.”
Another potential result of the research is on the main mechanisms of meditation or focused breathing. “When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network,” Zelano noted.
With permission from
May 19, 2017
Lose your temper on the road? Frustrated with colleagues at work? You may be cutting your life short, warns molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn–who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009–and health psychologist Elissa Epel, who studies stress and aging.
The authors claim in their new book, The Telomere Effect, that negative thoughts harm your health at the DNA level. Research has shown that a person’s “social relationships, environments and lifestyles” affect their genes. “Even though you are born with a particular set of genes, the way you live can influence how they express themselves.”
Blackburn and Epel say components of DNA called telomeres determine how fast your cells age. Short telomeres are one of the major reasons human cells grow old, but lab tests have shown that they can also grow longer. In other words, aging “could possibly be accelerated or slowed -and, in some aspects, even reversed.”
Research Proves That DNA Is Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies
The aging and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell’s chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Blackburn likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel.
In one study, telomere length, an emerging biomarker for cellular and general bodily aging, was assessed in association with the tendency to be present in the moment versus the tendency to mind wander, in research on 239 healthy, midlife women ranging in age from 50 to 65 years.
“People who score high on measures of cynical hostility tend to get more cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease and often die at younger ages. They also have shorter telomeres.”
Pessimism shortens telomeres too.”When pessimists develop an aging-related illness, like cancer or heart disease, the illness tends to progress faster… They tend to die earlier,” warn the authors.
Ruminating over a bad situation is also destructive. “Rumination never leads to a solution, only to more ruminating… When you ruminate, stress sticks around in the body long after the reason for the stress is over.” The resulting depression and anxiety only make your telomeres shorter.
Trying to suppress thoughts and feelings makes matters worse. “The more forcefully you push your thoughts away, the louder they call out for your attention… In a small study, greater avoidance of negative feelings and thoughts was associated with shorter telomeres.”
Even lack of focus is bad for telomeres because “when people are not thinking about what they’re doing, they’re not as happy as when they’re engaged.” To reverse the harm to telomeres, try meditation and long-distance running.
You might reconsider the consequence of these seemingly innocuous habits when you learn how they can inhibit neurological function and cause the brain to age.
Remember, for the most part, your comfort zone isn’t doing you any favours. Break away from your normal routine and explore, write, create and travel. Try new things that stimulate the senses. Learning new skills keeps your brain young, and should be a priority at every age.
Not eating breakfast can lead to lower blood sugar levels, which ultimately deprives your brain of nutrients. If your brain isn’t given sufficient nutrition, it begins to degenerate. Eat a healthy, filling breakfast high in protein.
Smoking cigarettes can cause obstruction of blood flow to the brain, and also can lead to escape of blood into brain tissue. Smoking can cause brain cells to shrink, and has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, strokes,
Eating sugar triggers inflammatory responses throughout the body, which ultimately stresses and ages cells. This can effect “from cognitive function to psychological wellbeing”. Sugar also has been linked to depression and anxiety.
When you’ve chronically been deprived of sleep, the brain is forced to emit stress responses which inflame and incite brain degeneration. Not sleeping naturally induces bad moods, lethargy and leads to depression and weight gain due to cortisol production. If you are in this habit currently, you may not realize it, but once you have a little sleep, you will soon notice the positive effect it has on your brain.
If you’re dependent on sleeping with a blanket covering your head then you might want to reconsider. The more ventilation, the better, because you want to be exposed to oxygen. Allow the body and mind to breathe in fresh air— the fresher the better. Open the windows, use fans, light incense, herbs, or aromatherapy.
When you overindulge on food, the body can become overloaded by the refined sugars and fats, and release stress responses as a result. These types of foods also clog arteries, which can lead to blockages in the brain.
The brain craves intellectual stimulation. Spend time with people who challenge your traditional patterns of thinking. The brain can get into ruts of small-minded thinking, which ultimately inhibit growth. This is how evolution is able to take place, by developing adaptation to our respective environments. Humans need to express themselves verbally and spend time with people who are different from themselves.
Some citifies (sic)experience more air pollution because they use wood-burning stoves or burn carbon in electricity production. You can look up the air quality index in your area, here.
The brain functions like a muscle, and therefore it needs to be rested in order for exercise to be integrated. When the brain experiences the type of relaxation induced by meditation, it clears passages and triggers change on a deep level. This improves cognitive functions. Most daily actions are taking place on a superficial level, which produces a natural anxiety in most people, which is an unhealthy habit. Meditation helps inhibit this type of hyperactivity, stressful mode of the brain.
Creative People Physically See and Process The World Differently
With permission from
April 27, 2017
If you’re the kind of person who relishes adventure, you may literally see the world differently. People who are open to new experiences can take in more visual information than other people and combine it in unique ways. This may explain why they tend to be particularly creative.
Openness to experience is one of the “big five” traits often used to describe personality. It is characterised by curiosity, creativity and an interest in exploring new things. Open people tend to do well at tasks that test our ability to come up with creative ideas, such as imagining new uses for everyday objects like bricks, mugs or table tennis balls.
There’s some evidence that people with a greater degree of openness also have better visual awareness. For example, when focusing on letters moving on a screen, they are more likely to notice a grey square appearing elsewhere on the display.
Patchwork PicturesAntinori and her colleagues asked 123 university students to complete a binocular rivalry test, in which they simultaneously saw a red image with one eye and a green image with the other eye for 2 minutes.
Usually, the brain can only perceive one image at a time, and most participants reported seeing the image flip between red and green. But some subjects saw the two images fused into a patchwork of red and green — a phenomenon known as “mixed percept”.
The higher the participants scored for openness on a personality questionnaire, the more they experienced this mixed perception.
In contrast, the other four major personality traits — extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness — weren’t significantly linked to experiencing this mixed perception.
Mind ExpandingThe results could explain why people with a high degree of openness tend to be more creative and innovative, Antinori says. “When they come up with all these crazy new uses for bricks, it might be because they really perceive the world differently,” she says.
The findings also hint at why extremely open people are more prone to paranoia and delusions, says Niko Tiliopoulos at the University of Sydney, Australia. “At those levels of openness, people may actually see reality differently,” he says. “For example, they may ‘see’ spirits, or misinterpret interpersonal or other signals.”
According to Antinori, there are similarities between high levels of openness and the experience of taking magic mushrooms. Previous work by her team has found that psilocybin — a hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms — increases a person’s openness scores in a personality questionnaire, and their experience of mixed percept in binocular rivalry tests.
The team has also found that some forms of meditation can increase mixed image perception in binocular rivalry tests.
Antinori next wants to see if similar neural processes are involved in mixed perception, creative thinking and the shifts in visual perception caused by psilocybin and meditation. “It seems that openness alters the filter of consciousness, and we’d like to know how,” she says.