Mind & Body Tips

The Telomere Effect suggests several strategies for mind and body and lifestyle to improve your cell aging. Below, we share a few of these ideas, some demonstrated by our colleagues who are experts in these areas.

You can also print a blank copy of the "Renewed Day" log here.

Medical Qi Gong

Qi Gong has well-documented effects on health. It also appears to have a positive effect on telomerase (the enzyme that protects telomeres) in two studies so far.

Here are two videos from a true master, Dr. Roger Jahnke, who offers a DIY home program of Qi Gong. Learn more at www.TaiChiEasy.org.

Heart Focused Meditation

This is a gentle short meditation that can increase a positive connection with yourself and others. Different types of meditation that slow breathing stimulate the vagus nerve, creating a sense of calm and safety, and triggering the restorative biological changes that accompany those positive mental states. If practiced regularly, meditation can lower blood pressure.

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3-Minute Breathing Break

Take a mental break to protect your mood: This short "breathing break" may help you feel centered and clear. This is especially helpful for people with depression, if done along with the fuller program of “Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), developed by Dr. Zindel Segal and colleagues. People vulnerable to depression have a lot of "cognitive reactivity." This means negative feelings trigger a network of negative thoughts. This breathing break helps separate feelings from thoughts to protect ourselves from negative mood. We can recognize negative thoughts as just thoughts and not fall into the depressive thinking trap. For the full MBCT program, see: http://mbct.com/

Dr. Segal explains why the "breathing space" helps with depression.

Here is an audio download of our version, a “3-minute breathing break”

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Busting caregiver stress with Kirtan Kriya

Try something totally different! Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a psychiatrist from UCLA explains this 12 minute daily routine that has now been researched and linked to better health, including increases in telomerase and decreases in inflammation. We have a special video of the full practice, below!

Learn Kirtan Kriya

Visit http://alzheimersprevention.org/ to get your own copy of this meditation and other yoga techniques.

Nature and Meditation

Try it! Watch here, or better yet, listen to this when you find a spot in nature near you.

Mindfulness Nature Meditation

Nature has positive effects on our psychological state (called “attentional restoration”) as well as on our body. Early preliminary research suggests that level of clean air or of greenery may be associated with longer telomere length. Mark Coleman is a well-known mindfulness meditation teacher who shows us how to use both nature and meditation together for a more powerful experience.

A Piece of Stress Resilience

Dr. Darrah Westrup, clinical psychologist, gives us another piece of the puzzle of stress resiliency: Know your self through "making a movie of your mind." This is derived from a very eye opening therapy called Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). More stress resilience strategies are in Part 2.

A fascinating conversation. Hear Dr. Westrup explain how to make your Internal Assistant more helpful.

Mindfulness for coping with cancer

Dr. Linda Carlson from University of Calgary, Canada, describes the effects of using mindfulness to cope with the stress and the symptoms of cancer. This is one of the programs that has been linked to better telomere maintenance.

Managing Cravings

One of the important skills we teach people who are trying not to gain weight is to deal with those strong cravings for donuts, soda, or your favorite comfort food, by surfing the urge until it passes. We all know the alternative! Andrea Lieberstein, M.P.H., a nutritionist who trains people in mindful eating, leads us through an experience of skillfully overcoming cravings using cognitive strategies and compassion.

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Give your telomeres a break — Take a meat break!

Be a vegetarian on Tuesdays. Or try it for a week at a time. If you have had a period of being meat free that totals at least one month, you have saved animal lives and reduced your carbon imprint. This Vegetarian Calculator helps to show your positive effect.

Healthy pregnancy tips: Greening the womb

Dr. Julia Getzelman, a pediatrician, discusses ways to protect your baby's health during pregnancy, such as avoiding toxic chemicals, and bolstering protective nutrients that can protect both mother's and baby's telomeres. If you are pregnant, our Renewal Lab (page 292) describes more ideas for minimizing chemical exposures, we list the telomere toxins that everyone should avoid (page 266).

Nutrition and baby’s telomeres

Janet Wojcicki, PhD, M.P.H., a nutrition expert and professor at UCSF, explains nutrition related to better infant health and lower obesity. She also describes early research linking nutritional factors to babies’ telomere length.

Janet Wojcicki and Elissa Epel discussing telomere health and nutrition at Revitalize with Mind Body Green founder Jason Wachob.

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