Does meditation help with stress and aging based on science?

We all know what stress is, right? Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing in our lives except for stress. Scientific research shows that stress is one of the main causes of the majority of diseases. So, does meditation help with stress and aging based on science? Let’s find out in this article.

Does stress decrease our lifespan?

Meta-analysis of 5 studies shows that compared to the individuals without PTSD, individuals with PTSD have shorter telomere length. [1]

A systematic review of the association between chronic social stress and telomere length shows that chronic social stress accompanies telomere shortening. Chronic social stress was defined by poverty, exposure to violence, or caregiving. [2]

Another systematic review of 105 studies says that there’s a relationship between some stressful situations and telomere shortening. [3]

Does meditation help with aging?

Meta-analysis says that short telomeres are associated with increased all-cause mortality risk in the general population. [4]

I already have an article on what a telomere is and how we can live longer by increasing our telomere length. If you haven’t read it yet then you can click here to read it.

So, the question now is can meditation increase our telomere length and thus help us live longer?

A systematic review of 20 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) shows that meditation is associated with changes in select immune system processes involved in inflammation, immunity, and biological aging. It’s mentioned though that these results are tentative and require further replication. [5]

Another systematic review though says that the effect of meditation on telomere length is unclear. [6]

Does meditation help with stress?

A systematic review of 47 trials says that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. [7]

Meta-analysis of 10 trials on meditation interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shows that meditation appears to be effective for PTSD and depression symptoms. [8]

A systematic review of 104 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) shows that meditation appears to be more beneficial for improving sleep quality and fatigue management as well as anti-depressive effects, especially in patients suffering from mental disorders. [9]

A systematic review of meta-analyses says that mind-body interventions show consistent small to moderate effects in reducing depressive symptoms in chronic pain. [10]

Meta-analysis of 38 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) says that mindfulness meditation was associated with a small effect of improved pain symptoms compared with treatment as usual, passive controls, and education/support groups in a meta-analysis of 30 randomized controlled trials. However, there was evidence of substantial heterogeneity among studies and possible publication bias resulting in a low quality of evidence. [11]

Also, mindfulness meditation was associated with statistically significant improvement in depression, physical health-related quality of life, and mental health-related quality of life. Quality of evidence was high for depression, moderate for mental health-related quality of life, and low for physical health-related quality of life. [11]

A systematic review shows that meditation provides a small to moderate benefit for informal caregivers and health professionals for stress reduction. [12]


So, does stress decrease our lifespan and does meditation help with stress and aging based on science? Well, there’s good news and bad news. Bad news is that it looks like scientific research shows that stress indeed can decrease our lifespan by shortening our telomeres. Good news is that it looks like scientific research shows that meditation can help with stress and increase our lifespan.

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