Meditation can reduce stress and enhance state of relaxation. But obviously, this technique can do much more, as a new study now shows.
Loneliness is not just a feeling, but also an important health risk factor. Loneliness can trigger depression and other mental illnesses, and also leads many people to increased stress levels, which, in turn, is involved in the development of various diseases. Particularly elderly often suffer from loneliness. In the modern world, as well, as younger people are increasingly affected.
A small study has now shown, that a specific form of meditation – MBSR – can not only reduce the inflammation markers in the blood, but also alleviate feelings of loneliness. MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) is a popular combined form of meditation, the Far Eastern exercises and modern medical knowledge. The “coping with stress through mindfulness” has been developed or shortly “mindfulness meditation” by the American Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Connection between loneliness and inflammatory processes.
For this study, 40 subjects in aged from 55 to 80 years were divided into two groups. One group participated in an eight-week MBSR program, in which was included attended in two-hour meditation course every week and home meditation 30 minutes per day. Moreover, the participants visited once during the eight weeks of meditation seminar, which lasted all day. The other participants served as controls and not motivated. At the beginning and end of the study, all participants filled a questionnaire about feelings of loneliness. In addition, their blood was tested for certain inflammatory markers.
The study showed, that the eight-week MBSR program can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness in the elderly people. In addition, a relation between the described sensation of loneliness and inflammatory markers could be detected in the blood. This shows, on the one hand, that loneliness actually has a direct impact on our health, and secondly, that mindfulness meditation can reduce both: loneliness and inflammatory processes in the body.