Friday, 20 March 2015

Meditation, one simple way to down shift for a longer life, fend off cognitive decline

From Naples Daily News
by Kelly Farrell

NAPLES, Fla. - Editor’s note: 

"The Power 9 principles were created from a study by National Geographic researchers who identified cultures with the longest-lived people in the world and dubbed them Blue Zones. This coverage is part of a 10-year community initiative to become the next Blue Zone..."

"...If traffic has you frustrated during Southwest Florida’s February tourism spike, downshifting might help you live longer.

Reducing stress isn’t something to be done just in tourist time or just when you feel overwhelmed; rather, the regular and consistent practice of downshifting is a Blue Zones’ Power 9 principle.

While changes might be needed to make downshifting easier, Southwest Floridians can downshift almost immediately, said Allen Weiss, president of NCH Healthcare System. Weiss said all we have to do is enjoy our natural surroundings by seeing a sunset, walking on the beach or just getting outside more.

“We live in a rare year-round outdoor climate. We have to take advantage of that. Slow down a bit, take some time away from the Internet and cellphone,” Weiss said of obtainable ways to downshift for a longer life.

Recent research indicates meditation and mindfulness techniques not only have an immediate effect on the symptoms related to stress but also might lead to increasing cognitive function long-term by slowing the loss of gray matter, decreasing age-related brain atrophy and other factors related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Meanwhile, stepping away from electronics periodically also looks to have short- and long-term health effects, according to research authors.

“Simultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains. People who frequently use several media devices at the same time have lower gray-matter density in one particular region of the brain compared to those who use just one device occasionally,” as stated in the research summary released by the University of Sussex in September... more

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