What role does meditation have in extending your life expectancy? While most of the correlations between extended life expectancy and meditation have been based on anecdotal evidence, meditation can play a significant role in extending your life.
It’s believed that meditation can help reduce death rates. Now, I’d take it more as a bonus benefit since meditation doesn’t predominantly have the purpose of extending people’s lives, but it can.
In the beginning, the mind often shows some form of resistance if you try to do meditation.
As time goes by and you get more comfortable with the practice and step out of your comfort zone, the resistance you experienced that was once there would no longer be present.
Once you start meditating for a while, you might stumble upon things that you’ll ask yourself how you could’ve lived without all this time.
Almost as if the practice makes you feel like you’ve been missing out on something big all this time, that conveniently can increase your quality of life and improve your longevity indirectly.
Meditation can make us come to a lot of realizations we had overlooked, some of which could contribute to longevity.
Now, I’ll explain some ways meditation could extend your life based on my personal experience. What we know about meditation and increased life expectancy is limited, but might provide some insights as to why meditation helps us live longer.
Meditation Helps You Pick Up Other Habits
Once you’ve successfully adopted meditation as a routine in your day-to-day life, it’s gonna be pretty easy to pick up another good routine that often requires discipline.
With meditation, you condition yourself to get over some of the resistance found when you try to pick up a habit, and in many cases, the effects you get from meditation can mimic that of monk-like discipline.
Meditation at the surface seems easy, and it is, it’s more about consistency and staying on track that many find tricky, but if you’ve managed to push past any psychological barriers you’ll encounter when you meditate, you’ll be able to do the same when it comes to physical exercise.
Physical exercise is known to help others live longer, and more so when you combine it with meditation. It becomes almost like yoga, which is seen as a form of movement meditation and also contributes to our longevity.
If you want to pick up something easier than exercise, but that still yields the same if not similar gains that meditation, consider yoga, as you’ll often find the best of both worlds.
Meditation May Not Help Directly, But It Helps You To Be More Mindful
Meditation can extend your life, but it’s more of an indirect way, in my experience. If your experience counters that, this doesn’t apply and if there’s any experience you should be taking as gospel it’s your own, or one that strongly resonates with your intuition.
With that said, I find that meditation can help you with minor changes that can contribute to your longevity, such as being mindful about things you may not know reduces your lifespan. For instance, meditation might help you quit smoking, which conversely, would lead to a longer life span. The same can be said about alcohol.
Meditation might also help you resist the temptation of engaging in toxic habits that shorten your lifespan and overall subtract from your true purpose.
Sometimes, you might fall into one undesirable habit because you didn’t have the strength of mind to resist it, or it might resemble something from the past, the future, or an overall escape.
With meditation, you avoid this escapist cycle and learn to live in the present, with all its ups and downs.
And instead of turning away from the challenges presented in the present, you build endurance to them and learn to be comfortable with the present, which is liberating.
Now, meditation alone needs to be accompanied by other good habits for this to work, but it would often be accompanied by a good diet and good sleep since one thing easily leads to another, and it’s easier to build onto something that’s already built.
Fit Mind Fit Body
It’s no secret that a fit mind will often reflect on our physique. But meditation can help us from aging both physically and psychologically. The practice could help you stay more mentally sharp and focused, which could help delay the inevitable decaying that comes sooner or later.
Now, physically, you can be as healthy as you want. But if it’s not followed psychologically, it can set back the progress you’ve made on your physical.
Since it all starts from the mind, specifically the subconscious. Meditation allows you to have more control over your mind and resist many temptations that would otherwise be easier to succumb to, should we not have a prepared mind.
Meditation conditions us to delay gratification, which often boosts our minds. Additionally, meditation can help us against depression, since depression alone can be what many attribute the mental crumbling to.
In my experience, if you start by taking care of your mind, you’ve already come a long way, and taking care of your body will ultimately become easier. Fortunately, meditation is a form of self-care, both for the mind and body.
Less Stress, Longer Life
It’s been shown that stress can reduce our lifespan, and it also lowers our quality of life.
No one likes to be stressed, but when meditation is done right, it’s almost as if stress becomes non-existent, or we become so indifferent to it, we easily lump it into our thoughts and learn to ignore the stress, simply by acknowledging its existence.
Many use meditation as a way to get rid of, or at least manage their stress. For some, it’s a rigorous journey and for others, there are fewer roadblocks.
But if you start meditating at an early age, you already put yourself ahead, since meditation alone can bring a lot of resistance from the start, and the better you can handle that resistance, the faster you’ll see meditation battling that stress that affects longevity.
For Some, Meditation Can Have The Opposite Perceived Effect
The keyword here is perceived, since if one were to look at meditation at the surface, it’s easy to think that meditation takes several minutes of your day, which, by extension, subtracts from the overall perceived length of our overall life, even if the amount meditated relative to lifespan is minor.
But the mind will often do a very good job at convincing us that meditation is a waste of time.
The reality is that that minor sacrifice yield returns that are beyond what can be put in words, and it’s a positive return, assuming you do the meditation right and your mind doesn’t randomly start wandering.
The return comes in the form of being present, living a more stress-free life, and having a higher quality of life.
Then it starts becoming more of a question of quality of life vs. quantity of life. Of course, we want to have both, but by enjoying the present, there’s a chance you might start perceiving things as slower because as we age, we start to perceive time passing quicker.
We also start automating a lot of things, as in letting life happen to us before our eyes, and in no time, a decade just passed.
Being present is a form of protection against this, and while time will continue to pass regardless, our perception of that time can affect how long the lives we seemingly live are.
Meditation and Making Us Feel Less Lonely
Having a partner is great, but if you happen to be by yourself, and don’t enjoy your own company, it can affect you. It’s believed that loneliness can increase our mortality risk, but there is a chance meditation can teach you to enjoy your own company.
For some, it’s all they need to tackle loneliness, for others, it’s supplemental. The more you start enjoying your presence, the easier it is to start loving yourself, and by extension, live a happier, healthier, and longer life.
Of course, at its core, we have to remember that we are all different and there are many factors that can influence whether we live longer or not. Meditation might not make a difference for some, but from what I’ve seen, there are several ways in which meditation can influence the length of our lifespan.