Many people experience severe amounts of stress after a car, truck or motorcycle accident. The stress comes as a result of physical and financial stressors that can take their toll on even the healthiest of people with the biggest support networks.
For those accident victims who live alone, that stress can be compounded by loneliness and isolation.
Researches at UCLA have reported that a simple meditation program lasting just eight weeks can reduce loneliness in older adults. The program focuses on training the mind to simply be attentive to the present and not dwell in the past or project into the future. This sort of meditation was shown to successfully reduce the feelings of loneliness and stress.
Since stress can cause the inflammation of genes that then can lead to heart disease, researchers were pleased to see that the inflammation also decreased with the meditative practice.
For the study, 40 adults between the ages of 55 and 85 were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness meditation group or a control group that did not meditate. All the participants were assessed at the beginning and the end of the study using an established stress and loneliness scale. Blood samples were also collected at the beginning and end to measure gene expression and levels of inflammation.
Training in mindfulness meditation was provided two hours a week for eight weeks, and participants also were asked to practice the techniques for 30 minutes each day.
Resulting levels of stress reduction and gene inflammation have excited the UCLA researchers, who will continue to study stress and its impact on disease and psychological issues.
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