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31 Days to a Healthier You



The deep breathing and mindfulness of meditation is known for its calming effects, but it holds many more benefits for both body and brain. Studies have found that mindful meditation can reduce pain, help you avoid distractions, improve memory and, over the long term, improve your brain's physical structure and protect it from atrophy. An emerging study even suggests that meditation may be able to slow the effects of aging by decreasing stress hormone levels and increasing hormones that protect the telomeres — structures which help keep your chromosomes from degrading.

You can take a class or visit a Zen center to learn a meditation technique, and practice for at least 20 minutes, two times a week. Once you get comfortable and if you can squeeze it in, up the time until you're meditating every day.

By MedHelp Editors. Published January 3, 2012.