Reports of feeling lonely are becoming increasingly common but what can be done to curb the problem? Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA) believe to have found relatively simple, affordable solution- mindful meditation.
Loneliness has been linked to a list of ailments including an increased risk of heart disease and depression, and can take a serious toll on both the psyche and body. Researchers from UCLA’s medicine and psychiatry department conducted a two month study that might well hold the answer to reducing loneliness, and perhaps in turn these associated issues.
Published in an online journal edition of Brain, Behaviour and Immunity
, the study followed a group of 40 older adults during a two-week program of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). This involved 30 minutes of meditation per day and one day-long retreat. MBSR teaches the mind to focus on the present and not dwell on past or future issues. Participants in the test group reported reduced feelings of loneliness and their blood test results showed a significant decrease of inflammation-related genes, which has been linked to loneliness and a range of diseases.
"Our work presents the first evidence showing that a psychological intervention that decreases loneliness also reduces pro-inflammatory gene expression," senior study author Steve Cole told reporters. He hopes these findings can improve the quality of life of those suffering from feelings of loneliness and provide a simple, accessible means to better ones mental and physical health. Related content:
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