By Emily Fletcher
Let’s face it: when it comes to skin care, we have access to the world’s most advanced external tools. We are so excited by the creams and the serums, the oils and the lotions, the lights and the exfoliation. But what if I told you that there’s an internal anti-aging trick you probably haven’t tried yet, and it can make your body feel and look 15 years younger?
It might sound crazy, but it’s not. I’m talking about meditation, and more and more studies have come out heralding its ability to reverse your brain’s and body’s age. We all have two ages: our chronological age—the number on our birthday cakes—and our biological age, which is measured by blood pressure, auditory performance, and visual performance. It’s essentially how old the body acts and feels.
Now, we don’t have any control over our chronological age, but our biological age? That we can do something about. Let’s discuss.
Stress turned my hair gray when I was only 26.
Before I became a meditation teacher, I was on Broadway. My last gig was as an understudy for three of the leading roles, meaning I went onstage at a moment’s notice. It was so stressful that I started going gray at the tender age of 26, and I had been plagued with insomnia for over 18 months.
But on the first day of my first meditation course, I slept through the night—and I have every night since. That was over 10 years ago! Soon after that, I also stopped getting sick, I stopped getting injured, and I was even able to reverse my grays. Now, at 38 years old, they are still nowhere in sight. It was amazing to see and feel this all happening for me, but I never get tired of hearing that a student got similar results.
How meditation actually reverses your biological age.
While the benefits of meditation are seemingly endless—better sex, sleep, energy, and brain function, to name a few—what I want to dive into is the science behind how meditation actually reverses your body age.
We all know that stress is bad for us, but I’m here to break the really bad news: Doctors are calling stress the “Black Plague” of our century! Chronic stress can lead to any number of psychological and physical problems, and your skin is not immune to stress. Case in point: There’s an entirely new, cutting-edge field called psychodermatology that focuses solely on the connection between human emotions and the health of our skin.
So, why is meditation the number one anti-aging trick? When we get stressed out, the body produces acid to shut down digestion. That same acid seeps onto your skin, which accelerates aging and breaks down skin elasticity. There is a reason why your yoga teacher looks younger than her age. Meditation is the most powerful stress-relieving tool we have. And the beautiful part about it is that once you have some training in a style you love, your body can perform at the top of its game.
This article originally appeared on MindBodyGreen.