Reduce Inflammation and Loneliness: Latest Mindfulness Training Research

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Mindfulness Training Can Change Your Feelings

I came across some very cool research from July 2012 showing how changing your mind can change levels of inflammation in your bloodstream. When looking at inflammation which is causing pain and disease in your body most people only think of taking an anti-inflammatory or pain-killer medication. This kind of research is important I believe because it shows you that you have the ability to change your body without medication only.

In this study they used a technique called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on older adults (55-85 years old) to see if they could change their feelings of loneliness and change the inflammation marker in the blood called C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Could this be a simple treatment tool people in acute and especially chronic pain are missing to help heal their bodies? I think so.

Mindfulness Training Reduces Inflammation

The main aim of this study in the science journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity was to see if practicing mindfulness training could help reduce feelings of loneliness.

What I found interesting was that when trying to help people feeling lonely sending them to support groups isn’t always that effective. In other words lonely people don’t feel less lonely when they are around more people. It makes sense, like someone living in London a massive city full of people but you could feel very lonely living i London.

So what these researcher from the “Department of Psychology and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition” at Carnegie Mellon University discovered was spending better quality time with yourself improved your feeling of loneliness. Spending more time with yourself in a focused way can make you better.

Read the full paper for free below.

Download (PDF, 467KB)

You can listen to the thoughts of head researcher for the study, J. David Creswell, in this video below.

Genetic profiling was used to test for levels of loneliness which showed those with high levels of loneliness had pro-inflammatory gene expression through NF-κB target genes. This entering the world of genetics and epigenetics. It was amazing to see within 8 weeks of practicing mindfulness these gene markers had changed.

In 2012 I did further study on a branch of medicine called PsychoNeuroImmunology (a.k.a psychoneuroendocrinology) or for short PNI. PNI helps show how we can quantify or see changes in things like our  hormones, white blood cells etc… This study helps to further show evidence why you have to spend time working on your mental situation in order to start coming right in your health.

How to Start Fixing Your Brain

You can follow the instructions in the research paper to get started on mindfulness-based stress reduction or I have also talked about how to do mindfulness training here. It is a good place to start. I have personally moved on to trying to test my mind-body connection even further using a biofeedback machine which I’ll blog about soon.

Oh and one last place to start help changing your brain chemistry is looking to use a magnesium supplement everyday.

Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by the Italian voice

Further Reading:

  1. Creswell JD, Irwin MR, Burklund LJ, Lieberman MD, Arevalo JM, Ma J, Breen EC, Cole SW. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: a small randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Oct;26(7):1095-101.
  2. Press Release: Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Loneliness in Older Adults, Carnegie Mellon Study Shows Tuesday, July 24, 2012