This Is Big. Meditation Can Actually CHANGE Your Genes!

We’ve all heard meditation is good for us. It helps reduce stress and focus and “find our centers” and… blah blah blah.

For of people who aren’t into meditation, hearing about its intangible benefits (like “taming your mind”) aren’t very persuasive. Sitting quietly with a steady mind is hard. Really hard. Like trying to hold a tree pose in the middle of a raging river hard.

Without a tangible payoff, meditation just seems like a lot of boring work.

But here’s something we can wrap our heads around: a regular meditation practice can actually change the expressions of your genes. For years we’ve been told that our genes are immutable, that the genes you’re born with are the ones you’re stuck with, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Want proof? Harvard’s on it.

recently published study conducted by Harvard University explored how relaxation affects us on a molecular level. Specifically, they were trying to figure out what molecular processes the body undergoes to reduce blood pressure and hypertension through practices like meditation.

Meditation does more than just relax you. Meditating can actually change your genes!

Participants in the study practiced mind-body intervention (ahem, meditation) regularly throughout a two month period as researchers looked at what happened to their genomes.

The researchers identified 1,771 specific genes that are regulated by the body’s relaxation response. That’s right: there are well over a thousand genes in your body that you can control just by meditating and relaxing.

And these aren’t just decorative genes. We’re talking about genes that regulate your inflammation response, immune system, glucose metabolism, cardiovascular system, and even your circadian rhythms. You can change and control all of them by eliciting a relaxation response within your body.

You can actually make yourself healthier on a genetic level by meditating. Is that tangible enough for you?

If you’re just starting out with a meditation practice, try not to think of it as “meditating”, especially if that word connotes feelings of boredom and impatience for you. Instead, think of your new practice as “focused relaxation”. The challenge is all in your head.

There is no one way to meditate or relax. You can practice body scan meditation, a process in which you scan your body from head to toe and release hidden tension through mental imagery. You can sit up, whip out some mudras, and repeat a mantra. You can practice deep breathing exercises like Wim Hof.

You can even practice moving meditation via endurance running or dancing, if sitting still isn’t your thing.

The point is to make your meditation practice work for you. If you are truly shutting down your swirling mind and creating an environment of mindful relaxation, it doesn’t matter how you got there. You’re meditating!

How do you incorporate meditation into your life? Do you enjoy meditating or find it challenging? Share your experiences with the supportive community below.

Related on Care2

Image via Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thank you for posting.

Elizabeth M
Past Member 3 months ago

many thanks noted.

Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall4 months ago

Thank you

Cindy S
Cindy Smith4 months ago


Thomas M
Thomas M5 months ago

Thank you

natasha p
Past Member 5 months ago


Lesa D
Lesa D6 months ago

this is really BIG!!!

Lesa D
Lesa D6 months ago

thank you Jordyn...

Mark H
Mark H6 months ago

Great, thanks.

Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine Andersen6 months ago

thanks for sharing. I will try a little harder to spend more time at it.