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Biology Versus Chronology

We have long held the belief that age is etched on our faces and embodied by our bodies. Yet, a profound observation invites our attention: not all 80-year-olds appear weathered by time. Some defy the expected societal script, standing tall with vibrant energy, smooth skin, and agile strides. This fascinating realm of biological age, a dimension that can diverge dramatically from the mere tally of years, captures the intrigue of scientists worldwide. For within the tapestry of existence, a person of 60 may possess a biological age of 50 or 70.

Embarking on a groundbreaking quest, researchers at Yale University have unfurled the “epigenetic clock” known as “GrimAge” (Protsenko et al., 2021), an ingenious measure of the pace at which we age. Astonishingly, this biological compass stands as a superior herald of our well-being and longevity, surpassing the traditional marker of chronological age.

In an illuminating study, these visionaries employed GrimAge to uncover the harrowing impact of chronic stress on the tempo of biological aging. Their revelation is profound: stress accelerates our biological clock, heralding a heightened vulnerability to PTSD, anxiety, depression, addiction, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Moreover, it casts a shadow on our cognitive faculties and emotional regulation.

GrimAge and your Biological Clock

In this study, 119 individuals, aged 20 to 68, participated. Those burdened by the weight of psychological stress showcased an acceleration of aging markers, accompanied by adverse physiological indicators like increased insulin resistance—an ominous precursor to diabetes.

However, amidst the shadows of concern, a ray of hope pierced through the clouds. A resounding answer echoed forth from the Yale researchers: “Yes!” It is indeed possible to slow down this relentless clock. Remarkably, those who displayed elevated levels of self-control and mastery over their emotions exhibited a striking immunity to the ravages of stress.

“These results reinforce the widely held notion that stress expedites our journey through the corridors of time,” said Zachary Harvanek, a resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry and a coauthor of the study. Yet, he optimistically asserted, “they also unveil a promising path to mitigating these adversities by fortifying our inner emotional regulation and self-control.”

These remarkable neural landscapes are the very centers of our brain responsible for emotion regulation and self-awareness and, intriguingly, are kindled by the transformative practice of meditation I refer to as the “Enlightenment Network.” As we engage in prayer, meditation, tapping, and immersing our awareness in uplifting media, we activate this profound network that resides within us.

The Enlightenment Network, not unlike the fight-or-flight network, occupies a significant expanse of neural terrain within our minds, revealing the circuits which govern our emotions, self-reflection, compassion, as well as our attention. Meditators who have devoted over 10,000 hours have garnered heightened activity within their compassion circuit—an extraordinary feat. Yet, an MRI study conducted in collaboration with scientists at Bond University revealed that the right methods can accelerate this activation in as little as 30 days (Church et al., 2020).

Emotional Regulation to Slow Down AgingEven as we embark on the sacred task of meditation—counting breaths, extending compassion to others, and observing our thoughts—we awaken the dormant potential of the attention circuit, empowering our ability to focus on the present moment.

Embrace the reins of your own aging process, for the path to a youthful appearance lies within your grasp. Be counted among the centenarians gracefully maneuvering the tennis courts, embracing intimacy, reveling in social connections, solving intriguing puzzles, and igniting inspiration in the hearts of others. Reject the fate of being a 65-year-old confined to a ventilator in a sterile elder care facility.

Now, a beacon of hope emerges from the enigmatic GrimAge clock, unveiling a revelation of immense power. Through the transformative practice of your spiritual journey, you possess the ability to steer your future, nudging it towards vitality and grace. Embrace this remarkable opportunity to rewrite the narrative of your existence, unlock the gates to the fountain of youth within, and sculpt a reality where your biological age defies the boundaries of time itself. 



Church, D., Stapleton, P., & Sabot, D. (2020). Brief EcoMeditation associated with psychological improvements: A preliminary study. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 9, 2164956120984142.

Protsenko, E., Yang, R., Nier, B., Reus, V., Hammamieh, R., Rampersaud, R.,. . . Wolkowitz, O. M. (2021). “GrimAge,” an epigenetic predictor of mortality, is accelerated in major depressive disorder. Translational Psychiatry, 11(1), 1-9. 

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