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Any possibility that you're just 7 years older?

I've been meditating for two years, have found similar benefits, and I'm sure it's not a function of age because sometimes I stop for a while and the benefits go away. It doesn't seem like placebo either, because previously I'd tried other meditation techniques that weren't nearly so beneficial.

There's a fair amount of peer-reviewed research on the benefits of mindfulness meditation, and it doesn't seem all that unlikely that exercising your brain in different ways really can help your brain function differently.

Research involving brains, feelings, and other difficult if not impossible to define parameters is not rigorous.

How do you propose studying brains, feelings, etc.? We just shouldn't bother?

I don't know. I don't mind people taking a stab at it, but it should still be looked at skeptically, especially once you move away from measurable metrics as it ceases to be science.

The subjectivity of experience doesn't prevent something being science.

How might someone conduct a blinded placebo controlled trial of a suicide prevention campaign, or of parental advice to help reduce risk of cot death, for example?

They wouldn't. They'd roll up their sleeves and get deeply involved in the messy, unpredictable world of human emotion and social interaction.

And that's good and appropriate, and there are effective and responsible methods for doing it.

Just because we can point to something and say "aha, that's subjective" doesn't mean we need to eliminate it. In fact, the more we try to eliminate it, the harder it becomes to translate evidence from the lab to the real world.

Objectivity world be nice, but it's vanishingly rare.

What if it shows physical changes? E.g. "Effects of Long-Term Mindfulness Meditation on Brain's White Matter Microstructure and its Aging"


Well, when it comes to studying breathing techniques and their effect over time you can quite easily do a large scale randomized controlled trial and survey participants on perceived increase in well-being, right?

The track record of studies using “perceived” statistics is not good. Humans are subject to an endless list of biases.

Do you believe in the psychological benefit of exercise? That has all the same study problems as meditation.

Replacing the word believe with assume, I assume studies about the psychological benefits of exercise are just as weak as any other psychological study.

Interesting medical advice - for a longer life, simply get older ;-)

In this respect, it turns out that birthdays are extremely healthy— those who have the most of them tend to live the longest.

That's quite a cheeky aphorism. I love it.

I think that OP meant to ask "is it possible your perception has changed with age/experience, rather than with your methods?"

Yes :-) But as I get older I notice there is very little difference between doing something for years and converging my perception to believe what i have been doing was worthwhile.

So i should choose carefully.

I have also noticed that whatever defaults i left childhood with are ridiculously hard to change.

It is true though, that the longer you live, the longer your life expectancy.

Indeed and yet, paradoxically, living longer is quite literally what's killing you¹...

1: Cells have two ultimate fates: they either fail to resist cancer or, if they succeed, eventually die of doing it, sort of wear-and-tear, i.e. "ageing" as we call it. Lookup telomeres and cancer. Therein lies the recent hype/hope of increasing human life expectancy by a lot, perhaps orders of magnitude.

Ha! Yes, I am older (though the degree to which that correlates with wisdom or calm is debatable). But I kept up with it so consistently in large part because it was so helpful.

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