Does Daydreaming Age You?

Prevention:

Do you ever have trouble focusing your attention on—oh look! A new Facebook friend request!

Wait, what were we saying?

Chances are that—like us—you’re prone to a wandering mind. In fact, mind meandering takes up about half of our mental time. But a new study in Clinical Psychological Science shows that when our minds stray, our health can take a nosedive.

The University of California, San Francisco study targets telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. In recent years, the tiny telomere has emerged as a powerful biomarker of aging. They get shorter as you get older, and shorter telomeres at any age predict the early onset of disease and mortality.

To find out if a wandering mind has any impact on telomere length, researchers tested 239 highly educated women over 50 with low stress levels. After taking a bevy of life satisfaction tests and questionnaires, their telomeres were measured. Participants who reported wandering minds tended to have shorter telomeres—by about 200 base pairs, which equals about four years of additional aging.

Read the whole story: Prevention

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