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8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed by Modern Science
Ok, so some of our ancestors had a few slightly whack-o beliefs that we now know were certainly not true. That thing about the earth being flat, for example. Or that traveling faster than 20 MPH would suck all the air out of our bodies. How about those beliefs that drilling holes in the skull would let out demons and the whole blood –letting thing.
However, that doesn’t mean the old-world got everything wrong. Now, we know that there are some basic beliefs that modern day scientists have confirmed are true and based in fact.
With the help of cold, hard, science we can confirm that some things that ancient people believed would help us to lead healthier, happier lives, are still true for us today. Take a look at our list of eight ancient practices that modern science sanctions.
1. All You Need is Love
We don’t mean that popular Beatles song, we are talking about the universal belief that love is the most valuable treasure of all. Researchers at Harvard University wanted to discover the true meaning of a fulfilling life. They conducted a staggering 75 year study that came to the same conclusion many people have had for thousands of years. Love is the ultimate.
In case you are interested, this study followed the lives of 268 students in hopes of answering life’s most basic questions like purpose, value, growth, and happiness. The main element in this study found that in order to have a happy life you needed loving relationships. Researchers came to the conclusion that there appeared to be two columns of happiness. One column was love itself. The other was finding ways to deal with life issues that would not push love out of the way or cause one to lose love.
2. Helping Others Helps Yourself
Greek philosophers were forever looking for the best ways to live life. They had long arguments as to which were better, hedonic happiness or eudaimonic happiness. Those who preferred the hedonic way thought happiness was brought about by an increase in pleasure and a decrease in pain. Those on the eudaimonic side believed that happiness came from having a purpose to your life.
A study done at the University of North Carolina found that although both lifestyle types would make you feel good but that the eudaimonic way of being brought people actual physical health. People who follow this lifestyle lived longer also. Those who lived hedonic lifestyles had lower immune system responses than their eudaimonic counterparts. Read also what lowers immune system.
3. Acceptance is Key for the Reduction of Suffering
Buddha taught that you must accept those things you are not able to change to reduce your suffering. Researchers and scientists have found that this basic belief is undeniably true, especially for those who find difficulty accepting the changes that come with growing older.
Researchers in Australia at Deakin University conducted a study which showed that when older adults faced the realities that they needed to move to an assisted living facility, along with some sense of control, they felt happier with their situation than those who fought and refused to accept the facts about their aging bodies and minds.
4. Acupuncture Restores Balance
According to traditional Chinese medicine, whenever a person is sick or in pain, it means that this person’s energy flow or qi (pronounced chi) is out of balance. You may not believe in this theory but a new study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that using acupuncture was very effective in relieving arthritis pain, migraines, and other types of chronic pain.
Using more than 18,000 subjects, scientists discovered that using acupuncture was more effective than typical western care and even more effective than sham acupuncture.
5. Community Support helps us Thrive
Here comes Buddha again! Buddha taught that the feeling of a supportive community is an important factor in having a happy, fulfilled life. Brigham Young University along with the University of North Carolina conducted research that showed that this belief is true.
They analyzed more than 148 studies, which including more than 300,000 individuals, and found that those with strong, supportive, social relationships had a more than 50 percent increase in survival. Having strong social relationships had more of an impact on the risk of mortality than exercise or obesity.
SEE ALSO: Secret of Healthy Life Infographic
6. Compassion Equals a Meaningful Life
Buddha is on a roll here. Tibetan Buddhists believe in something called metta, or, more commonly, loving-kindness. Emory University did a study in 2012 that found compassion meditation can effectively help your ability to empathize with people simply by reading their expressions.
Another study that was done in 2011 discovered that, over time, practicing this type of meditation increased a person’s positive emotions and allowed them to find a deep sense of awareness, and gave them a sense of purpose in their life.
7. Tai Chi Can Help with Certain Conditions
This age old Chinese art believes that achieving a balance between the mind and body will give an overall feeling of harmony and peace thereby giving you a longer life. Harvard Women’s Health Watch published a report in May of 2009 confirming that, after going over several different studies, that Tai Chi was indeed a type of moving meditation that could help treat and prevent many health problems that were age-related. Numerous studies done over the past 10 years have shown that Tai Chi can help those suffering from low bone density, heart disease, as well as arthritis pain.
8. Meditation Reduces Stress
The practice of meditation, which originally comes from ancient Eastern origins, is thought to help quiet the mind and help a person reach a higher level of awareness, which can improve health and overall well-being. Harvard Medical School showed that this practice of the mind and body can affect the genes that control immune function and stress levels. Find out other ways to boost your immunity.