The value of meditating regularly is well-documented, but does meditation help seniors and elderly individuals? Many experts and physicians believe meditation offers seniors a number of physical, mental and emotional health benefits.
Types of Meditation for Seniors
During meditation, you're training your mind to stay relaxed and focused. There are different types of meditation.
Some common types are:
- Mantra meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Movement meditation (i.e. Yoga)
- Transcendental meditation
- Spiritual meditation
While you're meditating your:
- Breathing slows down
- Stress decreases
- Blood pressure decreases
- Body tension decreases
Mindfulness is you simply observing your thoughts as you occur and accepting them without judgment. It focuses on the present moment and blocks out modern-day distractions.
Through meditation, you can relax and engage your mind, enabling you to age gracefully. Meditation can improve your quality of life and offer you some surprising benefits.
5 Health Benefits of Meditation for Seniors
1. Better Pain Control
Around 11% of all adults in the U.S. suffer each year from chronic pain, according to some research. Because there's a direct link between your mind and your physical perception of pain, when you're stressed out, it can raise your pain level.
While practicing mindfulness meditation, you're focusing on your breathing and the way your body feels at that very moment, which helps to control your pain. As you're breathing in and out several times a minute, your body starts becoming aligned with the rhythms in your nervous system.
2. Improved Sleep
Practicing meditation that uses repetitive sounds, like mantra meditation, can help you create healthier sleep habits. In fact, it's a relaxation technique you can incorporate into your daily sleep hygiene.
JAMA Internal Medicine published scientific research involving 49 older adults experiencing sleep problems. you were separated into two groups. One group took sleep hygiene classes and the other went through six weeks of meditation training.
The research showed the group of adults receiving the meditation training experienced less fatigue, insomnia and depression-related symptoms.
3. Memory Enhancement
Meditation stimulates both your frontal brain lobe and the Hippocampus (dominant short- and long-term memory storage hubs). For seniors, this means better short- and long-term memory recall, which includes the retrieval of long-lost memories.
Through meditation, the aging senior's brain can better store new memories, well into your advancing years.
Meditation also helps to increase telomerase by 43%. Telomerase is an enzyme necessary for reducing Alzheimer's and other progressive diseases.
4. Reduced Anxiety and Stress
Meditation helps to reduce both anxiety and stress. One 2016 study showed 21.6% of individuals begin meditating to relieve stress and another 29.2% do it to ease anxiety.
While meditating, you're quieting the inner thoughts in your mind that can lead to stress and strain your emotional well-being.
5. Increased Attention Span
Practicing focused meditation can impact the endurance and strength of your attention span. Meditation can potentially prevent mental decline related to aging, according to one 2017 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. Participants of the study engaged in different meditation training tests, including:
- Mindful breathing techniques
- Sustained focus on objects
- Generating positive emotions for themselves and others
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