Benefits of Daily Meditation for Older Adults

By Cheryl Proska

Further research on the benefits of meditation has led to a plethora of fascinating discoveries, including its overwhelmingly positive impact on aging brains.

Meditation is the practice of shifting your focus to the present moment. Clearing your mind for just 10 minutes every day significantly reduces stress, controls anxiety and promotes good health.

Unfortunately, despite the proven benefits, many older adults don’t participate in meditation. Many say they don’t have time, and others claim they’re unable to clear their mind of all thought. The good news is, meditation doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult.

So how do you meditate?

The Different Types of Meditation

Before embarking on the journey of including meditation into daily life, it’s important to understand all the ways you can quiet your mind.

The most popular forms of meditation are:

  • Mindfulness – The psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.
  • Spiritual meditation – A form of prayer to get in touch with a higher presence.
  • Focused meditation – Sustaining attention on a specific object, like the sound of your breath or a metronome.
  • Movement meditation – A technique requiring some form of focused movement, not just sitting still. Examples include tai chi or yoga.
  • Mantra meditation – Consists of the two individual components of chanting mantras. A mantra is a word, phrase or even just a syllable repeated over and over during meditation.
  • Transcendental meditation – Often referred to as TM; promotes a state of relaxed awareness for 15-20 minutes, usually twice a day.

Although there are dozens of suggested techniques, there is no “right way” – the key is finding the form that best fits your lifestyle.

So is meditation really worth taking up?

The Top 5 Reasons to Meditate

  • To Reduce Stress & Battle Depression

For older adults, stress comes from many sources such as chronic illness, sudden disability, or the loss of a spouse or loved one. Scientists discovered that people who practice mindfulness have more control over how their brains process and pay attention to negative sensations (like pain) and negative thoughts.

Research also points to meditation improving the symptoms of depression while alleviating anxiety and pain.

  • To Improve Concentration & Memory

Meditation is the only mental exercise with substantial evidence proving its ability to improve cognition and focus. Meditation will not only improve memory but also cut back distracting thoughts, which lead to forgetfulness. The daily ritual may also diminish age-related brain deterioration.

  • To Increase Happiness

Getting angry over every little thing isn’t healthy. Instead of getting mad, get quiet. Research suggests that the habitual meditation cuts back on anger and the tendency to get hung up on angry episodes.

In another recent study, the practice of introspection was linked to higher instances of empathy and laughter, being more social and having more friends, and displaying a more team-oriented mentality in participants.

  • To Slow the Aging Process

Is meditating the true fountain of youth? Sure, it won’t turn back time, but middle-aged adults who practiced in meditation do have younger biological ages than those who don’t.

  • To Enhance Digestion

At the core of any meditation program are deep breathing exercises. These exercises are not only great for finding your inner peace, but also improving your gut function. Deep, controlled breathing improves circulation and increases the oxygen levels in our blood, sending extra help to your stomach and intestines. This extra oxygen boost also helps to boost your immune system and heals the lungs.

The benefits of meditation are numerous and the simple task has zero negative side effects. Best of all, it’s free and something people can easily do at home. Budget just ten minutes a day to quiet mindfulness and carve a path to a more quality life.

 

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