Even though you have likely heard how great it can be for your overall health, most of us still do not include meditation in our daily routines. However, especially as we age, taking the time to clear our minds and allow ourselves to release stress can generate many positive health effects. Conveniently, meditation is a simple and equipment-free activity that caregivers and seniors alike can do in the comfort of their own home, at times that work best for them.
So, what is Meditation?
There are many ways to practice meditation, but all approaches share the same goal – to relax, help calm the mind and body, and be present in the moment. Mindfulness is one popular technique, which is described by mindful.org as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
What Can Meditation Do?
From decreasing stress and anxiety to slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, studies have shown that the breathing and relaxing techniques of meditation not only impact our mental health but also have an effect on our physical and emotional health.
Reducing Loneliness and Inflammation
A UCLA study concluded that a simple eight-week meditation program could help reduce loneliness in seniors. Through in-person and at-home sessions, it focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to teach the mind to be in the present and not concentrate on the past or look toward the future. UCLA further studied the link between loneliness and inflammation and discovered that meditation could significantly lessen gene inflammation.
Furthermore, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California found direct links to better sleep; finding participates that practiced mindfulness meditation had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
Sharpening the Mind
The techniques used in meditation help to strengthen and exercise the brain and help prevent memory loss. It also stimulates brain centres responsible for both short- and long-term memory, which leads to better recall and the ability to store new memories. According to a study from Harvard University, practicing meditation can improve learning and memory and can make the brain bigger.
Have you tried meditation to improve your overall health? We’d love to hear from you. Share your story in the comments!