For centuries, meditation has been used to help people feel more peaceful. And in recent years, meditation has grown in popularity because of its scientifically proven benefits. According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of adults practicing meditation has more than tripled in five years, from 4.1 percent to 14.2 percent.
Meditation involves training the mind to focus, relax and refocus one’s thoughts. According to a study published in the journal BMC Geriatrics, mindfulness training can increase awareness and introspection, as well as improve self-care habits and relationships.
The most common forms of meditation are:
- Love-goodness meditation.
- Mantra meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Movement meditation (yoga)
- Spiritual meditation
- Transcendental meditation
All of these styles of meditation are good for your mental health. Because these practices require different skills and mindsets, you need to consider your needs and personality to find the one that works best for your lifestyle.
Meditation helps to relax and occupy your mind, allowing you to age with benefit. Meditation can offer some amazing health benefits for seniors looking for new ways to get healthy.
Here are 10 benefits seniors get from meditation:
10- Strengthens the immune system.
According to a study published by the National Academy of Sciences, there is evidence that meditation can help strengthen the immune system.
Meditation appears to suppress harmful processes in the body while increasing cortisol levels, which enhances immune system function. This can help treat various inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
9- Controls pain
Chronic pain affects 20.4 percent of adults, according to a study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This chronic pain worsens with age and is most prevalent among older adults aged 65 and older.
Because our physical perception of pain is directly related to our consciousness, it can intensify when we are under a lot of stress. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to deal with pain because it allows us to focus on our breathing and body sensations in the present moment.
Slow, measured movements in meditation and especially in yoga poses can lead to improved balance and movement, which can also help prevent falls.
Falls are a leading cause of injury in older adults, but yoga can help older adults work on balance and strength to prevent them.
7- Helps prevent depression
Meditation can improve mood and help people overcome depression, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Other studies suggest that meditation may be as effective as antidepressants in relieving depression in some patients.
6- Improves sleep
Mantra meditation, or a practice involving repetitive sounds, can be used as a relaxation technique to improve sleep.
Sleep problems are often the result of stress, poor diet, aging or chronic diseases. But meditation before bedtime releases tension from the body, creating a peaceful state of mind. A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that the group that practiced meditation experienced less insomnia, fatigue and other similar symptoms.
5- Increases concentration
Practicing concentrated meditation can have a tangible effect on the strength and endurance of your attention. A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests that meditation improves attention, even for first-time meditators.
Over a long period of time, the study says, there is a positive effect on body awareness, emotion regulation and sustained attention.
4- Lowers blood pressure
Meditation can help people with high blood pressure, according to a National Institute of Health study. These benefits have been observed especially in people with mild hypertension.
According to studies, relaxation techniques and light exercise are good for the heart and cardiovascular system.
3- Promotes mindfulness
Older people can face a lot of stress as they age, from moving into a retirement home to adjusting to new daily habits. These changes can be stressful, so they benefit from the meditative effects of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation for the elderly may include yoga or other techniques that teach participants to examine their thoughts and emotions. Practitioners say meditation can help seniors stay connected to the world.
Reducing stress and anxiety are two of the best-known benefits of meditation. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that meditation helps reduce stress reaction and anxiety because it eliminates the symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
During meditation, your mind can be focused on eliminating internal thoughts that strain your emotional state. A good state of self-awareness and calmness will help you manage any stress symptoms throughout the day.
1- Stabilizes Memory
Meditation can help slow down memory loss. According to a study cited by the Harvard Gazette, meditating on mindfulness for at least 30 minutes a day can increase the amount of gray matter in the hippocampus. This part of the brain plays an important role in memory and learning.
Other researchers have found that people who meditate regularly can harness the power or sense of subconsciousness, which allows your brain to retain more information.