Benefits of Meditation As You Get Older
Posted on: 09 April 2020 by Dawn Richard
Meditation is an ancient practice with plenty of health benefits.
You probably have already heard the practice being praised, but what you may not have heard is how meditation can be helpful for older people. While there are certainly plenty of good reasons for young people to meditate, there is an argument to be made that the older you get, the more benefits meditation can bring you.
What counts as meditation
There are many types of meditation, and many types of meditative states. Meditation is whatever can get you in one of those states, and while sitting cross-legged is the traditional way to do so, there are also meditative traditions built around laying down or standing up. The entire art of Tai Chi is built around combining movement with meditation, and athletes often report reaching a meditative state when they are working out or pushing their body’s limits.
But what is a meditative state, exactly? Well, definitions vary. But in general, it is understood as a state where you aren’t a slave of your own thoughts. That can be achieved by either silencing your mind or detaching yourself from your own thoughts, allowing them to flow through your mind without catching your attention.
Common meditative techniques include:
- Mindful meditation, where the goal is to concentrate in the present moment;
- Guided imagery meditation, where the goal is to build vivid mental images;
- Transcendental meditation, where the goal is to place all your focus on a word or sound;
- Body scan meditation, where you are invited to focus your attention on different areas of your body, investigating its sensations.
All those methods revolve around the same principle: redirecting your focus in a way that helps you focus on the present.
Meditation for the seniors
Relaxation is the main selling point of meditation, and it becomes more important as you grow older. Stress is very taxing on a person’s body, and it can cause even more damage on a body that has already been weakened by age.
Plenty of studies have looked specifically at the effects of meditation on older people. It’s been found, for example, that meditation helps reduce blood pressure and inflammation on elderly people. Regular meditation has also been linked to higher pain tolerance and a decrease in perceived pain, making this a valuable tool for anyone suffering from aging-related chronic conditions, like arthritis.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditating can also help reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and IBS — irritable bowel syndrome.
Other studies have looked specifically at how meditation affects the mental performance of older people. Meditation has been linked to an improvement in short-term and long-term memory, as well as a reduction in cognitive decline as people age. It appears to be particularly effective for people who are showing signs of cognitive decline, helping slow down and mitigate said decline.
Meditation has also been linked to an increase in attention, memory, processing speed, general cognition, and executive function. It’s even been shown that practicing mindful meditation regularly helps reduce feelings of loneliness in older adults. The reason behind many of those benefits isn’t clear at this moment, but there is solid proof that those benefits do exist.
If you are one of these people who have trouble relaxing to enter a meditative state, try boosting your next meditation session by using CBD products to calm you down.
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