The value of regular meditation is well documented, but many experts believe that meditation provides seniors with an even greater variety of mental, physical and emotional health benefits. Here are 10 ways seniors can enhance their quality of life by practicing meditation on a regular basis.
1) Mood Enhancement: Feelings of depression and loneliness are common in the elderly. These conditions are often linked to the normal changes involved in aging. Regardless of the cause, meditation has been shown to reduce negative feelings and amplify more positive emotions.
2) Improved Digestive Function: Deep breathing is a vital part of meditation, and the action helps improve circulation while boosting blood oxygen levels. Seniors suffering from digestive issues will experience almost immediate relief once they engage in regular meditation.
3) Slowing Alzheimer’s Progression: A recent double-blind study showed that breathing exercises and meditation may combine to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It is believed that meditation may protect the brain against the damaging effects of stress and anxiety.
4) A Sharper and More Focused Mind: Meditation helps increase mental alertness and provides a heightened capacity to function in society. Improved creativity, focus, and cognitive skills are just some of the benefits of meditation.
5) Reduces Feelings of Loneliness: Seniors who practice meditation on a regular basis report a significantly lower rate of loneliness when compared to others in their age group who do not meditate. Isolation is a critical problem among seniors, so any activity that help them to feel vital and connected is beneficial.
6) Anti-Inflammatory Action: Stress causes inflammation, which can ultimately lead to a variety of debilitating conditions including arthritis, asthma, heart disease and psoriasis. Relaxation through meditation can help prevent these conditions from developing by lowering the stress response.
7) Promotes a Sense of Calm: Meditation can help seniors organize their thoughts and gain perspective.
8) Improved Memory: Memory centers in the brain are stimulated during meditation. Since one of the most common afflictions of old age is memory loss, meditating on a daily basis can help improve both short and long-term memory.
9) Lowers Blood Pressure: As a group, older Americans suffer a much higher rate of high blood pressure when compared to the general population. Meditation helps lower blood pressure by inhibiting the effect of stress hormones.
10) Reduced Healthcare Costs: A documented study found that elderly people who practice meditation are less likely to be hospitalized. In fact, the meditation group paid their physicians 70 percent less than the non-meditating control group over the same period.
For many seniors, meditation is a vital part of an active, healthy lifestyle. A commitment of 20 minutes a day can help improve your mood, relieve stress and leave you feeling refreshed, happy and mentally focused.