Category : Meditation

The Benefits Of Meditation For Older Adults

Meditation can provide some incredible physical, mental, and emotional health benefits for people of all ages.

However, it is particularly beneficial for older adults who may be dealing with chronic health conditions, stress, depression, and anxiety.

This article will explain how meditation works before sharing a few of the key benefits of meditation for older adults.

You will be amazed by how much meditation can improve your quality of life and mental clarity.

What is meditation?

Meditation involves focusing the mind on a particular object, activity, or thought to achieve mental clarity and a calm emotional state.

The act of meditation triggers a variety of psychological and physiological responses.

Some of these changes include a slower heart rate, slower breathing, lower blood pressure, improved digestion and mental clarity.

Meditation is often used to reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and feelings of depression.

It can also bring about a sense of inner peace, wellness, and improved perception.

There are many forms of meditation, including:

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is becoming one of the most popular forms of meditation.

It involves focusing your mind on on the present moment in a non-judgemental way.

It is often used for stress reduction and forms the basis of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).

Researchers have found that there are many psychological and physiological benefits that can be obtained by practicing mindfulness meditation regularly.

Transcendental meditation

This form of meditation usually involves focusing on a single word, idea or feeling.

It is often practiced by Buddhist monks who repeat a mantra during their meditation.

Guided imagery

Guided imagery meditation involves focusing on a specific mental image.

It is usually something calming or relaxing like a deserted beach or tropical oasis.

Body scan

A body scan meditation involves focusing on the sensations in different parts of the body one at a time.

Participants will focus on all of the sensations they can detect including the pressure, temperature, and pain/numbness affecting each part of the body.

Mind-body exercises

Exercises like yoga, tai chi, and qigong use focussed breathing and slow physical movements to induce a mental state very similar to meditation.

How does meditation can benefit older adults?

Here are some of the many ways that meditation can help seniors:

A more focused mind

All adults experience cognitive decline as they get older.

This is due to the hippocampus region of the brain shrinking over time.

This is why seniors often struggle to focus on certain tasks or to remember the names of people they know.

Meditation can help by sharpening the mind.

It has been shown to improve focus, creativity, and cognition.

Slower Alzheimer’s disease progression

Alzheimer’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting about 1% of people over 65 years of age.

Multiple studies have found that meditation can the slow the progression of this illness, allowing seniors to enjoy more of their golden years.

Improved digestive function

Most forms of meditation have a strong focus on breathing and encourage participants to take long extended breaths.

This practise helps older people boost the amount of oxygen in their blood and can significantly improve digestive function.

Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a common medical concern amongst older people.

An analysis of several studies found that meditation and yoga can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.

This is a particularly useful benefit of meditation for older people suffering from heart disease.

Mood Enhancement

It is common for older people to become sad, angry, or pessimistic.

These feelings sometimes occur because of the health challenges and social isolation that older people often face.

Meditation is a great way to combat these negative feelings and replace them with positive emotions.

Less inflammation

Seniors who are suffering from stress will experience more inflammation in their bodies.

This can worsen certain health conditions including arthritis, asthma, and Crohn’s disease.

Meditation helps by reducing stress levels, which in turn reduces inflammation.

Decreased loneliness

It’s common for older people to become lonely.

This happens for many reasons including the death of loved ones, problems communicating with others, and social isolation.

Attending meditation sessions with other seniors can help them push away feelings of loneliness and spend time with other people.

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How Meditation Can Boost Your Career

Most people associate meditation with spiritualism or alternative lifestyles.

However, meditation can actually provide significant benefits to your physical and mental health, which can be useful for advancing your career.

This article will take a closer look at the many ways that meditation can boost your career and improve your health.

Stress reduction

Work related stress affects about half a million workers in the United Kingdom each year.

It is an insidious condition that can impact your physical and mental health in numerous ways.

It can also be detrimental to your performance at work as it changes how well you react to challenges and communicate with others.

Some studies even suggest that long term stress can shrink the prefrontal cortex, making it more difficult to interpret or memorise new information.

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and the production of stress hormones in the body.

Meditating regularly can also make you less emotionally reactive and less likely to experience a stress response when encountering difficult problems.

By reducing the stress you experience at work, you can improve your performance significantly and give your career a major boost.

Sharper mental focus

Meditation practice improves how well you can focus on a single thought, sensation, or feeling.

This gradually enhances your ability to focus on a single task.

As you become more proficient at meditation, you will notice that you can concentrate on a specific task for longer periods.

This will make finding solutions to complex problems easier and improve your performance at work.

Other benefits of having sharper mental focus include:

Better performance in meetings

You will be able to focus more attentively on the contributions that co-workers are making in meetings.

This improves how well you can contribute to those meetings.

Better information acquisition

Having sharper mental focus means you can obtain useful information from highly detailed documents more easily.

Being on top of the finer details will give you an edge over other employees and improve your chances of promotion.

Being able to understand complex issues

You will be able to understand complex concepts faster and more easily.

Less anxiety

Researchers have found that meditation is an excellent way to reduce anxiety.

It will help you deal with anxiety relating to giving presentations, meeting new clients, and other work-related tasks.

With less anxiety, your work performance will improve which enhances your future career prospects.

More creativity

Meditation has been shown to improve connections between the two halves of the brain and increase neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to reorganise).

This can improve the relationship between the creative and analytical sides of your brain, which makes it easier to take the technical information in front of you and to find creative solutions.

By harnessing your creativity, you will stand apart from other employees, potentially giving your career a major boost.

Detect and correct negative behaviours

Regular meditation sessions give you much more control over your thoughts and emotions.

As you develop greater control over your mind, you will begin to recognise negative behaviours including negative self talk.

Correcting these behaviours will help you develop more self confidence, positivity, and general happiness.

These positive attributes will help you succeed at work.

Enhanced productivity

Having greater focus, less stress, better time management, and more creativity means you can get much more done each day.

You will also have greater control over your emotions and thoughts, making it easier to really knuckle down and get a lot of work done.

This will eventually be noticed by your employer and other colleagues, making you a highly valued employee.

Compassion and empathy

Meditation will help you develop a sense of tolerance and compassion for yourself and others.

You will become much more open minded, calm, and empathetic.

These attributes are useful in a busy workplace where some of your co-workers are highly stressed.

You will be able to develop a better understanding of the issues they are experience and have the compassion necessary to help them overcome their problems.

This will help you develop deeper relationships with co-workers, which can be very beneficial to career progression.

I hope you enjoyed reading How Meditation Can Boost Your Career.

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The Practical Effects Of Meditation Practice

Most people associate meditation with spiritualism or religions like Buddhism and Hinduism.

However, meditation doesn’t need to be spiritual — anyone can practice meditation and attain some incredible practical benefits.

This guide will share a few of those benefits.

Less stress

Most people who meditate regularly experience a significant reduction in their stress levels.

Meditation reduces stress by forcing your attention on the present.

You won’t be thinking about traumatic events that happened in the past or future events that are causing you anxiety.

Meditation allows you to clear your mind, relax, and let go of any problems causing stress in your life.   

Stress reduction is a very useful practical effect of meditation, as stress can severely damage your health.

Researchers have discovered that stress is related to many diseases including heart disease, obesity, asthma, anxiety, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

By reducing your stress levels, you will be reducing the symptoms of these conditions or reducing the likelihood that they will occur at all.

Reduces the likelihood of depression

Researchers in the United Kingdom found that practicing meditation can reduce the likelihood of depression related symptoms in adolescents.

Another paper found that it mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga were useful for reducing depression in pregnant women.

More creativity

Many people find that they experience a  sudden burst of creativity once they begin practicing meditation regularly.

You will find that it is easier to find creative solutions to problems and to come up with new ideas.

Most people benefit from this sudden surge of creativity, finding it useful in both their work life and personal life.

Meditation will help you find a career you love

If you have found yourself at a crossroads and are not sure which direction to take your life, meditation can help.

Meditation gives them a sense of clarity and help you understand what your purpose in life should be.

It will help you find the ideal career for your personal goals and attributes.

Enter into relationships more easily

By meditating regularly, you will obtain a sense of calmness and confidence.

These attributes are very attractive to other people.

You will discover that it is much easier to strike up new personal relationships after meditating for a few months.

This can help your work, family, and romantic life.

Meditation improves your attention span and decision making

Meditation requires participants to clear their mind and focus on one thing.

Eventually, this practice will make it easier to concentrate on other stimuli — improving your ability to learn, communicate, and make good decisions.

This is backed up by research that found meditation can improve information processing and decision-making.

It can help you beat addictions

If you are attempting to beat a food, alcohol, tobacco, or drug addiction, meditation might be useful.

Multiple studies have found that meditation helps participants turn their focus away from their addiction.

You will be less likely to get sick

A research paper published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that meditation had a positive effect on the immune system.

This could help you avoid or recover from certain types of illnesses.

Meditation strengthens your brain

Researchers from Harvard University found that mindfulness practice increases regional brain gray matter density.

In simpler terms, it improved how much grey matter the brain had in certain parts of the brain.

The regions affected by meditation included parts of the brain responsible for emotions, memory, perspective and learning.

Reduced risk of heart attack and stroke

A study published in 2012 followed 200 individuals who were at high risk of heart disease for 5 years.

Participants were given the option of taking a health education class or a meditation class.

After 5 years, the participants who took the meditation class had a 48% reduction in risk of heart disease and stroke.

The researchers believe that the ability of meditation to relieve stress and lower blood pressure helped the participants avoid heart disease.

Create more time in your day

A paper published by American scientists found that meditation’s effect on psychomotor vigilance is responsible for helping the brain function well on less sleep.

You may find that meditation helps you get up earlier and fit more activities into each day.

Meditation increases pain tolerance

Researchers have found that meditation can increase a person’s tolerance of pain.

This is particularly useful for people who are suffering from chronic medical conditions like osteoarthritis or heart disease.

As you can see, there are practical effects from practicing meditation!

It really is one of the best things you can do to improve your quality of life.

How Meditation Can Help With Weight Loss

It has long been known that mediation is good for the body and mind.

There are reported benefits that include lowered blood pressure and a sense of inner calm.

But did you know that meditation can also be used as a tool for losing weight?

Thanks to the awesome power of this mind-clearing practice you can actually use your meditation sessions to boost your diet efforts.

So just how can meditation help with weight loss?

A single focus

Mediation is all about the ability to focus.

It is a form of mindfulness although there is some distinction between the two.

However the common ground between them is that you are encouraged to be present in the moment, with no focus on the past or present.

By embracing this skill as part of your meditation practice, you will be learning a new diet trick that really works.

When we diet we put pressure on ourselves.

We judge our progress on past endeavours or focus on a party coming up in a few weeks and start to panic and sabotage our efforts.

If on the other hand we can come to see food as a present thing, we focus only on what happens at each meal.

We can focus on these singular events, pick good food, stop eating when we are full, and generally slow the eating process down.

We do not compare the previous bad meal, but simply live in the moment.

We make more conscious choices as to the food we choose to eat.

Mindfully being aware of how and when we eat and what we actually consume.

This has been shown to lead to a higher number of good days and considerably fewer days where we eat badly or overindulge.

A purpose

Another great benefit of meditation generally is the sense of purpose we can find.

Rather than rush from task to task cramming in as much as we can to our day, we slow down.

Setting aside the time to meditate helps us create purpose in the events that follow and we stop fretting about the things that really do not matter.

Things that may once have seemed significant and colossal stop being problems.

This purpose and positive state of mind can help us to approach dieting with a calm undertone that is less panic-stricken than our previous hectic selves.

Now we have the power to calmly assess the situation and understand the driving factor to overeat.

For some people that is stress, for others it is anger, any emotion good or bad can send us reaching for food.

We are comforting or celebrating with ourselves.

Being more purposeful means we are better placed to see that we do not need the food we have previously used and instead can calmly find another outlet to support our negative state of mind or indeed to celebrate with us when things go right.

Meditation also lowers the cortisol levels in the brain which make us stressed.

Feeling calmer instantly makes dieting seem easier.

The Scientific Benefits Of Meditation

Many still view the art of meditation as something of a hippy pastime, only to be practised by people who lead unorthodox or unconventional lifestyles.

Others see meditation as a strange and foreign practice that’s only used by monks and priests in faraway countries and whilst it may be interesting, it surely doesn’t have any benefits in the material world which us westerners live.

This couldn’t be any more wrong.

The truth is that there’s an abundance of benefits to be enjoyed by those who delve into this often-misunderstood art form.

These aren’t just fanciful impressions derived from personal experiences either; serious, fact-based scientific study has proved how amazing meditation can be for you over recent years.

Read on to find out some of the benefits of this ancient art form, backed up by science.

Reduced stress

Are family issues keeping you on edge?

Do you feel overwhelmed by work life?

You might want to try meditation.

Studies prove that aside from significantly reducing stress over a period of three months, meditation reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying.

What’s more conclusive than an actual physical change in the brain?

Enhanced immune system

Meditation is so powerful it can actually boost your body’s immune system, enabling you to stave off pesky colds and persistent illnesses.

The reason meditation can do this is because your immune system reacts to positive and negative thoughts and, through mindfulness, you can create a positive mental environment which will have a beneficial effect on your immune system.

Studies also show that meditation reduces the amount of pro-inflammatory genes in older adults, as well as a slowdown in the reduction of CD-4 cell count.

CD-4 cells are essentially the cells in your body which prevent a virus from propagating, so if you’re finding yourself under the weather more often than you’d like then meditation might be the cure you’re looking for.

Improved decisiveness

Millions of people around the world suffer from being indecisive about everything from important work-related choices to simple things such as where to go out to eat.

Meditation has been proven to quash indecisiveness thanks to its ability to enable us to make rational decisions and remove emotion from the equation.

People who meditate are proven to be able to better consider the present moment and clear their minds of other thoughts that may affect their choices, resulting in clearer, better-thought-out decisions for practitioners of this wonderful art form.

Why Some Schools Are Replacing Detention With Meditation

The effectiveness of the traditional school detention has long been a subject of debate.

How is forcing unruly children to stay at school after all their friends have gone home, completing mundane tasks such as writing lines, going to give them a greater affinity with their schoolwork and teachers?

Surely it’s only going to simply make them resent education more?

Some visionary teachers considered this point and replaced this old-school method of punishment with meditation to see how children would react.

The results were astonishing.

Instead of sending its children to boring after-school detention classes or to the principal’s office, students at Robert W.Coleman Elementary school in Baltimore are sent to the Mindful Moment Room.

Instead of the traditional desk with a pen and paper to write lines on, the Mindful Moment Room is kitted out with lamps, pillows and decorations in order to foster a calming environment for children to relax and re-centre.

The benefit of this is that children can separate their minds from whatever caused them to misbehave, flushing out negative thoughts and emotions through simply being in the moment rather than dwelling on the situation which made them angry or upset.

Once calmed, children at Robert W.Coleman Elementary are encourage to talk through the situation and analyse what happened and why they became upset from a more rational and relaxed viewpoint.

Afterwards they’re able to return to the classroom without holding any grudges about why they were dismissed.

This enhanced clarity then results in less disruption and more time spent learning, boosting the attainment of the pupils and, ultimately, their life chances.

The school didn’t see a single suspension for the whole of 2015 as a result of meditation.

Across the pond in the UK, too, the Mindfulness in Schools charity is working to incorporate meditation into school curriculums to boost attainment and reduce poor behaviour.

But why else are schools turning to meditation?

Increased empathy

Meditation imbues people with greater empathy and understanding for others, and allows them to consider the viewpoints and circumstances of others with greater clarity and thoughtfulness.

This is hugely beneficial in a school environment as it can help pupils get along with each other better and lead more happy, positive lifestyles.

Reduce anxiety

In a world where children as young as 4 are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and depression, it’s easy to see why fantastic charities such as Mindfulness in Schools have been created.

Meditation is proven to affect physical changes in our brains that reduce anxiety, meaning that the cure for the anxiety epidemic in UK schoolchildren could lie in this amazing art form.