A senior’s meditation practice can help you and your loved ones cope with changing health issues. Growing older brings trials and tribulations that creates stress as you transition into a different lifestyle with different abilities.
While these issues are an inevitable part of growing older, it doesn’t mean that we should simply grit our teeth and put up with it. Finding ways to cope with health issues is key to leading a happy, comfortable life and delaying the process of aging. In this first article of our 3-part series about meditation for seniors, we share the benefits of meditation and how it can help you cope with your health issues to give you a better quality of life.
A restful night’s sleep
Insomnia is common among seniors and can be caused by many factors, such as discomfort from medical conditions, stress or the loss of a loved one. A bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling drowsy, hindering your ability to focus while raising your anxiety levels. But rather than reaching for sleeping pills, there is a more effective (and inexpensive) remedy – meditation.
According to Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in Mind Body Medicine, mindfulness meditation evokes a relaxation response. Meditation and focusing on your breathing helps to relieve the mind and body of stress and create healthier sleep patterns. Meditation also boosts the production of melatonin, which results in a better night’s sleep and improves your body’s self-healing capacity.
Help you cope with pain
Many studies support the claim that mindfulness meditation helps seniors cope better with pain. Meditation can help you transform negative thoughts that lead to increased distress and discomfort into a healthier way of thinking. By not allowing your condition to define or dictate your life, you can change the way you handle pain and your attitude towards it. For seniors with inflammatory disorders like arthritis, meditation can have a positive effect on the neurological system and improve your ability to cope with pain.
Slow the progression of Alzheimer’s
Meditation helps to improve cognitive function, increase the brain’s hippocampal gray matter and lower cortisol levels in the brain. In simple terms, meditation helps to create positive brain changes, which can play an important role in slowing the progression of brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Research proves a high correlation between stress levels and the development of Alzheimer’s, so by reducing stress through mindfulness meditation, seniors can slow the progression of the condition or even lessen the risk of developing it in the first place. Meditation can help improve the quality of life of people living with brain disorders. It engages different parts of the brain through breathing and concentration to prevent cognitive decline.
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Our next article in the series will focus on how an aging population can use meditation to cope better with change and anxiety.
To your health,