Want to eliminate stress, sleep sounder and improve your wellbeing and happiness? Meditation may be the solution.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but has recently gained popularity thanks to its incredible health benefits. While some may think meditation is just a fad, its ability to ease stress and anxiety are well proven.
The best part is that meditation is simple and free. All you need is yourself. Find somewhere comfortable to sit or lay – some people even do it before they get out of bed for the day or before they go to sleep – and focus on your breathing as you “empty your mind”. There are myriad guided meditation videos available online, or you can download an app and be guided through a meditation. If you’re just starting out, even just five to ten minutes each day will have an impact. The key is to make it a regular practice.
Starts at 60 spoke to meditation teacher Luke McLeod to find out why over-60s should give it a go.
Researchers have found that regular meditation can slow the ageing process. A study found that those who practice meditation regularly had a longer telomere length.
Telomeres are protective caps, much like the plastic tip on shoelaces, that protect the ends of each chromosome in your body, McLeod explains. These shorten slightly every time the chromosome replicates. Shorter telomeres have been associated with the onset of many age-related diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia.
“This strongly supports how meditation can have a positive effect on healthy cellular aging,” he adds.
Another benefit for people who practice meditation regularly is that it can help lower blood pressure, McLeod explains. According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, transcendental meditation, (a specific form of silent mantra meditation), is an effective treatment for controlling high blood pressure.
“Meditation can also lessen the reliance on prescribed blood pressure medication,” McLeod says.
Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? McLeod insists that meditation could help you get a little extra shut-eye.
Melatonin, often known as the “sleep hormone”, plays an important role in the quality of sleep an individual gets. Melatonin works together with your body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) and lets you know when it’s time to sleep, wake and eat. One study found that meditation can boost melatonin levels.
Regular meditation increases blood flow to the brain, which can improve memory and concentration. Some studies have found that meditation may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Meditation can simply bring greater joy into your life,” McLeod says.
A regular practice can eliminate stress, release feel-good chemicals, and increase relaxation. Meditation is also associated with a reduced risk of depression.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.
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