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We expect life to slow down once we reach a certain age but the reality is often the opposite. Longer life expectancy means we now need to work for longer and harder. If we don’t properly take care of both our bodies and minds, it can be a struggle to keep up.
Meditation is a fantastic way to help us as we grow older – keeping both our body and mind in check and those who regularly practise meditation will see a whole host of mental and physical benefits. Here’s the top 7 benefits of meditation for the over 40s.
Do you ever feel as if you are always tired? Sometimes, no matter how much we sleep; our bodies simply won’t wake up. Practising dynamic breathing is a great way to give ourselves a boost in the morning as helps to unblock stagnant energy that has built up over the night, as well as helping our brain to ‘recharge’ and release any negative energy which is dragging us down.
Meditation creates a positive mental environment which allows our immune system to thrive. Studies have shown that meditation can boost antibodies and help our immune system to function more effectively. Getting your body back on side can be achieved from just ten minutes of meditation each day, a perfect morning or evening activity to help your body to fight off nasty germs and illnesses.
If you find yourself struggling to drift off at night, meditation could be your knight in shining armour. Practising breathing exercises before bed can help relax both your mind and body, preparing your body for sleep. Plus, the stress relieving effects of meditation mean you will likely sleep deeper and better than you would otherwise, which will help you feel more alert and productive the next day.
Meditation can actually cause a physiological change in the brain, in the form of gyrification. The increase in gyrification boosts how well the brain processes information, makes decisions and it can even increase your attention span. While setting aside time to meditate may seem counter-productive when you’ve got a lot on, the result is more productivity, energy and focus for the rest of the day.
Reduced Physical Pain
When you reach 40, it’s only natural to want to keep your body as healthy and pain-free as possible. Unfortunately, our bodies sometimes refuse to play ball, and we are often subject to injuries, chronic pain or other physical stresses.
One of the main goals of meditation is to be able to sit with pain as it arises, neither judging your experience nor trying to block it out completely. Quieting the mind through meditation will help you to sit with any pain in your body, and accept it as it is. By relaxing and breathing into your pain, you can help it to dissipate. The mind is an immensely powerful tool – mindfulness meditation has been said to reduce chronic pain by up to 90% and it is now even prescribed by hospitals.
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Growing older can bring with it a whole host of mental strains and stresses. Trying to maintain a social life, a good career, a healthy lifestyle and a good family environment can really take its toll, and often at least one of these can fall by the wayside – with the stress manifesting in the form of depression or anxiety.
Meditation is now a widely-recognized cure for both depression and anxiety thanks to its ability to centre us in the present moment. Meditating regularly will result in a decrease in stress hormone, cortisol. Unlike many antidepressants, meditation has virtually no negative side-effects.
There’s no denying that as we age, we may start to look different. No longer sporting our mid-twenties thighs of steel or the dewy glow of our teenage selves, our confidence can take a knock.
Meditating regularly will do wonders for our confidence, as it promotes acceptance and gratitude. By solely focusing on the present moment, meditators can learn to be content with their current situation and many guided meditations now focus on expressing gratitude. The result is a heightened sense of self-worth, as well as the liberating feeling that your life is exactly where it should be.