If we’re really committed to a life of gusto and vitality, then we would be remiss to ignore the amazing benefits available with meditation for Boomers. It’s been common knowledge for years that meditation helps calm people and decrease the stress in their lives. Even hospitals often provide meditation classes for people facing surgery to help them remain calm and recover more quickly.
More recently, studies have shown that meditation provides so much for those who practice it - young or old - that it can be used to manage any number of health issues in lieu of medications. For example a study, published in early 2014 found that participants with mild anxiety or depression who practiced mindfulness meditation improved their moods after eight weeks equivalent to what had been seen with prescription medications. That same study found that meditation also helped alleviate pain associated with arthritis, back trouble, headaches and other problems.
The director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. John Denniger, has found that meditation has many benefits beyond fighting stress and staying calm. Not only can meditation for Boomers help people lose weight, it can lower blood pressure, help with irritable bowel syndrome, improve sleep, enhance smoking cessation, and slow the aging process.
Denniger said that meditation has the ability to make certain brain regions thicker with the growth of brain cells. Some researchers have concluded that meditation can increase a person’s brain cells in several regions and actually make them more intelligent. A recent study at UCLA used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of long-time meditators and found their brains were larger than the non-meditators. And another found that older people who meditate regularly don’t lose their gray matter as fast as people who don’t meditate.
From Transcendental Meditation to walking meditation and all varieties in between, there is a type of meditation that will fit the need for anyone. Whatever we choose to practice does need to be simple and accessible (like we can do it the comfort of our living rooms rather than going to a classroom somewhere).
And it needs to be something we easily understand, are physically and comfortably able to perform and not too time-consuming.
Here are a few choices and within each of these are even more specific types:
An industrious meditator, Giovanni Dienstmann, who writes and maintains a blog site on meditating called Live and Dare has put together a summary of more than 100 studies on the benefits of meditation. He has come up with at least 76 benefits. Some of the benefits of meditation for Boomers that haven’t been mentioned previously include:
Even if we only realize a handful of the benefits that meditation for Boomers has been shown to provide, it seems that we can't possibly go wrong giving it a try.
It's well worth the investment of from 10 minutes to an hour a day - depending on the type of meditation one chooses to practice and the diligence put into the effort - to have more happiness, energy and reduced stress in our lives.
Oh, and don't forget, slowing down the aging process!