Slow down and relax.
Take it easy.
These are all phrases to describe an ancient practice that helps improve physical, mental and spiritual health: meditation.
A new Canadian study shows that meditation reduces late-life depression and anxiety. It’s just the latest in a growing body of research that suggests people over 50 are meditating more than ever because they are learning how helpful it can be to their wellbeing.
US health authorities define meditation as “a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.”
Notice it says nothing about sitting in the lotus position and chanting.
Most forms of meditation have four elements: a quiet location; a comfortable posture (like sitting or lying down); a focus of attention (say, your breathing or a specific image); and letting distractions come and go without judging them.
Research shows that such mindfulness can lower stress, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.
All of that might be why the meditation business is booming. From 2012 to 2017, the percentage of American adults who reported meditation went from 4.1 percent to 14.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Community centers, assisted living facilities, libraries and free podcasts are rising up to meet the growing curiosity. Let us know if you’re curious about meditation and need help finding information or getting started.