After our general thinking abilities peak at age 30, many of us slowly begin to show subtle signs of age-related cognitive decline. These signs may include misplacing your house or car keys, forgetting other people’s names, and not being as good at multitasking as you once were. While cognitive decline is a natural process of aging, research suggests that meditation may be one way to combat it.
Meditation involves training the mind to increase attention, awareness, and relaxation through multiple cycles of deep breathing. Along with a healthy diet, physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle, meditation can be an effective way to maintain brain health and mental performance. What exactly does meditation help you do? Here are the four effects of meditation on cognitive decline.
Meditation Helps Regulate Stress
Given the fast-paced nature of the world, many of us have experienced being overwhelmed and stressed out by life. Mindfulness meditation is an effective stress management tool and is said to significantly reduce stress and anxiety when practiced consistently daily. Just a few minutes of meditation is enough to restore your calm and inner peace. Studies have proven that regular use over a period of eight weeks can help reduce stress.
Meditation Improves Memory and Concentration
With countless television shows, mobile phones, and other digital devices bombarding us with content, it’s easy to lose focus on what we are working on. Meditating can help improve mental focus and prevent your mind from wandering so that you can eventually block out distractions. Another study has shown that regular meditation not only refocuses your attention but also increases blood flow to the brain and strengthens memory. This leads to a stronger network of blood vessels, which strengthens memory capacity.
Meditation Increases Your Sense of Well-being
Meditation can help improve your well-being and overall quality of life. Not only does it improve your ability to regulate stress, but it is also said to help manage insomnia and depression. In response to stress, inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines are released, which can affect mood and lead to depression. Regular meditation exercises have been shown to lead to a better self-image and a more positive outlook on life.
Meditation Protects the Aging Brain
There is evidence of the adult brain changing with experience and training throughout a person’s life. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and the way the brain ages is highly dependent on an individual’s lifestyle. Consistent mental training through meditation can help maintain your neural reserve, which refers to your brain’s mental performance, capacity, and flexibility. An aging brain can be accompanied by rigidity in thinking, feelings, and opinions, making it difficult to accept and cope with life’s challenges. In this regard, meditation practices can help develop awareness of thoughts and feelings to relieve such stress and increase mental flexibility.
Health and Wellness at The Conservatory At Champion Forest
If you are a senior and are concerned about your cognitive abilities or have a loved one suffering from age-related cognitive decline, you may consider joining a retirement community where your needs and health are a priority. With a dedicated team, Conservatory At Champion Forest offers many health and fitness programs to help you live life to the fullest. Schedule a tour with us today and learn more about our senior living programs!