Meditation and ageing

Meditation and ageing
I've just started a 40 day EFT programme which includes a daily meditation. Also, earlier this year, I returned to doing Yoga;  regarded by some teachers as meditation in movement. Meditation has always been something I've dipped into from time to time. Because of it's eastern roots some might see meditation as a bit new agey or esoteric. However, once  de-mystified,  it's really quite ordinary and can be done by anyone.

Intuitively we know that meditation is  good for relaxation and getting grounded. However, it's benefits extend way beyond that. I've recently become aware of the work carried out by Harvard Professor Herbert Benson, at the Massachusetts  General Hospital., who  began studying the effects of meditation 40 years ago. Now he and his team  continue to conduct clinical research into meditation and other  mind body tools that help to elicit what is known as the the relaxation response; which Benson refers to as "a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional response to stress".

Meditation and ageing
Once the relaxation response is activated Benson argues that brain function is enhanced, the heart rate is stabilised, stress and anxiety is reduced. Also, if performed regularly, meditation slows age-related changes. It seems to me that  meditating regularly has many health benefits, particularly for older women. If you think that you haven't got the time then think again. By taking 10-20 minutes out of your day to gain clarity and focus you will function so much better.

So, give meditation a try. It's really quite simple. Firstly, anyone can do it. Also, it's free. and no tools, equipment, or specialist training is required.

To help get you started here is a basic guide:
  • Ring fence  20 minutes once a day when you know you won't be disturbed
  • Sit in a quiet room, get comfortable and grounded - you might want to have some relaxing music or sound playing quietly in the background
  • Close your eyes 
  • Focus your attention on your breathing
  • Start with 10 deep breaths  - in and out
  • Then focus on a word which will be your mantra eg love, flower, peace; Benson likes "one" as it suggests a sense of completeness with no religious connotations
  • Then in your mind recite this mantra  for about 20 minutes
  • After this time refocus your attention on your breathing 
  • Inhaling and exhaling deeply count backwards from 10 
  • Then open your eyes 
  • Take another deep breath in and end on an exhale as you re-engage with your surroundings
After the meditation it's  a good idea to have a stretch, walk about and get engaged in some every day activity; like putting the kettle on to make tea. Or sit and enjoy a home-made carrot juice with ginger to enliven the senses.
Meditation and ageing

A useful adjunct to meditation is to keep a journal. Jot down your thoughts. Note how you felt before and after. Anything that comes to mind. Review the journal as you go along and note progress. Are there any messages? Meditation and keeping a journal is particularly good for personal development. If like me you find yourself at a bit of a cross roads, meditating for answers and clarity is a good starting point. Intuitively we all know what the answers are. I guess it's just about giving ourselves time and space to do the internal work required.

I'm going to make meditation an integral feature of my daily life. (A bit like brushing my teeth.) I hope that after reading this it becomes part of yours.

Meditation and ageing

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