Do you meditate? If so, you are well aware of the power of meditation to restore a sense of calm and physical relaxation. If you don’t meditate you may want to consider it. This is especially true if you are caring for an elderly loved one. A UCLA study found that mindful meditation not only helped reduce feelings of depression and loneliness among caregivers, it also helped reduce inflammatory proteins that can lead to heart disease and other chronic diseases. The study also found that the healing potential of meditation and its therapeutic effect on the brain may even play a role in reducing risks that can lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease!
While all this is important, most of those who meditate would say that they don’t need studies to tell them how powerful the therapeutic impact of meditation is and its ability to, in effect, “reboot” the brain. Here are a few potential benefits of meditation, from The Mayo Clinic:
Emotional Health and Well-being:
- Provides a new perspective when in stressful situations.
- Helps to manage stress.
- Increases self-awareness.
- Helps to focus on the present.
- Helps neutralize negative emotions.
- Can increase creativity and imagination.
- Can increase patience and tolerance.
There is also research that suggests meditation may help individuals more effectively control and manage these conditions:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep issues
- Tension headaches
The Mayo Clinic cautions that, while research increasingly supports the many health benefits of meditation, there remain some researchers who believe it is not yet possible to draw conclusions. Therefore, they urge individuals to check in with their healthcare providers as to the pros and cons of using meditation to tackle any serious health issues.
What most professionals do agree on, however, is that meditation is able to focus our attention away from negative, stress inducing thoughts, and refocus on establishing a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health.
There are several different types of meditation to choose from. So, it may be wise to choose a beginner’s class to learn about them and to find out which style works best for you. Take time to explore your options and, with a little patience and a consistent effort, you may find that meditation can make your life as a caregiver just a bit easier and less stressful. That, in and of itself, may be worth the effort.