For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word “meditation” is an image of a contorted body surrounded by burning candles. While this may strike some people as peaceful, for others it may be more painful. If the latter describes you, then it’s time to rethink what you know about meditation as science is shattering common stereotypes by uncovering its health benefits for seniors, including the ability to alleviate loneliness.
Everyone feels lonely from time-to-time, but for seniors it can be a daily occurrence. The nest is empty and a spouse may have passed on leaving significant periods of time void of companionship. Although the emotional side-effects of isolation are well-known, researchers have also documented mental and physical consequences such as increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and premature death. Side note: the loneliness many seniors feel is often a big reason they enjoy independent or assisted living; because it offers a built-in social network and the opportunity for engagement, friendships and connection.