These days, there are a growing number of websites and self-help books explaining the many benefits of meditation. Often, they describe benefits such as increased awareness, lowered stress, and improved mood. Meditation has even been proven to help with various medical conditions. However, there is still some debate as far as meditation for cognitive function. Can it help? Scientists are unsure whether a regular meditation practice can improve the normal cognitive deficits that accompany aging. But on the other hand, there is no downside to the practice.
Next Avenue explains the evidence we have so far. Maybe you have trouble with finding words during a conversation. Or perhaps your concentration just isn’t what it used to be. These are all normal, yet frustrating, signs of decline in cognitive function as we age. Due to the frustration or even embarrassment these issues cause, many go looking for a way to improve their cognition. It’s no surprise so many have turned to meditation because of the many known benefits it has shown.
Yet it’s important to note that there have not been enough studies to confirm any consistent improvements. Most of the short-term studies that have been done on older adults with cognitive decline shown inconsistent evidence. Meditation may not necessarily improve cognitive function. But it can certainly improve other issues associated with aging like anxiety, stress and depression. Additionally, there is some preliminary evidence from recent studies that is positive.
Overall, meditation may or may not directly help you remember that word or focus better. While this is not the answer many are looking for, there are still plenty of reasons to meditate later in life. A new and simple practice called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is growing in popularity. People who practice this report increased acceptance of their aging process and higher self-confidence. So why not give meditation a shot?