Meditation Training Proves Beneficial for Older Adults, Reveals Trial

,

 / 

Meditation Training

In a groundbreaking 18-month trial led by University College London (UCL) and an international research group, meditation training emerges as a potent tool in enhancing the well-being of older adults. The results, published in PLOS ONE, showcase the transformative impact of meditation on awareness, connection to others, and insight.

While the study didn’t reveal significant improvements in two commonly used measures of psychological well-being and quality of life, researchers believe it sheds light on potential limitations in current well-being tracking methods.

Lead author Marco Schlosser from UCL Psychiatry and the University of Geneva expressed the importance of understanding how to support the psychological well-being of aging populations. “Our findings suggest that meditation is a promising non-pharmacological approach to support human flourishing in late life,” he said.

Study To Understand The Impact Of Meditation Training On Older Adults

This study stands out as the longest randomized meditation training trial to date, exploring the effects of an 18-month program on the psychological well-being of over 130 healthy French-speaking individuals aged 65 to 84.

Conducted by the edit-Aging (Silver Santé Study) research group, the trial took place in Caen, France, involving collaboration between UCL, Inserm, University of Geneva, Université de Caen Normandy, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, University of Liège, Technische Universität Dresden, and Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

The meditation program, compared against English language training as a control group and a no-intervention control group, featured a nine-month mindfulness module followed by a nine-month loving-kindness and compassion module.

Participants engaged in weekly two-hour group sessions, practiced at home daily for at least 20 minutes, and attended one retreat day.

The study revealed that meditation training significantly influenced a global well-being score encompassing awareness, connection, and insight. Awareness denotes an undistracted attentiveness to thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, fostering calmness and deep satisfaction.

Connection captures positive emotions like respect and gratitude, enhancing relationships. Insight involves self-knowledge and understanding thought patterns, contributing to transforming unhelpful perceptions.

Interestingly, the benefits of meditation training on established measures of psychological quality of life were comparable to English language training, while neither significantly impacted another widely used measure of psychological well-being.

The researchers posit that these measures might not fully encapsulate the depth of human flourishing achievable through longer-term meditation training, potentially overlooking the benefits to awareness, connection, and insight.

Furthermore, the study highlighted that not all participants benefited equally. Those with lower levels of psychological well-being at the trial’s outset showed more significant improvements compared to those with higher baseline levels.

Co-author Dr. Natalie Marchant from UCL Psychiatry expressed optimism about the future of meditation research. “Now that we have evidence that meditation training can help older adults, we hope that further refinements in partnership with colleagues from other research disciplines could make meditation programs even more beneficial.”

Senior author Dr. Antoine Lutz from Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Inserm, France, sees the potential for targeted and effective meditation programs. “Our findings pave the way for more targeted and effective programs that can help older adults flourish,” he said, emphasizing a holistic approach to well-being beyond mere disease prevention.

As society grapples with the challenges of an aging population, the study underscores the potential of meditation as a transformative tool in enhancing the overall well-being of older adults. The journey towards holistic well-being takes a significant step forward with meditation at its core.


— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Stress Can Lead to Cortisol Belly: Here’s How to Fix It

Meditation Training

Stress can affect our lives in many ways, from our mental health to our relationships, but it can also lead to physical symptoms such as ‘cortisol belly’. Cortisol belly, named after the stress hormone, has been widely discussed on social platforms such as TikTok, with users and experts explaining how it occurs, and theorizing what could be done about it.

While you may not have heard of the term ‘cortisol belly’ before, you might have heard of stubborn belly fat or stress belly, which are essentially the same thing. This is because it refers to the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue around the stomach, which has been linked to prolonged exposure to elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

What Is Cortisol Belly?

According to dietitian

Up Next

Study Reveals the Complex Relationship Between Calorie Restriction and Longevity

Meditation Training

For years, scientists have speculated that consuming fewer calories might help people live longer. A recent study has shed new light on this topic, suggesting that the relationship between calorie restriction and longevity is more complex than previously thought.

“We’ve known for nearly 100 years that calorie restriction can extend healthy lifespan in a variety of laboratory animals,” stated one researcher last year to CNN.

However, the new study seems to indicate a more intricate relationship between calorie restriction and living to a ripe old age.

“There are many reasons why caloric restriction may extend human lifespans, and the topic is still being studied,” explained Waylon Hastings, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher. “One primary mechanism through which life is extended relates t

Up Next

Exercise Cuts Heart Disease Risk by Lowering Stress, Study Finds

Meditation Training

New research indicates that physical activity lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, in part by reducing stress-related signaling in the brain. The study, led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that people with stress-related conditions such as depression experienced the most cardiovascular benefits from physical activity.

To assess the mechanisms underlying the psychological and cardiovascular disease benefits of physical activity, Ahmed Tawakol, an investigator and cardiologist in the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his colleagues analyzed medical records and other information of 50,359 participants from the Mass General Brigham Biobank who completed a physical activity survey.

A subset of 774 participants also underw

Up Next

Lack of Sleep Linked to Rising Cases of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Warns Expert

Meditation Training

In a recent revelation, lack of adequate sleep has been associated with a concerning rise in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to insights shared by medical experts. As sleep deprivation continues to plague a significant portion of the population, the implications on public health are becoming increasingly alarming.

More than a third of adults in the United States fail to attain the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, a trend that has sparked growing concerns among healthcare professionals. The scarcity of shuteye, it turns out, can have profound effects beyond daytime fatigue and drowsiness.

What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

According to Ibrahim Hanouneh, a gastroenterologist with

Up Next

Study Explores Impact of Residential Green Space on Childhood Mental Health

Meditation Training

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open investigates the relationship between residential green space and externalizing and internalizing symptoms in children. Conducted in the United States, the study aims to identify potential factors that can mitigate risks associated with childhood mental health disorders.

According to the study, up to 40% of children in the US may meet the criteria for mental disorders by adulthood, with an increased prevalence of externalizing (e.g., rule-breaking and aggression) and internalizing (e.g., depression and anxiety) symptoms.

Researchers suggest that environmental factors, such as green spa

Up Next

Study Links Volatile Work Hours to Burnout and Health Issues

Meditation Training

A recent study conducted by NYU Social Work professor Wen-Jui Han has shed light on the detrimental effects of volatile work hours on both physical and mental health. The research, which analyzed data spanning over 30 years, found a significant correlation between irregular work hours and increased health concerns.

The study, which examined the work schedules and sleep patterns of over 7,000 Americans, revealed that individuals working rotating shifts were more prone to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. The primary factor contributing to these issues was identified as a disruption in sleep patterns caused by inconsistent work schedules.

Jamaica Shiers, a representative from Path Behavioral Health in Salt Lake City, emphasized the prevalence of burnout among adults, attributing it to the pressure to maintain peak performance at al

Up Next

New Study Suggests Balanced Diet Better Than Vegetarian Diet for Brain Health

Meditation Training

In a groundbreaking study published in Nature Mental Health, researchers have shed light on the relationship between dietary patterns and brain health. The study suggests that a balanced diet, comprising various food types, may be superior to a vegetarian diet in supporting mental well-being and cognitive function.

The research, which analyzed data from nearly 182,000 participants, focused on four main dietary patterns: starch-free/reduced starch, vegetarian, high-protein/low-fiber, and balanced diet. Participants’ food preferences were examined in categories such as fruits, vegetables, starches, protein, and snacks.