Category Archives: meditation

Music, meditation may improve early cognitive decline – MNT

Meditation and music listening programs have shown promise in improving measures of cognitive and memory in adults with subjective cognitive decline, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Emerging evidence indicates that subjective cognitive decline (SCD) could represent a pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, or unhealthy brain aging. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the United States.

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Dr. Kim Innes, associate professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues aimed to assess the effects of two mind-body practices – Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening – on cognitive outcomes in people with SCD.

Kirtan Kriya is a form of yoga meditation that combines focused breathing practices, singing or chanting, finger movements, and visualization. Practitioners of yoga claim that this type of meditation stimulates all of a person’s senses and the associated brain areas.

Meditation and music listening programs have shown promise in improving measures of cognitive and memory in adults with subjective cognitive decline, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Listening to music or taking part in meditation could improve memory and cognitive function among people with SCD.

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Filed under aging, aging brain, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, cognitive decline, meditation, music, music therapy, successful aging

Meditation may lead to less age-related gray matter atrophy in the brain

I feel strongly about the benefits of exercise in keeping our bodies and brains strong as we age. There is an entire Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits) that you can check out. However, it is nice to know that we also have mental methods to preserve our aging brains.

Since 1970, life expectancy around the world has risen dramatically, with people living more than 10 years longer. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that starting when people are in their mid-to-late-20s, the brain begins to wither — its volume and weight begin to decrease. As this occurs, the brain can begin to lose some of its functional abilities.

So although people might be living longer, the years they gain often come with increased risks for mental illness and neurodegenerative disease. Fortunately, a new study shows meditation could be one way to minimize those risks.

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Brain scans of meditators and non-meditators. Areas of the brain affected by aging (in red) are fewer and less widespread in people who meditate.

Building on their earlier work that suggested people who meditate have less age-related atrophy in the brain’s white matter, a new study by UCLA researchers found that meditation appeared to help preserve the brain’s gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons. Continue reading

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Meditation Might Slow Age-Related Loss of Gray Matter in the Brain

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about the positive link between exercise and brain health. Similarly, I had a post yesterday on the benefits of Omega-3’s and brain health. Now comes Neuroscience News with a report that further cerebral benefits may be gleaned by meditation – giving us a three-pronged attack against cognitive declines. Hear! Hear!

New brain research findings suggest long-term meditation may lead to less age-related gray matter atrophy in the human brain.

Since 1970, life expectancy around the world has risen dramatically, with people living more than 10 years longer. That’s the good news.

Luders_Figure-frontiers-psychology-aging-meditation.jpg

 

Brain scans of meditators and non-meditators. Areas of the brain affected by aging (in red) are fewer and less widespread in people who meditate, bottom row, than in people who don’t meditate. Negative correlations between local gray matter and age. Displayed are maximum intensity projections superimposed onto the SPM standard glass brain (sagittal, coronal, axial). Shown, in red, are significant negative age-related correlations within controls (top) and meditators (bottom). Significance profiles are corrected for multiple comparisons via controlling the family-wise error (FWE) rate at p ≤ 0.05. Note the less extended clusters in meditators compared to controls. Credit: Frontiers in Psychology.

Brain scans of meditators and non-meditators. Areas of the brain affected by aging (in red) are fewer and less widespread in people who meditate, bottom row, than in people who don’t meditate. Negative correlations between local gray matter and age. Displayed are maximum intensity projections superimposed onto the SPM standard glass brain (sagittal, coronal, axial). Shown, in red, are significant negative age-related correlations within controls (top) and meditators (bottom). Significance profiles are corrected for multiple comparisons via controlling the family-wise error (FWE) rate at p ≤ 0.05. Note the less extended clusters in meditators compared to controls. Credit: Frontiers in Psychology.

The bad news is that starting when people are in their mid-to-late-20s, the brain begins to wither — its volume and weight begin to decrease. As this occurs, the brain can begin to lose some of its functional abilities. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, meditation

Slow Down for the weekend – Infographics

Two of these have to do with slowing down your life. That seems appropriate for the weekend.

Besides these lovely ideas, please check out my Page – Why you Should Walk More for a full explanation of the benefits of walking. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated, but really the belle of the ball.

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The little infographic is one of the best explanations of why just trying to lose weight is non-successful most of the time. if you get your thinking straight first, you can be successful at losing weight. But, it is more than just not looking bad. If you are willing to alter your life to remove excess pounds and integrating intelligent eating and regular exercise, you will see  you pounds melt off and stay off, not to mention having more energy and a generally more positive outlook. For the full story check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.

82e630b94db3c2d18250c7db6a62b460Slow down your life. Learn how to meditate. Take some time every day to let your mind savor stillness. Our hustle bustle daily lives too often leave no time for this and we pay a heavy price. You can learn more about relaxation and the brain on my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain.

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11 Meditation Tips for Beginners

Not everyone enjoys just sitting in lotus pose, and believe it or not, you can meditate in many other ways. Yoga is also a form of meditation, and involves holding certain poses and flowing through different movements to achieve mind-body-soul unity. meditateYou can also engage in “walking meditation,” in which you fully focus on the act of walking, and helps you develop mindfulness. You can test out different styles, or combine them, to find one that relaxes you the most.

I would like to add that I have said for years that riding my bike is a meditation for me in exactly the way described in the paragraph above.

 

Tony

Our Better Health

For those who have never tried meditation, it can seem like an unproductive, strange way to spend twenty or so minutes of your day. However, meditation offers a slew of benefits to anyone on the planet, and it costs nothing to start up a daily practice.

By meditating regularly, you can increase your vibrational energy, or life force, and even retrain your brain to think positively. If you need some help getting started with meditation, refer to these tips for guidance.

11 Meditation Tips for Beginners

1. Don’t get frustrated with your brain.

In the beginning, you will probably have a hard time just sitting quietly, even for five or ten minutes at a time. It takes time to adjust, as meditation is a foreign concept to many people. However, as long as you make a conscious effort to tune out from everything and go within, you will soon find…

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Natural Relief for Pain and Stress – WebMD

Chronic pain is complex. Research over the past 25 years has shown that pain is influenced by emotional and social factors. These need to be addressed along with the physical causes of pain. Chronic stress is one factor that contributes to chronic pain. The good news is that you can get natural pain relief by making relaxation exercises a part of your pain-management plan, according to WebMD.

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Too often folks combat stress and pain by eating. That is a bad coping strategy. Herewith five good coping strategies from WebMD.

“Relaxation exercises calm your mind, reduce stress hormones in your blood, relax your muscles, and elevate your sense of well-being. Using them regularly can lead to long-term changes in your body to counteract the harmful effects of stress.
Don’t get stressed trying to pick the “right” relaxation technique for natural pain relief. Choose whatever relaxes you: music, prayer, gardening, going for a walk, talking with a friend on the phone. Here are some other techniques you might try: Continue reading

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Filed under blood pressure, chronic pain, general well-being, happiness, health, healthy living, meditation, obesity, relaxation, Uncategorized, yoga

Hand-washing is Another Weapon in our Anti-Flu Arsenal

Another weapon in our arsenal against the flu. To read further on the flu:

Flu Season Update – Worst in 10 Years

Oleda Baker Recommends Flu Shot

Flu Season Starting Early This Year

Meditation or Exercise Can Reduce Flu Symptoms

Should I Get a Flu Shot?

Green Tea Helps to Fight Flu

Flu Shot Effect Diminished by Extra Weight

Overseas Tips on Fighting the Flu- London Daily Mail Online.

Tony

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Filed under aging, Exercise, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot, green tea, meditation, relaxation, Weight

Meditation or Exercise Can Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms – Study

There is good news for when we head into cold and flu season. The July Issue of Annals of Family Medicine reports that meditation and exercise reduced acute respiratory illness in a study group.

I must confess it is most gratifying to see some of our blog recommendations have more positive results beyond the ones we originally suggested.

A study of 150 patients, all over age 50, had the population broken into three groups. The first group was trained in mindful meditation, the second did eight weeks of brisk walking or jogging and the third control group did neither.

Researchers monitored the patients with bi-weekly telephone updates and laboratory visits from September through May. Those who had meditated missed 76 percent fewer days of work from September through May than the control group. Those who had exercised missed 48 percent fewer days of work in the period.

The severity of afflictions also declined for the meditators and exercisers. Those who had exercised or meditated had colds that lasted five days. The control group had colds that lasted eight days.

Scientific American Mind reported, “Lab tests confirmed that the self-reported length of colds correlated with the level of antibodies in the body, which is a biomarker for the presence of a virus.”

So, if you have been dreading the upcoming sick season, you have reason to smile. If you are already exercising or meditating, you will likely experiece less severe afflictions this winter. And, you can commence on an exercise or meditation program and feel better in more ways than one.

Tony

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