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Meditation is a practice that benefits everyone

Meditation is much more than taking deep breaths in a quiet room. Meditation helps stress slip away and provides an array of mental health benefits. What’s more, it can be done anywhere and it’s a skill that all of us have inside. Check out these profound words from famed author Deepak Chopra:

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there.”

Meditation and mindfulness go hand in hand. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.” The popular meditation app Headspace defines mindfulness as “the idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment.” What’s more, its accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and the body’s sensations.

Research shows that meditation provides an array of improved mental, emotional, and social health outcomes. For older adults, the benefits may be even greater. U.S. News & World Report highlights benefits to memory, preventing cognitive decline, digestion, and circulation. At least one doctor reports that older patients were able to reduce medications such as antihypertensives and antidepressants. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health also notes that studies have shown that meditation can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups from ulcerative colitis. 

There are opportunities to participate in group meditation throughout the Naperville area. These include Naperville Meditation Center, and Art of Living. Meetup.com features several meditation groups including Present Moment Medication Group of Naperville.

However, our residents need not leave Monarch Landing to participate in guided meditation.  Every Friday, residents gather in the Music Room for a Mindfulness Meditation session. 

Meditation can be done individually, too. The first step in starting meditation is finding a suitable location. Headspace suggests a place that “feels comfortable and has minimal interruptions.” The space might not be perfectly quiet, but it’s best to silence devices and keep distractions to a minimum. And meditation is something that can be done while seated or lying in bed. Then there’s building it into one’s routine, finding time each day and getting into the habit of meditation. Some people find it easiest to identify the same place and same time each day. 

Chopra describes meditation in near-religious terms, and given its benefits one can see why. “Meditation is allowing the spirit to speak to you,” he says. For people looking to reduce stress and become more mindful, meditation might just be the ritual that they’re missing.