Vitality

Mindfulness Training Benefits: Results For Older Adults Are Mixed, Study Says

Mindfulness has become an increasingly popular practice, but is it beneficial among older adults? Study results are mixed, according to a new review of the current research.

The mental state of being present in the moment, or mindfulness, is generally thought to be beneficial, but some research suggests it makes no difference in overall health.

Read: Benefits Of Meditation: How Mindfulness Helps Boosts Immunity, Reduce Stress

Authors of the review analyzed 27 studies and concluded much more work needs to be done to come to a concrete answer of how mindfulness affects factors like attention span and psychological well-being. Their analysis is published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

woman meditating Mindfulness is a mental state of being present in the moment. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The authors wanted to determine what is known to date, in order to provide researchers with a direction of where to take future studies, lead study author Stephanie Fountain-Zaragiza, explained to MedicalXpress.

Many of the studies show mindfulness among older adults encourages alertness as well as love and compassion for themselves and others. Additionally, some of the research looks at how the practice can potentially reduce inflammation, which contributes to a variety of diseases.

Despite mixed results among the studies, the authors suggest mindfulness training could be valuable in senior centers and group homes.

These three types of mindfulness may be beneficial: focused attention, open monitoring meditation, and loving-kindness meditation. During focused attention, you focus on a single factor (usually your breath), whereas in open monitoring meditation, you acknowledge the sights and senses around you, but without losing focus. Loving-kindness meditation involves being compassionate and open-minded about yourself and those around you.

The aging population is an important population to study given their changes in cognitive health, which mindfulness is said to benefit.

“Mindfulness represents a potential intervention for not only reducing emotional distress in older adults, but for allowing them to flourish,” the authors conclude in their paper.

See also: Mindfulness Vs Meditation: The Difference Between These Two Pathways To Well-Being And Peace Of Mind

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