Meditation (Photo credit: atsukosmith)
Infected ingrown toenail showing the characteristic redness and swelling associated with acute inflammation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Science is continually looking for ways to improve the quality of our live. What has become increasingly obvious to them is that an unbelievable number of people report suffering from depression. And what is more worrying, the number is increasing every year at an alarming rate. When they looked at this problem, they found that a lot of this depression was caused when people reported feeling loneliness. This was caused by many factors including bereavement, not having a partner or family, being housebound through physical disability or fear of street crime, financial drawbacks etc. These problems are out of control amongst the elderly. The standards of mental and emotional health among the elderly are inhuman. This is made worse by the number of people living longer. I won’t say enjoying old age because so many of them are not.
So What’s The Good News?
New research shows that meditation training lasting eight weeks reduced feelings of loneliness in people. They started off knowing that people who reported feeling lonely showed an increase in the number of inflammation problems they were having. These inflammation problems were causing a variety of diseases. The researchers found that meditation greatly reduced these inflammation problems and helped to clear up the illnesses that they were causing. In the current online edition of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, senior study author Steve Cole, a UCLA professor of medicine and psychiatry and a member of the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA, and colleagues report that the two-month program of meditation greatly reduced the feelings of loneliness. This report also showed that the people involved showed a marked improvement in the amount of inflammation and the illnesses associated with it.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural part of the immune system and is used to fight a wide variety of health problems, from infections like flu and gum disease to impact injuries like broken bones. It plays a very important part in the pathology of many diseases and psychological disorders. This research is the first evidence showing that meditation not only decreases loneliness also reduces inflammation and helps to clear up the problems causing the inflammation. If this is borne out by further research, meditation could become a powerful way to improve the quality of life for many, many people with the long lasting health problems that involve inflammation.In the study, 40 adults were randomly placed in a meditation group or a control group that did not meditate. They were all the participants were rated at the beginning and the end of the study using an established loneliness scale. Blood samples were also collected at the beginning and end of the research. These meditators reported that they no longer felt so lonely and what was more amazing was that their blood tests showed a big reduction in signs of inflammation.
Will You Find Meditation Hard?
It is the easiest thing in the world once you get started. This group went to 8 weekly two-hour meetings in which they learned how to meditate. They also practised meditation for 30 minutes each day at home and attended a single daylong retreat.How hard is that. You do do not need to any kind of retreat. This was only required for the sake of this research.
How Good Are These Results?
Excellent! This study is only only the tip of the iceberg. It is just one of a massive amount of research that is showing more and more positive benefits of meditation. Just last month, Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and a Cousins Center member, published a study showing that a form of meditation reduced inflammatory problems, as well as stress levels, among individuals who care patients with Alzheimer’s disease.( Please note this was about the carers not the Alzheimer’s disease patients. There is a growing awareness of the long term psychological problems of long term carers. And a lot of work is being done in this area.) The above shows some of the many, many benefits that come from this practise. I know a lot of you readers already meditate. (I hope that it is the right sort of meditation.) If you don’t, start NOW! Why not join The Happy People? We’re BIG on meditation, And it’s FREE! More SOON, Love, Wealth and Happiness, Tommy
- How meditation can help reduce loneliness in the elderly and prevent Alzheimer¿s disease (dailymail.co.uk)
- Meditation reduces loneliness (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Older adults who meditate feel less lonely (futurity.org)