Life after 50 is full of distractions, complications and worries. As we approach “retirement,” whatever that means, we are balancing careers, dealing with changing social circumstances and struggling to stay healthy and fit. According to society, our 50s and 60s should be a time of “winding down” and “aging gracefully.” For most baby boomers I know, this really isn’t our style.
So, how can we have the best of both worlds? How can we balance our busy lives and keep our minds calm? How can we get more done in less time? What simple steps can we take to get more from life after 50?
One of the simplest answers to these questions is meditation. Over the last 40 years, I have used this powerful technique to keep calm, get more done, meet more people and feel more positive. If anything, the older I get, the more I find that I benefit from meditation.
Here are 4 ways that meditation can help you to get the most from life after 50 according to science.
Have you ever noticed how positive and negative events in your life tend to happen together? The more positive and happy you feel, the more you are willing to engage with the world. The more you engage with the world, the more people you meet and the happier you feel.
Meditation has been shown in several studies to help reduce depression, increase happiness and lower anxiety. You don’t need to start chanting or adopt a particular practice to see the benefits of meditation.
Just setting aside 5-10 minutes a day to sit with your eyes closed and pay attention to your breathing or the sounds around you can have a big impact.
For many people, meditation is a solitary experience; they enjoy spending time by themselves, sorting through their emotions and calming their minds. But, did you know that meditation can also be a great way to make friends?
I have a friend who recently returned from a trip to Bali. She told me about a group meditation class that she participated in that quite literally changed her life. On the surface, the practice was simple. The group sat in a circle, holding hands and breathing. By the end of the 30-minute session, people were crying, hugging and supporting each other. She told me it was a beautiful experience.
Group meditation is not for everyone. But, after you practice by yourself for a while, it may be a great way for you to meet other people who share one of your interests.
One of the biggest myths about aging is that we tend to start “slowing down” after 50. Well, it may be true that, at times, it feels like the world wants us to start slowing down, but, that doesn’t mean that we are any less busy.
The truth is that baby boomers are more active than ever. We are starting businesses, exploring our passions, traveling and learning.
With all this going on in our lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This is another place that meditation shines. Meditation is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress.
Why not set aside 10 minutes every morning to sit and listen to soft music, or the beating of your own heart? Your body and your brain will thank you.
One of the biggest reasons that people avoid meditation is that they think it is a waste of time. “How can I just sit there for 10 minutes?”
As I have discovered the hard way, being active and being productive are not the same things. Taking 10 minutes to sit quietly and connect with yourself will actually make you more productive, not less productive.
Think about the amount of time that you spend watching TV, listening to the radio and reading the newspaper. Keeping up to date on the world around you is important – but, can’t you spare 10 minutes to keep up to date on the world within you?
Have you tried meditation? What was your experience? What additional benefits have you found that meditation brings to your life? Please join the discussion.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of meditation after 50, please watch my interview with Susan Piver.