If you’ve been noticing that meditation seems to have gone mainstream over the past few years, you are right. Corporate CEOs, professional athletes, physicians, and television personalities are all confessing to using meditation to help improve their performance by reducing stress. It is being touted as the best stress buster out there. For Michigan caregivers, there is ample reason to learn more about meditation. In fact, a study from UCLA released earlier this year showed meditation is better for helping calm caregivers than even a relaxation CD. It can also help to keep the blues –another common struggle for caregivers – away.
Equally important is what meditation did to help increase telomerase activity and cellular aging. It sounds a bit technical but the short version is that telomerase is an enzyme commonly associated with stress-related health risks and diseases. The more telomerase activity is present, the longer the immune cells last. The study showed that the group practicing meditation had a 43% improvement in telomerase activity, while a relaxation group that had just 3.7%.
The Caregiver Meditation Study at UCLA
The study consisted of:
- 49 family caregivers between the ages 45 and 91
- 36 were adult children and 13 were spouses
- The group was divided in two
- The meditation group learned a 12-minute Kirtan Kriya yoga practice
- The relaxation group listened to instrumental music on a CD in a quiet place
- Each group practiced either meditation or relaxation listening at the same time every day for eight weeks
The results of the project showed 65% of the meditation group had a 50% improvement on a depression scale versus just 31% for the relaxation CD group. 52% of the meditation group also had a 50% improvement in mental health and cognitive function compared with to 19% for the relaxation CD group.
Places for Caregivers to Learn Meditation Online
One of the challenges for busy caregivers is not having enough hours in the day to attend a meditation class. Fortunately, there are many sites where caregivers to learn how to meditate online at a time that is best for them. A few of those sites include:
- UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
- The Art of Living
- MBG Video Courses with Charlie Knoles
- Sahaja Yoga Meditation
- Meditation Oasis
The bottom line is that caregiving creates stress. Finding ways to manage it is important to keeping caregivers healthy. Meditation is proving to be one way to accomplish that.