Ask Joan: The Benefits of Meditation | News

Question: I’ve found that I’ve been getting more and more anxious lately, and some of my friends have recommended meditation. I don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard that it is getting more and more popular. Is this something worth exploring?

Responnse: This season is a time when many people celebrate by writing a list of resolutions, often related to a healthy lifestyle. and a healthy habit that more and more people are adding to their lives is meditation.

Meditation has been around for thousands of years, in various forms, across the world, according to the Mayo Clinic. Meditation is now recognized as a body-mind activity that can reduce stress and promote relaxation.

In general, meditation involves focusing your attention and avoiding the continuous flow of ideas, impulses, and worries that often invade our minds. It can offer benefits that last long after a specific meditation session ends, helping people approach the rest of the day with cool calm and clarity. The Mayo Clinic reports that it has been found to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions, including anxiety, asthma, sleep problems, tension headaches, and high blood pressure.

Meditation often involves the following:

• Focused attention: it is focusing on a specific object, an image, a word / phrase (mantra) or a breath.

• Relaxed breathing: This involves breathing slowly, deep and evenly, using the diaphragm to dilate the lungs and absorb more oxygen.

• Maintain an open attitude: Practice letting thoughts in and out of the mind without judging them.

Yoga is also a form of meditation. It requires balance and focus, which helps people who practice it to focus more on the present, instead of dwelling on current events or a to-do list.

Our own Center of Excellence for Healthy Living offers free evidence-based workshops that teach or integrate meditation practices including Tai Ji Quan and Tai Chi.

• Tai Ji Quan: Move for Better Balance is a training program designed for the elderly or anyone with balance problems. The workshop meets in one hour sessions, twice a week, for 24 weeks.

• Tai Chi focuses on preventing falls and improving balance through a gentle form of a Chinese martial art that includes a series of movements performed as a slow-motion dance in conjunction with deep breathing. The Tai Chi workshop meets for one hour, twice a week, for 12 weeks.

For more information on these and other HLCE workshops, visit our website at

By exploring these and other options, you can find a form of meditation that is right for you. I wish you the best for 2022.

Do you have difficulty caring for an elderly person or are you having difficulty finding resources? Our experienced staff are available to assist you. Visit us online at for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email [email protected] Joan Hatem-Roy is the Executive Director of AgeSpan, formerly Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore.

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