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How Meditation Makes You Healthier (Especially After 50)

The health benefits of meditation are particularly powerful for women in midlife.

Meditation has been around for thousands of years and is practiced in many different cultures around the world. More recently, it has become the focus of much scientific study, which has proven that there are multiple benefits to those who practice meditation regularly.

This is not to say that meditation will cure all ills! However, a consistent practice can improve many health-related concerns, especially when it’s a part of an all-around healthy lifestyle.

health benefits of meditation for Women Over 50:

  • Meditation Benefits Heart Health
  • Meditation Can Help Control Weight Gain
  • Meditation Can Reduce Sleeplessness and Insomnia
  • Meditation Can Relieve Anxiety, Stress, and Frustration
  • Meditation Can Increase Mental Acuity
  • Meditation Can Relieve Feelings of Pain and Discomfort
read about physical self-care for women over 50
midlife woman in white sitting in meditation and enjoying its benefits

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Meditation and the Midlife Woman

Women in their midlife, ranging approximately from 40 to 65 years, are particularly fortunate beneficiaries. Many of the unique combinations of stressors that we see on a daily basis can be lessened with a consistent meditation practice.

Midlife can bring on major transitions in a woman’s life.

Our stressors can be extremely disruptive and challenging, and women at this age are currently showing record amounts of stress.

Some of our stress comes from transitioning family roles, as children leave home and we become caregivers for our elderly parents.

Many of us are changing careers, retiring, or going back to work after many years away.

Financial worries, fears of getting older without achieving our goals, deaths of loved ones and friends, and trying to maintain good health as our bodies age all take their toll.

And then, of course, there are the dramatic physical, emotional, and mental upheavals brought on by the hormonal changes that come along with menopause.

It’s no wonder we sometimes feel so overwhelmed!

I Started Meditating Because I Couldn’t Sleep

I’ve played around with meditation at various points in my life, but I never really developed a consistent practice. I’d do some deep breathing exercises for a few days in a row, the next month follow a guided program, and then maybe take a class or two.

I wasn’t consistent, and I didn’t see much benefit.

That’s because consistency is the key to reaping the benefits of meditation!

And then, I stopped sleeping.

I just stopped.

I would go to bed when I was tired in the evening…and toss and turn, sometimes for hours. Eventually, I would doze off, only to wake up in an hour or two, and the tossing and turning would begin again.

Sometimes several times a night. Sound familiar?

Now, I am one of those people who really needs a good night’s sleep to function well. I have always considered my sleep time to be sacred and healing, and can honestly use eight to nine hours of solid sleep a night.

I did a lot of research on insomnia and potential cures, worked with my doctor, and took pills (which I dislike doing), and things improved from time to time. But nothing seemed to be a permanent fix.

My best results came when I played meditation music specifically designed as a sleep aid every time I crawled into bed.

Could there be something there?

Out of all the many, many good reasons to start meditating, sleep was my reason.

Now I meditate daily – and I still listen to music every night as I fall asleep!

But there are many other ways in which a meditation practice can benefit us in midlife and beyond.

Midlife Health Concerns That Can Be Improved with Meditation

Meditation Benefits Heart Health

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Decreased heart rate

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that our risk of heart disease increases as we age.

In fact, one-half of all women who experience high blood pressure in their 40s will develop heart disease later in life. That’s really scary!

Menopause makes it worse.

Once we reach menopause we stop producing estrogen, the hormone that helps regulate cholesterol and keeps blood vessels healthy, and then our risk of heart disease skyrockets.

blonde woman in black shirt flexing arm muscle

Meditation Can Help Control Weight Gain

  • Decreased cortisol levels
  • Greater impulse control

Stress and anxiety can increase levels of cortisol in the body.

This hormone is designed to stimulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism to increase energy levels. It also stimulates insulin, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

When cortisol increases too much, it can stimulate your appetite and lead to cravings for sweet, high-fat, and salty foods. This is called stress eating, and not only can you end up eating more, elevated cortisol can also cause your body to increase fat storage.

That’s a double whammy leading to unhealthy weight gain.

Meditation Can Reduce Sleeplessness and Insomnia

  • Increased relaxation
  • Increased contentment
  • Improved feelings of well-being
  • Increased feelings of peace

I am far from alone in my sleep issues.

More than one in four middle-aged women experience difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep four or more times during the week.

More than one in three women reported getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night, on average.

Inadequate sleep can increase the risk for chronic conditions, lead to mood disturbance and weight gain, and impair cognitive function.

2 happy women wearing white hats

Meditation Can Relieve Anxiety, Stress, and Frustration

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Decreased stress

Anxiety, stress, and frustration all seem to skyrocket as we move into middle age.

Many women report feeling trapped, disoriented, angry, and dissatisfied with things that used to make them happy.

These feelings may be a result of life changes, hormonal fluctuations, or the realization that they are aging – or all of the above. Regardless of the cause, the floodgates open and spill out.

Panic attacks for women are more prevalent at this time in life than any other.

Midlife anxiety doesn’t have specific symptoms.

Instead, it’s a mixture of emotions, feelings, and body changes that lead to the strong sense that something needs to change.

Meditation Can Increase Mental Acuity

  • Sharpened focus
  • Increased ability to concentrate and remember details

The inability to remember details, such as the location of objects, begins in early midlife. A study from the University of California found that, on average, the female mind loses up to five percent of its sharpness between the ages of 50 and 60.

Who hasn’t, at some point, forgotten where they put their glasses, only to realize they are wearing them on top of their head?

“This change in memory strategy with age may have detrimental effects on day-to-day functions that place emphasis on memory for details such as where you parked your car or when you took your prescriptions.”

woman in black jacket with glasses sitting at table drinking a cup of tea, health benefits of meditation

Meditation Can Relieve Feelings of Pain and Discomfort

  • Lessened feelings of pain and discomfort

Our bodies experience more aches and pains as we age – low back pain, knee pain, neck pain, joint pain…everything’s a pain!

Whether it’s caused by overuse, conditions such as arthritis, or a chronic condition, the simple fact is that everyday discomfort can significantly impact our quality of life.

midlife concerns that can benefit from meditation, health benefits of meditation

After reading this list, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed and just give up, feeling betrayed by your aging body.

The important takeaway is that we can control and manage our risk factors for many of these concerns.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, there can be many benefits to meditation for midlife women.

Bonus: There are absolutely NO adverse reactions to meditation. None!

Read More About Meditation:

Final Thoughts on What Are The Health Benefits of Meditation for Women Over 50?

If you would like to learn how to begin a meditation practice, I encourage you to read my post Meditation Tips for Beginners. It will provide you with sound, supportive guidance to start your journey.

There are many, many resources available across the web as well as apps such as Headspace and Calm, to get you on your way.

Give yourself grace as a beginner, as building a meditation practice. You may not experience benefits right away. Still, it’s such a worthwhile endeavor that can benefit you in so many ways.

I hope you will give meditation a try.

midlife woman seated and benefiting from meditation, health benefits of meditation

14 thoughts on “How Meditation Makes You Healthier (Especially After 50)”

  1. I recently found your website and am loving it! (Similar content on my blog.) I can attribute so much of my “good feelings” to meditation and mindfulness practices. Even with having experienced the benefits myself, I’m still in awe of how many positive outcomes we can experience from this simple activity. (I’m all about simple!) This is such a comprehensive list…it’s kind of amazing, huh!?

    1. Oh, Lisa, thank you so much for all your kind words and enthusiasm! I am a big fan of simplicity, too! Please send me your website – I think I’d enjoy reading it. I really appreciate you reading and commenting here.

    1. Thank you, Dhara! I’m glad you have found meditation to be beneficial. I can’t imagine going a day without spending at least a few minutes in peaceful practice. I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.

  2. I too start and stop my meditation practice. For better sleep and sense of calm, I’m starting up again. Thank you !

    1. Yes, it can be tough to really get to a daily practice, but it’s so worth it. I hope it clicks for you. Thank you for reading and commenting, Rebecca – and let me know how it goes!

  3. I have been increasing my attention to meditation a lot, especially since the pandemic started. I meditate as I go to sleep (this started with Yoga Nidra last Fall) and then I added morning meditation and midday meditation. It is wonderful – so soothing and pleasant and definitely helps me feel calmer. It has also improved my memory. I am finding I have more of a visual memory now, too, which I can only believe comes from meditation as I haven’t changed anything else. 🙂 Great article. PS – Did you know it is National Poetry Month? I have been using poetry blended with meditation this month and the results have felt fantastic!!

    1. Julie, that is so impressive! I have heard wonderful things about Yoga Nidra but have not tried it myself yet. I would love to hear more about how you blend meditation and poetry – that sounds so interesting! Thank you for reading and commenting. Keep in touch!

  4. One of my clients swears by meditation and writes about it all the time. To be honest, it’s not something I’ve ever tried but I think we’re all under so much pressure right now that it’s probably a good time for me to investigate the practice and see if it works for me too. Great post, thank you for sharing this 🙂 Lisa x

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