Why Starting a Meditation Habit Now Could Be a Game Changer Later in Life
There have been countless studies that point to the positive side effects of mindfulness, yoga, and meditation — just to name a few, practicing this trio can biologically reverse stress, strengthen your bone density, and banish insomnia. Still not ready to give the practice a try? Well, what if we told you that meditation is also a great way to heighten your attention span today and potentially even later in life? While previous studies have already found evidence that meditation can enhance your attention span, Anthony Zanesco and his research team wanted to understand the cognitive benefits of practicing a meditation habit long-term. According to a new study published in Springer’s Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, doing regular and intensive meditation sessions over the course of a lifetime could help you remain attentive and focused well into old age.
In order to study the effects of long-term meditation, 60 experienced meditation practitioners were randomly assigned to one of two training groups to attend a three-month meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. While at the center, the participants practiced meditation every day and employed techniques to foster calm sustained attention on a chosen object and generate aspirations such as compassion, loving-kindness, emphatic joy, and equanimity among participants. To measure any improvements, the researchers assessed each participant’s cognitive abilities, ability to pay attention to a task, and reaction time before, during, and directly after the retreat. The participants were then asked to perform the same cognitive test during follow-up assessments six months, 18 months, and seven years after completing the retreat.
Compiling years of data, the researchers finally had an answer to their question. Both meditation groups experienced a notable increase in attention accuracy at the middle and end of the retreat, and those who continued their meditation practice after the program sustained these improvements. This was especially true for older participants who self-reported that they vigorously practiced meditation over the past seven years. Compared to other participants who practiced less, they were able to maintain the cognitive gains (increased reaction time and attention span) and did not show typical patterns of age-related decline in sustained attention.
While lead author Anthony Zanesco cautions that more research is needed before meditation should be advocated as a surefire method for countering the effects of aging on the brain, we’re thrilled that our meditation practice may help improve our mind later in life. Heck, we’re already looking into taking our girl squad on an off-the-grid meditation retreat this summer!
Do you regularly practice meditation? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)