Magnifying Meditation’s Benefits: On Interoceptive Attention among Healthy Older Adults
Keywords:Focused attention meditation, dispositional mindfulness, breath awareness, present moment awareness, aging, cognitive functioning, nasal breathing, awareness, attentional networks.
This study used a sample of novice, older adult meditators to test the significance of interoceptive attention to nasal respiratory sensation on the degree of magnification of the effects of meditation. A randomized controlled study was conducted with healthy older adults (N=4). Compared to an active control condition, nasal breathing participants showed an increase in mindfulness as reported with higher total scores on the post-Mindful Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS). Participants in the intentional nasal breathing group reported an increase in overall awareness of cognitive functioning and holistic interoception during daily activities- indicating the statistical significance of increased dispositional mindfulness when paired with intentional nasal breathing. Now more than ever, as our global population of older adults continues to increase, we need to bridge conversations about working memory and executive decision making as functions of mindfulness, magnifying effects of nasal breathing on limbic neuronic stimulation, as well as demonstrating effects extending to older adults. These three findings have important implications for the development of novel therapeutic approaches with people who experience cognitive impairment and such approaches lend themselves to potential reductions in health care costs.
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