The ‘Golden Years’ is an expression often used to describe retirement. Why? Well, it is that period of life filled with one of the most cherished and sought after resources available to humankind—time.
In retirement, you have time to do all the things you ever wanted to do. You can travel; go on cruises and bus tours of interesting places; take courses on art, photography, current events, whatever appeals to you; read all the latest and greatest books; learn new languages; go to museums, theatres, concerts. You can do whatever you want to do that finances allow. I am going to suggest something you may never have thought of that can ensure an enriched retirement.
I’ve just spent 20 years observing my mother-in-law’s retirement years. She continued to enjoy her passions in life, which were painting and photography, until the age of 99. She remained clear-minded with a deep interest in many topics and her state of health was younger than her years. Her quality of life was excellent.
The focus of your retirement is to maintain a great quality of life, however you define that. People will advise you to stay active, stay interested, and stay involved. As you head toward this stage of life, it is good to be well prepared for it. There are a number of factors to consider:
- Focus on keeping fit and healthy.
- Keep the mind alert, focused and clear.
- Keep your motivation and enthusiasm in high gear.
There are many approaches that can be taken to accomplish these goals. You can exercise, eat well, do crossword puzzles and word puzzles, and play Sudoku or other brainteasers. This of course is not by any means an exhaustive list, but gives a general idea.
However, what if there was one foundational approach to preserve health, increase clarity of mind, and keep you motivated? A one-stop shopping idea, if you like. Surely that is something you would want to add to your list of to do’s, right?
As it turns out the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique is one thing that can be done on a daily basis to simultaneously give deep rest to the body, greater clarity to the mind, and more motivation from within—and you don’t need to just take my word for that. My mother-in-law practiced the TM technique for the last forty years of her life based on a physician’s recommendation. Many doctors recommend TM to their patients. And there are over 360 scientific studies, published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, showing the invaluable benefits of this practice for mind, body and behavior.
There has been extensive research showing a unique state of orderliness created in the brain during the practice of the TM technique and how this coherence creates liveliness of intelligence and creativity enjoyed outside of meditation. We know that everything good about our brain depends on its orderly functioning. The TM technique really develops the full capacity of that precious organ for us.
After thinking about our brains, we invariably turn our attention to our hearts. The American Heart Association has stated that TM is the only meditation technique scientifically demonstrated to lower blood pressure and may be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Repeated studies funded by the National Institutes of Health show not only the effectiveness of the TM practice in reducing high blood pressure without the harmful side effects medications may produce, but in reducing arteriosclerosis and enlargement of the heart associated with prolonged hypertension. One study in particular found that in heart patients practicing the technique there was at least a 48% less occurrence of heart attack, stroke or death compared to controls not practicing the technique.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology conducted on an elderly population showed that those who practice the TM program enjoyed significant benefits in age related aspects of physical and mental health, including reduced hypertension, better quality of life, and greater longevity.
Finally, research is clear that those practicing Transcendental Meditation enjoy a heightened quality of what is scientifically called ‘self-actualization’. This means being more of who we can be with a more resilient sense of self, more self-confidence and self-motivation. In other words, TM can make us happier and more content in ourselves.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who has been practicing TM for decades, says “TM is like recharging your cell-phone.” It is, he adds, what gives him the energy—or the juice, as he calls it— to still do stand-up comedy events in his 60’s.
So if you want your golden years to be truly golden, then seriously consider adding the Transcendental Meditation practice to your daily routine whatever age you are, but particularly if you are approaching or have reached your retirement time. It worked for my mother-in-law and it works for me.
About the Author
Lesley Goldman is the retired director of a non-profit educational organization.