Wellness trends may come and go, but some things—like mindfulness and avocado toast—are forever. But if you’ve yet to try the meditation technique, scientists have discovered a very compelling reason why you should give this soothing self-care practice a go.
According to a new study published in BMJ Open, anxiety may increase the risk of developing cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. But study authors suggest that meditative practices like mindfulness (which has been shown to help control anxiety) could potentially reduce this risk.
University College London (UCL) scientists analyzed research involving more than 30,000 people and found that those who suffered moderate to severe anxiety in midlife were more likely to develop dementia later on. And while the reason for this link is unclear, they think that it could be because the body's responses to stress may speed up brain cell aging.
But it’s not all bad news. The UCL team suggests that therapies that have been found to reduce anxiety, like mindfulness and meditation, could reduce the risk of later dementia (although they acknowledged that further research is needed).
“Non-pharmacological therapies, including talking therapies and mindfulness-based interventions and meditation practices, that are known to reduce anxiety in midlife, could have a risk-reducing effect, although this is yet to be thoroughly researched,” the team said.
Time to get your om on. (And then make yourself some avo toast, because why the heck not?)