‘Major Crimes’ star strengthens her mind with meditation

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By Cindy Pearlman/Big Picture News Inc.

LOS ANGELES – What can a woman do after a long day of solving “Major Crimes?” For Mary McDonnell, it’s all about going home and saying “om.”

At age 62, the actress says she stays healthy by focusing on calming down. “Meditation is very calming and it helps me to train my mind to stay focused in one place for a sustained period of time,” she says. “Meditation tells my body at this age that it isn’t time to quit. In fact, I’m just getting started.”

The star of TNT’s “Major Crimes” admits that she had made health adjustments for age.

“For women over 50 with hormonal imbalances, our mind starts bouncing around,” she says. “You need to teach your mind new ways to stay focused and through meditation, you’re basically strengthening your mind.”

To learn meditation, McDonnell says that she studied with a Tibetan Buddhist teacher. “What I learned is that keeping the mind sharp leads to a higher happiness factor,” she says.

Meditation, she says, also forces women to think about what they’re doing. “From 50 onward, we’re breaking new ground,” she says. “Women are pushing themselves even harder in the later decades. That’s a gigantic shift.

“That push requires tremendous curiosity and work when it comes to keeping the body and mind healthy. Just doing 10 minutes of meditation a day can create a strong mind.”

Her other health tips:

 Look at your family’s health history. “When I turned 45, I really looked into my family’s genetics. It’s important to know your history and discuss that with your doctor,” she says.

 Balance your hormones. “I’ve worked very hard in the past decade finding ways to balance any hormonal deficits that we naturally enter into as we age. You might need to supplement certain hormones,” she says. “If you want to sustain the lifestyle you love then talk to your doctor about hormones.”

 Keep active in smart ways. “I love to swim and lift weights. The point is you’ve got to keep moving. No excuses!” she says.

 Don’t let age stop you. “We’re going to have a woman running for president and she’s a grandmother. That’s so inspiring.”

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