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Health & Wellness

The Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness for Seniors

Mental sharpness is important for all of us, but especially for seniors. As we age, we may all experience a slowdown in information processing and an increase in stress, anxiety, and even depression. However, practicing mindfulness can help you maintain or even improve your awareness. 

Mindfulness is a set of practices that uses meditation, movement, and mental exercises to strengthen the connection between your mind and body. The goal of mindfulness is to take time out of your day to relax, review, and go forward with a better mindset. 

There are many additional benefits of mindfulness exercises, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, mindfulness meditations can help decrease anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as improve medical conditions such as high blood pressure. Discover how to use mindfulness practices to manage your mood, sharpen your mind, lower your blood pressure, and strengthen inner calm.

Manage Your Mood

Sometimes, it may seem impossible to manage your mood, especially when dealing with anxiety, frustration, and especially loneliness. By paying attention to your emotions without judgment, you can decrease stress and have a more positive outlook on life. Building a regular mindfulness routine can help you be more aware of your feelings and address negative emotions so they can’t ruin your day.

When seniors practice mindfulness, it can also help improve mental health. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and depression by improving self-esteem and encouraging a positive outlook on life.

Sharpen Your Mind

It’s important for seniors to keep a sharp and active mind. This can help you make better decisions, recall memories more easily, increase perceptiveness, and improve your focus. Mindfulness aims to direct attention away from negativity and focus on engaging with your body and mind. It also works to remove anxious thoughts by helping you concentrate and think clearly.

Lower Your Blood Pressure and Improve Heart Health

If you are looking to improve your heart health, then it’s important to lower your blood pressure and decrease stress. With mindfulness meditation, you may be able to do just that. Even small steps can work to help you control your blood pressure and improve your heart health.

Studies show that practicing mindfulness for at least eight weeks can help reduce blood pressure. Mindfulness programs center around lowering stress, which can significantly help with hypertension. These programs also focus on self-awareness of the body’s needs. This means taking more time to exercise and eat healthy, which helps lower blood pressure.

Strengthen Inner Calm

Mindfulness focuses on purposefully setting aside time to recenter your mind and body. Relaxation with a purpose can help promote inner calm and peace of mind. Life can get so overwhelming that it’s hard to focus on your individual thoughts and emotions. By practicing mindfulness, you can spend time relaxing and reflecting to improve your personal wellbeing.

Improve Sleep

Mindfulness practices can also help improve your sleeping habits. Practicing mindfulness can help you have less fatigue as more moments of calm are incorporated into your day. Because mindfulness practices can also decrease stress, you may find that you sleep more soundly, as many sleep disorders are associated with high stress.

Practicing Mindfulness For Seniors

There are many different ways to introduce mindfulness into your life. Most mindfulness activities for seniors only take a few minutes of your day. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Take time to pay attention to the world around you. Slow down and pay attention to each of your five senses. Notice the color of the sky, the sound of birds chirping, the warmth of the sun, and the smell of flowers. What can you appreciate?
  • Reflect on things that bring you joy. Take some time to remember happy moments, such as the first time you held your grandchildren, your wedding day, or spending the holidays with your kids. What are you grateful for? Try listing a few of these every day, and pretty soon you’ll have a list of things that make you smile even during your most stressful moments.
  • Focused breathing. When experiencing negative feelings, take a moment to relax and focus on your breathing. Pay attention to each inhale and exhale. Continue until breathing becomes easier and regular.
  • Practice self-compassion. Consider how you’re feeling about yourself. Are you treating yourself with kindness, even when you make mistakes? What would you say to a loved one if they spoke about themselves like that? Try reciting positive affirmations about yourself.

Meditation is also an important part of mindfulness. These additional exercises below are perfect to do on your own, or with friends.

  • Walking meditation. Walking has a lot of health benefits, and walking meditations can help you strengthen both your body and mind. While walking, take time to be mindful of yourself and the space around you. What do you notice when you take this time to reflect? Be sure to consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise routine, however. 
  • Body scan meditation. It’s important to focus on your body and how it’s feeling. Sit or lay down, relax, and focus deliberately on each part of your body, starting at your toes and working your way up to your head. Is there tension? How can you relieve that tension?
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong. Each of these meditative practices has a different focus, but they all involve low-impact exercises to strengthen the connection between mind and body. Yoga is a combination of breathing techniques and poses. Tai Chi is a series of standing exercises that flow between moves. Qi Gong is more dynamic and involves both active and passive movements. You can join a local class that offers instruction in these forms, stream them online, or find DVDs at the library to practice in the comfort of your own home.

Improve Your Health and Wellness at Oak Trace

At Oak Trace, we provide a serene and supportive setting to nurture your whole health – mind and body. Oak Trace is a premier retirement community located in Downers Grove, Illinois. Our goal is to ensure that you live a carefree lifestyle with plenty of things to do to keep your body and mind engaged. If you or a loved one want to know more, contact us today! Schedule a tour or complete the contact form below and we’ll be in touch.

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