As we get older, we take all the necessary steps to ensure that our physical body stays in tip-top shape. We learn to eat vegetables and stay away from fatty and cholesterol-rich food. We try to get our daily dose of physical activity for the day to ensure a healthy heart. We tend to sleep earlier—our aging body simply cannot handle staying up all night anymore! We cut down on smoking, drinking, and other vices: overall, we live a healthier lifestyle.
However, we must remember that our existence is not limited to our physical bodies. Alongside this aspect, we must also take care of our emotional, spiritual, and mental health. As the body ages, the more crucial it is to take care of what is inside. When aging people are emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically well, only then are they truly healthy. You know what they say—the glow comes from the inside out.
One way to improve the non-physical health of aging people is through mindfulness meditation. Of course, you may have heard of meditation before: after all, this is a practice that has been around since 500 BC. However, just because it’s an old practice does not mean it’s irrelevant. As time goes by, the world gets noisier—now more than ever, it is necessary to stop, think, and breathe.
Checking into memory care facilities in Michigan may not be enough. You need extra steps to keep your mental and emotional health in the best shape! If you are interested in knowing the benefits of mindfulness meditation for seniors, read on. If you have a loved one in the twilight years of their life, this piece will help them immensely. If you are a senior yourself, you may want to know what’s in store for this practice.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Before heading straight to the benefits, first things first: what is mindfulness meditation? Well, this term is made up of two words, mindfulness and meditation. We might already have an idea of what meditation is. Meditation is an activity that focuses on cultivating awareness and presence. This practice is a form of mental training that allows the body to deal with stress calmly and soothingly.
To meditate, all you have to do is get yourself in a relaxed position. You may sit or lie down, whichever meditation position you prefer at the moment. Then, try to ignore the thoughts running around your head. Through breathing exercises, your breath and heart rate will slow down. After a few minutes, you can slowly feel the stress and tension in your body melt away.
On the other hand, mindfulness is a state of mind that promotes observing and accepting thoughts without attached judgment. When practicing mindfulness, you neither worry about the future nor dwell on the past. Instead, you will be focusing on the current, the now: you shall be living in the present.
When you combine both mindfulness and meditation, you guessed it—you get mindfulness meditation! In its essence, it is just trying to relax your body while staying in the present. So now, without further ado, let’s discuss the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
1. Helps Control Pain
Aging adults are known to suffer from chronic pain as they grow older. Albeit this is a normal part of the circle of life, it doesn’t mean that we must only endure the pain. Through mindfulness meditation, seniors can focus on their breathing and their present surroundings. Doing so can help them manage and control the pain that they are feeling.
2. Improves the Blood and Oxygen Circulation in the Body
As one grows older, their body may have a more difficult time carrying out basic bodily processes. Through deep breathing during mindfulness meditation, you can help your body boost its oxygen and blood circulation. This improvement benefits the bodily organs since they will be getting their much-needed blood and oxygen supply. Moreover, increased oxygen intake also reinforces the immune system, helping seniors remain healthy despite their age.
3. Improves Sleep Quality for Seniors
Seniors have a more challenging time falling asleep at night. This occurrence is a consequence of the bodily changes that happen with aging. However, regular meditation at night may relax their bodies and promote healthier sleeping habits for the elderly. Through mindfulness meditation, seniors can get a higher quality of sleep, thus allowing their bodies to repair themselves at night.
4. Sharpens Memory
When you meditate, you increase telomerase in your nervous system. Telomerase is an enzyme that reduces Alzheimer’s and other progressive diseases. Moreover, mindfulness meditation allows you to retain more information in your brain by getting you in touch with your subconscious.
5. Increases Attention Span
Based on scientific studies, meditation is a potential tool for preventing aging-related attention span declines. Through mindfulness meditation, you will train your brain to relax and focus on the present. Thus, it allows you to sustain your attention better.
6. Eases Loneliness Among Seniors
Loneliness is a problem among seniors, especially for those away from their families and loved ones. Isolation is detrimental to the emotional and mental health of the elderly. This stands even if they’re under the supervision of the best memory care facilities in Michigan. However, one can combat the feeling of loneliness by focusing on mindfulness and meditation.
Through these practices, seniors can help themselves feel at peace by spending time alone with their thoughts. Moreover, meditation may change their mindset towards being alone since they are looking forward to this relaxing activity. Taking the time to breathe and think may help seniors reconnect with their inner selves, thereby making them feel less alone.
7. Lowers Stress and Anxiety Levels
Breathing exercises are common coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety attacks. The stage of life they are in is not an easy one—growing old may impose a lot of mental and emotional stress upon the elderly. Through mindfulness meditation, seniors can manage and handle their emotions better.
We hope this article taught you everything you need to know about the benefits of mindfulness meditation for seniors. Aging is difficult—it is tough to imagine that our elderly loved ones are inching closer to the end of their journey. Given that, we must do everything we can to improve their quality of life.