Meditation & Mindfulness for Seniors
There is no question about the importance of being social, especially elderly people who are prone to isolation and thus depression. Physical and mental health can be greatly improved with some good ol’ company or community-based activity. However, some solitude can also do wonders for the mind and body. In between social interactions, an older adult with a strong self of self can be alone — but not lonely. Meditation and mindfulness are two activities anyone can enjoy to nurture themselves, regardless of physical ability.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a relaxation technique that develops concentration, clarity, and a healthy sense of perspective. It may include a mantra, silence, closing the eyes, and/or rhythmic breathing. The goal is to focus inwards for mental and physical stillness. With practice, it literally transforms the brain.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present moment; noticing current thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. It’s almost like meditating at every given moment. Mindfulness helps people connect with the world and the way they understand it emotionally, thereby calming the mind. Rather than avoiding feelings, mindfulness acknowledges and helps one grow through them.
Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness for Seniors
There have been extensive studies on the value of consistent meditation. They have proven that meditation and meditative techniques such as mindfulness have vast physical and mental benefits.
Here are some benefits an older person may experience with regular meditation and mindfulness practices.
- Enhances Mood: Depression is common in the elderly. Meditation and mindfulness is shown to help people manage negative emotions and amplify positive ones.
- Improves Circulation, Blood Pressure, and Digestion: Deep breathing is a huge component of meditation. This action, when practiced regularly, improves circulation, boosts blood oxygen levels, and improves digestive function. Seniors with digestive issues will find almost immediate relief once meditative breathing becomes part of their daily practice.
- Slows the Progression of Alzheimer’s: A recent study has shown that breathing exercises and meditation combined slows the progression of dementia.
- Increases Alertness: Frequent meditation causes the brain’s physical structure to change, thereby improving many functions such as focus, creativity, and cognitive skills.
- Improves Memory: Meditation and mindfulness exercises and enlarges the parts of the brain responsible for memory.
- Promotes Calmness: Aside from literally taking a second to breathe, organizing one’s thoughts during meditation helps you gain a clear perspective on life’s happenings.