Keeping yourself calm and centered can be difficult at any age, but it can be especially difficult as we get older. Everything seems to be running through your head at a mile a minute: concern about your family, about your finances, your future, and everything in between. Maybe the idea of estate planning is wearing you down, or maybe it’s something as simple as wondering when you’ll see your family for their next visit.
Fortunately, our independent senior living in Madison Heights can alleviate some of that burden. You never need to worry about some of the most common things that seniors tend to focus on: housing, food, and other basics. However, those other stressors in your life may need a little bit of an extra hand. To help, you might want to practice mindfulness and meditation. To help you get started, here are some tips:
What is mindfulness and meditation?
Meditation is the practice of calming the mind and body. Meditation helps you to focus on the beating of your heart, the breath in your lungs, and gives you an intense self-awareness of your body. It helps you to clear your thoughts and think about “nothing,” not dwelling on the thoughts that constantly run through your head.
Mindfulness, however, is the practice of thinking about “something.” It is when you have a thought that pops into your head, be it a worry, a stressor, or what have you, and you allow yourself to truly think about it rationally, instead of letting it consume you. You recognize the thought and accept it for what it is, without judgment against the situation or yourself. You don’t worry about the past or the future, and only focus on yourself in the here and now.
How Seniors Can Benefit
1.) Decreased Stress
There are many ways that seniors can benefit from practicing mindfulness and meditation. One major way is that mindfulness promotes less stress. Having less stress in your life has far reaching consequences far beyond just the normal anxiety that goes along with it.
Having less stress can affect you in a number of beneficial ways, including improving your sleep, having better focus on day to day tasks, and improving your overall physical health. Having less stress can also reduce other common mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, which can have a negative effect on seniors. It can even help seniors come to terms more easily with the challenge and reality of aging. It really is amazing what can happen when that burden of being stressed about everything is lifted off of your shoulders.
2.) Stimulate Memory Centers
Mindfulness and meditation also stimulates memory centers in the brain, improving your cognitive abilities. Seniors, more than anyone, should always be cognizant of improving and strengthening their memory, as so many memory issues and cognitive disabilities emerge in your later years, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Along with doing other memory strengthening activities like crossword puzzles and brain teasers, practicing mindfulness and meditation can keep your brain healthy and active.
3.) Regulate Mood and Emotions
Meditation and mindfulness can also help to manage moods and emotions. Like we said earlier, meditation is essentially the practice of thinking of “nothing” while mindfulness is thinking of “something.” Meditation can help you calm and empty your mind, allowing you to focus your thoughts and eliminate the jumbled thoughts that can constantly flow through your mind. Focusing on your being – your heartbeat, your breathing, the feeling of the socks on your feet and the sunshine on your skin – can go such a long way in helping to calm those racing thoughts.
Additionally, practicing mindfulness can help relieve some of the worry and panic that we often face when allowing our thoughts to get away from us. Allowing ourselves to really think about past and future events, but not dwell on them in a negative light, can help to calm some of that anxiety that is so quick to build when we start ruminating on the past or thinking about the unknown. Being more centered and allowing yourself to think rationally about things instead of being reactionary to them can help you in your relationships with others, too, and not just with yourself.
4.) Pain Management
I know that it might sound far fetched, but practicing meditation can actually help you manage pain. According to The Atlantic, “by activating and reinforcing some areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation has the overall effect of helping to reduce pain intensity in patients,” which can have a monumental effect on a senior’s quality of life.
Coupling this meditation with other physical activity like Tai Chi or yoga can also help with managing pain. Because these exercises are built off of stretches and poses, these exercises help to strengthen muscles, improve blood flow and circulation, and promote a better spinal alignment. It’s no wonder that meditation and yoga or Tai Chi are often done in tandem!
Reserve at Redrun
Our independent senior living in Madison Heights wants you to feel as calm and connected as possible, and we want to do everything in our power to help you get there. If you aren’t really sure how to get started with practicing your own mindfulness meditation, try checking out one of our classes.
There are plenty of options to choose from. If you’re just getting started, you should check out one of our mindfulness meditation classes to learn how to really make the most of the practice. Or, if you’d like to be a bit more active, try out a yoga or tai chi class, which also both promote mindfulness and meditation along with physical activity. We understand that not everything is going to work for everybody, and we want to make sure that you’re taking a class where you are happiest and most comfortable, especially if you’re trying out something new for the first time!
If you’re interested in taking a tour of our independent senior living in Madison Heights, then we’d love to have you! Contact us and schedule a tour today!