Meditation is something we hear more about these days, but it is a practice that has been around since ancient times. So, you might be wondering, what exactly is meditation? It’s a practice of slowing down the mind and body, through a timed session where you simply sit and give yourself some quiet time. To meditate, you sit or lay down and focus on the breath – a deep breath in, followed by a long, slow breath out. As you focus on your breath, you naturally become more aware of the sensations in your body and what is going on around you. When practiced regularly, it can provide a range of physical and mental benefits, and can improve overall health.
Mindfulness and Meditation for Seniors
Mindfulness is a concept that is closely connected with meditation. When you meditate, you are able to focus on the present moment and let go of your thoughts. This means taking time to notice what is happening around you and the physical and emotional responses in your body. It’s important to keep in mind that the point isn’t to totally stop your thoughts and emotions. Rather, you let them happen naturally and acknowledge them as they come to the surface. When you move through your emotions, you will be able to calm your mind and reduce anxiety.
Anyone can practice meditation and it’s something that can be done anywhere at any time. Best of all, it’s easy to get started. Let’s take a look at the many ways seniors can benefit from a regular meditation practice.
1. Improve your memory
Meditation is an important part of brain health. As you meditate, the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory are stimulated. This practice essentially works as exercise for the brain and can play a big role in keeping the mind sharp. Regular meditation could improve both short-term and long-term memory, and could even slow the progression of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
2. Manage stress
For many seniors, life changes can cause stress day to day life. If you don’t know how to manage stress in your life, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, both mental and physical. Meditation can calm and soothe the mind and the body. The practice of slowing down to pay attention to your breath and your surroundings can dramatically reduce anxiety. With regular meditation, seniors are often able to better manage life changes and have a clearer perspective on what’s happening in their lives.
3. Improve digestion
You’ve heard the term “gut feeling” before, right? It turns out, there may be a closer connection between our digestive system and our emotional health. Problems in the gut could have an impact on our mental health as well. Meditation can play a role in easing digestive issues. Deep breathing can improve circulation and elevate oxygen levels in the blood, which in turn can make your digestive system run more efficiently.
4. Get better sleep
Sleep plays a huge role in overall health. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can have a dramatic effect on mood and even have physical effects. Meditation can improve sleep quality as it calms your mind and body to better prepare it for sleep. Those who practice meditation often feel more alert during the day and wake up feeling well-rested.
5. Feel more connected
Those who practice meditation regularly may also feel a deeper connection to those around them. It can ease feelings of loneliness and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which leads to better relationships and a more active social life.