When some people hear “meditation” or “mindfulness,” they might immediately conjure up images of tree-hugging, granola-eating yogis. But all it really means is to be conscious of one’s surroundings and to focus on the present moment.
And while it may sound natural or easy to do, mindfulness takes practice and discipline. Our minds are often preoccupied or racing, whether we are busy thinking about the past or worrying about the future. But directing our attention to the situation at hand has a host of benefits, regardless of age, race, sex, religion, or location.
Seniors especially can experience mental, physical, and emotional value from spending time and concerted effort directed toward meditation. So, whether you or someone you love are entering the Golden Years, it’s an important skill to hone—and one that’s never too late to pursue.
Mental: Strengthen Cognitive Functions
There are a number of progressive cognitive diseases that become increasingly prevalent with age, Alzheimer’s and dementia being two of the most common and devastating. You might be surprised to hear that some cultures experience these ailments far less than others, one of the biggest determining factors being the prevalence of meditation in society. Mindfulness helps to keep the mind flexible, which not only greatly reduces the likelihood of these diseases, but also keeps the memory sharp.
Physical: Promote Healthy Digestion and Pain Management
Meditation can benefit an individual in ways far beyond the mind itself, an essential area being our digestion. Much of one’s physical health and wellbeing can be traced back to the gut. And, as they say, we are what we eat; but what we eat is only as good as how well it is digested, and mindfulness and meditation play a big role in this regard. Through concentrated breathing efforts, we increase both circulation and oxygen levels. This is particularly important for seniors, who can experience additional health issues as a direct result of poor digestion. What’s more, meditation can also be an effective means of chronic pain management, as our minds play a greater role than many of us realize, with the ability to reduce pain by up to 90%.
Emotional: Maintain Control Over Your Emotions
Regardless of what age you are, it is always good to focus on exercising control over your emotions. One of the biggest things that you learn through meditation is how to effectively and intently relax the mind and body. This can mean actively reducing levels of stress and anxiety, as well as positively dealing with anger or depression. While meditation can have immediate effects on your emotions, your emotions can greatly impact your physical and mental states over time, so it is in your best interest to focus on efforts that promote your emotional wellbeing—particularly as a senior.
Meditation Before Medication
In today’s day and age, many people are quick to look to prescriptions when it comes dealing with the effects of aging. But with this comes a host of side effects and varied results. It would be a healthier option to first start with a regimen of meditation and active mindfulness. The results are undeniable, and can be enjoyed at any age.