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What Is Mindfulness? Advantages for Older Adults
In today's world, everything moves fast. As a result, we don't always take the time to be present and enjoy the moment. Instead, many of us spend too much time thinking about the past or worrying about the future and letting negative or unhelpful thoughts fill our heads.
If you spend your days in this state, it can lead to many issues that impact you physically and mentally, including issues such as high blood pressure to depression. Therefore, you should find a way to balance out these thoughts and enjoy your life.
Mindfulness is a method used by many people. It has been thoroughly studied, and it has been shown to enhance our ability to enjoy our daily lives and improve our physical and mental health.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation. However, it's not always required that you sit and hum like some traditional forms of meditation if that's not your style or you find that type of meditation unhelpful.
When you practice mindfulness, your goal is to spend time being intensely aware of your internal and external environment without any form of judgment. It allows you to slow down and simply feel and know what is around you and what you're feeling.
You can practice mindfulness in several different ways to suit your specific preferences. This makes it a great form of meditation for everybody, whether you're a lifelong believer in mediation or are simply looking to give it a try to improve your life. Click here to learn more about the benefits of meditation!
Advantages Of Mindfulness For Older Adults
Mindfulness can provide a range of physical and mental benefits. The general advantage or benefit of mindfulness is that it allows you to improve many of the emotional or physiological issues that start to bring you down as you age, whether that's depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear of aging, and even chemical imbalances.
By improving these issues, your body can focus on improving your physical health. Reducing stress can improve things like high blood pressure, pain, and inflammation. Chronic stress is one of the biggest killers that cause all kinds of physical problems for your body the longer it's left.
Some significant benefits and advantages of practicing mindfulness as an older adult can include:
- Reduced stress
- Lower anxiety
- Help with depression and boost your feel-good chemicals
- Increase focus
- Improve creativity
- Limits feelings of loneliness
- Decreased pain
- Enhance restful sleep and stop insomnia
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Improve long and short-term memory
- Improve diabetes
- Slow cognitive decline, including Alzheimer's
- Decreases inflammation
- Helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Improve your body's immune system to fight illness better
How Do You Practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practiced in various ways and easily incorporated into your life. You can choose a specific form or try a few different methods to see which give you the most benefits or that you enjoy the most.
Simple forms of mindfulness include:
- Actively Pay Attention: Set your intention for a short period of time to pay attention to what you're doing and fully experience the moment without letting other thoughts intrude.
An example could be sitting down to enjoy a meal without looking at your phone, watching TV, talking, or worrying about the past or future. Instead, fully experience and only focus on that meal; enjoy the meal's taste, feeling, smell, and appearance.
- Simply Enjoy An Experience: Instead of rushing through everything you do in your day, slow down and enjoy what you're doing. You can find pleasure in almost anything you do, and it's important to experience these things rather than rushing through them and worrying about what you need to do next.
You may not want to do this for the entire day, but try to experience different tasks or activities each day that you simply enjoy and don't rush through or think about other things.
- Treat Yourself Better: Consider how you're acting towards yourself, what you're saying, and how you're treating yourself, and then think about whether that is how you would treat or talk about a good friend or family member. Then, try to modify your actions to treat yourself like your best friend.
- Breath: Throughout your day, if you're experiencing negative thoughts or feeling poorly, you can take a short 1-2 minute break, close your eyes and only focus on breathing slowly; think about your breath going in and out of your body.
- Body Scan: Lay down with your legs extended, your arms by your side and palms up, and close your eyes. Slowly think about every part of your body and how it makes you feel physically or emotionally.
- Sit Down: Sit down on the floor, if possible, with your back straight, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As any thoughts pop into your head, you should note them and then return to focusing on your breathing.
- Walk: Pick a quiet location that provides 10-20 feet of space to walk back and forth along slowly. Experience the act of walking, standing, and even turning, be aware of how everything feels physically during each action, including the act of simply balancing as you move.
Is Mindfulness Right For Everyone?
The benefits of mindfulness are vast, and the requirements to start practicing mindfulness are minimal. You can incorporate a small mindfulness practice into your day. Then, as you see improvements, you can increase or enhance your practice with more advanced techniques or increased time practicing mindfulness.
It's as simple as actively focusing on the moment, enjoying a meal, or simply sitting and breathing.
Mindfulness can be practiced by anybody, and everyone can benefit. Still, it takes a genuine interest in improving your life and setting a few moments aside each day.