Countless cultures and religions have been practicing meditation for thousands of years, and for good reason. Since as early as 5,000 BCE, people have used meditation to improve their mental and physical health. One of the many great things about meditation is that anyone can do it, regardless of age.
Meditation has a lot to offer older adults. The emotional and cognitive benefits of the practice can have a meaningful impact on your life, especially if you make it a consistent part of your daily routine. If you’re new to meditation and aren’t sure how to get started — no problem; we’re here to help.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice in which you use a technique to achieve mindfulness and a heightened state of awareness. Broadly speaking, the purpose of meditation is to attain a calm state by focusing your mind on a thought, activity, or object. Focusing your mind in this way can help clear your mind and ease the stress that comes with overthinking.
Benefits of Meditation
The benefits of meditation for seniors go beyond just stress relief and increased mindfulness. Older adults that incorporate meditation into their daily routine could enjoy:
- Improved Sleep: Older adults often have difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep at night. By regulating your nervous system, meditation can help you achieve more restful sleep.
- Stronger Memory: Meditation has been linked to an improvement in memory, perhaps because long-term meditation can increase the density of your hippocampus. This is a great benefit for older adults that are already experiencing the occasional memory lapse.
- Better Mood: Meditation is an effective way for people of all ages to prioritize their mental health. With regular practice, people can begin feeling calmer and less anxious while also staving off depression.
- Lower Blood Pressure: The National Institutes of Health has found meditation to lower blood pressure in some adults with mild hypertension.
- Less Chronic Pain: Though meditation can’t necessarily treat the condition causing your chronic pain, some reports show that stress reduction through yoga and meditation can lower your pain levels.
Easy Meditation Practices
There are many different ways to meditate. This ensures that people of all ages and abilities can do it with no equipment required. You could go for a mindful walk where you try to stay present in the activity rather than letting your mind wander into anything troubling you.
You could also meditate by sitting on the floor, on a mat, in a chair, or wherever else you’re most comfortable. What’s important is that you’re in a quiet environment where you can try to empty your mind, relax your body, and slow your breathing. This may not come naturally at first, but meditation is something you get better at with time and practice.
Another meditation technique is body scanning. Through body scan meditation, you can try to consciously relax different parts of your body. You could, for example, begin with your feet and toes and gradually move up to your head and jaw. You could do this sitting in a chair or while lying in bed.
Helpful Meditation Resources
There are lots of great meditation resources out there that can help you on your journey with meditation. This includes several excellent meditation podcasts like the Daily Meditation Podcast and Guided Meditations.
There are also popular meditation apps like Headspace and Insight Timer, which both offer great features such as guided meditations and structured courses.
Contact Senior Healthcare Specialists in Charlotte
Of course, meditation is just one of the many ways seniors can manage their health. If your or a loved one’s health needs are changing, Care Weaver’s healthcare specialists are here to support you. We can assist with planning and decision-making related to where you choose to age, whether you need help with care community selection or intend on aging safely at home.
We also have passionate patient advocates that can communicate with your healthcare team to ensure that your goals and priorities are reflected in your plan of care. If you have any questions or would like to request a free assessment for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you.