Mindfulness is linked to greater health and even a longer life. Here’s what that means and how you can learn to practice it.
Mindfulness is the practice of teaching your mind to focus on the present. Some refer to it as living in the moment. Research shows it aids in everything from reducing stress to sleeping better. For older adults, learning to be mindful can lead to a healthier life.
Research also shows chronic stress is linked to everything from high blood pressure to backaches, migraines, and digestive problems. Some experts even say meditation and mindfulness can help older adults live longer lives.
Finding healthy ways to manage your thoughts so you can reach a state of mindfulness is the key.
What is Mindful Meditation?
Theoretically, mindfulness is an easy concept to understand. It’s putting mindfulness in to practice that can be tough.
Being mindful means paying attention to what you are doing and what is happening around you. To be active and present in the moments of your day. Unfortunately, not many of us are able to do that.
Playing on our tablets while streaming a movie. Reading messages on our cell phones during lunch out with a friend. Reviewing work emails at home in the evening while watching television with the family. Some call it multi-tasking and feel proud that they are able to juggle several things at once.
As a nation, we are more distracted than ever. It takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. When we don’t live in the moment, we lose touch with our body and our mind. It leads us to worry and fret. That increases anxiety and stress.
What can you do to be more mindful during your retirement and the years leading up to it?
Here are a few ideas you can try to live more in the moment.
Learning to Live Mindfully
- Put your phone down: While they are convenient, cell phones are one of the worst sources of distraction. Smart phones that allow us to surf the internet with a tap of the phone makes it all too easy to get lost from the present. Force yourself to undergo a digital detox, if necessary.
- Learn to breathe better: Many people are shallow breathers. Instead of breathing deeply from the diaphragm, they take more superficial breaths using only the chest. Learning how to breathe from the belly can help you relax and feel less anxious.
- Take a meditation workshop: Quieting the mind can be a lot of work! While some people may be able to master it using online videos, others require in-person training. If you feel like you need the personal touch, check with your local senior center, fitness club, or yoga studio to see if they offer classes.
- Start with small steps: It may be a bit overwhelming to get started meditating. The good news is you don’t have to sit down on a pillow and be still for long periods of time. Go for a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood and commit to noticing the beauty surrounding you. Instead of whittling away time on social media, curl up with a good book. If you start with a few minutes of mindfulness during the day and work up, it may be easier to achieve a goal of living more mindfully.
Holistic Approach to Daily Life
At The Wesley Community in historic Saratoga Springs, we believe in taking a holistic approach to wellness. Helping residents live their best life includes creating occasions to connect with the body, mind, and spirit. It might be a Chair Yoga class several mornings a week or enjoying a walk across campus on a beautiful fall day. Our residents have opportunities to participate in life enrichment activities every day.