Benefits of Meditation for Senior Adults

Benefits of Meditation for Senior Adults

For thousands of years, meditation has been used as a tool to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and connect with the world around us. It can be easy to feel distant from the world, but meditation is a useful tool that can help you combat worry and stress.

No matter what your age, life can be stressful, so it’s important to find ways to relax. Meditation is simple, easy to implement into your everyday routine, and doesn’t require any equipment or expenses to practice.

Let’s talk about the benefits of meditation and how it can support your mental health and relaxation every day!


Meditation and Mental Health


1. It reduces stress. 

The most well-known benefit of meditation is stress reduction. When we experience stress, our bodies release the hormone cortisol. This hormone is responsible for signaling danger, controlling blood pressure, and regulating the body’s metabolism of glucose. However, too much cortisol can lead to physical ailments such as weight gain and digestive issues.

Meditation is a great way to rebalance your mind, cultivate a sense of peace, and relax any tense or stressed parts of your mind and body.


2. It relieves anxiety. 

When you think of anxiety, you may associate it with stress. While both are mental responses that can be triggered by external stimuli, they are key differences. Stress is characterized by physical ailments, irritability, anger, and fatigue. As we’ve learned, it’s caused when too much cortisol is produced in our bodies.

Anxiety is characterized by persistent worrying and overthinking that doesn’t go away even if the external stimulus is no longer present. It can cause symptoms similar to the symptoms of stress, such as difficulty sleeping, irritability, and tension. It can also have an effect on your focus and cognitive abilities.

Luckily, meditation’s benefits can help relieve anxiety as well as stress! Whether you’re an overthinker, worrier, or experience anxiety about new situations or events, meditation is a great way to help relieve anxiety, rebalance your mind, and focus on what you love.


3. It promotes positive thinking.

Meditation is a great way to promote positive thinking about both yourself and the world. When you pause to meditate, you create space between yourself and your daily life. When you embrace this space, you can gain a new perspective on a situation that you otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Meditation also allows you to focus on the present instead of dwelling on the past.

Meditation can improve your self-awareness and self-image, increase your patience with others, and cultivate imagination used to fuel the hobbies and activities that bring us joy!

Research shows that the benefits of meditation can even help reduce symptoms of depression and that when people perform meditation exercises, they are more likely to control and combat negative thoughts than those who don’t meditate.


Meditation and Physical Health 


1. It improves our brain function.

Our minds control our attention span, ability to focus, and capacity to learn new things! Sometimes our minds experience stress or anxiety and become tired, but meditation is a great way to relax the mind and rebalance. This, in turn, can lead to improved focus and memory retention.

Studies show that meditation exercises can improve memory, focus, organization of thoughts, and neuropsychological performance. Especially when it concerns age-related memory loss, meditation can help improve memory and reduce memory loss in patients with or at risk of dementia!


2. It helps regulate your sleep cycle. 

When we let our thoughts race in the evening, anxious thoughts can disrupt our sleep. We may not be able to fall asleep as quickly or get the deep sleep our bodies need to function. For this reason, it is vital to get good sleep.

Luckily, meditating can help. Research shows that meditation helps our bodies relax, balances our cortisol levels, and reduces stress that can keep us up at night, thus helping us get the sleep we need to flourish.


3. It helps regulate blood pressure. 

According to the same research study, meditation can help reduce high blood pressure and regulate blood pressure levels throughout the day. In fact, meditating in the morning can help keep blood pressure levels low if you encounter high-stress situations later in the day!


4. It can help you manage stress-related conditions. 

Some physical conditions can be stimulated by stress like high blood pressure, heart disease, bowel problems, headaches, disrupted sleep, and asthma. While you should talk to your doctor about any physical ailments, meditation can be used to help ease some of your symptoms.

By meditating and lowering your cortisol levels, you can help regulate your body’s natural rhythms, promote health and wellness, and reduce stress-related conditions and symptoms.


How To Meditate 

Meditating benefits every aspect of life, from our ability to relieve stress and handle difficult situations to increasing self-esteem and managing symptoms of some health conditions. Here are some helpful tips you can use to practice meditation in your daily lives and start reaping the benefits!


Breathe Deeply 

Relaxed deep breathing is one of the defining characteristics of meditation. When you think of meditation, you probably think of a person sitting cross-legged, breathing deeply. While you don’t have to hum or sit in a certain position to meditate, breathing deep is an important aspect!

Deep breathing helps for a few reasons. It promotes circulation throughout your body, increases oxygen levels, and slows your heart rate. It also relaxes your shoulders and back muscles, which may be tightened or sore if you take shallow breaths or hold your breath.


Focus Your Attention 

You may wonder what you’re supposed to think about while meditating, but the answer is anything you want! Keep it positive and keep it simple. Here are some different things you can focus your attention on during meditations.

Focus on gratitude by thinking of all the things you’re thankful for. You can focus on love by imagining your loved ones and how you’ve received love from them in your life. You can also think of a happy memory with your loved ones that makes you feel good!

Whatever it is that brings you happiness, whether it’s sunny weather or a person you love, dwell on that. You can also focus on a mantra such as, “I Am Thankful” or “I Am At Peace,” or work to allow your mind to go entirely blank.


Find a Comfortable Place To Sit 

When you first begin meditating, it may be easier to find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably with minimal distractions. Stress relief and meditation take different forms, so there is no specific mindset you need while meditating. However, when starting out, it may help to meditate somewhere distraction-free!


Walk and Meditate 

Walking while meditating is another great way to practice mindfulness and get exercise while doing it! Consider walking somewhere bright and with lots of greenery. While you enjoy the fresh air and the scenery, focus on how your body feels. You can think about a feeling of happiness, gratitude, or peace, or you can focus on your breathing and movements.

While you walk, try to walk slowly and use gentle movements. When your body feels peaceful, your mind will too!


Incorporate Other Stress Relief Practices 

Meditation can help our minds and bodies prepare for and deal with stress. However, if we aren’t implementing stress-relief practices in other ways, these benefits may be short-lived.

Exercising regularly, doing yoga, staying hydrated, resting and taking vacations from work, and maintaining relationships with those we love are also vital aspects to regulating stress levels! If maintaining low stress levels is a challenge, consider trying a hemp extract gummy or hemp extract tincture drops to help support your body’s natural methods of relieving feelings of stress. 


Be Kind To Your Mind 

Meditating may be trickier than it seems. Especially if you feel worried, anxious, or stressed, your mind will probably wander to a place you’re trying to avoid. But this is okay! There’s a reason it’s called a meditation practice, and giving yourself the space to experiment and grow can help you develop your meditative skills over time. Remember to give your mind grace as you try to focus on gratitude, love, or peace. It may take time to learn how to rid your mind of distractions and racing thoughts, but the benefits are worth it!


Meditate in the Morning, at Night, and Throughout the Day 

When you meditate is up to you. If you’re a morning person and want to implement meditation into your morning routine, then find a window or comfortable spot and start your day with meditation. If you want to meditate before bed, find a cozy spot near your bed or in your room. You can also meditate throughout the day! Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk or sitting on your porch, meditation is easy to do wherever you are, and the more you practice, the more natural it will feel!


Summary 

Life can be stressful. Thankfully, meditation is a simple way to help us rebalance our bodies, reconnect with the world around us, and focus on positivity. As you begin implementing meditation into your routine, remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace if you don’t master it right away. By simply trying to meditate, you’re succeeding and helping your mind and body in many ways.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/the-role-of-cortisol-in-the-body

https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/anxiety-difference#:~:text=People%20under%20stress%20experience%20mental,the%20absence%20of%20a%20stressor

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26445019/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726

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