Sometimes, the Best Place to Seek Calm is Within
Did you know that there are more benefits in meditation for seniors than some other exercises? It’s true: the benefits of meditation are many for people of any age, but there are more untapped benefits in meditation for seniors than you may have realized.
Those who do not understand meditation tend to dismiss it as fluff. In reality, meditation yields many benefits for mental, physical, and spiritual health. Taking a moment of your day to be mindful and reflect through meditation can be incredibly beneficial to those suffering from cognitive issues, depression, or the effects of grief.
There are more benefits of meditation than can be covered in a single article. For this post, we’ve chosen to focus on five of the most crucial benefits of meditation. Read on to discover 5 benefits of meditation for seniors!
1: Meditation can Improve Concentration and Focus
It is often stated that meditation is an excellent exercise to work the brain. As more healthcare providers and caregivers begin to realize how well the act of meditation helps strengthen neuroplasticity, the more they recommend it for the senior population. As a result, more retirement communities and long-term nursing care facilities are offering meditation classes for seniors than ever.
Guided meditation of any sort, be it through an app or through meditation classes for seniors, can vastly help you improve concentration and focus. Guided meditation requires you to focus your energy on transporting yourself to a relaxing environment. For instance, many guided meditation sessions encourage you to focus on finding yourself at the beach. In order to relax your mind, you are asked to concentrate on experiencing certain calming sensations, such as:
- The sound and flow of gentle ocean waves
- The feel of warm sand and gentle sea breezes
- The warming sensation of sunshine
With time and practice, the goal is to make you feel as if you are lying on a beach for the duration of the guided meditation. By rebuilding your concentration and focus, you will be able to achieve this goal and obtain a sense of pure relaxation in “transporting” to another place.
2: Meditation can Help Decrease Stress and Anxiety
Mindfulness meditation is quickly becoming a trusted tool in the effort to help seniors cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. The technique of mindfulness meditation in itself is designed to help you be aware of negative feelings and emotions so that you can calmly acknowledge and release them.
The act of mindfulness is to observe and accept your thoughts as they occur without judgment. It encourages you to refrain from worrying about the future of the past, working to keep your mind on the present through blocking distractions. Mindfulness meditation works by activating the “feel-good” center of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, and challenges your brain to focus solely on the positive.
One of the biggest benefits of meditation of this sort is that it can help you:
- Improve your sleep patterns
- Improve your cognitive abilities
- Relieve mental and physical pain
- Come to grips with the challenges of aging
As a result, you tend to feel more “free” and positive in your everyday life. This is a huge part of what makes mindfulness meditation one of the most positive forms of meditation for anxiety.
3: Regular Meditation can Help Combat the Effects of Cognitive Decline
For decades, doctors and scientists have been researching ways to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia in patients. While meditation may not completely reverse the effects, it can help keep the worst of them at bay. A 2014 review of studies involving older adults found that meditation may help preserve cognitive function in those who are beginning to notice a cognitive decline.
Meditation of any sort taps into the long-term and short-term memory centers in your brain. Certain types of meditation, such as:
- Transcendental meditation
- Guided meditation
- Body scan meditation
Ask you to focus on a certain repetitive term, phrase, or action in an effort to find a center of calm. Guided meditation asks you to retain details to piece together a calming place where you may find that center. By requiring you to focus on certain details, these forms of meditation require your memory centers to remain active, helping you retain and boost their overall function over a longer period of time.
By helping you exercise those memory centers, it has been shown in recent studies that meditation may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Certain evidence also suggests that one of the benefits of meditation for seniors is to offset the onset of age-related cognitive decline.
4: Meditation can Help with Digestion and Circulation
It’s no secret that as you age, you begin to see issues with circulation and digestion. Bad circulation becomes more common as we become less active. The body also begins to lose its ability to properly digest food. Both of these issues can lead to or be symptoms of much bigger problems down the road, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or heart disease.
While meditation is not a substitute for the medications that help you manage these conditions, it can be a great aid in helping you control them. As meditation for seniors helps decrease stress, it also helps you reduce blood pressure and calm tension. Reduced blood pressure and tension as a result of meditation lead to better blood flow and less intestinal constriction, resulting in better circulation and digestion.
5: Meditation can Help You Combat the Effects of Loneliness
As we get older, our circles dwindle. Overall independence drifts further and further away. To many of us, it can be a heavy burden to face, and the overwhelming sense of loneliness felt as a result can spiral into serious depression over time.
There’s no way to regain what has been lost. However, with mindfulness and meditation, you can focus on making the present positive and harmonious. Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus on the positives, helping you combat the unhealthy effects of loneliness and depression.
If you wish to be more social, many senior centers, retirement communities, and nursing home facilities offer meditation classes for seniors. These classes can help teach you the benefits of meditation, and they can help you use mindfulness meditation to improve your quality of life in your golden years. It can also help you see one of the other benefits of meditation for seniors – you gain new friends by attending these meditation classes!
Meditation Helps You Make the Most of Your Golden Years
Overall, the biggest benefit to be found in meditation for seniors is the sense of freedom and happiness that it can give you in your golden years. Meditation is not an overall cure for what ails you, but it can be a valuable tool in helping you maintain your independence, cognitive function, and positive outlook.
The only way to truly prove the validity of the benefits of meditation is to try the practice for yourself. Try to devote some time each day to the art of meditation, whether you choose to attend a class or practice in your own home. You may just find that it’s more beneficial than you previously thought!