Mindfulness, Meditation And Aging

Mindfulness, Meditation And Aging

We’re all getting older, every day. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t stop time and there is no perpetual fountain of youth. However, we can maintain our dignity, our peace of mind, and our quality of life as we age. Through the use of mindfulness, you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish regardless of your age.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness helps us to be in “our present” – offering the opportunity to experience what is happening within ourselves right this minute. It’s not the same as thinking about what’s going on at that specific moment, but quite the opposite – it’s the absence of thinking about it. In essence, it’s recognizing the fact that you’re sitting in a chair but not focusing on what’s going on around you.

What’s the big deal about mindfulness? Mindfulness and training in the technique can help improve our cognitive abilities and reduce stress. Reducing stress as we age is important, as chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on our attitudes, our body, and our emotional and mental health and well-being. Mindfulness practice can help improve our attention spans, improve our sleep, help with pain management, and more.

It’s one thing to stay physically fit, but it’s also important to maintain our emotional and mental fitness as we age. Mindfulness training is nothing new. The practice dates back over 2,500 years to India. Today, mindfulness is practiced in countries around the world and is often used in yoga, tai chi, and meditation exercises.


 The First 2 Steps Towards Mindfulness

To get you started, I’ve given you the first two – and very important – steps toward learning mindfulness techniques.

Step 1 – Get comfortable. Find a quiet place, make yourself comfortable, and breathe, focusing your attention on your breathing. That’s the key – focus on your breathing.

Step 2 – Continue focusing on your breathing as you acknowledge your emotions or feelings while you breathe, but don’t ‘wander’ with them. Try this for three minutes or so. Set a timer or an alarm. You’ll find that the more you practice this, the more skilled you’ll get at it to the point where you can engage in focused mindfulness for up to 15 minutes at a time.

This is just the beginning. As you begin to feel more control over your focus and concentration, you’ll slowly master the skills of using mindfulness to relieve stress by clearing your mind. This mindfulness training also helps many to deal with pain and anxiety relief.

At its most basic description, mindfulness promotes peace of mind and helps us to gain greater control over our emotions and feelings. As we age, we experience a number of challenges in life. Finding ways to manage that stress is imperative to reduce the negative physical, mental, and emotional impacts of stress and anxiety on our well-being

 Most of us ran through our days on autopilot. Through mindfulness training, and with practice, we can experience those moments of peace we crave more fully and consciously.

The Bottom line

Mindfulness may seem like some type of New Age folly, but studies have shown that those who engage in mindfulness – young or old – benefit through a number of mental and physical aspects. Mindfulness programs have been utilized not only in the healthcare field, but for veterans, hospitals, prisons, and schools. Even just a few weeks of practice promotes benefits for your body, your mind, and in the increase of gray matter density in the brain – especially in areas that are associated with memory, learning, and empathy.

Mindfulness training helps us to tune out a number of distractions whether it’s stress, worry, or pain. By improving our memory, focus, and attention, we’re more able to concentrate on overcoming a number of challenges and obstacles as we age.

Until Next time,
Stay Happy & Healthy,
~Dr. Siobhan