Mindfulness can be a useful and accessible tool to be used as we work to better our mental state and sense of well-being while trying to navigate the complexities of our lives.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves the pursuit of the mindful mental state that is achieved when one focuses and directs their attention to the current moment, while also accepting and acknowledging the thoughts, judgements, sensations, and feelings that are at play, without any form of judgement. Mindfulness is a technique individuals can use to connect with their surroundings, as well as with the feelings that are happening in reaction to what is going on around them. Rather than ignoring or pushing away thoughts or feelings that may be negative or difficult to deal with, Mindfulness encourages people to focus on those emotions and see them for what they are. Through this, it becomes more possible to quiet and calm the mind. Rather than allowing your mind to fixate on the past or rush ahead to the future, the art of Mindfulness is to be fully aware and mindful of what is going on in the present moment, outside of ourselves, in our bodies, and within our minds.
Why Seniors Can Benefit from a Mindfulness Practice
As a result of the various aspects and challenges that are a part of the stage of life in which seniors find themselves, many seniors experience numerous emotional and physical difficulties. The impacts of some of these challenges can be lessened, or at least be made more easily manageable with Mindfulness. Some of the benefits that Mindfulness has been seen to have for seniors include:
- Better Sleep Pattern and Quality
- Improved Brain Strength Against Memory Loss
- Decreased Sense of Loneliness
- Potential to Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s
- Improved Mood and Sense of Well-Being
- Help Managing Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness and Meditation
The fact that Mindfulness is a practice that does not need any tools or equipment and is dependent only on intention and dedication, means that it is super accessible to all seniors. Unlike some other activities or forms of therapy, Mindfulness can and should be practiced anywhere and everywhere, which means that it can be applied within the comfort of home, and is not at all dependent on any certain level of mobility or physicality. Mindfulness is a personal practice that can be built and strengthened through whatever means feel the most comfortable and resonant to the individual. Some common ways to practice include:
- Lying or Sitting Meditation
- Walking Meditation
- Deep Breathing Exercises
- Mindful Eating
- Grounding Through the 5 Senses
- Checking-In with Thoughts and Feelings in Between Activities
- Attentive and Engaged Listening
Guided meditations and more information related to how to begin incorporating Mindfulness based activities into daily routines is available in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, through workshops, groups, online sources as well as numerous books and other resources.
The fact that our minds and bodies are uniquely connected to one another is the foundational belief upon which Mindfulness is based. This fact seems an irrevocable reality, and yet we so often forget the power that our minds can have upon how we feel about ourselves and the things that happen around us. The fact that seniors are often dealing with hardships related to their physical bodies that can often create negative feelings means that Mindfulness is something from which they can truly benefit. Rather than focusing on troubles or incapacities, Mindfulness can empower seniors by illuminating and focusing on the power they do have over how they feel and comport themselves in their daily lives. Starting to integrate elements of Mindfulness, even in little ways, can make a wonderful difference.