Many people experience stress due to a range of factors both inside and outside of their control. Stress, whether short-term or chronic, has been linked to a host of physical and mental health issues. As an older adult, you want to be protective of your stress levels, as the negative effects of stress can increase and be more difficult to cope with as you age.
Thankfully, with healthy coping mechanisms like practicing mindfulness, you can work through your stress in a healthy way before it turns into a larger issue. Here, we explore some of the additional benefits of mindfulness, and how to incorporate mindfulness practices into your day.
How Does Mindfulness Benefit Seniors?
Mindfulness is simply the practice of being aware of the present moment and conscious of what you’re thinking and feeling, without interpretation, judgment, or action. Using mindfulness as a coping mechanism offers many benefits that can mitigate the physical and mental impacts of stress, improve cognitive function, and lead to a greater sense of well-being.
Mindfulness does this by helping you better connect with and process your thoughts and emotions. It also helps you practice being present in the current moment, rather than fixating on future worries or past regrets. This, in turn, enables you to better regulate your emotions and remain resilient as you face life’s challenges.
Many people who practice mindfulness have experienced enhanced relationship satisfaction, sense of well-being, self-acceptance, sleep quality, stress levels, and physical health.
Mindfulness Activities for Seniors
There are a few different ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily and weekly life. Try some of these methods to find a few that work best for you.
Many people enjoy journaling, as it can help you organize your thoughts, and also serve as an outlet for emotional release. This enables you to better focus on the important things at hand, more effectively work through your stressors, and better manage your emotions. Common forms of journaling include, but aren’t limited to:
- Daily journaling. Take some time to reflect on the things that happened each day.
- Art and illustrated journaling. Process your emotions by creating visual art or illustrations.
- Stream of consciousness journaling. Write whatever comes to mind, without a prompt. The goal of this method is to write until you fill at least three pages.
- Bullet journaling. Combine creative organization, daily thoughts, and calendar events and tasks into organized sections on a page.
- Gratitude journaling. Jot down a few things you’re grateful for every day.
Imagine taking a moment to slow down and focus on nothing but simply being. That is what mindful breathing exercises are all about. Mindful breathing offers great benefits in terms of stress relief and physical health. It can help you be more aware of your thoughts, regulate negative emotions, relieve anxiety symptoms, lower oxidative stress levels, and support your cardiovascular health.
There are a range of breathing exercises you can do to practice mindfulness, all of which require you to sit or lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. As you do so, focus on each inhale and exhale, and bring your attention back to your breath if your mind wanders. Start with three to five minutes, and work your way up over time.
Walking is a great way to clear your mind while also getting in some movement, and it’s widely known that this form of exercise has tremendous physical and mental health benefits. Mindful walking can significantly improve your mood and brain function, reduce feelings of anxiety, and boost your sense of well-being.
To practice mindful walking, find a quiet place and take a stroll. Focus on the experience of walking, paying close attention to your thoughts or the different sensations, like the ground underneath your feet or the shift in your body with each stride. You can also focus on your surroundings, admiring the natural beauty around you. However, be sure to consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise routine.
Discover a Mindful Community at Querencia
Your community and support system play a big role in your overall health and well-being. You want to make sure the place you live enriches your wellness journey. At Querencia at Barton Creek, your health, wellness, and fulfillment are our priority. Our supportive services free up the time you’d spend on life’s mundane tasks so that you can be fully present as you enjoy our engaging, resort-style amenities and exciting events.
Contact us to see for yourself what community life has to offer.