The Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation Practice for Ottawa Seniors
Mindfulness is a topic that has gained a considerable amount of attention over recent years, being recommended as a meaningful and accessible tool through which we can all seek to improve our mental state and sense of well-being while attempting to navigate the realities of our lives. While much of the information and direction related to the use of mindfulness practices has been geared towards younger individuals who are still working, caring for a family, or getting through school, research has also indicated that a thoughtfully incorporated mindfulness practice has the capacity to yield a meaningful array of positive benefits for seniors as well.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as a technique that involves working towards the mindful mental state that is reached when one focuses and directs their attention to the present moment, while also accepting and acknowledging the thoughts, judgements, sensations, and feelings that are present, without judgement. Mindfulness is a tool through which individuals can connect with their surroundings, as well as with the feelings that are occurring 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 acknowledge, 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 linger in the past or rush ahead to the present, 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 Ottawa 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, through 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 mental practice that does not require any tools or equipment and is dependent only on intention and dedication, means that it is incredibly 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 utilized within the comfort of home, and is not at all dependent on any particular level of mobility or physical capability. Mindfulness is a personal practice that can be cultivated 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 regarding how to begin incorporating mindfulness based activities into daily routines is readily available in Ottawa, through workshops, groups, online sources as well as numerous books and other resources.
The fact that our minds and bodies are truly and deeply connected is the foundational belief upon which mindfulness is based. This fact seems an undeniable reality, and yet we so often forget the power that our mind can have upon how we feel within ourselves, as well as how we experience the world around us. The fact that seniors are often facing challenges with their physical bodies that can often contribute to negative feelings or psychological states means that mindfulness is something from which they can truly yield benefit. Rather than focusing on challenges or inabilities, mindfulness can empower seniors by highlighting the power they do have over how they feel and live their daily lives. Beginning to incorporate aspects of mindfulness techniques, even in small ways, can make a meaningful difference.