Stress is a normal part of dealing with difficult situations, but experiencing constant stress can raise your blood pressure, heighten your anxiety, and lead to other harmful consequences. Fortunately, with the right techniques, it’s possible to manage and even prevent stress. Discover how living mindfully can help.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the moment. You are not worrying about the future or obsessing about the past. Instead, you are calmly aware of your physical surroundings, sensations, and thoughts, and you experience life through a “gentle, nurturing lens” as aptly described by The University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine.
How Does Mindfulness Benefit Seniors?
Being mindful is beneficial at any age, but it’s especially advantageous to seniors. Practicing mindfulness can improve cognitive function, and can alleviate anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Living mindfully can also help prevent or alleviate physical conditions that are common among seniors such as high blood pressure and insomnia.
Mindfulness not only enhances your physical and mental well-being, but also has the potential to improve your relationships. Because mindfulness forces you to be attentive in the present, you become a better listener in conversations with your friends, family members, or partner.
It can also help you become more positive and empathetic. When you are mindful, you focus more on the positive aspects of a situation. This helps you not fixate on another person’s flaws, for instance, and instead highlight the characteristics you love about them.
There are numerous activities you can engage in to enhance your mindfulness. Meditation exercises are one of the most commonly known methods. Medication practice can help you slow down, tune into your body, and stop the negative chatter in your mind. Here are a few more mindfulness activities you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Journaling is an effective outlet where you can write out your feelings and thoughts in the privacy of a personal notebook or diary. It gives you time to process your thoughts without the immediate urgency to act. Journaling makes you self-aware, and more motivated to change behavioral or mental patterns. Popular journaling activities include writing about your day or using creative prompts.
Taking deep breaths can help you feel calm and relaxed. It also lowers your heart rate and cortisol levels. But deep breathing can be more than just slowly inhaling and exhaling. Box breathing and 4-7-8-breathing offer more structured techniques and effective results.
If being active is how you recharge and manage stress, walking is an effective way to incorporate both movement and mindfulness. Take a walk around your neighborhood and engage your senses. Take in the beauty of the flowers, listen to the birds sing, smell the fresh air, gently glide your hand through the lush blades of green grass. Walking is an easy way to be present in the moment and be aware of your body and your surroundings. However, be sure to consult with a physician before beginning any new exercise routine.
Your thoughts can influence who you are and how you perceive experiences, which is why it’s important to talk to yourself in a positive way. Affirmations or positive statements you say out loud in the morning can help you have a better day. They can also help you feel grounded and more in control should things go awry or not turn out how you initially planned.
Try saying these affirmations to yourself in the morning:
- I am focused on what I can control
- I feel content and happy
- I am rooted in this present moment
Guided Sleep Meditation
If your thoughts keep you awake at night, a guided sleep meditation can steer you away from your worries. During an audio-guided sleep meditation, your featured speaker gives you step-by-step instructions for conducting breathing exercises, a body scan, or visualizing a serene setting. No matter what type of guided sleep meditation you do, it can help ease your mental and physical tension so that you can drift to sleep more easily.
Discover a Mindful Community at Beacon Hill
While you can certainly practice mindfulness on your own, residing in a senior living community that champions mindfulness makes it easier to incorporate it into your routine. At Beacon Hill, our services and amenities are designed to help you live a more mindful and stress-free lifestyle. Seeking to elevate your mental and physical well-being? Get a personalized wellness plan to maximize your overall health.
Discover how we can help you curate a more mindful way of living. Contact us to learn more.