Whether you are a health enthusiast or not, you may have heard about meditation and the remarkable benefits it offers millions worldwide.
The technique that emphasizes redirecting your focus and controlling your breath has been all the rage and all over the headlines in recent years, praised as the powerful pathway to better living and improved health.
Anybody can benefit from meditation, and it’s been widely demonstrated that meditation can help seniors feel calmer and more revitalized when meditating for 3-5 minutes a day.
Get your parents started on meditation with our curated list of 7 meditation techniques for seniors.
Meditation for Seniors: 7 Effective Meditation and Mindfulness to Help Seniors Find Inner Peace
A Look Into Reasons to Meditate
Some reasons to meditate are as follows:
- Lower stress levels
- Relieves persistent pain
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves the quality of sleep
- Alleviates anxiety, fear, and tension
- Manages depression and associated symptoms
- Cultivates good mood
- Cuts back on brain chatter
- Enhances cognitive functions
- Reverses the rates of brain aging
- Increases concentration and attention span
- Sharpens mental acuity
- Boosts memory
- Promotes overall well-being and wellness
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces health risks related to aging
- Helps manage symptoms of chronic conditions
7 Best Meditation Techniques for Seniors
Mindfulness meditation calls for meditators to train their minds and redirect their thoughts and attention to the present moment. This well-known meditation technique seeks an improved state of mind and a stronger sense of calm inwards by sorting out their wandering thoughts, letting go of emotional burdens, and noticing their thoughts and sensations without becoming too involved.
In other words, this meditation technique for seniors is grounding themselves in the present, not worrying about what has happened in the past and stressing about what will happen in the future. It is easy for seniors to learn mindfulness practice as it requires little preparation, meaning they can do it wherever they are for 3-5 minutes. Other than that, giving your full attention to whatever you are doing, such as washing the dishes or folding the laundry, is also a form of mindfulness practice.
Breathing meditation involving simple breath-focused practice has been associated with better mental acuity.
According to numerous studies, controlling or taking a quick deep breath can have powerful effects on the body and mind. When doing diaphragmatic breathing, raised oxygen levels help reduce brain fog, boost focus, and improve overall brain health through enhanced oxygen levels. This is especially beneficial for seniors, who are often at heightened risk of cognitive decline and degenerative disorders.
Much like mindfulness meditation, this technique requires meditators to redirect their attention to the present while inhaling and exhaling deeply. If your parents experience forgetfulness, encourage them to practice breathing meditation and exercises.
While this concept of meditation may seem like an oxymoron at first glance, it is essential to note that no mediation technique is one-size-fits-all, meaning each person may achieve a more profound sense of relaxation and self-awareness differently.
In contrast to sitting-still meditation practices, movement meditation is a flexible form that allows meditators to tune in with their minds while their bodies are in motion.
According to Dr. Achana Batra, movement meditation is equally effective as meditation involving stillness, as it “combines regular meditation’s acts and goals with calm, repetitive movements and positions. While seated meditation entails sitting or lying perfectly still and allowing your mind to do all the work, movement meditation entails slow and practiced movements.” With yoga and taichi being the best examples of movement meditations, a person can cultivate a stronger connection with their body and mind in the present while engaging in a variety of day-to-day activities, such as walking, gardening, cleaning, stretching, or any other tasks that they might find joy in.
Focused meditation, or focused attention meditation, is a technique that helps meditators foster deep relaxation through intensified attention and focus.
The main goal of focused meditation is to deliberately increase the attention span to anchor the mind, diverting it away from anything that might steal their attention, such as inner dialogue, racing thoughts, and noises, while sitting upright and comfortably.
The target of focus can be varied. For example, meditators can choose to concentrate on counting mala beads or their breaths, staring at the candle flame, or gazing at the moon or any far-distant objects to shape their train of wandering thoughts.
Mantra meditation manifests deep levels of self-awareness, alertness, and stress relief by repeating a word or phrase, known as “mantra” in Sanskrit.
Mantras are sacred words used in many world-renowned religious practices like Buddhism and Hinduism to facilitate spiritual powers and connect with the divine. With this technique, the chosen word or phrase becomes the meditators’ anchor of thoughts. It helps meditators elevate the body vibration, reduce the feelings of burnout, redirect their focus, become more in sync with their higher self, and promote their awareness of their surroundings. Mantra meditation is an excellent alternative to other meditations involving breathwork if your parents find breathing in and out mundane at times.
Body Scan Meditation
Also known as progressive muscle relaxation meditation, body scan meditation unwinds high-stress levels by releasing tension up and down the body.
The technique starts at one particular part of the body and then moves to nearby areas until a gentle wave of relaxation distributes throughout the body. For instance, much like its name, meditators start the body scan focusing on the lower extremities (toes, feet, calves, and knees) and then move upwards until the sensation reaches the top of the head.
Visualization meditation was created based on the belief that imagination can enhance a greater sense of contentment, calmness, and peace. In a session of visualization meditation, mediators with their eyes closed are encouraged to immerse themselves in a scene, an image, or anything that makes them feel happy, soothed, and relieved.
This meditation technique starts with implementing vivid scenes and adding more details; as many as possible. Sometimes, visualization can be as simple as imagining yourself living a new life, achieving your specific life goals, or checking off your bucket lists. Strolling along the beach, walking on a wooded trail, or sitting by the campfire are some examples of visualization techniques you can use to check in with your higher self and cultivate more contentment.
Tips to Get Started on Meditation
Above all the reasons listed earlier, one of the most incredible things about meditation or mindfulness is that almost anyone can meditate. It can be practiced anywhere and at any time, meaning you can reap the health benefits of meditation from the comfort of your home, on your sofa, or in bed.
Suppose your parents are looking for a little push. In that case, many fitness centers are equipped with enclosed areas for meditation, accompanied by guides who do a great job of motivating and helping them develop a regular meditation routine. Some dynamic tips to help your parents get familiar with meditation include:
- Meditate as early as possible: Although there is no set time for meditation, encourage your parents to start meditating as early as possible, ideally in the mornings.
- Dress the part: It doesn’t have to be athletic or sporty clothes. Wearing loose, breathable clothes should do the trick, particularly when sitting in a cross-legged position.
- Sit as comfortably as possible: Let your parents know they can choose to sit in any position that works best for them and their health status, especially if they have issues with their joints. Check here for more ideas on the best meditation positions.
- Avoid forcing your breath: Let your breath go in and out naturally. The best is not to force it and go with the sensation of your lungs.
- Be kind to yourself: It might not be easy to face the deepest, most vulnerable feelings and emotions while redirecting your focus. Remind your parents to be kind to themselves.
If you have questions about meditation for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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