Have you noticed periodic feelings of irritability, anxiousness or becoming emotional, either in yourself or in a loved one? The cause for these common symptoms of mood changes can range from lack of sleep to low blood sugar to experiencing chronic stress.
For most people, these mood swings are not serious unless they last for more than two weeks or are disrupting your relationships and daily life. In that case, you’ll want to rule out any serious causes with your doctor.
However, if you’d like to be proactive in smoothing out your emotional responses to daily stressors, medication may not be the only answer. You might want to consider the advantages of meditation for seniors.
Meditation for Seniors: Why it Can Work
Many older adults have discovered meditation as an alternative to medications when they are trying to calm anxiety or other stressful emotions.
Known as a practice to calm the mind and body, meditation is often referred to as an antidote to the fight-or-flight response. While gaining focus on your attention and replacing negative or anxious thoughts with deep concentration, your breathing will slow down as well as your heart rate. Other physical and emotional responses can be decreased blood pressure, stress levels and the sense of tension felt in your body.
Why Older Adults May Experience Anxiety
Older adults may begin experiencing increased anxiety as they deal with life’s frequent changes, according to WebMD. There may be specific trigger factors that contribute to feeling more anxious or it can result from general situations, such as:
- Financial insecurity
- Health problems, mobility issues or chronic pain
- Loss of independence and isolation
- End-of-life planning
- Grief and loss
Benefits of Meditation for Seniors
Meditation is good for both your body and mind. Studies have shown it can enhance long and short-term memory, improve your ability to focus and strengthen your resilience.
By reducing stress, it can also produce the physical benefits of lowering blood pressure and inflammation. Psychologically, you may begin to notice an increased sense of well-being, an improved ability to cope with loneliness or sadness and even an increase in your empathy toward others.
While the specific advantages can vary among individuals, there are several general benefits that tend to be common among those who develop a regular practice of meditation, including the following:
- Reduction in anxiety
- Prevention or treatment for depression
- Improved cognition
- Reduction in mental distractions
- Alleviation of symptoms of dementia with improved mood, sleep and stress levels
- Improved mental health with quiet reflection on how best to move forward
Suggestions to Improve Your Mood
If you’re looking for ways to manage your mood, without medication, you might want to consider creating a wellness plan that includes the following options:
- Understand what triggers your feelings of anxiety.
- Build and rely on your social support system, including family and friends
- Live a healthy and balanced lifestyle
- Learn different methods to cope, which could include therapy and meditation
Different Types of Meditation for Seniors
There are several forms of meditation that you might wish to consider as you search for one that works best for you. Each of these can provide an alternative to try.
Transcendental meditation: focuses on a word or sound that is repeated over and over
Mindfulness meditation: concentrates on the present moment
Guided imagery: focuses on a mental image
Centering prayer: a religious practice that uses a sacred word to focus on connecting to a higher power
Body scan: concentrates on one body part at a time and its sensations
Mind-body exercises: Examples include tai chi or yoga, which combines focused breathing with slow movements or poses
Source: US News
Try These Meditation Techniques
If you’re interested in meditation as an alternative to medication, consider the following recommendations when creating your routine:
- Discover a quiet and distraction-free location.
- Find the position that is most comfortable and encourages you to remain focused, either sitting, lying down or walking.
- Aim to be present and aware. If you find it difficult to maintain a posture or remain focused, take a few breaths and begin again.
- Find a word or sentence, prayer or motivational phrase that can help offset anxiety.
- Consider exercises such as yoga or tai chi that combine physical movement and discipline with mental focus to benefit both the body and mind.
- Start with shorter sessions and build up from there. Try 5 or 10 minutes when beginning your meditation practice.
- Don’t worry if your mind wanders or you lose focus. Observe your thoughts and then return to breathing.
Source: The Hartford
Assisted Living at Seaside Hallandale Beach
We’re here to answer any questions you may have about senior living and invite your family to see how our community can encourage and promote a higher quality of life.
We encourage you to visit Seaside Hallandale Beach, which is designed to provide activities and social opportunities to help our residents in reaching their wellness goals.
Supporting our residents to age well, we believe you or your parents will enjoy the services and amenities available in our pet-friendly community:
- A monthly social calendar of activities
- Beautiful common spaces to socialize
- Weekly housekeeping
- A spacious courtyard
- An outdoor pool with a covered patio
- Personalized fitness and wellness programs
- Scheduled transportation
- Easy and safe access to the beach