As we age, we begin to focus more and more on our overall health; what choice do we have when faced with more visits to the doctor, changing bodies and minds, and new physical limitations? Combine all of these factors, and a bit of a vicious circle can seem to develop; we can’t care for ourselves physically in the way we’d like to, due to physical limitations, and the inability to do the things we used to do can cause stagnation, which leads to more problems. Those with severe physical impairments can find it difficult to complete their regular, day-to-day activities, let alone go to the gym. Fortunately, there’s a practice that’s both physically and mentally beneficial to people of all shapes and sizes, with all manner of impairments: meditation.
There are many different forms of meditation, but all of them have the same goal: to bring about a state of mindfulness, in which the practitioner is aware of the present moment. Most of us have a constant buzzing of thoughts in our heads; regrets about the past or worries about the future. Meditation seeks to calm these thoughts, reduce stress and increase sensory awareness. While meditation aims to reduce thinking about the past, it has been shown to increase memory and retention. Meditative techniques include focusing on one’s breath, focusing on a particular phrase or sound, focusing on an image, or focusing on a feeling in one’s body. Most prayer might be considered a form of meditation, as you focus on the love of a higher being and repeat phrases.
Meditation has benefits for absolutely everyone, from children to seniors. It’s particularly useful for some seniors because it doesn’t involve mobility; so long as you can focus in a comfortable place, you can meditate. Its benefits are far-reaching and substantial; meditation can improve digestion and circulation, decrease stress, and improve mood. The practice can also increase resiliency, which is one’s feeling of being able to bounce back after an adverse occurrence; in other words, when bad things happen, meditation helps you get back to feeling good.
There are numerous ways to get into meditation, and in all likeliness, there’s a meditation class happening somewhere near you right now. That said, one of the best parts of meditation is that practically anyone can do it anytime; there are resources available online to teach you how. You might consider this one such resource: if you want to meditate, right now, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing, in and out. If a thought comes to your mind, allow yourself to acknowledge it, then go back to breathing. Do this for however long feels right; it might be 5 minutes, it might be 20, though a 10 minute timer to start isn’t a bad idea at all.
The only thing meditation takes is time, and if you’re unable to find the time to sit down and take a moment for yourself because your daily activities have grown too difficult to manage, it’s okay to ask for help. Highly specialized home care professionals are available to alleviate some of your daily burden, so you can get back to what matters: taking care of yourself.