All the best retirement communities in Winston-Salem promote healthy living to their residents by encouraging them to practice healthy lifestyle habits. One of the best holistic approaches they do is engage seniors in different mindfulness activities.
Mindfulness refers to a popular form of meditation that can help seniors maintain a healthy physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Its main purpose is to help you achieve a relaxed state of mind by increasing your awareness of your present thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
More importantly, mindfulness activities will help you stay grounded in the present moment and help you let go of any worries and problems you might have had.
Doing these practices on your own, with a loved one, or with your senior community regularly will help you reap these incredible benefits:
- Improved brain function and cognition.
- Healthy and stable mental health.
- Reduced risk from specific health conditions, such as chronic stress, hypertension, and heart diseases.
- Improved digestions and blood circulation
- Better mood and a positive outlook on life.
Mindfulness exercises can be done in various ways depending on one’s preferences or interests. You can even do it alone (as long as you know what to do), with a partner, or with an instructor.
If you want to start your healthy journey now, here are 10 senior-friendly mindfulness activities you can start including in your daily routine.
1. Breathing Exercises
Mindful breathing is a popular form of meditation because you can do it anytime and anywhere. It is also a handy tool to have if you suddenly find yourself in a very stressful situation or have a panic or anxiety attack.
One example of this exercise is the belly breathing technique. You can do this by assuming a comfortable position (e.g., sitting or lying on the bed), placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Inhale a gulp of air and hold it for four seconds, then exhale slowly. Focus on the sensation you feel on your hand, diaphragm, and chest.
2. Body Scan or Body Awareness
Much like the breathing exercises, a body scan allows you to focus your attention on the sensations you feel from your head to toe. You can do this effectively by lying on your back, palms facing upward, and feet slightly apart.
3. Mind Mapping
Mindfulness mind mapping is an excellent technique for a senior who has a lot of mental stress and worries. This will help you break your negative thoughts or emotions into smaller pieces, thus preventing you from getting overwhelmed while also allowing you to tackle it one step at a time.
Some seniors find it easier to relax and concentrate while moving or doing something. If you prefer this kind of approach, then you can try practicing mindfulness while walking. Here’s how you can do it:
- Find a quiet and peaceful place where you can walk or move around freely.
- As you walk, focus on your surroundings. Take note of what you hear, see, smell, or even feel beneath your feet.
- Focus on these senses without letting your mind wander.
Another form of mindfulness technique that many seniors in retirement communities in Winston-Salem partake in is journaling.
Expressing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions through writing allows you to examine your present self. Moreover, it helps you process everything you’re feeling without getting overwhelmed, letting every worry go as you pour it into your journal.
Most elderlies prefer structured journaling where they can follow a specific pattern or theme. However, you can also opt to do an unstructured one where you can freely write whatever comes to mind.
For instance, you can start by writing the things you are thankful for on this day to start with the right mindset. You can also try listing three goals that you want to achieve today or describing your current mood.
6. Therapeutic Coloring
Coloring isn’t just a child’s pastime anymore. There’s a reason why adult coloring books became a trend these past few years, and that’s because it’s therapeutic!
It gives the mind something to focus on while also allowing your restless brain to relax. It reduces stress, improves focus, and enhances your motor skills.
7. Connecting with Nature
There’s nothing that can help you connect to the present better than nature itself. Being in the presence of the natural world and seeing its beauty can immediately bring you peace and happiness. There’s plenty of ways to practice mindfulness by connecting with nature. This includes:
- Mindful walking amid the trees of your local nature park.
- Tending to your garden.
- Listening to the pitter-patter of the rain on your window.
- Observing the burning embers of your campfire.
- Sitting beside your open window while feeling the fresh air and listening to the sound of nature.
8. Reciting Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are words or phrases that can make you feel good, empowered, and motivated. These are like mantras that you can think or recite every day or during your meditations.
Reciting these positive affirmations over and over again will help it overpower the destructive thoughts in your mind. Emulate these empowering mantras with repetition and consistency.
You can pair this technique with a breathing exercise or include your affirmations during your mindful journaling.
9. Music Therapy
Music has a powerful way of influencing our feelings and emotions. This is why many mental health experts recommend listening to music as a form of stress relief and mindfulness exercise.
However, it’s important to choose a music piece that’s calming and relaxing for you. It can be a mellow tune that you know or an instrumental song that’s new to you.
10. Guided Sleep Meditation
Many older adults residing in retirement communities in Winston-Salem experience insomnia or sleeping troubles. If you are one of them, you can try a guided sleep meditation to help you achieve a deep slumber.
Like other mindfulness activities, this guided sleep meditation aims to redirect your focus from your negative thoughts to the sensations in your body. Typically, this type of meditation works by listening to an audio recording that will guide you on the steps to sleep meditation.