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How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Improve Cognitive Health in Seniors

Stress can be detrimental at any age, and mindfulness is a powerful coping tool that can help mitigate the physical and mental impacts of stress. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully focused on the present and becoming more aware of what you’re thinking and feeling. 

There are a few different tactics you can use to practice mindfulness. Mindful meditation is one of them. Discover how to practice mindful meditation, and unlock the numerous benefits it can provide. 

How to Practice Mindfulness and Meditation 

To practice mindful meditation, sit in a comfortable, quiet place. Focus on breathing deeply and become more aware of the different sensations you’re feeling. As thoughts cross your mind, let them come and go without interpretation, judgment or action, focusing on your breath. Start small, aiming for three- to five-minute sessions, a few times per week, and work your way up to whatever feels comfortable.

Additionally, there are many other ways to practice mindfulness in your day, including: 

  • Focusing on your breathing. Mindful breathing is a form of meditation where you focus on the breath as an anchor, which can help calm the mind. 
  • Enjoying a walking meditation. Take a stroll on a favorite walking path, or even a treadmill, and practice being more mindful of the space around you. Notice what you feel, see, and hear in the moment. If you are embarking on a new exercise routine, however, be sure to consult with your doctor first.
  • Connecting with your body. During a body scan meditation, you will sit in a quiet place and take a moment to reflect on how each part of your body is feeling. Where is there tension? How can you relieve that tension?
  • Practicing being in the moment. The key to mindfulness is to be more present. By actively engaging with your day in the moment instead of ruminating on the past, you can focus on going forward with more awareness and even joy. Really taste that ice cream. Put your whole focus on what your loved one is saying. Smell those roses! 

The Benefits of Mindful Meditation  

There are a number of benefits to engaging in daily mindfulness practices, especially mindful meditation. Here are just a few. 

Reduced Anxiety 

Anxiety can wear on your quality of life and lead to or exacerbate a range of physical and mental health issues. It’s important to be protective of your mental health, as stress can be more difficult to cope with and harmful as we age.

Mindfulness meditation is helpful in reducing the symptoms of short-term and chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. As you practice staying grounded in the present, you’re able to prevent rumination over past regrets or future worries. This builds resilience, making it easier to regulate and cope with your thoughts and feelings as they come and go.

Improved Memory 

Cognitive decline in older adults has been associated with reduced functional connectivity between brain networks — particularly the areas responsible for memory, self-awareness, and consciousness. Studies show that mindfulness training can help strengthen the functional connection between these two regions, thus, improving memory capacity.

Better Focus 

As you practice mindful meditation, any time you feel your mind wandering, bring your attention back to your breath. By doing so, you’re exercising your ability to stay attentive to the present moment, strengthening your brain’s neural circuitry in regard to focus. This not only makes it easier to stay focused, but you’re able to jump back into the task you were doing if you get distracted much more seamlessly. 

Improved Mood 

Have you ever felt scattered, frazzled, or jumbled, mentally? Having many thoughts and demands crowding your mind can add to your stress. Taking time to slow down and practice mindful meditation allows you to clear your mind and take charge of these feelings of stress. Because of this, you’re able to reduce negative emotions and improve patience, which can support a good mood. 

Mindful meditation can also help relieve the symptoms of physical conditions that might be impacting your mood, such as sleep issues, tension headaches, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and more.

Focus on Your Wellness at Village on the Green

Getting connected to a community that supports your health and well-being is a crucial step on your wellness journey. Imagine living in a community that has supportive services, engaging events, and exciting, resort-style amenities that empower you to be fully present. Village on the Green offers all of that and more. As a premier senior living community nestled in the heart of Longwood, Florida, our community is designed to help you cherish each moment and truly thrive. 

Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a tour to see for yourself what living here is truly like.

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