Posted on May 6, 2020 in Senior Activities
Mindfulness activities can help seniors cope with the loneliness and depression that aging often brings. These activities can also slow down the degeneration of cognition.
The key to keeping a healthy brain is to eat well, take regular exercise, and stay calm and mentally stimulated.
In order to explore how you can exploit mindfulness activities to boost your mood, let’s kick off with a basic definition.
Mindfulness is being present in the moment and being aware of yourself without over-reacting.
Seniors can benefit greatly from practicing mindfulness as it reduces anxiety and depression while also keeping the mind sharp. Activities that calm the mind are proven to reduce stress.
Mindfulness activities are meditation-based relaxation techniques that originate from Buddhism in the Far East.
These activities involve traveling deep inside your own mind and observing your thoughts as they arise.
Mindfulness reduces stress and improves cognition. Resultantly, the natural aging process can be slightly slowed down.
Regular meditation practice calms the mind and promotes healthier thoughts. Meditation helps you to develop a more accepting and compassionate attitude. In turn, this reduces stress and anxiety.
Research shows that consistent daily meditation improves well being and the ability to regulate thoughts and emotions. This can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
A mindfulness meditation session involves being seated or laid down in order to enter a state of deep relaxation through breathing and visualization exercises.
So, with that simple definition in place, we can better explain the benefits of mindfulness activities by way of example. To that end, we’ll highlight 7 ways to boost your mood while relaxing at home. What’s not to love?
A walking meditation is another way of achieving a state of calm and relaxation. This form of mindful practice involves walking very slowly but with intent.
A walking meditation might involve walking up and down a lane a certain number of times. Your focus should be on every step from the lift of the heel to the curl of the toes.
The aim of a walking meditation is to be fully present and aware of the physical sensations you would normally take for granted such as the feel of concrete or grass under your feet. Focusing your attention on physical sensations while walking slowly and intently can induce feelings of calm and serenity.
Body scan meditation effectively improves relaxation and lowers stress levels as you focus on the sensations in your body.
According to the University of California, 20 to 45 minutes of body scanning meditation sessions promote psychological wellbeing. This is based on 3 weekly sessions over an 8-week period.
So how does body scanning work?
In a body scanning session, you’re encouraged to relax completely and focus on the sensation in your mind, throat, shoulders, back, and stomach right down to your knees and toes. The process of focusing on specific areas releases tension held in taut muscles.
This technique is simple yet highly effective if you’re looking to boost your mood.
Breathing exercises can be done at any time. There are different ways to perform breathing exercises, such as the 4-7-8 technique.
The 4-7-8 technique involves breathing in while counting to 4, holding your breath for 7 seconds then exhaling slowly over 8 seconds.
When practiced consistently, the mind calms down and the heart rate slows.
Breathing exercises are profoundly beneficial for anxiety, stress, and depression. If you want to reap the full benefit, regular practice is key.
Journaling is a cathartic meditative practice where seniors can get their thoughts down onto paper to understand them from a more objective standpoint.
Expressing one’s thoughts creatively can help put things into perspective. Getting thoughts and feelings onto paper is a great way to examine and question those feelings.
Thoughts shouldn’t be censored when journaling. That’s how journaling works. The freedom of expressing every thought, no matter how ugly, is a cathartic and healthy process in itself.
It’s helpful to date the page when you write in your diary. Not only will it help you focus on the present, you can also reflect on this day in the future.
Why not buy your senior loved one a beautiful diary and some pens and encourage them to get scribbling?
Mood tracking is useful for working out what triggers negative and positive emotions. Often, as you go about your day, you can get stressed quite easily without realizing why. Encourage your senior loved one to track their mood in their diary.
By recording the people, time and circumstances that contributed to your loved one’s state of mind, they can work out what gets them down or lifts them up. If you can get to the bottom of anything that’s causing them stress, you can then formulate a strategy to resolve it.
Ask them to record any times when they feel lonely, scared, or anxious. Get them to record the times and people involved. Maybe they become skittish when it starts to get dark? In this case, you could close the curtains and switch a bright light on to prevent them from getting down.
Drawing a mind map to get a bigger picture of your thoughts and feelings is a solid approach to gaining a handle on your life as a whole.
Starting with main themes such as finance, home, relationships, and work, you can then branch off from each topic with related themes.
You’ll find some overlap between topics like home, relationships and finance. Expressing the connections between topics can help you to problem-solve rationally and calmly.
Like mood tracking, drawing a mind map is an effective means of self-reflection and self-assessment. By getting a snap shot of your life situation, thoughts, and feelings onto one sheet of A4, you can then take a step back and more closely examine your situation.
Setting three realistic and achievable goals a day can boost anyone’s mood, especially a senior who sits in and does little but watch TV.
Encourage your loved one to take a walk to the shop daily when they’re safe to get outside. Try encouraging them to try a crossword puzzle or read a chapter of a book before going to bed.
When your loved one successfully achieves their goals and keeps up with mindful activities, they will be better placed to manage their emotions more effectively. They’ll also find it easier to stay relaxed and stress-free.
Remaining calm, happy, and relaxed is the best way to slow down the effects of aging on the brain. So, don’t stop encouraging your senior loved one to breathe, relax and be happy.
Whether you’re looking for more mindfulness activities to keep your elderly loved one as positive as possible or you need more general advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here at Landmark Senior Living, we’re here for you every step of the way through this ongoing pandemic.