We all wish to be at peace and good health as we get older. It is a known fact that with age, our bodily systems stop functioning like how they used to at a younger age. Our digestive system becomes weaker, we start getting pain in our joints more often, we cannot remember things as well as before and many such other things that could cause us quite a bit of inconvenience. However, the good news is that this can be avoided. In fact, one can even age gracefully by staying away from all these health problems by simply practicing this one crucial habit.
This practice is called ‘meditation’, the art of being mindful. Meditation is one of those tools that help individuals maintain physical, mental and emotional health. Research has shown that regularly meditating has a wide array of health benefits and some even consider this to be an anti-aging process. Listed below are some of the benefits of meditating on a regular basis for senior citizens:
1. Developing a sharp and focused mind
One of the most prominent signs of getting older is the decline of memory. Meditating can help in sharpening our mental sharpness and reduce this decline in our memory to a great extent. Regular meditation can even cause the physical structure of the brain to change. For instance, the amygdala region that is associated with feelings such as stress and anxiety shrink. On the other hand, the areas that are associated with self-awareness increase. This can lead to better cognitive functioning and can be a huge asset to senior citizens.
2. Enhancing digestion
Another sign of aging is a slower digestive system. Meditation can help in improving the digestive system as well. While we practice breathing deeply and being mindful, it increases our circulation as well as oxygen levels in the blood. In cases where poor digestion is caused by age and not by one’s diet, especially in the lives of senior citizens, meditation can provide relief from a variety of digestion related problems.
3. Managing moods and emotions
As we grow older, it can become increasingly difficult to keep our emotions in check. Senior citizens often experience mood swings due to the various physiological changes affecting mood stability. Meditation heavily emphasizes the practice of being non-judgemental. Instead of blaming yourself for the way you feel, meditation teaches you to accept your emotions as they are. It teaches you to simply observe your emotions without being compelled to react to it. Hence, this is a practice that can prove helpful to both older as well as younger individuals.
4. Activates the feel-good parts
As a continuation of the previous point, apart from enabling you to notice your feelings and emotions better, it also activates the ‘happy’ part of the brain. Meditation activates the prefrontal cortex region of the brain, which can help senior citizens suffering from depression.
5. Slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s
Forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease are common among senior citizens. Dementia can be extremely stressful and traumatic to deal with as it affects even the basic cognitive functioning in individuals. It destroys memory completely in an individual suffering from this disease can find it very hard to control their emotions. However, research has shown that practicing meditation on a daily basis can slow down the progression of dementia-based illnesses. Practicing breathing and mindfulness can also help a lot in dealing with the anxiety and stress that comes with memory loss.
6. Promotion a peaceful mind
Keeping aside time on a daily basis to simply sit back, focus on your breath and relax can do wonders. With old age comes the stress of dealing with a multitude of things. Senior citizens often go for prescription drugs in order to cure all the health ailments however, there are some things that just cannot be resolved by using medicines. A shift in the mindset to have a healthy mind and body can be accomplished using the practice of meditation. On meditating, senior citizens can experience a calming effect that will enable them to organize their thoughts better in order to maintain a clear perspective.
Meditation is often considered by many to be a ‘fountain of youth’ that enables you to have the energetic mindset of a younger individual despite having the physical body of an older individual.