The practice of using mindfulness to help the aging population is continuing to garner attention in the medical community and the general population.
Studies have demonstrated that adults who can function in the here and now—rather than lamenting over years gone by—are more likely to lead a positive and productive life than their counterparts.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the moment without distraction. In this state, you do not judge anything or anyone, including yourself. Instead, you focus on what is happening now. In this state, you can better tend to your emotions.
For most adults, mindfulness naturally improves with age. The things that we spent time focusing on in our twenties have been resolved. We no longer need to be concerned with having a fantastic career, getting married, having children, or purchasing our first home. This can give way to living in the present.
Becoming mindful has been shown to help people manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Some find that being mindful helps them to stop putting things off or choosing to think about them later. Rather, they can dedicate themselves to the task of living life in the moment.
Aging with mindfulness allows you to readily participate in life events as they happen, with focus and knowledge.
Mindfulness has numerous physical health benefits for seniors as well.
Mindfulness Lowers High Blood Pressure
First, mindfulness has a positive effect on individuals with high blood pressure. It helps to lower blood pressure levels, which is vital to your cardiovascular and kidney health. Because of this, mindfulness can decrease your risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Mindfulness is an Effective Pain Management Technique
There are numerous studies that demonstrate that mindfulness is especially useful in helping people to manage pain. The practice can help to reduce pain and even help to rid the body of discomfort completely.
This is particularly important for people for whom narcotics are not an option or for whom that is simply not the path they want to travel to manage pain.
Though there have been several studies on the topic, scientists have not yet discovered the specific analgesic neural pathway that reveals exactly how mindfulness meditation interventions to reduce chronic pain.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that mindfulness also aids in reducing inflammation throughout the body. This can be especially useful for people who suffer from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, or other complex health conditions.
Improves Digestive Health
Mindfulness also helps with digestive health, which can become a tricky matter as we age. Mindfulness improves overall circulation throughout the body, and this helps to ensure that adequate oxygen and nutrients reach the intestines.
Enhances Memory and Focus
Mindfulness is particularly helpful to aging adults because of it’s overall impact on short and long-term memory.
Because of this, it is fast becoming an integral therapeutic component of treatment for those who experience early signs of dementia. Mindfulness can help maintain memory and boost cognitive function.
Lastly, mindfulness improves mental wellness, which is essential in all stages of life but is particularly important as we age. Consistent practice and application of mindfulness techniques can help reduce anxiety levels and feelings of depression.
This final aspect is particularly beneficial for those who look to create new relationships later in life, or who want to improve their level of social interaction with the people they already know.
In summary, aging is better with mindfulness. Consistent practice of mindful meditation can improve physical and mental wellness and thereby increase one’s quality of life while aging.