The Benefits of Mindful Meditation
Our world is filled with technological and medical advances, but rarely are we in a position to stop and consider what this means for our well-being as individuals.
For seniors and the elderly, these considerations become all the more important as you or your loved ones plan for care after illness, injury, or isolation. Mindfulness practice can be a helpful supplement to the care that we at Alvita Care provide!
Many recent studies and articles have been written regarding the importance of regular mindfulness practice. Mindfulness practice, or being aware of the status of our own bodies and minds, is useful for all. While it does draw from aspects of Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice, much of the mindfulness meditation that takes place today is based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program MBSR. Mindfulness meditation is not a religious practice but a way of fostering a particular outlook on existence. It can be practiced by anyone, of any spiritual tradition, or by those with none at all.
This is especially applicable to seniors who need care, whether for self-care or in combination with home care assistance such as the kind we offer at Alvita Care in order to combat anxiety, depression, and/or pain.
A recent scientific study by researchers at Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found changes in the actual physiology of the brain and a correlating improvement in psychological well-being after mindfulness-based practice.
A few other positive scientific findings regarding mindfulness include:
- Boosting the immune system.
- Slowing the progression of the disease.
- Reducing stress and depression.
- Reducing loneliness.
- Reducing pain.
Mindfulness is one tool that busy New York City seniors can train themselves to practice and use to face the many obstacles they may face daily. With or without a specific meditation practice, it can be defined as a focus on the present, viewed without negativity but with curiosity and a willingness to acknowledge what is; all that is required for practice is a few moments to stop and breathe in order to connect to our experience.
Meditation certainly is not the only way to bring mindfulness into your daily life! The feelings you experience while walking and enjoying a forest path or an immersion in a beloved hobby like painting or writing can help you to focus on the present instead of worrying about the past or future.
One of the foremost proponents of mindfulness meditation has said:
“When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.” – ThichNhat Hahn
When mindfulness is combined with meditation, the practice may help to work through difficult thoughts or emotions.
Although there are a growing number of group meditation classes (usually free!) for New York City seniors, having a list of different practices and guidelines for self-meditation can be an easy reference in times of stress. The website of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Centre has a list of free audio downloads for use at any time. Just setting aside five minutes to close your eyes and breathe can make a huge difference!
Here, we work with you to create the care regimen that you and your loved ones need most. Call Alvita Care at (212) 273-0490 to find out more about our personal care, household services, respite, and/or companion care.