Mindfulness and Aging: The Importance of Being Present as You Age

Mindfulness and Aging: The Importance of Being Present as You Age

Sometimes it can be difficult to focus on your mental well-being with so much commotion around you every day. Amid all the noise from traffic, TVs and radios, do you ever have a moment of silence?

While peace and quiet can be rare these days, taking a few minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness doesn’t have to be.

Have you heard of mindful aging? It’s an emerging mindset that focuses on the importance of being present as you age.

Mindful aging doesn’t dwell on the negative effects of aging, but instead embraces the process. It's a “seize the day” approach that focuses on your emotional well-being.

One approach to mindful aging is to look at the process with realistic positivity. Realistic positivity entails seeing and accepting what is (reality), while altering focus to what we would love (positivity).

Here are a few of the many ways to incorporate mindful aging into your daily life:

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Practice Yoga

Yoga is a beneficial hobby to take on as an older adult. It’s good for your bones, joints, and can help you enhance your strength, balance, stability, and flexibility. Yoga can also improve both your physical and mental state, especially as you age. (Check out OpenMindBodySoul.com’s Yoga Posts here and the post about Chair Yoga)

Meditation

One of the best ways to promote mindfulness is through practicing meditation. It can improve your mental health and help you create peace in your life. It’s a great way to relax, do some soul searching, and learn new things about yourself.

You’ll need a quiet spot to practice meditation. Early mornings are a great time as there are fewer distractions, and somewhere out in nature, like a park or lake, can be a calming place to do it.

You can learn meditation and mindfulness easily through a center near you or with easy user friendly apps.

Try Tai Chi

Tai chi is a great way to stay present in the moment and has several health benefits for seniors as well. In fact, studies have found that tai chi can help lower blood pressure, improve strength, and improve artery function.

But the perks of tai chi don’t stop there. Thai chi is also a great mood booster. By focusing on your breath in this practice you can positively impact your nervous system and mood-regulating hormones.

This exercise is also a great way to relieve chronic pain by improving blood flow. Tai chi focuses on strengthening core muscles, which can help alleviate stress on your joints and limbs. So next time you work out, give tai chi a try.

Whether in the car, before breakfast or after you brush your teeth, pick a set time to meditate each day and stick to it. Make a routine and commit to it so that it becomes a habit.

Once you make meditation a routine, you may notice other aspects of your life improving. Your thoughts may be clearer, and you may feel more active, energized and happy.

Read Motivational Affirmations and Quotes

Inspirational quotes can help promote mindfulness. You can do so by adding motivational posters and photos around your home.

We react well to visual stimulus, so this technique can be beneficial to you. It can calm your senses and help you gain a more positive outlook on life.

Be Present

Practicing Mindfulness when aging can help reduce the effects of aging. In a study of older adults, results showed that engaging in just over 10 minutes of mindfulness practice five times per week resulted in significant behavioral and emotional improvements. See OpenMindBodySoul.com’s post on Practicing Mindfulness here.

Interestingly enough, research shows that older folks are more optimistic than younger generations. The reason is that you are able to focus more on the present in your older years, whereas younger adults stress about their future, career, family, etc.

As an older adult, you have more time on your hands to do as you please. It’s a time where you can be selfish and no one will judge you for it. You raised a family and worked hard. Now kick your feet back and relax.

Take on a new hobby, set new goals, and look for ways to reinvent yourself. Stop telling yourself you’re too old to do something. Live with the same hunger for life you had when you were a teenager.

You can travel, rekindle old friendships, and make new companions. You don't have to worry about a lot of the same things you worried about when you were a young adult.

Yes, aging comes with its often difficult changes, but it can be managed with more mindfulness. Make a conscious effort to practice mindful aging, and your mind and body will thank you!

Christian Worstell is a freelance writer living in Raleigh, NC