Have you ever, in a moment of stress, taken a few moments to close your eyes and breathe deeply? Have you ever worked on clearing your mind or counted sheep to help you fall asleep? Believe it or not, these are examples of meditation. Meditation, in particular mindfulness meditation, can have a very powerful and positive impact on health — especially for aging adults. Setting aside five, ten, or even twenty minutes a day to meditate will help to give you energy and reduce stress on a daily basis. Find out the benefits of meditation and how to get started below.
What Are the Benefits of Meditating?
Meditating can have multiple health benefits including, but not limited to:
- Reducing stress
- Improving memory
- Helping with weight loss
- Increasing energy
- Making sleeping easier
- Strengthening the immune system and preventing illness
- Managing pain (both chronic and inflammatory)
As a caregiver you can build this into a daily routine for yourself and for your care recipient. Meditation can give you strength and rejuvenate you on a daily basis. Taking a few minutes for your mind and body will make you a better caregiver and improve your health.
How to Start Meditating
Follow the suggested techniques below to get started:
- Identify a quiet, comfortable location. You will want to find a place with few distractions where you can truly focus on yourself.
- Stretch to relax your muscles. Take a moment to stretch before sitting down. This will relax your muscles and help you ease into a comfortable position.
- Get into a comfortable position. Typically, you will want to sit up in order to keep your back straight so that you can take deep breaths. You will want this position to be relaxed so your muscles are not tense.
- Close your eyes. Keeping your eyes closed will help you remain focused.
- Take multiple deep breaths and repeat. Start taking deep, long breaths and focus on your breathing. You can even try breathing slowly in increments of ten. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this for several minutes. There are also many different apps that can provide you with guided meditations.
- Keep a smile on your face. This will create a sense of positivity and happiness. Subtle actions like this can greatly improve your mood.
- Open your eyes and keep smiling. After twenty minutes you should feel a little more energized and a little less stressed.
- Pick a time and stick to it. Make meditation apart of your everyday routine in a way that makes sense for you (i.e. some people like to decompress in the morning, others at night). You can even set a calendar notification to remind yourself. Repetition and practice will help make meditation easier and more effective.
Meditation can help anyone willing to try it. Try meditating daily for a week and see how you feel. Most likely, you will notice a difference. Give it a go and share your results!