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Easy Meditation Techniques for Senior Adults

A senior woman in a meditative and yoga pose

Though meditation has been quieting minds for more than 5,000 years, it might still seem “far out” if you’ve never tried it. If that’s the case, you might be surprised to learn that scientists have recently linked mindful exercises like meditation and yoga with a range of health benefits. Indeed, The Harvard Gazette reported in April 2018 that mindfulness can be as effective as other treatments in reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

If you want to bring mindfulness into your routine, The Woodlands at Furman has plenty of ways to help you get started or continue your practice. Whether you’re joining a regularly scheduled chair yoga class or attending a class at Furman’s Physical Activities Center, it’s easy to find opportunities for practicing mindfulness in a group setting at The Woodlands. Want to discover the benefits of mindfulness on your own time? Here are some techniques and tips for making mindfulness a healthy habit every day.

Meditation 101

Effective meditation doesn’t need to take all day. Devote just a few minutes at first, and work your way up to a longer period of time. Start by focusing on and becoming aware of your breathing as you try to quiet your mind. Acknowledge the churning of thoughts that want to pull you out of a calm, relaxed state, and allow them to fade into background noise. Rather than ignoring thoughts that make you feel anxious or distracted, use this time to recognize them and put them into perspective.

Though the basics are easy to explain, practicing mindfulness can be difficult! Be patient with yourself, and focus on recognizing each heartbeat as you breathe slowly. You’ll find mindfulness becomes easier with practice!

Download a Meditation App

If you want some help getting started with meditation, there’s an app for that! Check out the many features of apps like Aura, The Mindfulness App, Breethe, Calm, Headspace, and Buddhify. They offer guidance for those who are just beginning their meditation journey and for those who have been meditating for years.

Meditate in Bed

Your bedroom should already be your sanctuary, but meditating before bed or when you wake up can make your rest times even more rewarding. For most people, just before and after sleeping is the most relaxing part of the day and might be the easiest time to enter a mindful state. Many meditation practitioners advocate choosing an “intention” that focuses your thoughts from the first moment you open your eyes each morning. Craft a sentence that focuses your mind on something that’s important to you and let that guide you into a day filled with more purpose.

Meditate While Walking

Walking offers a rhythmic pattern that is conducive to effective meditation. Rather than allowing your mind to race ahead, behind or to the side, use the rhythm and repetition of walking to bring your thoughts under control. Focus on the joy of moving and remind yourself of all the benefits that walking brings, from decreased stress to cardiovascular health. It takes a bit of practice, but many love meditation on the move because it combines physical activity with improved mental clarity.

Meditate While Sitting in Your Favorite Chair

Learning to meditate while performing daily tasks can dramatically increase how much mindfulness you experience on a daily basis. Whether you’re muting the TV to meditate during commercials or turning off your phone to meditate while drinking your morning coffee, you can practice mindfulness from the comfort of a favorite chair—not just from a yoga mat. Simply close your eyes, breathe, and recognize the thoughts running through your mind. Rather than dedicating an hour at a time and feeling frustrated at how difficult long stretches of quiet can be, start with small chunks of time that have clearly defined endpoints. You might find that multiple short sessions lead to longer sessions in no time at all.

The Woodlands at Furman offers plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces for meditation. Whether you meditate from the comfort of your own room, in one of our comfortable shared spaces, out on the lawn or on the nearby Swamp Rabbit Trail, practicing mindfulness can help you enjoy each day to its fullest.