27 Dec How Mindfulness Leads to a Long and Happy Life

Retirement means relaxation after a lifetime of hard work. There’s plenty to enjoy, including long walks on the beach, sunsets from your patio, and watching the grandkids grow up, graduate, and get married. All of that depends on you staying strong and healthy well into your golden years, which calls for a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and mindfulness. What’s that, you ask? It’s the art of being in the moment, harmonizing your mind and body through yoga and meditation.

These ancient Indian practices are also ideal for seniors because they help unite the mind, body, and spirit, bringing about a peaceful state of being while delivering tangible health benefits such as improved circulation, better sleep, and much-needed stress relief.

Stress Relief

Stress is not just a nuisance — it’s a killer. Stress has been cited as a cause for a number of health conditions, from high blood pressure to diabetes. Furthermore, it weakens the immune system, leaving the body more susceptible to infection. Mindfulness and meditation could be your greatest protection, as it focuses your thoughtson a single point, letting emotions pass through and providing release from the worries of everyday life. The more you do it, the more resilient your brain becomes to anxiety over time. For that reason, many people create a dedicated spacein their homes to practice. With a few simple features, like calming paint colors, a timer, and natural light, you can take your mindfulness to the next level.

Improved Sleep

You need plenty of sleep to be healthy and feel good. While you’re sleeping, your body repairs damaged muscle tissue while your blood pressure drops and your brain cements new memories and neural connections. Both meditation and yoga ensure you get enough shuteye by helping to eliminate rumination, the constant dwelling on negative thoughts that regularly keeps people awake, tossing and turning in their beds. Practicing mindfulness helps expel those negative thoughts from your mind and leaves you in peace.

Better Circulation

It’s your beating heart that pumps blood through your body, carrying vital oxygen and nutrients to organs, muscles, and bones. When you’re relaxed, you have a slow, steady, powerful pulse that gets the job done efficiently. If you’re stressed, it becomes fast, erratic, and ineffective. Through the mindfulness and rhythmic breathing inherent to meditation and yoga, you can bring your heartbeat back to optimal levels, meaning a stronger circulatory system overall as well as a healthier body and heightened resistance to infection.

Stronger Memory

As you get older, it becomes harder to recall names, faces, and dates. This does not mean that this information has been wiped clean from your memory; you’re simply having difficulty recalling it as your concentration begins to weaken, says an expert with Psychology Today. Yoga and meditation can fix that, too, or at least make it easier to remember things in the middle of a conversation. Though the mechanisms are unclear, participants in controlled studies who meditate perform better in memory tests than those who don’t. These are encouraging results, indeed.

Reduced Pain

Pain is one of the greatest barriers to living a healthy life, as aches in your back and joints keep you from doing the things you love — or even getting around the house. What’s best about using meditation as pain management as that it puts you in charge, says a writer for Spine-health.com, a publication that focuses on back and neck ailments. Even better, you don’t need to become a master to discover the results. Studies show that just 20 minutes a day is enough to get started, and the soothing effects continue long after the session is over.

Now you’ll be able to enjoy those long walks on the beach and visits from loved ones for many years to come. It’s as simple as finding a qualified studio and instructors in your area. Your physician may even have some information as meditation and yoga have gained a reputation as an effective long-term treatment among the medical community. Enjoy your first session.

By Harry Cline