Many believe that as we grow older, our general brain health, such as cognition and memory, will deteriorate. Whilst this is a natural process of aging, research has shown that active interventions and care can reduce the speed at which these cognitive deteriorations take effect.
A recommended lifestyle that combines moderate exercise and a healthy diet, as well as consistent mental stimulation, can help to reduce the onset of these neurological conditions that emerge due to age.
One activity that is gaining popularity among older adults is mindfulness, which can help create a healthier brain. Mindfulness exercises such as meditation are easy to adopt as a daily habit as they can be done anywhere, including the comfort of your own home! Meditation not only promotes a healthier brain but is proven to reduce age-related problems such as stress and depression.
It is suggested to stick to light activities or cater your preferred mindfulness activity according to your level of comfort to avoid additional stress on the body. Here are three simple mindfulness activities that you and your loved ones can try out today:
Activity 1: Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple mindfulness activity that can bring peace and awareness to the whole body. It is particularly effective for lowering stress and feelings of anxiety, as it improves blood pressure and lowers the heart rate.
To regulate the breathing exercise, you can try using a breathing circle.
- First, draw a circle on a piece of paper
- Draw 2 dots on the top and bottom edges of the circle
- Going clockwise, trace your finger from the top dot to the bottom dot, following the curve of the circle. Breathe in as you do this.
- Continue to trace your finger from the bottom dot back to the top dot whilst breathing out
- Keep this up at a slow, even pace. Focus on your breathing, and feel the movement of the air on each inhalation and exhalation.
Activity 2: Taking a Walk
Sitting down whilst meditating might not be for everyone. If you prefer an activity that allows you to move around, wellness by walking might be for you!
Find a peaceful place, perhaps in a park among nature, and start walking at a slow pace. Whilst walking, focus on your movements. Pay attention to the lifting of your foot, movement of your leg forward, and the way it touches back down onto the ground. Engage your other senses whilst you’re at it – the temperature of your environment, the sights and smells, and the things you hear. The idea is to let your mind be fully aware of the present, and gently pull it back if your mind starts to wander.
Activity 3: Body Scan
A body scan allows you to tune into the way your body is enacting the things that are going through your mind. It helps to bring awareness to oneself, and identify tensions the body is experiencing. That way, you can start focusing on relaxing the body.
It’s easy to perform a full-body scan:
- Lie on your back in a relaxed manner, with palms facing upwards and feet apart.
- Close your eyes and calm your breathing.
- Start by bringing attention to the tension in your feet. Relax them.
- Do the same for the rest of your body, starting at the feet until you reach the head. Focus on one area at a time.
- Once your body is fully relaxed of its tension, pay attention to your breathing again.
- Note the changes you feel in your body.