How To Meditate

Research shows that frequent meditation improves our brain function so we are less likely to have scattered minds. Meditation improves our ability to focus in the moment and over longer periods lengths of time.

Meditation is focusing your attention on a single object such as a candle flame, a word, mantra or image. Continually re-directing your concentration on an object will develop your ability to remain calm, focused, grounded and still.

Other Benefits of Meditation

Meditation will smooth out your emotions, relax nerves and help your body to de-stress. Stress is a major factor in how fast you age. It improves and increases positivity in your life with a lasting effect. Your relationships will improve by deeper understanding of others and deeper forgiveness. Your sense of purpose will become more focused and with greater clarity. Your physical benefits include stabilized blood pressure, improved immune system and less stressed muscles.  

Meditation is also free, unlike many other expensive anti-aging treatments and there are no side effects. Concentration improves and memory loss is reduced. It will improve your attention span and lessen feelings of anxiety. You will become more self-aware and your happiness will increase.

Meditation For Seniors

When To Practice Meditation

While the best time to meditate depends on your schedule, we do have some recommendations.

  • Many people like to start their day with a meditation session. Meditating before breakfast will set the tone for your day. You are in a better position to take on the day with zeal and deal with everything that comes your way. If you are a beginner, first thing in the morning is recommended before you get busy with your daily tasks.  
  • A meditation break over lunch is a great way to de-stress after a busy morning. Your tight muscles will relax and boost your focus, creativity and productivity for the afternoon.
  • Meditating at the end of the afternoon helps to clear your thoughts from your busy day so you can more fully enjoy your evening.
  • Meditating before bedtime is not recommended. You don’t want to confuse your body and mind with sleeping and meditating. Meditation works to keep you fully awake. If you want to meditate in the evening be sure to have an hour between meditation and sleep.

How To Get Started

Find a quiet, serene and private spot where you are free from distractions like television, pets and other noises. A private room is great or even a corner somewhere in your home. You can also meditate outside as long as you have no distractions like dogs barking or a loud wind. Nature is a good choice because it has a calming effect on the nervous system. You can avoid distractions by wearing earplugs, noise cancelling headphones or listening to white noise. Keep water and towels nearby.

Warm up with some light stretching exercises or yoga as you will be sitting still for an extended period of time and you want to be flexible.

Keep your spine erect, with your shoulders back and your head pointed forward, above your spine. Keeping your spine straight will help you to stay alert. Rest your palms in your lap, face up. You could also bring your index fingers to your thumbs. Be sure to wear comfortable, light, medium fit clothing. Be as still as possible while meditating.

You will want to use a timer starting with 5-10 minutes in duration if you are a beginner. Gradually work your way up to longer sessions as you gain experience. Some people meditate for as long as an hour.

You can close your eyes or keep them partially open. When focusing on an object your eyes should be relaxed. If you close your eyes, it will be easier to achieve a deep meditative state. Having them open will keep you more alert and awake. Your lips should be closed but smile if you like.

Meditation For Seniors

Meditation Positions

Chair Sitting: Sit in your chair with a straight back and feet on the floor. They should be positioned at a 90-degree angle with your knees. Your head and neck will be in line with your spine. You may place a pillow behind your lower back for added support. If necessary you can move to the edge of the chair to keep your fleet flat on the floor.

Easy Floor Sitting: Depending on your flexibility you can choose to sit in quarter, half, full lotus position or simply cross-legged. You can use a meditation cushion, towel or pillow for additional support. You can also use the wall to help you sit up straight. You can either cross your legs or extend them out in front of you.

Lying Down: Choose a large enough surface that allows your body to extend and lengthen as much as it needs. Keep your spine in a straight line and parallel to the sides of your bed. Your legs should be hip distance apart and your hands spread out about a foot from each hip. If you are meditating with your eyes open, look straight up but don’t focus on anything on the ceiling. You can also bend your knees if the surface isn’t large enough or if it feels more comfortable.

Meditation For Seniors

How To Focus

Direct your attention to the object you are going to focus on. Choose an object that brings forth pleasant feelings. Common objects include the flame of an unscented candle or a word or memorized phrase. If you are religious, choose a symbol or object from that religion.

If you have decided to focus on breathing, pay attention to your inhales and exhales. Breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Pay attention to the feeling of your breath and how it flows throughout your body. Notice the sensations on your nostrils or the rising and falling of your stomach. You can also play soothing music if it helps with your focus. Many people listen to classical music or nature sounds.

  • If you become distracted, stay calm and redirect your attention to your object or breath. Be firm and not aggressive when refocusing. Gently but firmly bring your focus back to the object of focus. Distraction is completely normal and concentration without distractions will improve with practice.
  • If breathing is your focus, count 1 as you inhale and exhale. Your next breath (inhale and exhale) will be 2. Count to 10 and then start again with the counting.
  • If you are focusing on an object and your mind wanders, recognize the thought and let it go. Refocus back on your object. Experiment with different objects until you find one that suits you best.
  • If you are using a mantra or a word, say it as you exhale or find a rhythm that works with your breathing. If you are a beginner you can say it out loud. As you progress repeat it in your head.
  • Concentration meditation is the practice of disciplining your mind. If you start to feel frustrated because of your distraction, recognize the feeling and return to focusing on your object. Don’t hold too tightly to your focus and thoughts, otherwise you will start to feel tension.

Meditation has been practiced for hundreds of years to help eliminate distractions and improper thoughts in your everyday life. Once you incorporate meditation into your life, you will start to make logical decisions and realize the benefits immediately. The more you meditate, the more you will notice higher levels of concentration that you may have never experienced before.  

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