Changes in mood are not all that uncommon — and typically not serious. You may have experienced up and down days occasionally yourself or noticed them in an older loved one. These can result from fluctuating body rhythms, hormones, lack of sleep or unexpected events in daily life.
Eskaton has found through brain health studies that there is a fundamental correlation between meditation (the act of quiet, still contemplation) and improvement in memory and concentration. Beyond that, some data seems to suggest that your brain can actually grow in certain areas with consistent practice of mindfulness. No longer just for gurus, mediation can take many forms, but almost all include some techniques of breathing and accomplishing a feeling of peace. Whether you find your sense of calm at church or on a park bench, a positive mindset will go far in keeping your brain hearty and healthy.
Choosing meditation over medication to improve your mood
Meditation is considered a combination mind and body technique which can lead to a state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. It can benefit both your brain health and overall well-being.
It generally works by focusing your attention. When you’re able to replace continual thoughts that may be causing confusion or anxiety, you can often experience an improved emotional state.
Why does meditation work?
With advances in technology, researchers are now able to better understand how meditation affects your brain, which has billions of neurons sending signals to each other. According to the Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that people who meditate often have brain tissue that is denser or larger than expected as a result of more neurons having stronger connections with each other.
Meditation most affects the areas of the brain that
- Control your senses
- Affect your ability to think and concentrate
- Process emotions
People who meditate are often less likely to experience age-related loss of mental function and are better able to process negative emotions such as fear, anger and grief.
Physical and emotional health benefits of meditation
Most of us are exposed to information overload and stress. Although it’s not possible to eliminate all the tension in our lives, finding ways to manage those feelings can greatly influence their impact. Benefits of meditation can include:
- Gaining new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Remaining focused on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
- Lowering resting heart rate
- Lowering resting blood pressure
- Improving sleep quality
Source: Mayo Clinic
Another great advantage of meditating? The resulting feelings of peace, calm and being centered don’t go away when you’re finished. With practice, you can experience this state throughout the day.
How to create a meditation routine
There is more than one way to achieve inner peace. Review a few choices and see if you can find one that fits best with your preferences and personality.
- Guided meditation
Being led through the process with a guide, the goal is to create and visualize mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. Try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, textures and sounds.
- Mantra meditation
By silently repeating a calming word, thought or phrase you may find yourself able to interrupt or prevent distracting thoughts.
- Mindfulness meditation
Being mindful or aware of a situation can help you live in the present moment. Concentrating on the pace of your breathing can support you to observe thoughts and emotions but let them pass.
- Qi Gong
Part of traditional Chinese medicine, Qi Gong (Chee-gung) combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance.
- Tai Chi
In Tai Chi (Tie-chee), you perform self-paced movements and postures in a slow manner while practicing deep breathing.
- Transcendental meditation
By silently repeating a word, sound or phrase, you may find your body able to rest and relax. Your mind will be able to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to concentrate on the task.
Performing a series of postures and breathing exercises, you can achieve a more flexible body and calm mind, focusing on your balance and concentration and less on your busy day.
Additional meditation tips
- Make time in your schedule to meditate. A regular routine will lead to the best results.
- Choose the time of day that works for you.
- Create a space that’s quiet and supports the style of meditation you’ve chosen.
- Reach out to others or to on-line sources if you need help to get started.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living.
We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.