Make the Connection: Mind and Body Wellness for Seniors
Learn about the benefits of mind and body wellness programs for seniors.
Did you know that stopping to take just a few deep, slow breaths when you’re feeling stressed can lower your heart rate? And, that a regular meditation practice is associated with reduced pain, lower blood pressure and improved digestion?
The mind and body are powerful partners for wellbeing. We all know that stress can make you feel unwell physically, and physical activity can brighten your mood. But how do we harness that connection, especially for seniors?
Learn more about how mind-body wellness programs work, and how they benefit seniors.
What is Mind and Body Wellness?
Activities like yoga (including chair yoga), mindfulness meditation, and even gratitude practices are all part of mind and body wellness.
Mind and body wellness programs connect the resources of the mind with the resources of the body to foster overall wellbeing. These practices may look a little different based on any one person’s abilities and preferences, but the practices are for everyone. And everyone benefits, especially seniors.
How Do Mind and Body Wellness Programs for Seniors Work?
Mind and body wellness practices like yoga, mindfulness meditation, and gratitude, work to balance the “fight-or-flight” response. The “fight-or-flight” response (also known as sympathetic nervous system activation), is the body’s natural reaction to physical and mental stress.
The fight-or-flight response directs the body’s energy toward “fighting” a problem or running from it. Your breath and heart rate might pick up and your muscles may tense. While this response is helpful for keeping us out of danger, it can be overactivated by chronic stress.
The overactive fight-or-flight response leads to higher blood pressure, poor digestion, and aches and pains due to excess inflammation in the body. This can be especially unwelcome for seniors, who may already be facing challenges to their health or discomfort due to arthritis and other physical changes that come with aging.
If stress makes you feel unwell and feeling unwell causes stress, how do you stop that cycle? That’s where mind and body wellness practices come in! And the best part is that anyone can do these practices.
Stopping the Cycle of Stress with Mind and Body Wellness
Mind and body wellness practices like yoga and mindfulness meditation start with focusing on the breath. When you are relaxed, your breath is longer and deeper than it is when you are stressed. Activities that encourage deeper and better breathing send a message to the body that all is well, lowering the heart rate and restoring balance to the nervous system. At the same time, attention to breathing gives the mind a calm place to focus. Together, this interrupts the cycle of stress.
That relaxation creates a cascade of benefits, including lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, improved digestion, and overall better mood.
Gratitude practices have a similar effect. Gratitude practices remind us that we have “enough.” They create a sense of safety and security, which activates feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, and sends a message of wellness and relaxation to the body.
Benefits of Mind and Body Wellness Programs for Seniors
Mind-body wellness programs have an immediate effect and a lasting effect. They reduce stress in the moment and “train” the body to more easily and quickly relax. The more seniors practice, the more easily they can create a calm and relaxed state.
Benefits of mind and body wellness programs for seniors (and everyone!) include:
- Decreased stress levels
- Reduced feelings of anxiety and depression
- Improved heart health
- Improved digestion and appetite
- Overall mood improvement
Plus, activities like yoga, meditation, and gratitude practices, are easily accessible opportunities to spend time with peers and enjoy a feeling of community.
Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor
When it is time to make decisions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.
Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.