The effects of mindfulness combined with meditation can improve your health at any age.
Posted in , Jun 29, 2021
Sponsored content provided by Arnicare
Have you ever been in a conversation with a friend, only to realize your mind has wandered and you don’t know what they’re talking about anymore? Or maybe you’ve driven home and have no recollection of the trip as you pull into your driveway. This so-called “autopilot mode” happens to everyone from time to time. But over the years, you might find you are living more by default every day, and life can feel like it’s passing by.
Mindfulness, the exact opposite of zoning out, is all about being “in the now” with meditative exercises to help build awareness with your mind and body. This focused attention can have significant benefits for older adults. Research has shown it can improve brain health and cognition, as well as reduce stress, depression, and chronic pain — all of which are particularly important as we age.
If you’ve never practiced mindfulness before, it’s easy to get started. Stephanie Mansour, health expert and host of the PBS show “Step it Up with Steph,” says there are some simple ways you can integrate mindful meditation into your daily life.
“Meditation is the key to connecting your mind and body,” said Mansour, who makes it a point to include mindful practices in the weight loss and fitness plans she designs for her clients. Everyday activities, such as an existing workout routine, can be easily transformed into mindful moments.
“Practicing mindfulness while exercising can change your workout experience for the better, allowing you to enter a meditative state while training your body to remain focused,” said Mansour. She emphasizes moving with intention and syncing your breath. To do this, inhale on the easier movement and exhale on the more challenging one. For example, she says to inhale when bending down into a squat and exhale as you press up to standing.
Prayer is yet another opportunity to develop and strengthen mindfulness skills. “I find when I pray, that’s a free-form type of meditation,” she added.
Adding an Arnica-based gel or cream, in addition to practices like prayer and medication,
can provide relief for sore and stiff muscles.
Mindfulness isn’t only about what you do with your body but also what you put in it. Keeping a well-balanced diet will go a long way towards improving your health and staying healthy as you age. That’s why Mansour suggests a mindful eating approach to encourage healthier choices about what and how much you eat. She said, “Ask yourself, ‘How do I want to feel after I eat that piece of cake? Am I really hungry for that right now, or am I just thirsty, bored, or stressed?”
It’s also important to be aware of the medications you use, especially as you grow older. Next time you experience pain, you may want to avoid popping a conventional painkiller that masks symptoms. One product Mansour likes to use is Arnicare. This topical medicine is made using Arnica montana, commonly found in the mountains of Europe and Siberia. Arnica-based creams or gels are ideal for those looking for more natural relief from their aches and pains.
In time, you may find the effects of mindfulness ripple over, and you’ll be more present in other aspects of your everyday life. “Start with small steps, you’ll feel it pretty quickly,” said Mansour.