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Is Meditation Beneficial for Older Adults with Mental Disorders?

Mental illnesses among the senior population are frighteningly common. According to a survey conducted in 2000, 43.32% of the Indian older adults are afflicted with mental disorders. Unfortunately, mental health was largely ignored in India until recent years. In old age, relationship issues with children, isolation or abandonment, neglect, and financial worries might affect your mental health. Additionally, medical factors like critical illnesses can also cause mental imbalances in older adults.

Meditation, as a technique to treat mental illnesses, has been around for quite a while in India. Meditation is a way to train the mind the same way you train your body through exercise. In other words, meditation is an exercise for the mind. It helps relax the mind and ease you of any tensions you may have.

Also Read: How to Keep Your Brain Active in Later Years?

Basic Rules for Meditation

There are different ways to meditate. Here are some basic rules to follow for effective meditation:

  1. Select a quiet space or room where you won’t be disturbed
  2. Sit down comfortably on a chair or a mat on the floor
  3. Close your eyes
  4. Breathe slowly
  5. Concentrate on each body part in sequence while breathing to feel their change
  6. If you feel your mind drifting, try concentrating on your breathing again
  7. You can start from 2-3 minutes in the beginning and later extend the session to up to 30 minutes

The main hurdle in meditation is controlling your thoughts. Your fears and feelings might spiral out of control. There are, however, some ways to centralize your mind.

Also Read: 5 Alternative Therapies for Mental Disorders

Concentration Meditation

Concentration meditation involves focusing your attention on a single point, usually an imaginary white point of light between the eyes. It could consist of concentrating on the breath, chanting a mantra or repeating a word (like “Om”), starring at a candle flame, counting rosary beads or listening to a repetitive sound like a bell. A beginner might find it difficult to focus the mind. Start by focusing for a few minutes and then increase the duration.

Concentration meditation helps you throw away the innumerable erroneous thoughts that crowd the mind and help it calm down. With continuous practice, you can concentrate better on everyday activities.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation helps the older adult observe and analyze each individual thoughts as they pass through the mind. It is very important not to judge each thought or get too emotional by them. You should just be aware of how each thought affects you. Mindfulness meditation helps you see the patterns of your thoughts and feelings. This is a great way to develop an accurate judgment about other people. Older adults practicing this technique over a period of time can find inner balance.

Most meditation techniques involve concentration and mindfulness meditations.

Other Types of Meditation

Yoga, tai chi, and pranayama are other forms of meditation. Some others prefer music or dance as forms of meditation, too. Meditation is very beneficial for restoring internal balance and managing the mental health of older adults.

Try meditating for at least 15-20 minutes a day at a time of your choice. It helps you live a happy, stress-free life.

Also Read: Dr. Vimmy Manoj on Following Art as Therapy

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