Aging with intention: Breathing & Stress Relief

aging and stressI recently read a blog post on the American Society on Aging website that discussed the benefits of being “mindful” as we age.

What does being mindful about aging mean?

I think it will mean different things for different people. Over the next several months we plan to write entries that address being mindful and aging with intention. We’re pretty sure this is not new information for you, but rather a reminder or a new opportunity to stretch your ideas about what aging will look like for you.

Does this sound like I am grasping and re-addressing the 70’s? Actually the benefits of such practices as deep breathing and meditation are traced back to more than 2,500 years to the East… proving the efficacy and popularity of yoga and, even meditation, today.

As care givers and as patients, we benefit from taking the time for self-care. One of my favorite people also told me that just the simple act of taking five slow, deep breathes can actually ease feeling of anxiety in a matter of minutes. She’s right, you should consider trying it yourself, next time you are feeling stress or anxious about aging or caregiving.

You can practice deep breathing and meditation to experience real and measurable benefits. Start with these easy steps as outlined in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy by Segal, Williams and Teasdale (New York: Guilford Press, 2002):

3-Minute Basic Breathing Exercise

  • First minute: Awareness. Observe—bring the focus of awareness to your inner experience and notice what is happening in your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Describe, acknowledge, identify—put experiences into words.
  • Second minute: Redirecting attention. Gently redirect your full attention to your breath. Follow your breath all the way in and all the way out.
  • Third minute: Expanding attention. Allow your attention to expand to the whole body—especially to any sense of discomfort, tension or resistance.

Try this in the comfort of where ever you may be reading this blog post. No need for an “Om” or a candle, or even a yoga studio. Increase your health and wellness today! I guess what’s old is really new—again. Or at least new for us.

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