Why is Spiritual Wellness Important
Spiritual wellness is an important — if perhaps misunderstood — facet of seniors’ personal development. If we start by defining our spirit as the immaterial vital force within ourselves, we can explore new avenues of cultivating and strengthening this part of our lives. Although connection to a religion can be important, life-enhancing spiritual activities for seniors encompass more than just religious services.
Challenges to Seniors’ Spiritual Wellness
Obstacles to our spiritual journey evolve throughout people’s lives. In their retirement years, seniors may face new health concerns, more limited mobility, changes in their sense of purpose, the loss of friends or even a spouse — among other challenges. To boost resiliency, it becomes even more necessary to find ways to live your core values, connect to a deeper meaning and nurture your spiritual health. For many, senior living communities offer thoughtful resources to develop new and varied spiritual practices.
Create a Multifaceted Spiritual Journey
Spiritual wellness is not one-size-fits-all, and your journey will likely require multiple sources of strength and joy. Here’s a list of spiritual activities for seniors — you can try the suggestions that fit into your lifestyle.
Meditation comes in many forms. Some practices are guided by an instructor; some use mantras; some focus on developing a certain feeling, like loving-kindness; some focus on breath work. There seems to be a type of meditation out there for anyone willing to pick up the practice, and there are so many reasons to start. Meditation has been connected to lower blood cortisol levels, diminished anxiety, lower heart rate and deeper relaxation.
- Spend Time with People
Humans are inherently social. Even the most introverted among us crave attachment to other people. As we foster connections with friends and loved ones, we’re filling an evolutionary need. People with rich relationships report lower levels of depression, stronger immune systems and improved cognition. If you can’t be with friends or loved ones in person, pick up the phone; use Skype, FaceTime, email, or write a letter. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to reach out to people.
If you’re able, exploring new places in the world opens you up to new experiences, relieves stress, and sparks happiness. Even the act planning a vacation has been shown to increase happiness.
- Show Gratitude
Gratitude isn’t just the act of being thankful. It’s also a keenness to appreciate and return kindness. This habit generates a positivity that has remarkable effects on people’s everyday lives. Practicing gratitude can improve sleep, self-esteem and mental strength.
- Practice Religion
If religion is already a part of your life, performing the rituals and connecting with your religious community can offer great solace in trying times. A religious practice can help you find meaning in life events and provide you with ways to cope. Health care researchers have found that people who actively participate in their faith have better health outcomes and lower rates of anxiety and depression.
At Rolling Green Village, our senior residents don’t only believe in embracing their own religion, but also the religions of their neighbors. They will meet with one of our Bible study groups one day, and help host a Seder the next.
Even if you don’t feel like a great artist, the act of creating something can be deeply enriching. You can draw, paint, make music, write, or dance. Art helps people process emotions that are otherwise difficult to talk about. It can help you work through negative emotions and contribute to a greater sense of self.
In a great senior living community, you can join a resident choir, build a masterpiece in the art studio or take a dance class. However you want to express yourself, community team members will help you act on your inspiration.
- Commune with Nature
Whether you like to take a brisk walk, go for a leisurely bike ride or get your hands dirty in the garden, the natural world offers improvements to cognitive function, stress levels and mood. The vitamin D from sunshine gives you more energy, and spending time outdoors can also help you align your sleep to a natural rhythm, making for more restful nights.
Dedicating time and energy to a cause you believe in inspires a sense of purpose. It also improves self-confidence, helps connect you to a community of like-minded people, and combats depression.
- Practice Yoga or Tai Chi
Tai chi and yoga offer many of the same benefits as meditation because both practices integrate deliberate movements with deep breath work. This creates a mindfulness that echoes meditation, but yoga and tai chi also add the benefits of physical exercise.
At Rolling Green Village, we offer both yoga and tai chi classes, in addition to other senior-friendly fitness options. Our friendly instructors make classes rewarding for people of any experience level.
No matter what sorts of activities help you connect to your deeper self, a spiritual practice can help seniors make good days better and hard days easier.
If you have specific questions or you’d simply like to know more about the ways we promote spiritual wellness at Rolling Green Village, let us know. A member of our team would be happy to provide more information.