Why Seniors Should Focus on Spiritual Wellness as They Age
How we connect with our spiritual selves is a highly personal choice. Religion and spirituality aren’t the same thing, although they do share similarities. Religion is more institutionally based, follows a specific set of teachings, and may involve rituals such as prayer or attending a place of worship. Spirituality refers to our intangible nature that goes beyond our physical body, not associated with any specific religious teaching. It’s more general, and can refer to feelings, thoughts, and behaviors related to our soul or to the sacred. For these reasons, spirituality is more open-ended and is interpreted according to an individual’s personal practices or beliefs.
Why should you care about spiritual health as you age?
As the name suggests, spirituality is about enriching the human spirit and soul, but there are also real physical and mental benefits. Research shows that seniors see religion and spirituality as a positive force in their lives. This positivity helps seniors face life with more resilience and hope, which leads to better health outcomes. It also gives the individual a sense of meaning and purpose in life, improving their health behaviors and relationships. Having spiritual coping mechanisms also helps individuals have a more hopeful attitude with setbacks like illness or health concerns.
How can you explore your own spirituality?
Whether you do it through your faith tradition or on your own, understanding your spiritual journey helps you live a life with greater purpose. Ask yourself who you are at heart. What are your values? What gives your life meaning? Look for deeper meanings in your life and explore the patterns you see without judgment. Write down your thoughts to express how you’re feeling. Sometimes analyzing what you’ve discovered can be confusing or difficult. Turn to someone you can trust, who can help you notice things about yourself that will help you achieve fulfillment.
Five Spiritual Activities for Seniors
Integrate one or more of these activities into each day to help you focus on your spiritual wellness.
- 1. Make Space for Meditation: We all have busy lives, and it can be a challenge to find time for ourselves. Set the intention to quietly connect with yourself every day. You don’t need to meditate for an hour. Even a few minutes of reflection or prayer will free your mind and allow you to ground yourself.
- 2. Be in Nature: Spending time in nature is good for the spirit, and it’s also been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Listen to birdsong, notice the shapes and colors of leaves, watch a sunrise or stars in the sky. Allow yourself to be amazed by the world around you.
- 3. Foster Positivity: Give yourself permission to slow down and concentrate on happy memories. Look for both big and small ways to add more positivity to your day. Lighten your emotional baggage by letting go of hurts and resentments and being kind to others — and to yourself.
- 4. Take a Breath: Mindfully focus on your breathing to create a greater awareness of your body and the gift of life. It creates a sense of calm, regulates your heart rate and blood pressure, and clears your mind. Breathing can be part of your daily meditation or prayer.
- 5. Connect with Creativity: Find a creative outlet that brings you joy. You don’t have to be an expert to listen to music, dance, sing along with a favorite tune, write your memoirs, or grow flowers in a garden. What’s important is that you express yourself and what you feel inside.
Your spiritual wellness is important at Presbyterian Homes. Our inclusive culture supports residents’ diverse religious and spiritual beliefs with a range of activities. Whether residents feel comfortable in a Bible study group, joining a meditation class, finding their center through yoga, or expressing their voice in a drum circle, our calendar of activities gives each person choices for a spiritual practice that also enriches physical, emotional and mental wellness.
If you’re looking for a senior living community where you can find inner harmony, we’d love to host you on a tour. Contact us today to join an upcoming class or activity.