If you’re a retiree, you may have lots of free time.
Having so much free time after a life spent working—among many other responsibilities—can come as quite a shock; many retirees don’t know how to fill their days.
What a luxury problem! But it’s still a problem.
So, what should you do with your free time?
Meditative activates are an excellent option. They’re not only enjoyable, but they’re also healthy for both body and brain.
Health Benefits of Meditative Activities
Studies have shown that meditation changes the brain’s structure. It also reduces “me-centered” thoughts and works on the brain like antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs).
There are many health benefits of meditative activities for retirees.
Physical health benefits of meditative activities:
- Improved sleep and immune system functioning
- Reduced inflammation, blood pressure, aches, and muscle tension
Mental health benefits of meditative activities:
- Increased sense of calm
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Improved mood
In addition to meditation’s physical and mental health benefits, meditation can also increase overall emotional well-being.
Emotional benefits of meditation:
- Improved stress-management strategies, pain tolerance, concentration, and memory
- Increased creativity, patience, and awareness
- Reduced loneliness
- Lengthened attention span
- Decreased risk of addiction
More broadly, meditation can help reduce symptoms of health issues like irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, and cancer. And meditation can help people come to terms with death.
Meditative Activities for Retirees
When you think of meditation, you may picture someone sitting in the lotus position, eyes closed, breathing slowly and loudly. But that’s only one form of meditation. Some fun activities are also forms of meditation.
There’s a reason meditational activities are becoming increasingly popular in age-in-place residences like retirement homes in Edmonton and elsewhere: they’re not only good for the body and brain; they’re fun and productive ways for retirees to spend their free time.
Gardening, walking, cleaning, and cooking are all meditative activities that retirees can enjoy.
When you pay attention to your senses while gardening—such as the smell of the earth and the feel of the soil—you can achieve a meditative focus and calm. That’s because gardening in this way helps you concentrate on the present and makes you feel more at home in the here and now.
Why are people naturally inclined to go on walks when they are stressed, need a break from work, or need to clear their minds? Walking can be a healthy and enjoyable meditative activity.
You can increase the meditative effects of walking by counting your steps from 1-10 and over again while focusing on the way the ground feels on the soles of your feet.
Cleaning is a productive way to get rid of clutter and decrease stress. Just like gardening and walking, if you focus on each task, you can achieve calmness and clarity of mind.
To make cooking a meditative activity, it helps to approach it as a form of mindfulness. By focusing on each task—chopping, stirring, and tasting, for instance—you cultivate your attention and ground yourself in the present.
You can also make a fantastic meal!
The Bottom Line
If you want to meditate without sitting still for minutes or even hours at a time, you can instead do some of your favorite activities in mindful ways. Doing so is a fun way for retirees to spend their free time and improve their mental, physical, and emotional health.