27 Mindfulness Activities for Seniors & the Elderly

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Have you ever felt stressed out or frustrated to the point of wanting to give up? Or felt like you were going crazy because you lost your car keys again or aren’t feeling quite yourself?  Of course, we've all had this problem at one time or another… especially as we grow older. 

Throw a pandemic into the mix and my mind really started to wander, having the tendency to zone out as the days blurred together.  So what’s to be done?  After all, we’re easing back into normalcy now, which means getting back into a routine again.  

You’ve complained to a family member or friend and no one seems to understand.  They may have even given you, “the look”.  At this point, you probably feel angry… which is normal, but can’t continue. So, in this post, I'll give you some great ideas for mindfulness activities for seniors to help you gain peace of mind and find your way back to feeling like your old self again!

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a basic human ability that comes naturally to all of us where we're able to stay present and aware of what we're doing and who we are. Being upset or overexcited by what may be happening in our environment isn't always necessary. By doing mindfulness activities for seniors, you can avoid becoming overly emotional over slight details and focus on being positive.

Research has suggested that mindfulness  activities for seniors may help combat the decline in memory or cognitive function.   Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, acquiring enough sleep, reading fiction, and learning a new skill are also lifestyle practices to enhance mental abilities.

Being mindful can also benefit you by improving your social skills and helping you meet new people. You can do this by taking a yoga or meditation class, or practicing active listening. There are several benefits of mindfulness activities for seniors including:

  • Reduce stress
  • Boost emotional well-being
  • Ease depression
  • Cope with pain
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Enhance calmness
  • Focus better
  • Build memory skills

27 Mindfulness Activities for Seniors and the Elderly

Individual Activities

1. Meditating

Although some people may believe meditation is challenging before even trying it, you might be surprised at how quickly you learn. You might need to grow accustomed to it first, but with practice, you'll likely be familiar in no time. You can meditate in the morning upon waking or even before bedtime. 

2. Enjoying Nature

Whether you've always wanted to appreciate birds chirping or would rather just sit breathing some fresh oxygen into your lungs, we can all be more grateful for nature. Besides this, you can hone your creative skills by using a nature journal to record any objects you observe. For instance, you can paint beautiful flowers or sketch a colony of ants marching past. 

3. Writing in a Journal

Writing can improve your health and boost concentration. A smart way to gain these benefits is to start a daily journal.

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Whether you've always wanted to appreciate birds chirping or would rather just sit breathing some fresh oxygen into your lungs, we can all be more grateful for nature.

You can keep a gratitude journal by writing down what you're grateful for, such as the smell of flower petals, your grandchildren or something else. 

4. Practicing Guided Sleep Meditation

Guided sleep meditation can help you relax, fall asleep faster and easier and sleep longer and deeper throughout the night. I know I've had countless sleepless nights when I had insomnia and meditation was extremely helpful for me. You can download an app that takes you through each step of guided sleep meditation or follow a video tutorial. 

5. Gardening

Growing plants doesn't need to be hard work, especially if you start small. Furthermore, you can focus on connecting with nature. For one thing, you can try buying an inexpensive plant that's already started growing and go from there. This could be an aromatic mint plant you can place on a windowsill or marigolds which are quite hardy. 

6. Listening to Calming Music

When you listen to calming music, you have the chance to forget about your problems and focus on the present moment. While listening to classical music may be an excellent way to reduce stress, soft pop can also encourage relaxation. Whenever I'm working or need to escape what bothers me, I turn on my favorite tunes and can finally have the peacefulness I crave

7. Sharpening the Mind

Keeping your mind sharp can enhance brain power and relieve boredom. Staying alert, improving focus, boosting memory, and remaining independent longer are a few benefits of exercising your brain. When I need to sharpen my own mind, I do a crossword puzzle, word search, or jigsaw puzzle in my spare time. 

8. Reciting Positive Affirmations

Since we all experience negativity, it can be important to have a simple way to stay positive. For one, when you have negative thoughts, you can say positive affirmations to yourself. Doing this in the morning can inspire you to be more grateful for the rest of your day. 

9. Creating Daily Rituals

Daily rituals can ground and stabilize us and give us purpose in a busy world. You can listen to an audiobook at a slower speed, walk your dog or do something else that brings you joy. Making time for what creates value in your life can make you healthier and happier. 

10. Walking

Going for a walk for a few minutes or longer each day can strengthen your muscles and bones. You can walk with a friend or family member and use this time to socialize. I use walking as an excuse to leave the house and appreciate nature. 

11. Reading Something Inspiring

In spite of all of the negative content in the world, there's plenty of inspirational content to read. Specifically, reading inspirational quotes in the morning can motivate you to be more positive. Moreover, you can read blog posts about those who perform good deeds or check out articles involving spirituality or religion. 

12. Taking Technology Breaks

Watching too much TV or browsing the internet may be fun, but it can also make you feel like you lack a purpose. I constantly force myself to take technology breaks regularly, so this is something I can seriously relate to. Instead of wasting your valuable time on using electronics, you can call a loved one on the phone or take up a creative hobby. 

13. Using Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has varying benefits, including improving sleep quality, easing depression, anxiety, and stress, and increasing feelings of relaxation. Indeed, smelling pleasant scents may be helpful in the treatment of certain conditions such as arthritis and cancer. You can be creative by adding an essential oil mixture to a bath, shampoo or body wash. Further, a humidifier or diffuser can make a difference in obtaining a quiet mind. 

14. Waking with a Purpose

Everyone needs a purpose because this can make our days’ worth experiencing. One idea for cultivating one is to wake up each morning with the right mindset. Firstly, try figuring out what you'd like to accomplish the night before by making a plan for the following day. This means you might have the intention of walking for 30 minutes, eating a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, or something else. 

15. Relishing Every Mouthful

Making every bite of food count can be one of the most effortless mindfulness activities for seniors. 

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Instead of wasting your valuable time on using electronics, you can call a loved one on the phone or take up a creative hobby. 

Simply pay attention to the taste and texture of each mouthful and focus on being grateful for it. Doing this can be a reminder of how much your actions matter to bettering your lifestyle. 

16. Setting Daily Goals

When you set mindful goals, you can pursue these with a purpose in mind. In addition, this can encourage you to value your actions by cultivating an emotional connection with your efforts. I've noticed that having daily goals gives me something to look forward to.  This can be particularly inspiring for improving my chances for success in my career, relationships, and personal happiness. 

17. Planning for the Next Day

Making a plan for the upcoming day can create positive intentions in your mind. I usually brainstorm what I'm thinking of doing in a daily journal at night so I can figure out what I'd like to commit to that matters most to me. Namely, you might be considering taking a pottery class or learning to play a musical instrument. You can choose one of these by understanding which one is of higher importance to you. Alternatively, do what you feel like doing without overthinking things. 

18. Breathing Exercises

By increasing oxygen exchange, breathing exercises slow the heart down, ease abdominal tension and reduce blood pressure. As these changes affect your body, your mental state changes. Concentrating on breathing can be helpful in relaxing and gaining mindfulness. You can do breathing exercises when you'd like to reduce anxiety or stress. This may be at any time during the day, such as at bedtime or when anything or anyone frustrates you in some way.

19. Reading a Favorite Book

Doing mindfulness activities for seniors can mean doing what you genuinely enjoy, that is if you love to read. On the one hand, reading aloud can be mindful. Make an effort to memorize a favorite poem or read from a book by an author you favor. Be sure to make this time for only reading, find a comfortable spot to sit in, and savor each word as you say it. 

Group Activities

20. Doing Yoga

This is one of the mindfulness activities for seniors you can do alone or with a group. Just grab a yoga mat you love and head to a quiet space indoors or go outside. Basic yoga poses, such as the mountain pose or tree pose, can be easy to learn and extremely beneficial to your health and well-being. I have an instructional yoga book I use for those times I need to calm my body, mind, and spirit.

21. Doodling or Coloring

Self-expression can give you a way to let your inner child out and have a bit of healthy fun. All you need is some crayons and an adult coloring book or a pencil and a piece of paper. Attend a group coloring party and invite all of your friends or create a piece of art on your own. Creating art is one of my favorite pastimes and whenever I'm feeling down, this is what raises my spirits. Plus, being a professional artist isn't a requirement of self-expression, since it's all about enjoying the moment and using your imagination. 

22. Volunteering

Becoming a volunteer in your community or online can change your life and someone else's for the better. From helping to run a local food drive to becoming a youth mentor, there are various ways for you to become involved. By volunteering, you can gain a sense of purpose, know you're making a real difference, and likely meet friends who share your passions. 

23. Gaining Body Awareness

Increasing awareness of the feelings in your body can give you a way to understand what you need at any particular moment. You'll recognize more clearly when you're thirsty, distressed emotionally, hungry or tired. So you'll be able to improve weight and pain management. You can build body awareness by doing physical exercises like yoga, Tai Chi, balance exercises or walking backward. Taking a class can be an exceptional way to meet like-minded people who can provide you with encouragement to achieve your goals.

24. Expressing Appreciation

When you express gratitude, you have the opportunity to relish whatever you experience at a higher level. This is because you're acknowledging your real emotions and living in the moment. Showing how you truly feel to those you love can be a satisfying way to build stronger relationships, stay positive and be healthier. You can show appreciation at family gatherings or when eating out with friends.

25. Making Crafts

Pottery, carving, knitting, and weaving are all examples of craft activities. In fact, crafting can give you a way to occupy yourself when you'd like to be creative. You can knit a scarf and give it to a loved one as a gift or take a pottery class. One way to start is to purchase a crafting kit. By joining a class, you can stay motivated to be creative by participating in group craft projects.

26. Exercising

You can even be mindful when you exercise by engaging all your senses. Remember to acknowledge any discomfort you may have and stay attentive to your thoughts. 

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Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, acquiring enough sleep, reading fiction, and learning a new skill are also lifestyle practices to enhance mental abilities.

Try this out whenever you're walking, doing yoga, or playing a sport such as tennis or golf. You can ask friends or family members to join you for a walk or sign up for a group sport. Being part of a group can give you a sense of belonging and be plenty of fun.

27. Join a Cooking Class

Taking a cooking class can open doors to meeting new people and grasping useful skills. Since becoming a vegan, I've learned to cook food that tastes palatable enough to eat. Although it's been a challenge, I now have valuable knowledge I can use to make flavorful meals. Similarly, you can learn to cook everything from mouthwatering vegan Mexican food to healthful Mediterranean cuisine. After you've mastered the art of cooking, you can feel confident in making delicious meals.

Final Thoughts on Mindfulness Activities for Seniors

As you can see, there are various benefits to becoming involved in mindfulness activities for seniors… probably the most noteworthy being improved cognitive ability and increased social interactions.

Whether you find pleasure in doing these by yourself or with a group, they work.  Mindfulness can be incorporated into almost everything you do, because it’s about awareness more than the activity itself.

If you like what you’ve read today, your journey doesn't need to end here. Try reading our article about finding inner calm or sign up for an online class today.

Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.

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