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How Spiritual Practices Can Help with Anxiety and Depression for Elderly

Spiritual Practices

It is common for elderly people to experience depression and anxiety. This can happen due to a mix of factors, like changes in the brain that come with aging, less social interaction and more isolation. Some elders may also feel anxious about their future or have feelings of guilt or regret from things they have done in the past or due to a past trauma. It can be hard to shake those feelings and move on which is why it is so important for seniors to stay connected with the spiritual aspects of their lives. Though there are various professional help available along with facilities like nursing homes or memory care to cure these mental health problems, some spiritual practices can be of additional help to keep them under control. This blog post will outline how elders can deal with these types of emotions better through spiritual practices. 

What is Spirituality

Before we discuss how elders can benefit from spirituality to fight mental health issues, it is important to define what spirituality is.

The term "spiritual" often has more than one definition including thoughts that are related to the soul, mind and body. When it comes to spirituality, there is no one single definition as different people have different beliefs, ways of seeing things and feeling connected to a certain energy or entity.

One of the ways spirituality can help is that it provides a sense of purpose in life which leads to higher self-esteem and more happiness. It also encourages people to live their life with compassion, kindness and peace so they don't harbor feelings of guilt or regret.

Ideally spiritual connection can help with depression and anxiety for elders by providing a sense of calmness, meaning or comfort in their lives.

Here are some spiritual practices that can help reduce anxiety and depression for the elderly:

Meditation  

Meditation is a powerful technique to  reduce stress, anxiety and depression.   The practice of meditation can take many forms such as:

* Focusing on an object or item  

* Visualizing a safe place to go when they're feeling anxious

* Praying for peace and guidance from the Divine Creator or higher power.

Meditation is also good for calming your mind and filter out unwanted thoughts that may be contributing to anxiety or depression.  

Prayer

If you feel connected to a certain religion or higher power, praying can be a  way to make you feel at peace. Praying can help with anxiety because it brings you closer to your faith, gives you a sense of community, and allows for accountability from others who pray alongside you. Prayer also helps with depression as they are often people's way of reaching out when feeling hopeless or desperate. You can visit churches or temples or other religious institutions and attend some ceremonies or rituals. It is also a great opportunity to socialize and meet like minded people.

Not Taking Things Personally

It's easier said than done, but not taking things personally can be a great way to relieve anxiety and depression for the elderly. There are many ways to connect with your spirituality, and the common denominator among them is making yourself feel safe from judgment or criticism by others about what they think of it. We all have a spiritual connection in one form or another; just find yours and  start practicing it.

Try Slowing Down

Sometimes it is good to slow down, take a step back and reflect on all the things happening around us. This helps seeing the whole picture and helps us to not take anything too seriously. It's a great way to avoid anxiety or depression for the elderly. Focusing on what we have that is good in our life rather than dwelling on what could be bad can help with reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as finding peace again.

Practicing Compassion and Empathy

Compassion and empathy are core virtues that are the key to spiritual eyes. This doesn't necessarily mean that you must agree with everything happening. It just means that you can choose how you want to respond, without being defensive or attacking.

It's ok to feel hurt or angry. But, taking those emotions out on others means that you are taking it personally, blaming other people, or trying to control the situation. It's not fair to be in that drama. How can you effectively show up when you are too angry? Consider what your compassionate response might be. How would patience sound? Then consider what a loving response might be. Soothing words or actions? A hug?  You may not have the power to change things, but you can certainly decide how best to react in any given situation.

Spending Some Alone Time

Spending some time in the quiet can be a form of mindfulness and spirituality. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down and close your eyes. Think about the present moment, breathe deeply and notice what you hear, feel, and smell.  You might want to focus on a particular sound for just five minutes. This can lead you into silence and then open your senses back up. This practice can be a great anxiety and stress reliever for the elderly.

Start Journaling

Journaling is an easy and meditative way to get your feelings out when you're feeling overwhelmed. It can also be a great practice for those who are dealing with depression, anxiety, or grief. It can also help older people document their day-to-day activities and  feelings. It allows them to focus on what is happening in their present moment. It also helps with emotional regulation because you get your feelings out instead of bottling up emotions which could lead to depression or even an illness.

Get Close to Nature

Getting close to nature is another great spiritual practice for the elderly. It helps them feel more grounded and connected with their environment. Try taking a walk in the neighborhood or in a local park or in your backyard garden. You can also enjoy sitting outside and taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of nature around you.

These spiritual practices are great ways to take care of your mental health while dealing with all the ailments that come as you get older. Though at first glance, these may not seem like spiritual practices, they are indeed great forms of spirituality and self-care.

Spiritual practices are a great way to take care of your mental health and deal with the ailments that come as you age. Though at first glance, these may not seem like spiritual activities, they are indeed great forms of spirituality and self-care. As we mentioned before, spiritual practices can be small everyday activities, lifestyle changes or habits that can help you to not only deal with your anxiety and depression but also discover a deeper purpose. 

So, which spiritual practice are you planning to adopt?


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