Mindfulness stems from Eastern spirituality, but it has become popular throughout the West among people from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Studies show that seniors and their caregivers can benefit from the many aspects of mindful meditation that help lower stress and improve an overall outlook on life. Learn more about mindfulness and its benefits on aging.
Mindful meditation draws from Buddhism and the concept of being present with ourselves as we are, for instance, living in the moment and enjoying the experience without rejecting anything. Instead of trying to escape discomfort or suffering, we really learn to pay attention to our experiences, good or bad.
For seniors and their caregivers, mindful meditation has the potential to reduce anxiety and pain, enhance the immune system and foster spiritual health. According to a 2013 study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, meditation may slow the progress of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies indicate that meditation can be taught to the elderly, and can promote social interaction for seniors in residential communities.
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Combined, the benefits of mindfulness can improve an individual’s perspective, making it easier to face life’s many challenges. What’s more, seniors and caregivers can practice mindfulness anywhere, at their own convenience.
Many mindfulness audio books are available for download to your preferred mobile device so that you can practice mindful meditation as often as you need to. As mentioned, the practice welcomes people of all backgrounds and experience levels. So, if you have never tried meditation, you will find several audio books aimed at beginners.
Here are eight mindful meditation audio books that A Place for Mom recommends:
1.Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
Based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), this guide provides user-friendly mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine. With an emphasis on therapeutics rather than theology, the authors offer simple exercises focused on attentive eating, meditative breathing and attention to bodily sensations. These exercises help you move from “Doing Mode” to “Being Mode,” reducing anxiety, stress and exhaustion.
2.The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Written in a plain style, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers practical exercises to teach a mindful state of being. Whether you are juggling several complex tasks or washing dishes, these mindfulness techniques can bring you toward greater peace and understanding. The exercises are designed for people of all physical abilities so that all adults can adopt them into their meditation practice.
3.Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Transform pain and stress to relief using this author’s pioneering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction methodology (MBSR). Learn how to read and react to acute pain, emotional stress and everyday challenges. You can also gain insight into practices that use conscious awareness as a means for changing the way your body processes pain and stress.
4.Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
An introductory guide on mindfulness meditation, the author explains what meditation is and how it works. Praised for its straightforwardness and practical style, this book describes how meditative techniques can change your outlook on life. It also addresses problems you may confront in your practice and how to overcome those to find your own way to meditate.
5.How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day: A Guided Meditation, by Andy Puddicombe
Improve your physical and mental health through this author’s daily 10-minute guided meditation. Fit in your practice morning, noon or evening to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, improve sleep and simply feel better. Although criticized for its heavy promotion of Puddicombe’s other products, this book is praised for its simple, nonsectarian approach.
6.The Art of Meditation, by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.
Build new powers of concentration, strengthen your immune system and calm your mind. Goleman teaches four distinct techniques to help you attain the benefits of meditation. Written for beginners or experienced meditators, this book is a comprehensive and insightful guide for meditative practices that can reduce stress, anxiety, aches, pains and much more.
A geriatric social worker, McBee has nearly 30 years of experience working with seniors and caregivers. For over a decade, she has incorporated mindful meditation and other alternative therapies into her practice to assist elders with cognitive and physical challenges. Intended for seniors, their caregivers and other elder care professionals, this book describes the benefits of mindfulness through meditation, yoga, massage and other complementary therapies.
Forced to retire due to illness, Bernhard, a former law professor and dean of students, details how she had to change her spiritual practice to incorporate chronic illness. A longtime meditator, Bernhard learned to live a joyful and compassionate life even though her condition presented many challenges to her physical health. She offers guidance, encouragement and meditative exercises to people struggling with chronic or life-threatening health issues and to their caregivers.
What mindfulness audio books would you add to this list and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.