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Relaxation Rituals for Older Adults

Published: Jul 16, 2010

Do thoughts crowd your brain at night and subtract hours from your sleep time? If you tune into your body, can you feel tension or the effect of “jittery nerves”? If this is your experience, you are not alone. Simply the weight of the day can start to wreak stressful havoc on a body and brain!

Exploring relaxation techniques that suit your personal style will not only promote peace of mind but also offer a myriad of other benefits that ripple out to every area of life. Research substantiates many benefits of relaxation techniques, including: reduced pain and inflammation, increased blood flow to muscles and areas of low circulation, decreased blood pressure, increased mental clarity, and much more!

  • Breathing — Breathe in and let the breath fill your stomach, breathe out and push the air out so your stomach caves. Consider investing in a biofeedback machine that tracks your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), a measure of how your heart cycles during breathing. The trick is to sync your breathing with the machine and thus stabilize your rhythm.
  • Exercise — Exercising in the morning or midday is one of the best ways to release stress and promote healthy sleep patterns. Get into the groove of a low-impact routine that includes stretching, walking, swimming, or tai chi.
  • Friendships — Research shows that social interactions, while sometimes challenging, provide an excellent way to de-stress through sharing, offering mutual support, and making a commitment to having fun together.
  • Aromatherapy — Inviting a host of scents into your space can promote relaxation, while varying the scents can help boost brainpower. Try out an air mister, an aromatherapy diffuser, or a microwaveable neck pillow.
  • Self Massage — Even the lightest touch can provide healing wonders as energy is circulated in the body. Try massaging your own hands, neck, and head to stimulate the self-healing process.
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