What is Mental Health?

Mental health as defined by WHO "... a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community" (WHO 2001a, p.1)

What is Stress?

“Stress can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable”. (Mental Health Foundation)

Stress has a very high impact on older Adults 60+ years of age. Stress can cause high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, insomnia, heartburn, indigestion, and an increased risk for heart disease and panic attacks. Covid-19 has been very stressful for the elders, the elements of fear for self and tension for their loved ones have heightened their stress levels

Type of Stress

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recognize two types of stress: acute and chronic.

The NIMH also identify three examples of types of stressor:

·         routine stress, such as childcare, homework, or financial responsibilities

·         sudden, disruptive changes, such as a family bereavement or finding out about a job loss

·         traumatic stress, which can occur due to extreme trauma as a result of a severe accident, an assault, an environmental disaster, or war.


What is Mindfulness?

 Mindfulness is an approach where the body and mind are integrated as one, to manage ones thoughts, feelings, emotions, reactions and mental health. It is the practice of focusing on the present moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

 Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

 Reduces repetitive thoughts: when something bothers us no matter what we do in our normal daily routine we keep thinking about the same repeatedly. In old age even small things bother a lot and continuous chain of thoughts flows though the mind which makes the elders worry more and fear more. Mindfulness can stop the recurring thoughts

Reduces stress: Stress is one of the most important factor to be monitored for mental well-being. Practicing mindfulness can help relax and reduce the stress levels and its impact on the health.

Helps in overcoming depression: Mediation is a very effective way to cope up with depression. Depression is a state on mind where only negative thoughts flourish and the elder may not be able to do even their basic regime of life. Mediation levitates the soul and nourishes the inner peace which automatically removes the negativity.   

Increases focus: With disciplined practice of mindfulness method focus increases. It helps the senior citizens take up creative actives and hobbies that they want to pursue.

Boots working memory: It’s a known fact with old age memory power start fading. With mindfulness, the brain is conscious of the activities and happenings around and thus helps in boosting the working memory required for regular life.

Less emotional reactions: Old people react to situations very fast and hence they require specialized senior care. One of the most important elements of senior care services is health of body, mind and soul. Once the three are in symphony, self the awareness reduces the abrupt emotional reactions and breakdown.

Self- Awareness: Mindfulness is a state of mind where there is awareness of the present moment. It helps the senior citizens understand themselves and embrace the old age with learning about themselves more via the activities of meditation, yoga, creativity etc.