Have you ever thought about aging as a spiritual journey? For many people, aging creates different stages of self-identity and spiritual growth when seeking to find meaning at each milestone.
Retirement and later years in life offer the opportunity to redefine your purpose in life, and spirituality can contribute in creating a positive outlook, as well as bring you closer to achieving inner peace.
Spirituality has proven to be essential to many seniors as they seek new sources of fulfillment and joy after jobs, careers and family no longer define their central identity. When shifting out of a role that focuses more on production (providing for yourself, family and career), you’re able to focus your energy inward and find greater peace of mind.
What Spirituality Means
A common misconception is that someone must be religious to be spiritual. However, spirituality has to do more with how you see yourself in comparison to the grand scheme of life, and is a deep feeling of interconnectedness with all that is. Spirituality can also create a strong sense of meaning, purpose and connection, and oftentimes creates a more engaging life. According to research by Merk and Co., many seniors see spirituality as a positive force that helps them face life with more resilience and hope.
Benefits of Spirituality
As one of the health dimensions in Harrogate’s “Living the 8,” spirituality plays a big part in gaining holistic health and longevity. Through hundreds of studies, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found spirituality and health are heavily linked. Mental and physical health outcomes were much better for those whose spirituality was at the core of their value systems.
The Mayo Clinic report states that if you’re connected with your spirituality, you’re less likely to experience cardiovascular disease, hypertension and high blood pressure. It also found that spiritual people tend to practice healthy living in other aspects of life, including exercising more, eating better, smoking less, and attending preventive screenings more regularly.
Spiritual Activities for Seniors
To determine how strengthening your spirituality can help you age holistically, you first have to ask yourself what being spiritual means to you. Whether you’re looking to find deeper connection with yourself, others or the environment around you, there are plenty of spiritual activities for seniors that can help you with feeling connected.
Connecting with yourself:
- Finding a greater sense of purpose through volunteering
- Meditating and/or practicing yoga
- Accomplishing a project that you’ve been meaning to finish
Connecting with others:
- Lending a helping hand to a friend or neighbor
- Expressing gratitude toward others
Connecting with the world around you:
- Painting, dancing, or listening to music
- Walking through nature
- Taking time to tend to the earth or garden
At Harrogate, healthy aging is our goal, and we make sure there are many opportunities for residents to exercise their spirituality — in whatever way suit them best. If you have any additional questions about spirituality and health, or want to learn more about “Living the 8,” call us at 866-606-0178.