How Life Can Get Better as We Age
Life can get better with age with mindfulness because older people have the wisdom and time to use mindfulness as a means to improve overall well-being, according to a new study.
Mindfulness refers to the natural human ability to be aware of one’s experiences and to pay attention to the present moment in a purposeful, receptive, and non-judgmental way.
Using mindful techniques can be instrumental in reducing stress and promoting positive psychological outcomes, the study said.
According to the researchers, certain characteristics of mindfulness seem more strongly evident in older people compared to younger people – and suggest ways for all ages to benefit.
“This suggests that mindfulness may naturally develop with time and life experience,” said study co-author Tim Windsor from Flinders University in Australia.
The recent study, published in the journal Aging and Mental Health, based on an online community survey of 623 participants aged between 18 and 86 years.
“The significance of mindfulness for well-being may also increase as we get older, in particular the ability to focus on the present moment and to approach experiences in a non-judgmental way,” Windsor said.
“These characteristics are helpful in adapting to age-related challenges and in generating positive emotions,” Windsor added.
From middle age to old age, the survey highlights the tendency to focus on the present moment and adopt a non-judgmental orientation may become especially important for well-being with advancing age.
For the findings, the researchers assessed participants’ mindful qualities such as present-moment attention, acceptance, non-attachment and examined the relationships of these qualities with well-being more generally.
“The ability to appreciate the temporary nature of personal experiences may be particularly important for the way people manage their day-to-day goals across the second half of life,” said study lead author Leeann Mahlo.
The researchers found that positive relationships between aspects of mindfulness and well-being became stronger from middle age onwards.
“Our findings suggest that if mindfulness has particular benefits in later life, this could be translated into tailored training approaches to enhanced well-being in older populations,” she said.
Mindfulness skills can help build well-being at any age, the study said.