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The 6 Best Meditation Styles for Relieving Stress If You're Over 50

Meditation isn't one-size-fits-all. There are different styles that can ease your mind.

Take a deep breath. Go for a walk. Light a candle. These are all easy ways to calm yourself down. But if you're looking for a more structured relaxation exercise to add to your daily routine, experts recommend meditation, especially as you get older. However, meditation is not a one-size-fits-all practice, which is why we turned to the pros to find the best meditation styles for relieving stress if you're over 50. Keep reading to find out more about them.

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Mindfulness meditation

Woman meditating on her couch

One of the most common meditation styles, mindfulness meditation is all about awareness, according to Janet Rae Orth, a spiritual coach at Miraval Resort Arizona. Sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing when your mind wanders is all it takes.

"This meditation involves paying attention to your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations without any judgment," Orth explains.

It also helps to positively stimulate your brain. "Just like muscles gaining strength through consistent training, regular mindfulness meditation helps strengthen our brain's attention and awareness areas so that during stressful situations, we can quickly use these techniques to center ourselves, remain calm, and redirect our focus to the present moment," says Sean Abraham, a licensed clinical social worker at Grow Therapy.

Mantra meditation

older man enjoying a nature walk outside
iStock / simonapilolla

If you're over 50, you may want to try mantra meditation, as Aine Rock, a certified life and psychedelic coach and founder of Sacred Joy Coaching, says it has "lower barriers to entry."

She explains that repeating a certain word or phrase is used to create a sense of calm: "These techniques quiet the mind's endless chatter and bring heightened focus to the present."

For the best results, experts advise finding words, syllables, or phrases that can generate positive feelings. How you voice your mantra is all about preference: They can be whispered, repeated in the mind, or simply spoken out loud.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Feel Calm and Happy (That Aren't Meditation).


Group of middle-aged people doing an outdoor yoga class

In addition to being a popular form of exercise, yoga is a common meditation practice.

"The mind-body connection stimulated through deliberate, low-impact motions combats the physical stiffness aging bodies experience while improving sensory awareness and overall energy levels depleted by chronic stress," Rock explains.

Maitri Vaidya, MS, certified meditation instructor and co-founder of Zesa Wellness, adds that knowing what's happening between your mind and body is key. "This increased awareness can lead to better self-care decisions, including happier lifestyle choices," she says.

It also improves balance, which is ideal as we get older.

Progressive muscle relaxation

A woman wearing activewear lays on her back on her yoga mat in Shavasana pose
Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

If yoga isn't for you, then progressive muscle relaxation could be an option.

According to Kim Peirano, transformational coach and hypnotherapist at Courage To Transform, it's "a technique where we move through the body's various muscle groups, usually beginning at the feet and ending at the head, and contract and release each muscle group as we move through them." This aids in mental relaxation, as well as in releasing physical tension.

Peirano says to start with your feet: "Notice how they feel, what sensations you have or don't have, and then contract and hold for five seconds and release." Repeat these motions throughout the other muscle groups in the body.

"Once you cycle through all the muscle groups, most people find a wave of relaxation and calm spreading throughout their body. It's at this time we can spend a few minutes, to even an hour, in a deeper meditation and contemplation space," says Peirano.

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Expressive meditation

Happy senior couple dancing and laughing together at home

Sometimes stress relief requires a little more movement, which is why Patti Woods, tarot reader and mind-body skills facilitator at Sandy Hollow Tarot, suggests expressive meditation, or "shaking and dancing." This is especially helpful when you feel like you're mentally stuck or if you'd like to increase your serotonin levels.

"We can get trapped in thinking things like, 'I'm not good enough' or 'Nothing ever goes my way.' This, in turn, can lead to feeling achy, stiff, and depressed," explains Woods. She adds that "active forms of meditation" can help minimize those thought cycles and get the emotions flowing in a more positive direction.

"It's a great form of meditation to do in the morning to get energized for the day, or during times when you're just too agitated to do a more concentrative type of meditation (like sitting observing your breath)," adds Woods.

Guided meditation

A senior woman sitting with her eyes closed while listening to headphones

For those who want more support, consider guided meditation, which is ideal for beginners or those who have trouble staying focused during other types of meditation.

"It allows the person meditating to turn off their mind, or not be in charge, and be guided into a deep state of relaxation and awareness," says Orth. Typically, someone in person or on a recording leads you through the process.

If you want to feel extra relaxed, Vaidya suggests incorporating yogic sleep: "This practice allows deep meditative sleep in a lying down position, usually with a guided meditation, promoting deep relaxation and reducing stress."

Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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