When do we experience joy? Love? Connection? You may be scanning your memories trying to recall your best moments, but we’ll tell you the shortest answer: in the present moment. We can only live life right now. So, the joys and possibilities of life can only be experienced in the here and now. At Fieldstone Communities, our mission statement is Together we create joyful and vibrant communities. In every community, from independent and assisted living to specialized memory care, we are actively seeking ways to foster connection and enjoyment. When can our residents and staff experience joy and vibrance together? Yes, the present moment—that is where joyful and vibrant living really takes place!
At Fieldstone Communities, we’re intentionally building community and relationships through presence. The little details, the warmest smiles—these aren’t just nice extras—they are like doorways to happiness. Every element of each senior living community, from gourmet dining to personalized life enrichment activities and our capable and kind care staff—they all work in concert to create the joyful and vibrant communities you depend on.
This season, we’re bringing the soft glow of twinkle lights, warm plates of familiar comfort foods, the sweetness of special baked treats, the cheer and nostalgia of holiday music, and thousands of everyday moments full of friendship, care, and laughter. That is what joy looks like for us.
As you and your loved ones continue to navigate the pandemic and the changes in the world, we hope these tips for understanding and practicing the power of presence help you and your loved ones enjoy life even more.
Unlocking Higher Happiness
People’s minds are prone to drift to the past or future—it’s our nature to try and hold yesterday, today, and tomorrow all at once. But research shows there are real benefits to living in the present.
A Harvard study looked into the connection between mind-wandering and happiness. Do you know what they found? Matt Killingworth, Ph.D. revealed, “As it turns out, people are less happy when they’re mind-wandering, no matter what they’re doing. For example, people don’t really like commuting to work very much; it’s one of their least enjoyable activities. Yet people are substantially happier when they’re focused only on their commute than when their mind is wandering off to something else. This pattern holds for every single activity we measured, including the least enjoyable. It’s amazing.”
The Magic of Mindful Breathing
We certainly cannot ignore the realities we face, but we also need to be able to enjoy life as best we can. Coming back to the present moment allows us to catch our breath. In fact, breathing and noticing each breath is the fastest route to connect with our bodies and redirect our focus. Conscious breathing is a reliable, proven method to steady you when your mind and emotions are running in fourth gear.
Don’t worry, there doesn’t have to be anything fancy about it—breathe deeply and slowly. Just notice each breath in and each breath out. Whether you’re stressed or troubled, or just a bit distracted or preoccupied, mindful breathing can quickly calm your body and snap things back into focus.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Being present, that is fully in tune with what is happening inside and around us, is the hearthstone of life, love, and joy. If we are having a hard time but we take a moment to look around us, we might see the blue sky. We might notice the vibrance of a yellow-leafed tree. We might notice a kind smile we otherwise may have missed. We can choose to sip a hot coffee with pleasure. Our attunement to what is happening now is like giving ourselves a present.
You don’t have to have all of your woes sorted out to enjoy small, good things available to you, right now. Those good things ease our suffering. They sustain us. You might like to think of noticing and enjoying small good things like taking a daily vitamin. It fortifies the spirit.
- In addition to increasing happiness, mindfulness can reduce sadness, stress, loneliness, and anxiety.
- And it can even play another significant role for those struggling with chronic pain. Studies have linked mindfulness meditation to pain relief and regulation. Mindfulness meditation significantly lessened pain—an important consideration for the millions of chronic pain patients seeking alternative, narcotic-free therapies. While pain management should be overseen by a doctor, the function of mindfulness in pain alleviation is promising.
- What’s more, preliminary research suggests that mindfulness meditation can offset age-related cognitive decline. There is a myriad of benefits to encouraging our attention to come back to the here and the now!
We invite you to take a big breath and give yourself permission to enjoy the good things in life right now…your heartbeat, a crisp breeze, a good book. Take stock of the things going right, no matter their size.
This season as we reflect on all we are thankful for, you are at the top of our list—our residents and their families, as well as our compassionate staff. Each day we are honored to care for the most important people in our world, right here in the moment.