Have you heard of mindfulness meditation? It is about being present, to be wholly concentrated and aware of the present moment instead of having your thoughts winging off somewhere else whilst you’re doing something else.
Practising mindfulness has helped me be a better listener – to focus on the person and what’s being said, to be less judgemental, and to concentrate.
When I drive, I sometimes turn off the radio and just… drive. I try not to let my mind float but to focus on the activity of driving itself. Apart from being more aware of my car and the vehicles around me, I hear so much more. There is the sound of the wind blowing, and the sound of the wheels on the road. I notice the color of the sky, the road, the road divider, the buildings beside the road. I just drive, and notice so many things I would not have paid any attention to.
To my amazement, practising mindfulness has helped bring me peace. I become aware of the world that is, and not the world I wish it were.
I’ve noticed somewhat belatedly that Mom is mindful. When she makes a cup of tea, she is fully concentrated on every step of the process. Taking her cup, getting the tea bag, putting the tin back, pouring hot water, getting the spoon, and the bottle of sugar. Putting things back. Every movement is thought through and deliberate. She thinks of nothing else other than making that cup of tea as she is making it.
Mom is practising mindfulness, everyday, every moment that she is awake. Perhaps dementia has robbed her of the ability to hold many thoughts at once, and she holds just the one thought, that of the present moment. Or perhaps her years of studying and learning concentration and focus is helping her to cope now despite her dementia.
I believe that if one were to practise mindfulness before dementia set in, it would mitigate the dementia symptoms. Something to think about.