Modified and translated by CFJA
Stability of the Mind is Achieved by Performing Each Action Carefully.
When talking to patients who have crossed 80, they often mention the following things they have experienced.
1. Each action becomes slower.
2. Each action becomes less precise.
3. Decreased muscle strength.
4. Shallow breathing.
5. Becoming more easily irritated.
These are likely due to declining physical capabilities. Individuals in their 80s are aware that their physical abilities have diminished compared to when they were younger. However, because of their vast “experiential knowledge,” most remain calm and unaffected by various events, as they can predict the outcomes. But this can lead to frustration regarding the inability to complete tasks quickly. Those who are aware of this often mention that performing each action carefully allows them to manage their frustrations. Even though their movements may be slower, by utilizing their experiential knowledge and predicting outcomes, they can process tasks efficiently. Performing each action precisely brings a sense of calm and enables deeper breathing. I believe that cherishing the “manners of everyday life” and “casual movements” and being mindful of completing one action before moving on to the next is the best way to minimize frustration. When transitioning to the next action, it is important to be mindful of whether you are breathing or not. If you appear to be breathing shallowly or not breathing while performing an action, it can make you easily fatigued and mentally frustrated. Being able to process tasks efficiently by predicting outcomes based on experiential knowledge and performing each action carefully is the first step toward a calmer state of mind. This approach allows for deeper breathing, making it less likely to get tired even when extending the duration of daily activities.
Chewing food thoroughly while exhaling through the nose is crucial during meals.
Japanese people tend to enjoy hot foods. When eating hot food, it is customary to inhale air along with the food to cool it down while swallowing. The practice of making a sound like “zuzu-zuzu” while savoring the food, which may seem impolite in Western culture, likely stems from the desire to eat piping hot dishes. Since this way of eating involves swallowing air, if you eat a large amount of hot food quickly, it can result in burping. While it may be considered uncouth, it is also an indication that the meal was delicious. However, regardless of eating habits, the number of remaining teeth is crucial. After reaching 80, the number of teeth decreases. According to the 2016 nationwide survey on dental conditions conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, the average number of teeth per person (current average number of teeth) for people aged 75 and above is 15.7. Nearly half of the natural teeth are lost, as 46% of people have 20 or more teeth, and approximately 30% use complete dentures. With fewer teeth, it becomes challenging to enjoy meals as desired. The number of times you chew your food also tends to decrease. Chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which lubricates the esophagus and triggers the release of stomach acid, aiding digestion. The loss of teeth has a significant impact on health. Maintaining oral health is crucial for overall well-being, so it is essential to consult a dentist regularly. When your oral environment for eating is well-maintained, additional measures are necessary to avoid gulping down hot food. As a countermeasure, “exhaling through the nose after putting food in the mouth with each bite” can be considered. This has several expected benefits:
1. It allows you to focus on chewing without opening your mouth.
2. It enhances appetite by perceiving the aroma of food through the nose, promoting chewing.
3. Chewing thoroughly increases the production of digestive fluids.
4. Chewing exercises can stimulate brain activity, contributing to the prevention of cognitive decline.
5. Chewing exercises help maintain facial muscle strength, allowing for rich facial expressions.
Incorporating the habit of “exhaling through the nose while eating” can improve not only physical health but also overall well-being.