In many ways, stress represents one of the few permanent components of life. At just about every point in our journey, a stressor, whether positive or negative, will arise.

For older adults, the stressors that accompany middle age, like raising children and career responsibilities, are exchanged for others. Seniors may begin to worry about their health deteriorating, lack of independence, financial management, and the death or illness of close friends and relatives. All of these worries and concerns are natural. What’s ultimately most important is that seniors cope with stress healthily. Not doing so can lead to trouble down the road.

Several studies have shown that stress is linked to a number of mental and physical problems, from anxiety and depression to hypertension and immune system complications. In fact, it’s estimated that stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40 perdent, heart attack by 25 percent, and stroke by 50 percent. Not to mention the fact that stress can also exacerbate existing conditions, which is the last thing seniors need when their immune systems are already less efficient.

There’s no denying the negative effects of stress, but what can seniors do to manage their stress in a positive way?

Fortunately, there are stress relief techniques that seniors can follow to help improve their own personal wellbeing. What senior clients use to manage their stress today can help better prepare them for any future stress.

• Meditate at the same time every day or whenever feelings of stress or anxiety arise.

• Practice deep breathing and mindfulness exercises.

• Reach out to friends and family to connect and spend time together.

• Follow a consistent exercise regimen and healthy diet, upon physician approval.

• Jot down thoughts and feelings at the end of each day, and be sure to take a moment to reflect on all the positive things that happened throughout the day.

• Volunteer time in the community or neighborhood.

• Put together and execute a to-do list to increase productivity, decrease feelings of restlessness, and combat procrastination.

• Join a yoga class or practice it at home (with physician approval).

• Listen to soothing or relaxing music, especially before bed.

• Find a way to laugh, whether it’s by watching a funny TV show/movie or listening to a comedy album.

• Take a trip out of town in order to take a break and recharge.

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