As we age, dealing with stress becomes more detrimental to our overall health. Stress can come from many different things and can be harmful to seniors. Stress is the body’s way of reacting to something around it by releasing chemicals into the blood. When this happens, muscles become tense, blood pressure and heart rate rise, breathing becomes faster, sleeping becomes difficult and immune activity decreases.
The more we allow ourselves to become stressed, the more likely we are to encounter the physical, mental and emotional symptoms of stress. We have listed a handful of things seniors can easily do to help calm their stress and put their minds at ease.
- Take a walk (or a stroll if you’re in a wheelchair). The combination of being outdoors in fresh air along with light exercise can reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body.
- Try breathing exercises. Taking a few moments to really focus on your breath will calm your mind and release tension in your body.
- Massage therapy is another great way to release tension in your body. Massage relaxes the muscles in your body while ridding it of harmful toxins.
- Use a stress ball. Squeezing a ball may sound silly, but you can actually release tension simply by squeezing the ball.
- Play with a pet. Pets are fun loving companions who love attention.
- Maintain strong social connections. As we age, we tend to lose some of the people around us so having a strong bond with friends and family is very important. Having someone you are able to talk to and spend quality time with is key to your emotional health.
- Move your body. Many seniors have a hard time getting around, so moving in any way you can is a helpful way to reduce stress. Even if you’re only able to raise your arms above your head and take a few heavy breaths, which could be enough to decrease some of the stress you may be feeling.
- Finally, do something you love. Doing something you enjoy gives you pleasure, allows you to clear your mind and re-energizes you.
Stressors are everywhere in our lives and come in many different forms. Realizing what stresses you and finding a way to productively encounter the stress is an essential part in maintaining your health.