couple taking a walkStress is a prominent health problem that can negatively affect the lives of many people in different ways. Although the workplace is a common source of stress, feelings of anxiety may become harder to manage as you age.

Some seniors may be living with a chronic condition that makes it more difficult to respond to mental and physical stress. For instance, stress hormones in the brain can lead to problems with short-term memory.

The ways in which we physically respond to stress can also be dangerous to health. The body often experiences increased heart rate, blood pressure and rapid breathing, factors which can jeopardize the health of an older individual.

However, there are many ways to control and reduce this unwanted tension in your golden years. Here are a few coping mechanisms that could help seniors.

1. Support Groups

There are many benefits that support groups can offer someone dealing with stress. They can serve as a safe space to openly discuss feelings and learn new skills to cope with the specific challenges a senior may be facing.

These groups can also help reduce feelings of loneliness, judgment and isolation sometimes dealt with later in life, often due to the loss of friends and distance from family.

2. Physical Activity

Exercise and other physical activity can help your brain unwind and release unwanted tension and anxiety. Taking a walk, riding a bike or even swimming can be very helpful when trying to reduce stress.

The production of endorphins can also help boost energy levels and overall positivity. Talk to your doctor to learn what activities are compatible for your physical condition.

If you are unable to safely engage in certain types of physical activities, meditation and deep breathing exercises can also produce endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body.

3. Cognitive Games & Activities

Mentally stimulating games and puzzles promote good mental health. By challenging and exercising the brain regularly, you can help cognitive functioning and stress reduction. Some examples of games include Sudoku, crossword puzzles, chess and solitaire.

Other activities like sewing, knitting and drawing can provide a calm and relaxing experience when looking to release tension. Adult coloring books are another great way to relax while working the brain!

4. Healthy Eating

Did you know that certain forms of stress may be linked to poor nutrition? Rather than “quick fixes” like fast food, refined carbohydrates and sugar, eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help improve physical and mental health.

5. Consider a Pet

Sometimes a furry friend is the answer! If your doctor deems it safe to do so, welcoming a pet into your life can also decrease feelings of loneliness, while creating a new opportunity for socialization.
Avon Health Center offers supportive counseling and other services as part of our Discharge Planning for residents. To learn more about ways to cope with and manage stress in your daily life, contact Avon Health Center today.