Healthy Ageing

Stress management for seniors

Begin with these practical tips to manage your stress

Stress management is an often overlooked aspect of senior health and well-being. This primarily stems from the fact that at this stage, job stress that’s been endured for decades is out of the picture. However, senior stress can still originate from relationships, finances, and retirement itself, as well as from many other areas of life.

Here are a few ways to mitigate and manage this largely inevitable phenomenon.

Meditation for stress management

Studies on meditation show that it can not only provide relief from stress when it is practiced but can help build a kind of immunity to future stress—your stress response may be triggered less often if you meditate regularly. Meditation is also an ideal stress reliever for seniors in that it requires no special equipment or physical ability, can be practiced in a variety of settings, and provides excellent relief from stress.

Today there are a number of apps that can help you get started on this journey. Our picks? Calm, Headspace and Happify.

Cognitive puzzles

Games can provide mental stimulation akin to ‘brain exercise.

Solving Sudoku or crossword puzzles, or working on other thinking games can provide mental stimulation akin to ‘brain exercise.’ Because these games require focused concentration, they can provide a helpful distraction for those who tend to ruminate over stressors, plus the benefits of mental stimulation. There’s also new research emerging on how video games tend to have long-term benefits for brain health, which you can read more about in this post here.

You can get a lot of mental stimulation by doing the daily crossword puzzle from your local newspaper, or you can go the more high-tech route of playing a portable video game or online game.

Yoga

Research shows that yoga can help promote well-being and improve quality of life in seniors, as well as enhance senior health. It’s also an excellent stress relief tool and can carry other physical benefits.

While some forms of yoga have a spiritual component, yoga can be practiced as a purely physical exercise, making it compatible with all faiths.

The practice of yoga allows a lot of flexibility, so it’s a good choice for people of all ability levels and fitness goals.

Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are an extremely convenient, fast-acting and effective stress reliever that can be easily adopted by people of any age, including seniors. Wherever you are, it’s possible to diffuse stress with a few deep, controlled breaths. While some pair this with meditation, it is possible to simplify focus on breathing exercises as a standalone activity. In recent years, Novak Djokovic, the acclaimed tennis player has credited his ability to stay calm in tense match situations to his sustained practice of breathing exercises.

Cognitive restructuring

Sometimes just looking at something a different way can make it seem less stressful. Practice finding the positive in a situation, looking at it from a different angle, or even working with a therapist on a specific situation, and you may find that your stress response is triggered less and less. ‘Cognitive restructuring’ is a clinical term for changing the way you look at things, an important part of cognitive therapy, which has been found to be extremely helpful for a variety of issues, including stress.

These tips for stress management are winning! Start today. Another problem seniors tackle today is loneliness, learn how to feel less lonely.

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