Stress is a huge part of life, at any age. As seniors, our stressors are things such as: coping with illness or the loss of loved ones; decline in health, mobility, and independence; feelings of not knowing what to do with our time. The way we cope with stress as we age changes, along with how the body manages and handles it.
Impact of stress:
Weakened immune system. This can lead to slower-healing wounds and increased susceptibility to the flu and other infections.
Higher risk of high blood pressure. When the body reacts to stress, blood pressure can spike temporarily. Also,chronic stress can contribute to long-term issues with high blood pressure.
Increased risk of chronic disease. Chronic stress increases your chances of getting diseases such as heart disease or cancer. By increasing the body’s levels of inflammation, high levels of stress hormones have been shown to play a role in a number of disorders, including many autoimmune diseases.
Memory loss. Stress is one of the biggest culprits in causing memory loss, difficulty concentrating and confusion. Memory loss is a normal part of the aging process, but high stress levels can significantly increase this process.
Recognizing some common signs of stress will help you find some relief and help your overall health.
Common signs of stress:
Mood swings, increased irritability, or depression.
Becoming more forgetful, or memory problems.
Lacking concentration and showing poor judgement.
Changes in sleep patterns or insomnia.
Withdrawing socially or from activities you once enjoyed.
Frequent tension headaches or heart palpitations.
Overeating, frequent indigestion, weight loss or gain.
As you age, the more positive outlook you have on life tends to help you deal with stress better.
Pinpoint your stressors. Identify what is the cause of the stress in your life, so you can eliminate it. Talking with someone or writing it down, will help eliminate your stress.
Maintain social connections. Studies show that those with strong social networks enjoy less stress, better health, improved mood, and longer lives.
Exercise the body. Exercise is a known mood booster. Find an activity you enjoy, get a friend to join, and have fun!
Use stress relieving techniques. Meditating, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi…find a calming technique that works best for you to release tension and anxiety.
Laugh often! Have a good laugh watching a comedy show, just talking with friends, listening to a stand-up comedian. They do say laughter is the best medicine!
Dealing with stress will not only help how you feel now, but better your long term health. And allow you to enjoy each day to its fullest!
Stay happy and healthy and confident always!