Did you know that extra stress can cause heart problems, increase dementia risks, and impact your physical health in many other ways? Because stress can be so damaging, it is very important for seniors to pay close attention to their stress levels. It is almost impossible to avoid all sources of stress, but you can improve your health by changing how you react to these stressors. Here are some fun and helpful ways you can reduce your stress.
The stress-relieving effects of physical activity cannot be overstated. Almost all medical advice for relieving stress starts with the recommendation to get moving. This helps your body deal with stress by providing you with a healthier outlet for all that negative energy. The best exercise for dealing with stress tends to be cardio exercises that increase your heart rate. There are all sorts of senior-friendly exercises for those who are not up for intense activities like jogging. Consider going for a hike, swimming regularly, or taking a dance class.
Spend Time With Friends
Did you know that seniors who regularly engage in social activities have a significantly reduced risk of death? Researchers have found that spending time with loved ones lowers levels of cortisol and other stress related hormones. Therefore, seniors should try to make an effort to maintain their social life. If you do not know anyone in your area, try joining a local club for a hobby you like or finding a senior meetup group through a church, community center, or nursing home. If you are mostly homebound, learn how to use technology for video chats and other online friendships.
Find Natural Stress Relief Supplements
More and more seniors are starting to find that supplements can help with stress. There are all sorts of great options available, ranging from lavender aromatherapy to CBD extract drops. CBD is a particularly promising new way of addressing stress. It is made by extracting helpful, non-psychoactive compounds from the hemp plant, so you can get the relaxing effects without worrying about altering your mind or feeling high. If you are not sure whether it is right for you, you may want to buy CBD oil in a small amount to sample its effects.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Since mental and physical health are so closely related, what you eat can be having an effect on your stress levels. People who eat diets high in sugar tend to have higher levels of gut bacteria linked to stress. Therefore, it is important to work on avoiding sugars, trans fats, and processed foods. Instead, focus on eating plenty of whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and probiotic foods. When you feel healthier, you will find your stress levels go down.
Get Help From a Professional
It is possible to handle stress alone, but in most cases, it is more effective to let a professional help. Picking the right sort of counselor will depend on your type of stress. If your stress is due to the loss of a loved one, you may want to speak to a bereavement counselor. For more general stress, a psychologist may be able to help you unpack the causes of your stress and find healthier coping skills for dealing with it. Those who struggle with handling conflicts or learning how to state their own needs clearly may want to talk to someone trained in anger management or assertiveness.
Find a Furry Friend
Just interacting with an animal can reduce stress enough to cause marked decreases in cortisol and blood pressure. Having a pet can further reduce loneliness and anxiety, so it is a great way of dealing with stress. You may want to look into programs that match seniors with older pets. Not only are they less hyperactive than young kittens and puppies, but it can also be especially rewarding to provide a home for an animal that will struggle to get adopted at a typical shelter.
By making a few simple changes to your life, it is possible to greatly lower stress. When you learn how to manage your stress in a healthier manner, you will find that both your mental and physical health feel far better.