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Managing Stress

In recent years, doctors and researchers have started to better understand how stress impacts the body. Ongoing stress can be bad for mental and physical health, resulting in conditions like anxiety, depression and heart problems. Even after retirement, seniors aren’t immune from the effects of stress. Life changes, and worrying about health and finances, can be major stressors for older adults. But there are many things seniors can do to manage stress, which will help improve their overall health and well-being as they age.

Read on to learn how managing stress can help keep both body and mind healthy:

Exercise

Studies have shown that staying active is good for the body, the mind and your mood. Regular exercise, whether walking, yoga or swimming, can boost mood and minimize the long-term effects of stress on the body by releasing endorphins or ‘feel-good’ hormones. Exercise reduces fatigue, improves concentration, promotes cognitive function, and produces endorphins. The brain uses endorphins as a natural mood booster and painkiller. Staying active also improves self-esteem and can even lead to improved sleep, which in return can help reduce stress.

Stay Social

Feelings of loneliness and isolation can cause stress and other health problems for seniors. As we age, our social networks tend to shrink, especially when seniors are embarrassed about their conditions. Retirement, changes in mobility, and distance from friends and family can all lead to a smaller social circle. To counteract this, seniors need to make an effort to stay involved in the community. Regularly interacting and sharing memories with other people can help build social networks and boost cognitive function. Joining group activities can also make it easier to do things like exercise regularly, laugh, and try new hobbies, all of which relieve stress.

Diet

Diet has a huge effect on stress and health. Too much sugar and not enough protein can easily leave one feeling hungry and anxious. A nutritious diet includes healthy fats, high-quality protein, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Certain types of foods are beneficial for the brain and can help regulate mood and keep your brain function and memory sharp. Eating organic, high-quality protein, like fish, eggs, nuts, milk, and beans can help improve mood and boost brain activity. These foods contain nutrients and healthy fats that help the brain work properly by boosting the hormones that regulate mood, helping prevent stress, anxiety, and depression.

Laugh

Laughter is a fast way to feel better and has long-term benefits for reducing stress and improving overall health.

Much like exercise, laughter releases endorphins which can help reduce pain and release hormones that help boost the immune system. The physical act of laughing improves blood circulation and helps your body relax. Finding ways to incorporate laughter into daily life of seniors is a great way to boost their health, whether it’s watching a favorite funny television show, joking with a friend, or reading comics in the newspaper.

It’s true that stress and aging often go hand-in-hand. By focusing on a healthy lifestyle and engaging in activities like laughter and exercise, seniors can beat the negative effects of stress to live longer healthier lives.

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Helping seniors stay healthy is a tenant of life at Westwind House