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We might not even think about the stresses that could face us as seniors, after all, this is our time to reap the rewards of a lifetime and just relax…right? But the sad fact is, we face stressful situations no matter our age. Sure the stressors may change: Instead of worrying about work and kids, we worry about health, increasing loss of independence, and the loss of loved ones. The way we mentally, and therefore physically deal with those stressors, can have a huge impact on our overall health.

“It has been verified through scientific exploration that more than 80 percent of all diseases are due to stress and strain that originate in the mind and reflect on the body.” – American Medical Association

As our body naturally reacts to stress, it goes into a “fight or flight” response, which over time, leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, headaches, anxiety & depression, and a weakened immune system. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Increased heart rate and pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Digestive system upsets
  • Lack of sleep

Proper stress management includes a healthy balance of the following four lifestyle factors:

  1. Mindfulness

Distractions and instant gratification techniques only go so far and will not help to assuage the root cause of your stress. Taking mindful moments in your day for proper reflection can feel uncomfortable, but will help you to work through the issue in the long-run. Writing things down in a stream of consciousness way can help you to identify why you’re feeling stressed, and even help to start problem-solving solutions. Talking things through with a friend or counselor is another way. Practicing daily gratitude is a wonderful way to end the day and show you that while there may be some aspects of life that aren’t perfect, there’s still a lot that is. Enjoy the small moments, and watch how they add up.

  1. Exercise

Daily exercise is one of the best ways to reduce chronic stress, doing both the mind and body good. Regular aerobic exercise can help improve cognitive health, reduce blood pressure, relieve the physical effects of stress, and help release endorphins to combat stress hormones. Tending to your physical health will also help your body stay in shape and mind shape to maintain independence longer. One wonderful routine exercise is yoga to boost physical and mental health.

  1. Community

Maintaining friendships can get trickier as we age, but is also an important factor in self-confidence, cognitive functioning, and overall wellness. Try our 5 effective and easy tips for seniors to make friends, or learn more about Verve’s Life Enrichment programs specially designed to boost community, like our expressive art therapy and why it’s therapeutic. There are also benefits to owning a pet as a senior, such as socialization and companionship.

  1. Healthy Eating

Verve Senior Living is dedicated to delivering chef-inspired dining to all of its residents, based on our Living Loving Local philosophy that is focused on fresh, local ingredients that are packed with nutritional benefits. Why? Because we believe that healthy eating is paramount to not only boosting physical wellness, but the mind and soul benefits from the experience and energy.

If you’re feeling irritable, indigestion, heart palpitations, having trouble sleeping or tension headaches, excessively indecisive, and feeling a general malaise, please speak with your health care professional as these are all symptoms of stress that shouldn’t be ignored. Always remember: you’re not alone. Help is available.

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