There’s no denying that stress is simply a fact of life. It’s in our DNA that, when we feel threatened, our bodies produce stress hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol in order to flee from danger. The daily presence of these hormones, however, can lead to health issues such as insomnia, headaches, and high blood pressure.
Whether you’re a senior or are providing senior care for a loved one, it’s important that you find ways to reduce the stress that comes with modern life. Here are a few stress-reducing habits you should try.
Exercise is excellent for reducing stress. When you work out, your body produces more mood-boosting endorphins while reducing the number of stress hormones circulating throughout your body. Light yet active exercises like swimming and walking also boost your mood by getting outside and experiencing new things.
2. Connecting With Others
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of maintaining close personal connections with the people dearest to you. Studies have shown that a hug releases oxytocin in your system while reducing the level of cortisol. Make sure you schedule quality time with your family and friends whenever you can.
Music can get you excited and dancing, but it can also help you relax. If you’re feeling stressed out, put on some slow classical music. Relaxing music can slow your heart rate and actually reduce your blood pressure. It can help you get better sleep as well, providing you with more energy throughout the day.
If you have an artistic side, exploring it is a great way to lower your stress levels. Doing something artistic helps your mind to focus while clearing it of anxious thoughts. You can paint, sculpt, or knit, but even filling out an adult coloring book will achieve the same effect.
5. A Healthy Diet
Good eating habits are as important for your stress as they are for your waistline. Try to limit the amount of coffee you drink, and steer clear of refined carbohydrates like bread and potato chips as well as sugary snacks. Some foods that help to reduce stress include dark chocolate, salmon, almonds, walnuts, yogurt, and eggs.
6. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is an excellent means of introducing some relaxation into your life. Try to find three to five minutes each day in a quiet spot where you can practice some deep breathing exercises. One technique is to breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, pause for a second, then exhale through your mouth. This and other exercises will help bring your heart rate down while reducing stress hormone levels.
The most fun way to reduce stress in your life — or the life of your senior care loved one — is to laugh more. Laughter causes you to breathe deep while stimulating your muscles, lungs, and heart. Take a break once in a while to watch a silly movie. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
While getting older has its challenges, taking these simple steps can make the process a whole lot easier, and even fun!