Everyone wants to feel good. But we all know that’s not possible 100% of the time.
Things happen that upset us, sadden us, or stress us out — that’s life. But how we react to life’s stresses and how well we’re able to bounce back from difficult times is a measure of our emotional well-being.
Why Does Emotional Wellness Matter for Seniors?
Negative emotions can affect your physical health. They lead to stress, and prolonged stress isn’t just unpleasant — it’s unhealthy. Chronic stress has been linked to many health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, weakened immune function, and increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Learning how to manage stress is key to emotional wellness for seniors. It can help you be more resilient and cope with loss. It can improve your relationships with others and make you feel physically and emotionally better. It may even extend your lifespan.
A Yale study on aging found that seniors with a positive view of their lives lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with negative views.
To strengthen your emotional wellness, follow these tips for a happier, healthier you.
6 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Health
1. Brighten Your Outlook
One sign of emotional wellness for seniors is being able to hold on to positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times. To develop a more positive mindset, give yourself credit for the good things you do for others. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Don’t dwell on them; learn from what went wrong. Surround yourself with positive people. And think about how to guide your life by the principles that are important to you.
2. Stay Active
Exercise can help manage stress, anxiety and depression. As an added bonus, whenever you exercise, you’re rewarded with a quick mood boost. Exercise regularly and you’ll gain self-confidence, improve brain function, and help prevent memory loss. The more you can incorporate aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises into your weekly routine, the better you’re likely to feel both physically and mentally.
3. Strengthen Connections
Older adults are at increased risk for loneliness and social isolation — risks that can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. To strengthen your social connections, nourish them. Build strong relationships with family and friends. Join a group focused on a favorite hobby. Take a class to learn something new. Volunteer for things you care about in your community.
4. Sleep Well
Make getting enough sleep a priority. Most adults need eight hours of sleep a day to function at their best. A good night’s sleep helps you think more clearly and focus better. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can turn you into a grouch. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, exercise daily, and limit the use of electronics before bedtime. You should also avoid large meals late at night. Getting outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day will also help regulate your sleep patterns.
5. Keep a Diary
This can help you keep track of your emotions and how you relate to others. If you’ve had a bad day, putting your thoughts down on paper can help you gain perspective and release tension. You may want to keep a gratitude journal by writing down all the things you’re thankful for every day. Taking a few minutes to write down all the good things that could happen to you in the future is another way to foster a positive outlook — especially if you put a plan in place to work toward a better future.
6. Be Mindful
Mindfulness is about being completely aware of what’s happening in the present. It means not living your life on autopilot. To be more mindful, simply take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose to a count of four, hold it for a second, then exhale through your mouth to a count of five. When you’re out for a walk, notice your breath and the sights and sounds around you. As thoughts and worries enter your mind, note them but then return to the present. Yoga and meditation classes can also help you be more mindful. Popular apps, such as Headspace, Ten Percent Happier, and Calm, are available online.
Your Well-Being is Our Top Priority
At Timber Ridge, we support residents’ health in a number of ways. Our fitness and aquatic centers offer group exercise classes and personalized instruction. Our dining venues offer healthy, nutritious meals made to order. An arts studio and woodworking shop offer opportunities to hone your talents and learn new skills. Plus, there are classes, clubs, social events, worship services, and volunteering opportunities to explore.
It all adds up to a healthier lifestyle in a beautiful location overlooking the Issaquah Alps. To learn how you can be a part of it, visit our Independent Living page or use our contact form. We’re always happy to answer your questions.