By Sally Perkins
Getting older leaves us more susceptible to everything. As a senior, it sometimes feels like the cards are stacked against us as we are constantly in and out of doctor’s offices and relying on others for help. Yet, you may be surprised to find out how many of your ailments can be attributed to stress and how easy it is to make a few simple changes to improve your daily life.
How Stress Affects Seniors Negatively
When stress spurs you on to act in the face of challenges, it is beneficial. However, stress causes chronic effects on your body when it becomes persistent and continues for extended periods of time. Here are a few of the negative effects of stress on seniors:
Low Libido – Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are common in those who are suffering from stress. Low libido can subsequently lead to a strain in relationships with partners.
Infections and Diseases – Your immune system releases cytokines that tell your cells to fight infections and to multiply when needed. The production of cytokines is hampered during acutely stressful periods, which leaves you susceptible to all sorts of maladies.
Heart Diseases – Your heart rate increases when your body releases stress hormones. This is accompanied by an increase in your fat levels and blood pressure as well as chest pains, which can lead to a heart attack.
Depression and Anxiety – You may not even notice stress sneaking up on you since it may be such a part of your everyday life. However, it is there working on your mind and causing depression, which may manifest itself in how angry, irritable, sad, lonely, or moody you are feeling.
How to Reduce Stress Levels
According to a study from the University of California-San Francisco, stress can lead to premature cell aging. The best way to combat stress is to make healthy lifestyle changes, including exercising, sleeping well, and maintaining a balanced diet. A nutritious diet includes such changes as lowering your intake of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.
Older adults can also beat stress with a regular exercise routine. One example is Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion (PACE). It can be easily modified for golden-agers, and it has been proven to increase longevity and relieve stress.
The next time you feel like stress is getting the better of you, try meditation. It doesn’t require any special equipment and can also help improve your memory, enhance creativity, and make you more compassionate. You may also employ the use of therapeutic essential oils to enhance the meditation practice.