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Activities to help seniors destress

May 6, 2014

There are a number of events that may cause high levels of stress or anxiety, but there are several practices seniors can follow to reduce the effect this emotion may have on their lives. According to research published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke, this emotion can lead to a wealth of negative health impacts, such as stroke and high blood pressure. 

Although experiencing high levels of anxiety may be common among those going through stressful times in their lives, there are ways for seniors to significantly reduce their stress levels. Participating in these calming activities is a great way for older adults to not only resolve their stress, but also elevate their moods.

Practice your favorite physical activity
Exercise has been proven to improve physical and mental health, whether older adults prefer joining a yoga class or playing in a recreational senior sports league. According to Harvard Men's Health Watch, participating in any form of physical activity can reduce stress and anxiety levels, as it can lower hormone levels in the body. There is a wealth of activities to choose from - older adults can take a 20-minute walk around their senior living home, hit the gym or even play a sport- or dance-themed video game.

Spend time with friends, family
Another great way for seniors to lower stress levels is by spending time with other people. Researchers have found a strong connection between socialization and lower stress levels, whether seniors choose to pass the time with friends or pets. Consider reaching out and forming a recreational group, such as a book club or gardening gathering, to interact with more people. These outlets allow people to not only participate in a fun and engaging activity, but also spend time with like-minded individuals who appreciate the same leisurely activities. 

Find an artistic outlet
Gardening, drawing, writing, knitting and painting have all been linked to lowering stress. Seniors should find an artistic outlet they enjoy, then use this time to channel stress into a tangible piece of art. These activities allow people to create real objects they can then keep or give away. Additionally, scientists have found that engaging in an activity that requires a routine is one of the best ways to lower anxiety levels, as the repetition provides a calming sense for some. Everyday Health reported that writing in a journal is a great option - even if people don't think they're good writers - as it allows them to release tension and articulate what may be stressing them out.