Staying Healthy as You Age: Tips for coping with change

Physical and emotional health is important at any age and that doesn’t change just because you have a few more grey hairs. As we grow older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, as well as physical changes.

Health

How we handle and grow from these changes is the key to staying healthy. Exploring new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active and feeling connected to your community and loved ones is key. Unfortunately, for many, aging brings anxiety and fear instead. However, many of these fears stem from myths about aging that are exaggerated by the media or simply untrue. The truth is that you are stronger and more resilient than you may think.

As you age, there will be periods of both joy and stress. It’s important to build your resilience and find healthy ways to cope with challenges. This ability will help you make the most of the good times and keep your perspective when times are tough.

• Focus on the things you’re grateful for. The longer you live, the more you lose. But as you lose people and things, life becomes even more precious. When you stop taking things for granted, you appreciate and enjoy what you have.

• Acknowledge and express your feelings. You may have a hard time showing emotions, perhaps feeling that such a display is inappropriate or weak. Burying your feelings can lead to anger, resentment and depression. Don’t deny what you’re going through, instead find healthy ways to process your feelings.

• Accept the things you can’t change. Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems. Face your limitations with dignity and a healthy dose of humour.

• Look for the silver lining. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Try to look at challenges as opportunities for personal growth. If poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.

• Take daily action to deal with life’s challenges. When a challenge seems too big to handle, sweeping it under the carpet often appears the easiest option. However, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away; it allows your anxiety to build. Instead, take things one small step at a time. Even a small step can go a long way to boosting your confidence and reminding you that you are not powerless.

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