How to Practice Emotional Wellness
When someone cuts you off in traffic, do you let it ruin your day? If someone says something offensive, how do you react? Do you dwell on your past mistakes or worry about the future? How you deal with challenges and problems determines your emotional wellness.
What is Emotional Wellness for Seniors?
It’s a state of mind that’s calm, relaxed, open, present, reflective, creative and wise. Emotional wellness includes practicing self-care, fostering inner resources and resiliency, finding unique ways of coping with stressors, creating satisfying relationships, empathizing with others, being realistic about expectations and time, and knowing when to ask for help.
Many older adults have a high degree of emotional wellness. It’s not surprising, really. They’ve been through some stuff and dealt with numerous challenges in their lives. And they’ve learned from their mistakes, becoming more thoughtful, reasonable and flexible.
That’s not to say they’re blissed out all the time. Rather, they’re able to cope with the full rainbow of emotions that go with being human. That’s critical for older adults as they enter the latter stages of life, when increased leisure time, decreased mobility, loneliness and finding purpose pose new challenges.
The Benefits of Emotional Wellness for Seniors
Studies show that people with higher psychological well-being, i.e., emotional wellness, are more likely to live healthier and longer lives. They’re better able to deal with challenges and change. They’re more likely to enjoy a better quality of life.
Taking steps to improve your emotional wellness can make you feel better about yourself and others, improve your social skills, feel more relaxed, develop a more positive mindset and be more resilient.
If that sounds good to you, there are ways you can strengthen your emotional wellness. Follow our tips below to improve your life.
6 Ways to Maintain Emotional Wellness
Brighten your outlook. People who are emotionally well have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster. Another sign of emotional wellness for seniors is being able to hold onto 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.
1. Stay Active
- Exercise can help manage stress, anxiety and depression. It can aid brain functions and help prevent memory loss. It can boost your self-confidence and reduce your risk of falls. At the very least, go for frequent walks if you’re able to. If you’re chair-bound, lift light weights, stretch and do chair yoga. 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.
2. 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 circle, connect with friends and family members. Join a group focused on a favorite hobby. Take a class to learn something new. Volunteer for things you care about in your community.
3. 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.
4. Keep a Diary
- This can help you keep track of your emotions and how you relate to others. 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.
5. 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, hold it for a second, then exhale slowly through your mouth. 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.
Explore Our Holistic Approach to Wellness
At Laurel Circle, emotional wellness is just one aspect of our wellness program. Our multidimensional approach encompasses eight dimensions of wellness, including physical, social, emotional, intellectual, vocational, environmental and spiritual wellness activities, plus a full range of quality health services. It’s all designed to help residents thrive. To learn more, get in touch.