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Posted by The Woodlands on April 15, 2022

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, we believe that life is meant to be enjoyed at every age. Unfortunately, stress can create physical and mental health issues that impact our wellness. Below, we are looking at some of the best activities and ways to relieve stress and live a happier life.

According to Harvard Health, “Chronic stress in adults increases the risk of heart disease, heartburn and many other health problems.” Stress can also cause other symptoms, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Tension headaches
  • Back pain
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Poor concentration (“brain fog”)

We all experience stress from time to time, but chronic stress can have a devastating impact on your health. If you are experiencing these types of symptoms due to stress, consider the following activities that can restore your sense of peace and tranquility.

Start a Regular Exercise Routine

One of the best ways to relieve stress is with moderate exercise. Unfortunately, stress can make a person feel apathetic toward exercise, which creates a negative cycle where they become more sedentary as stress levels rise.

The good news is that the positive effects of exercise can start working after as little as 15 minutes! If you have pre-existing health conditions, consult with your primary care provider before you begin any new fitness routine. Here are some easy exercises that are guaranteed stress relievers:

  • Walking around the neighborhood or a local park
  • Cycling
  • Light strength training with handheld weights or resistance bands
  • Sports like pickleball
  • Water aerobics and swimming
  • Yoga exercises and stretching

Exercise improves cardiovascular health and brain function. It also releases endorphins into the body, which elevate mood and reduce stress.

Explore Art and Music Therapy

Another wonderful way to relieve stress is through art. Whether you are painting a picture, coloring in a coloring book, or listening to music, there are many benefits to art and music therapy.

Engaging with the arts allows your mind to settle and focus on the present moment. For example, when you are drawing a picture, you have the freedom to focus solely on the task at hand, allowing all your stress to fall away.

And when you are listening to beautiful music, the sounds often carry you away, providing you with moments of peace and rest. When you feel overwhelmed by stress, play some music, set up an easel or paint whatever comes to your mind. Sometimes, the act of creation is enough to release your mind from negative thoughts and anxiety.

Pet a Dog (or Cat)

Research shows that older adults who own a pet experience reduced stress, greater physical activity, decreased risk of depression and loneliness, and higher levels of enjoyment. If you are not able to adopt a pet, there are many places where you can spend time with animals.

Consider volunteering at your local animal shelter, visit a cat café, or offer to watch a family member’s pet when they are out of town.

Practice Gratitude

When you feel overwhelmed by stress, sometimes the best way to overcome it is by shifting your mindset. By practicing gratitude in everyday life, people can reduce their stress levels and increase their optimism and positive outlook.

How do you practice daily gratitude? You can begin by keeping a journal. Each day, write down one thing that you are grateful for that day. Then, when you are feeling stressed or anxious during the day, remember what you wrote and focus on that feeling of gratitude.

Another way to increase your gratitude is to look at stress-inducing moments as challenges meant to help you. If you think of them not as frustrations but as learning moments, you leave yourself open to the possibility of change and growth. Those frustrating moments do not become fixed in your mind and are easier to accept and release.

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, we provide a beautiful, 5-star experience for our assisted living and memory support residents. With exceptional care, services, and amenities, we help individuals find ways to relieve stress and live happier, healthier lives.

Discover more about our brand-new senior living community in West Dundee, Illinois, by visiting our website!

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