According to Harvard Medical School, the ability to bounce back from stress or adversity is important throughout life, especially in our older years. That’s when we face many transitions, such as health problems; job, income, and home changes; the loss of loved ones; and isolation or separation from friends, grown children, and grandchildren. How we adjust to these changes helps determine what life will look like moving forward.
Here are 6 ways to building resilience:
Meditate. Practicing a meditation technique counters stress by eliciting the relaxation response, which helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, and stress hormones. Elicit the response with yoga, tai chi, meditation, guided imagery, or deep breathing exercises. Try this Holiday Chocolate Meditation.
Reframe your situation. See the upside rather than the downside of a predicament. For example, if you’re sad that your grown child isn’t calling as often as you’d like, try instead to be proud and happy that you helped your child become an independent adult.
Lean on your social network. Friends and family are important stress buffers. Sharing stressors with loved ones may help you cope better.
Cultivate positive thinking. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to think about what’s wrong. Rewire your brain to focus on the positive.
Laugh more. Laughing can decrease stress hormones and boost the immune system. Try watching a funny movie, reading a funny book, or even forcing yourself to laugh.
Be optimistic. Think of an upcoming situation and visualize the positive qualities you want to bring to it.
~Harvard Medical School