We now know that lifestyle, more than any other factor, is the key variable in how well we age. Adopting the habits and behaviors that promote positive well-being seems to be one of the best things older adults can do to increase longevity and independence. And these days, emotional wellness for seniors should be at the top of the list. Let’s take a deep dive into what exactly emotional wellness is and how you can promote emotional wellness in your life.
What Is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is one of seven dimensions of total wellness, along with intellectual, environmental, physical, social, spiritual and vocational wellness. Each dimension of wellness is closely connected with the others. Emotional wellness has a particularly profound impact on one’s mental and physical health. Awareness and control of your feelings can help create balance in your life and give you the ability to better adapt to challenges and change. Likewise, emotional wellness can give you a different perspective on both your behavior and the behaviors of others, which is invaluable in relationships with other people. Essentially, emotional wellness is the ability to successfully adapt and manage life’s inevitable stress and challenges — which is why it’s vitally important for healthy aging and the many changes that come with getting older.
The Importance of Emotional Wellness Right Now
Emotional wellness is more important than ever during this time of social distancing amid a pandemic, especially for older adults. When we’re staying at home for such an extended period of time, away from friends and loved ones, it’s only natural to feel isolated. And we know that feelings of isolation are a key contributor to mental health issues, including depression, and can even contribute to dementia disorders. Your emotional state is closely linked with your mental state, which subsequently impacts your social, physical, intellectual and environmental wellness. But promoting positive emotional wellness in yourself is often easier said than done, so let’s examine some emotional wellness examples.
Practicing Emotional Wellness
What’s most important for emotional well-being is being honest with yourself and being acutely aware of your feelings in any given situation. Not a small task, but one that can be accomplished with the right emotional wellness activities. To promote positive emotional wellness for seniors, many of the same healthy habits promoting mental and physical health can be applied:
- Physical fitness
- Just 20-30 minutes of walking each day has tremendous mood boosting and stress reducing benefits — along with a wide variety of other health benefits.
- Quality sleep
- Sleep is vitally important to your mental state. Going to bed on a regular schedule each night and relaxing before bedtime are among the best things you can do to promote sleep.
- Reduce stress
- While exercise and sleep are major contributors to stress levels, it’s also important to try to keep a positive mindset and have a strong support system of friends and family. And if you find yourself unable to cope with stress, grief or any other emotion, seek help from a mental health professional.
- Time outdoors
- It’s proven that spending time enjoying outdoor activities promotes positive mental and emotional health. Riding a bike, exercising outdoors, and even reading a book in the sunshine are all great ways to boost emotional wellness for seniors.
- Social engagement
- Medical professionals are finding that our social circle has a profound impact on our mental, emotional and physical health. A core group of friends, family and your community will undoubtedly make promoting your emotional well-being more successful.
- Being mindful is simply being present — being aware of your thoughts and feelings, and then having a positive introspective criticism of those thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness comes in many forms, from breathing exercises to meditation to long thoughtful walks or prayer. Mindfulness is also subjective for each individual. What works for some may not work for others, so it’s best to find mindfulness practices that bring peace to you.
While these emotional wellness activities are certainly doable on your own, many older adults find it’s much easier to adopt such habits in a senior living community like The Stayton. At The Stayton, we offer a wide variety of fitness and nutrition programs, opportunities to reduce stress and practice mindfulness, and, importantly, chances to meet like-minded people with whom to socialize. And we’re always finding new ways to help promote emotional wellness for seniors. We think you’ll find it becomes much easier to embed emotional wellness habits into your day-to-day life with the support of others and guidance from professionals. To learn more about our wellness program at The Stayton, you can always contact us through our website or call us at 817-349-7140.