The senior years are often times of change, both positive and negative. The key to successfully work through these changes is to remain resilient. So, what does it mean to be resilient? Resilience is defined as mental toughness, or the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
Many seniors are faced with big life changes, often one after the other. It can be difficult to cope with so many changes, so it’s important to understand how to best with life changes so that when they happen, you’ll be able to bounce back.
Tips to Increase Resilience Through Life Changes
Resilience isn’t necessarily a trait you’re born with. You can definitely develop some skills to make it easier to deal with transitions. It’s something you can work at and practice daily, so that when things happen, you’ll be better equipped to deal with them. Think of it as a muscle – you need to exercise it a little in order to keep it strong. Here are a few ways seniors can build a toolkit to cope with changes.
Have a positive attitude about aging
We hear a lot about the power of positive thinking and how it can impact people’s lives. It turns out, there might be something to it after all, particularly when it comes to your attitude about aging. According to research done by North Carolina State University, those who have a positive attitude towards aging are more resilient when faced with stressful life situations. It’s a simple switch in perspective – don’t think about what you can’t do. Instead, focus on all the amazing things you can do and appreciate the knowledge and experience that comes with age.
Take up meditation
There’s a lot of talk about meditation these days. It seems as though everyone wants to give it a try, from school-aged children to seniors. There’s a reason it has become so popular – it’s because it works! The simple practice of meditation can definitely change the way your body reacts to daily stress. It’s easy to get started, too. Just sit quietly for a few minutes during the day and focus on your breath. Notice how it feels when you breathe deeply in and out. This is all it takes to bring yourself back into the present moment and provide a sense of calm to your day. Once you’re used to it, it’s a tool you can break out when faced with stressful situations and big changes in your life.
Keep your social ties strong
No one can (or should) do everything alone. Life changes can make it more difficult to maintain social connections, but it’s important to find ways to stay active and connected to your loved ones. It prevents you from feeling isolated and can do wonders to improve your outlook on life. When you are surrounded by people you care about, you’ll have a solid support system in place for when those big changes happen. Those who work to maintain their personal relationships are better able to roll with the punches when life throws challenges their way. So be sure to make time for those regular phone calls, visits, and letters or emails with friends and family.
Learn to ask for support
Many seniors are hesitant to ask for support from others, as they feel like they should be able to manage things on their own and worry about putting their problems onto their loved ones. But it’s important to realize that it’s perfectly fine to ask for a hand when you need it. After all, that’s what your support system of friends and family are there for! Whether you simply need someone to talk to, or need assistance with physical tasks, just ask. Having support from others around you is key to being resilient.
When you’re faced with a stressful situation, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of the situation. It can feel like our brains are trained to do so naturally. However, a simple shift in the way you approach these stressful times can make a huge difference. Instead of thinking about what’s wrong, or how these changes will negatively impact your life, look for things to be grateful for. Even if it’s a small thing, the shift in focus will make it much easier to cope with stress and change. Take time to appreciate those small moments, like when you hear a favourite song, chat with a friend, watch a sunrise, or just have a quiet moment to yourself.