If you’re over 50, you may be looking at your life and seeing things that are causing you emotional pain, anxiety or dysfunction. As a Certified Empowerment Coach, I help people work on remedying some of these issues to both change and heal them. However, sometimes you may have to cope with these issues long-term. Here are some ways to do that and bring more peace and happiness into your life.
For More Happiness, Add More TLC To Your Life
Most people live their lives day in/day out carrying around some sort of emotional burden – especially if you’re over 50. It could be a family situation, a financial problem, a work or health issue and you do what you can do to cope with it on a chronic basis, hoping to someday remedy it altogether. Until that day, there are some other things you can do to compensate for the chronic emotional drain on your psyche by creating other positive lifestyle changes that may be therapeutic.
A recent study out of the American Psychological Association (Roger Walsh, MD, PhD) reveals that you can create your own therapy for your life that doesn’t require taking pills or participating in programs. It’s all done simply by you making some lifestyle changes which can work like therapy for depression and anxiety in your life. It’s called “therapeutic lifestyle changes” and they involve that you just tweak your lifestyle by adding some new things to your routine. Here are a few examples:
1. Change your diet. Did you know that eating a lot of high refined sugar and carbohydrates, low vitamin/mineral foods can really up your depression and anxiety levels? High sugar intake really burns B12 and other B vitamins out of your diet and can leave you deficient in them resulting in being “nutritionally” depressed with more jangled nerves. This one lifestyle change can really make a difference in how you feel, and on your daily outlook on life.
2. Physical Activity. How much do you move during the day? Moving more throughout the day, just in simple activities, and making sure to include at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, helps boost happiness and peace levels significantly. Exercise boosts serotonin “feel good” hormones in your brain that helps to decrease depression, negativity and anxiety. It also helps you sleep better at night. Insomnia can really add to depression.
3. Feed Your Relationships. How often do you spend time with your friends and family? Research shows that people who spend at least 1 hour a week with a friend or seeing a family member really boosts happiness, peace, and security levels.
4. You/Fun Time. Is your life a frazzled rat race of appointments, overloaded work schedule, running for kids, parents, or your business? Try making some “you time” every day, even if its only 1 hour, to decompress and let your stress hormones settle down. Use this time to exercise, read a book, write in your journal, go get a coffee somewhere, etc. Make an additional block of time to have some fun every week – figure out some activity to do, meet with friends, take a class, or work on a hobby.
5. Spiritual Care. How much time do you spend meditating or going to religious services once a week? Taking time to meditate in a quiet place every day can help you de-stress and feel less anxious as it helps to calm down stress hormones. Just going for a walk or bike ride in the woods or along a lake can help calm your mind. Attending services once a week, or maybe joining a church group that needs your help, can also make you feel happier and more at peace by establishing social connections to other people.
6. Volunteer. Studies show that people who volunteer even 1 hour a week to a cause that they’re interested in and can actively contribute their skills to, helps to boost happiness and peace levels significantly. Find a good match on www.volunteer.org or find a local church, homeless shelter organization that needs volunteer help.
There’s a saying that goes, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Creating beneficial lifestyle changes like those mentioned above can both help you change the things you can, and cope with greater peace and happiness with the things that you can’t.
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Certified Empowerment Coach