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Emotional Wellness

The National Institute on Aging has many resources on emotional wellness. Here is some information from their booklet entitled "Understanding Loneliness and Social Isolation: How to stay connected":

Emotional wellness is just as important as physical wellness, especially as we age. Did you know that emotional pain can activate the same stress responses in the body as physical pain? When this goes on for a long time, it can lead to chronic inflammation and reduced immunity, leaving you at risk for chronic and infectious diseases.

Social isolation and loneliness may also be bad for brain health. It have been linked to poorer cognitive function and higher risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. If you are feeling isolated or lonely a lot of the time, talk to your doctor about how you are feeling. They can offer suggestions that may be helpful to you.

There are many things you can do to protect yourself or your loved one from the effects of loneliness and social isolation. First of all, take care of yourself with exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and participating in activities you enjoy. Doing this will help manage stress and stay as mentally and physically healthy as possible.

People who live an active lifestyle are less likely to develop certain diseases, have a longer lifespan, are happier and less depressed, are better prepared to cope with loss, and may be able to improve their thinking abilities.

Here are some ways to get involved and participate in activities that you enjoy:

  • Volunteer- helping others helps you feel less lonely and allows you to have a sense of mission and purpose in life.

  • Find an activity or hobby you enjoy. Take a class to learn something new. You may also meet people with similar interests.

  • Schedule time each day to stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors either in person or phone, mail or social media. Sending cards or letters is another good way to keep in touch.

  • Consider adopting a pet if you are able to care for them. Animals can be a source of comfort and may also lower stress and blood pressure.

  • Stay physically active. Join a walking club or class at your local gym. Consider working out with a friend. Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of activity a week that makes you breathe hard.

  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors.

  • Find a church or faith-based organization where you can grow and deepen your faith and engage with others.

  • Join a cause and get involved in your community.

*Source: "Understanding Loneliness and Social Isolation: How to Stay Connected" -National Institute on Aging at NIH


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