stress, anxiety, and boredom in the “golden years”
“Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.” ~Albert Einstein
As we grow older, everything changes. We’re nearing retirement or already there, children are gone, and totally different situations arise to make us feel anxious and stressed. Not only have our external circumstances changed, our bodies are aging, and learning to deal with those changes can be challenging.
To overcome something, we first need to understand what it is that we are trying to overcome. We’ve all studied for important tests or prepared for an important occasion and have been nervous about the outcome–that’s perfectly natural. Anxiety is taking this common nervousness a step further.
When you become anxious over too many things, when thoughts start taking over every waking moment, that’s when it becomes “anxiety”. That’s when you know there is a problem you need to address pretty soon. If you think about it, anxiety can only happen when you’re letting your mind think into the future. As the saying goes, “Think about the past and you’ll be depressed, think about the future and you’ll be anxious and stressed.”
One thing is for certain, and that is change. You can’t control change, but the one thing you have 100% control over is how you deal with change in your mind. If you think about it, your entire perception and interaction with the world is through your mind, which doesn’t age. Dealing with or even avoiding stress and anxiety is entirely up to you.
The word anxious actually means “Experiencing worry, uneasiness, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” It’s a 100% mental phenomenon, and that’s good news!
Sometimes, in the medical profession, anxiety is referred to as a “disorder”. It is very important to understand that there can be a mental disorder that is causing anxiety, but this does not in any way mean that anxiety is a disorder. If anxiety is a disorder, then all of us are suffering from it! Most anxieties can be overcome with a deeper understanding of our mind and life. In most cases, anxiety does not require medical intervention; what it needs is behavioral and psychological intervention.
The remedies for stress and anxiety are the same, irrespective of the fancy names we call it. Since stress and anxiety are mental problems, you have control over whether or not to allow them to occupy any space in your mind, and you also have control to go beyond them fully. The remedies involve common sense, time, and commitment. Read on further for several ways to go beyond anxiety, stress, and boredom.
Once you let stress and anxiety take hold of your mind, symptoms may manifest in the body…. Check out these signs, symptoms, and effects to see if what you are experiencing is truly stress or anxiety.
You need not have all the symptoms. A combination of two or three of these symptoms experienced regularly is an indication of stress that needs attention.
Can’t think straight
Have no energy
Can’t sit still
Get sick easily
Lack of appetite
how to go beyond stress, anxiety and boredom
1) When you notice the thought process of anxiousness beginning to happen, stop and take 10 slow and deep breaths by keeping your entire focus on the breath. You can sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths and if you need more, start with your toes and scrunch them tight for a few seconds, then release. Move to your feet and tighten those muscles, then relax. Move on up your body to your calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, hands, etc. until you get to the scalp. Yes, you can scrunch your scalp, and it feels good! This breathing and muscle exercise has got to make you feel better. If you need more, read on.
2) If an anxious thought enters your mind and refuses to go away, force it out! Think of a color–let’s say Imagine the color red in your mind and repeat the word “red, red, red, red, red” until your mind is full of red and the nagging thought is gone. This sounds kind of silly, but it really works!
3) You can even hold your breath for a few seconds; notice that you don’t have thoughts when you’re holding your breath–I guess our bodies get worried that we might not take another breath so the focus turns from anxiety to the breath. Don’t hold it until you pass out, though!
4) Try to identify what it is about the situation that is making you feel stressed or anxious. If you’re trying to make a decision about something, take a pen and paper and make 2 lists; one with positives about the decision, and one with negatives. This will help you get the thought process out of your mind.
5) Don’t let family problems clutter your mind. We’re all responsible for our own happiness, so you can’t make other people happy if they don’t want to be. Don’t worry about something that someone else should be worrying about!
6) This one is very important–Don’t worry about things you have no control over! If thoughts of terrorism, world peace, and global warming are making you anxious, sit down and give yourself a reality check. What control do you have over that? If constantly hearing bad news is stressing you out, then curtail how much time you spend listening to the news.
7) It’s okay to say “no”. If you’re involved with a church or club it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities if you’re the type person who can’t say “no”. Don’t get over your head to the point where you don’t enjoy the experience anymore.
8) Keep your living quarters clutter-free. Clutter promotes irritability which fuels stress and anxiety–it’s common sense! A nice, clean room is a whole lot more comfortable to be in than one cluttered with magazines and “dust catchers”.
9) Do a guided relaxation exercise. There are several guided meditations on the “Meditation” page that will help you to forget the ugly thought monster for a little while. They don’t require any special sitting postures, just sitting quietly with your eyes closed.
10) Go for a walk, get some fresh air. Do what’s called “walking mindfulness”. What this is, is simply walking and paying attention to the walking. Don’t do it like usual and just walk and let your mind wander. Your mind is tuned to the horror channel, and unless you decide what to think about, your mind will play out horror scenes for you. Stay in the moment and notice what is going on around you. Being in the moment will help you to get the control back.
10) Stay active. It sounds cliche, but it’s so true. An idle mind is fair game for whatever gets there first, so it’s up to you to control what thought processes your mind grabs for. Pick up or perfect a hobby or sport that you enjoy.
11) Make some friends. If you don’t already have a friend or two, now’s the time to do it. Face-to-face time with others is important. Visiting with friends and sharing time with each other keeps boredom away, and it’s more fun to do things with someone else!
12) Volunteer. Leave the world better than you found it! There are countless ways to volunteer in your community. Find an organization that resonates with you and help them out. You can volunteer for everything from walking dogs, to reading to children, sitting with homebound people, teaching people skills that you possess….the list is endless. There are even wonderful volunteering opportunities online
There are several herbs that are great for relief from anxiety. Prepare a cup of tea using chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, or passionflower (or a mixture of them). There are also several ready-made herbal mixtures in the market. How you prepare and consume the tea is just as important as the herbs you use. Heat the water and prepare the herbs with awareness; that means pay attention to what you are doing! You have no idea how important keeping your mind in the present moment is–it’s everything! Drink the tea from a pretty cup (not styrofoam) and sit in a comfortable space while you’re enjoying the tea.
If tea isn’t your thing, there are several herbs available in tincture form that work wonders to dispel anxiety and uneasiness; Ashwagandha, Valerian root, kava kava, and motherwort. These are usually taken in water, but check out reliable herbal resources for more information.
An herbal bath is also a marvelous way to ease anxiety. Toss a handful of lavender, lemon balm, or chamomile flowers into a warm bath and sink into the fragrance of peace.
Short term relief / long term cure
Dealing with immediate symptoms of anxiety will only provide short-term relief. To be able to reduce your tendency to be anxious over the long run, you need to take a more serious and organized approach to train your mind to quit wandering off to places you don’t approve of. Stress & anxiety are deeply connected. To know more about stress, visit our Stress-Management page.
To help you go beyond anxiety on a longer run, we’ve designed a comprehensive online program with all the necessary resources, tools and guidance. “Inner-Revolution” is a program that has been specifically designed to help you deal with all kinds of problems related to the mind. We’ve never been taught how to deal with our minds and they’ve gotten out of control. This program explains how our minds work and then explains in detail how to work your mind instead of your mind working you.
Explore our “Inner-Revolution Online Program” using the link below. If you have any questions, please e-mail us for a timely response.
Note: This page offers suggestions for handling stress & anxiety. We do not guarantee specific results and the results can vary.