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7 Best ways to deal with anxiety and stress

 In the US, around 20 veterans commit suicide per day. This is quite a well-known statistic that people refer to when calling out the lack of support given to those that have previously served their country. What it doesn’t usually refer to, though, is a crisis in mental health among older people - something that often goes overlooked.

One reason why older folk can struggle with mental health is that we come from a time when there was a stigma to talking about our issues. Our issues were our issues and nobody else's. Thankfully, these outdated stigmas are eroding with time, but it’s still more difficult for those that grew up before they began to erode.

On top of this, new issues present themselves as we get older that often go overlooked. For example, a lack of meaning and purpose after retiring from our job and depression as a result of being restricted in our physical activity. So with all that in mind, here are 7 ways to improve your well-being.


Humans were made to walk, and it’s a fallacy that as we get older, we need to reduce how much physical activity we do. It is often the premature reliance on walking aids and our pessimism surrounding getting old that can accelerate the decline of our physical health, which inevitably has an impact on our mental health, too. 

The best way to combat this is to simply walk. Walking is as natural to humans as breathing is. It keeps our heart, back, and knees strong, as well as helps us get fresh air, involve ourselves in the community, and makes us feel less lethargic. It can also be a fantastic way to build other habits that we want to have, like listening to podcasts or audiobooks. Simply grab some earphones and move around.

Online therapy

Therapy is something that all of us could benefit from, most of us are crying out for it, but only a few of us can afford or have the time for it. This is why online therapy is ideal, as it tackles the issues of cost and convenience by being a low price and accessible by phone. Therapy is the number one solution when looking at how to deal with anxiety. 

Anxiety treatment online is often around half the price of traditional therapy. The same techniques are used, the same conversations are had, but it's a lifesaver for those with mobility issues or a tighter budget. Therapy for anxiety and depression shouldn’t be ignored, so here is a list of therapy sites for treating anxiety.

A healthy diet

90% of our serotonin - the chemical responsible for our mood, sleep and, libido - is produced in our gut. The more we understand about our gut biome, the more we realize just how true the phrase “you are what you eat” is.

If there was just one safe piece of advice for dieting, it’s to eat a variety of foods. Variety inevitably means getting a wide range of minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients and not leaving any stone unturned. But we can do better than that. Given we know our mental health to some extent lies in our gut, we should be ensuring we eat foods that create a healthy gut environment. This means eating plenty of probiotics, which are basically good bacteria for the gut. 

Some examples are: Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Miso, pickles, and Kombucha. 


When looking at how to deal with stress on the internet, mindfulness always makes an appearance. Mindfulness is the art of staying in the present moment, and by definition, you cannot be worrying about the past or future when in the present. It’s not just a temporary moment of relief though, as the practice of meditation is the ability to notice thoughts as they arise and let them come and go. The more you do it, the stronger this muscle gets built.

This is a remarkable skill that can carry through the day at all times. When getting overwhelmed with negative thoughts, for example, it can better equip you to see these negative thoughts arise independently from yourself and not let them consume you. In other words, it helps us realize we’re not the author of our thoughts and we cannot account for how or why they arise - so we needn’t be subconsciously driven by them at all times. 

Beyond the deeper reason underlying meditation, simply sitting still, breathing, and relaxing is a powerful way to relieve stress.


The other big factor in keeping our stress and anxiety down is sleep. Sleep is when the body repairs itself, builds our immune system, and optimizes our mental state. We need around 7-8 hours a night where possible, with sleep deprivation being totally destructive to our physical and mental health.

There are a few components to helping us sleep better. Firstly, routine is vital. Melatonin is the sleep hormone and it likes to operate in a certain rhythm. So, going to bed and waking up at similar times each day is the best way to fall asleep fast and not wake up too early.

But, there are things that can disrupt the production of melatonin, like bright lights, mood disorders, pain, and nutrition. Some of these are related to our holistic lifestyle, but some are specific. We shouldn’t be using tech devices right before sleep, nor should we be eating sugary foods. And if our sleep is still struggling, the other advice in this list can have knock-on effects on sleep.

Keep a journal

A journal is a safe, private space in which you can write down your worries and verbalize them. It’s well documented that writing down your worries can help get them off your chest and frame the problem - like a release valve. They can help reveal how you feel and possibly present solutions too.

Some seniors will struggle with motor skills or eyesight, making journaling a challenge. But, they needn’t be long-form writing, but just snippets at the end of the day to help summarize. Bullet points perhaps, or even talk-to-text features on the phone. It’s a great stress reliever, but it can also be great for gratitude and making you appreciate what you do have.

Breathing and cold water: The Wim Hof Method

Wim Hof may be a divisive figure in terms of some of his wilder claims, but the reality is that he is touching on many aspects of our nature and providing techniques on how to navigate this. Namely, cold water and breathing.

For the specific techniques, it’s worth following the instructions, but ultimately the benefits of both deep breathing and regular cold showers are to increase energy, better our sleep, reduce inflammation, increase our willpower, and reduce stress. There are other claims, too, but they’re less scientific. Many swear by it, and at worse, you will ‘only’ benefit from the aforementioned improvements. There’s nothing quite like stepping out of an ice-cold shower in the morning - an energy high that cannot be replicated.

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