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Stress and age

By Jennifer Bridge

These days, it seems like there is a shooting or a major natural disaster every week somewhere in the world. Recent mass shootings, acts of nature, pandemics and other events in our world can be overwhelmingly stressful. This can be true even when you are not near the location of the event. Images of death and sadness fill our screens every day now. They can also fill our minds with stress and fear. No matter what your personal stresses may be, the anxiety can affect your body in many negative ways. Stress can throw the digestive system out of whack. Stress can lead to sore backs and headaches. Stress can lead to mood swings and anxiety attacks. I recently ran across some information on stress related to age groups and thought you might find this as interesting as well. Each age group has some specific common stressors. Life Coach Susie Moore offers some thoughts and advice on how to relax at every life stage. • Twentysomethings: Moore says that people in their 20s may be the most stressed out generation of our time. They may be trying to graduate from college. They are worried about college debt. They are looking for a job. They are dating and trying to find connections. They are dealing with constant social media comparisons to others. One of the best strategies for this age group is mindful meditation. Mindful meditation includes sitting quietly while focusing on breathing and being “present.” • Thirtysomethings: People in this age group are managing a large load of responsibilities at work and at home. They are trying to climb their respective career ladder in their chosen fields. They are becoming parents and home owners. They are also dealing with constant social media comparisons to others. One of the best strategies for this age group is making time with friends. It is hard to make this a priority with everything else going on during these years. Responsibilities pile up and time with friends may end up at the bottom of the list. However, quality time with friends can lower the stress hormone called cortisol. • Fortysomethings: People in their 40s are called the “sandwich generation.” They are worrying about their growing kids at the same time that they are worrying about their aging parents. They may also have to start thinking about their own health issues and about being physically fit. Social media comparisons to others continue to have an influence. One of the best strategies for this age group is to remember that laughter truly can be the best medicine. It is so important to remember to have fun in your 40s. It is also critical to maintain your sense of wonder and curiosity about life. • Fiftysomethings: Two big stresses at this time of life may be planning for your retirement and become empty nesters as your children move out of the house. These stresses can be earth shattering! Social media comparisons to others can still continue to have an influence, though it is greatly reduced once the primary parenting years are over. One of the best strategies for this age group is yoga. Yoga can boost your endorphins and lower your blood pressure. Even just a small amount of Yoga practice can help improve your overall well-being and your mood. We all know that a little bit of stress can be a good thing. Stress can motivate us to work harder and try to get ahead in our lives. But constant stress and worry over time can cause damage to our bodies. Stressors in today’s world can be much more chronic, such as living longer with illness or dealing with daily deaths and sorrows on social media. Our bodies and minds are not well-equipped to deal with long-term stress. We must find ways to reduce our stress levels and calm our minds and bodies.  Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.