SURVIVE: Stress After 50

By Susan "Honey" Good

Unfortunately, dear readers, stress is something we know all too intimately.

However, just because it is part of our daily lives does not mean that we are helpless in combating it.

Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another, because stress is a thought.

Confronting a stressful situation is never easy because, at our age, we have eons of memorized habits. We, women over 50, face demanding circumstances because we wear many hats. Therefore, we must remember that we are often the main culprit of our stress. We knowingly hassle ourselves into a variety of situations that are not our cup of tea, when we could just say no.

If you are unable to think through your stress, you will cause yourself both physical and mental harm.

The dictionary definition of stress is: “A cascade of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones flood your system, raising your heart rate, increasing your blood pressure, making your blood more likely to clot, damaging your brain’s memory center, increasing belly fat storage and generally wreaking havoc on your body.”

My personal definition of stress: “Stress is toxic.

What truly matters is how we take into account our stressful situations and modify them through our thoughts. Of course, this is easier said than done because it requires ‘mindful training.’

I found managing my stress-laden habits helped me in handling my stress. I realized:

I needed more sleep.

I needed more time on my treadmill.

I loved walking outdoors with my girlfriends.

I wanted an old-fashioned toaster because my state of the art one was driving my stress level so high that I was ready to scream.

I loved the stillness of the day, so I began writing my musings in a quiet spot with a crackling fireplace screensaver.

I needed to use my ‘delete’ key and you can use yours to delete what does not make your heart sing. I have deleted most of my daily social ties and engagements because I am happier being in a still atmosphere.

My evenings are for gaiety with my husband, family and friends.

We needn’t be on the band wagon, dear readers, encumbering our lives with our own nonsense. When the stress demon knocks on your doors, settle down and weigh your options. Remember your thoughts and know that your perception is just out of balance. How you handle stress will determine your body’s response.

My musings today are not touching on illness, divorce, widowhood, financial problems or suicide. That is a different form of stress. Incorporate some of my ideas and add some of your own to rid your mind and body of toxic stress through thought.