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Anxiety: A Common Problem Faced After a Certain Age: Ways to Keep It Away

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/2/2006 | Parenting

So you thought you would say goodbye to stress, anxieties and tensions forever when you retired from your high profile professional life! In reality, things are not that easy. Old age opens up a life that can be very unexpected. You never know what symptom will suddenly strike, and you find yourself spending a lot of your resources on their cure. If you are not staying in any kind of assisted home, you still have to invest in your house from time to time. Add to this the emotional stress of managing all this largely on your own. It is not always possible for your children to take care of all your needs all the time because of their extremely busy lifestyle.

Any kind of stress in old age can deteriorate your health dramatically. It is the stress factors that spark the symptoms of such major illnesses as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases or pave the way for all sorts of infectious diseases. Above all, stress is the factor that feeds psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety.

In old age, there are various factors that contribute to development of anxieties. Biggest among them is the separation from the spouse either by divorce or death. This is also the time when people start to lose their friends, one by one. You are losing the important people in your life and you are left with no one with which to share your thoughts.  This brings up emotions strong enough to create considerable stress. Then, the loneliness of retired life has a part in turning a normal person into an anxious one. Diminishing physical abilities and mental alertness, increasing susceptibility to the weather conditions and allergies---all these also add to the anxiety level of many senior citizens.

Lets try to define anxiety: To put it in the simplest way, anxiety is an emotion that can be anything from unpleasant to debilitating. In most cases, the emotion results from some vague anticipation of some misfortune.

We all have had the experience of an anxiety attack. Just imagine the days before your first interview or even the day before your first date. In all such cases, you cannot clearly say in words what is making you so nervous! The point is, in most of cases, identifying the anxiety factor becomes hard.

When you are young, anxiety, in many instances, contributes positively in helping you perform better. In old age, however, you run the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, which does the opposite. It can disrupt your normal living to ultimately bring it to a standstill by bringing about the factors that lead to more serious diseases as mentioned above.

Contrary to the previous generations misconceptions, anxiety is not purely a biochemical or medical disorder. That is the reason why psychotherapy has become the major tool for treating anxiety. Depending on the severity of anxiety disorder, medications are prescribed for the patients.

However, physical exercises hugely help you to keep the production of stress hormones to lower level. Try it out - whenever you are experiencing a bout of anxiety, take a brisk walk outside. If it not possible, just take up some household work you have been postponing for several weeks and that requires shedding of a good amount of sweat. This will surely help you to shake off some of your anxiety.

Also learn to relaxdo something that really gives you pleasure. If watching the birds tattering in your windowpane gives you sheer pleasure, then immediately install a birdhouse in your lawn and de-stress by looking at the antics of these small creatures. Meditation and deep breathing also work like magic in your battle against anxiety.