Most women my age, to one degree or another, are wondering how to deal with stress and anxiety. Some people, like me, even thrive with a little stress in our lives. We feel that stress, up to a certain point, makes us stronger and more alive.

Others fear stress or all kinds and do everything that they can to avoid it. What stresses you out? Do you think that there are some kinds of stress that are positive, while others are negative?

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety After 60

It’s clear that the way that we look at stress has a strong influence on how we respond to it. This is one of the reasons that it is so important to understand the causes of stress in our life. When we are able to look at stress intellectually, we are better equipped to deal with it. When it lies below the surface of our awareness, we may not realize what is happening until it is too late.

As a first step, let’s look at three of the most common causes of stress for women over 60 and, more importantly, what we can do about them.

Fear of the Future

Many women over 60 are dealing with fears related to getting older. Others are worried about losing a spouse or what will happen to their parents as they reach their 80s or 90s.

The trick to dealing with worries about the future is to focus on what you can control, right now, in the present.

Try to convert each of your fears into a tangible action that you can take today.

For example, if you are concerned about losing your spouse in the future, why not focus on building memories today instead? Make a list of all of the things that you want to do together in the coming years and start making plans.

If some of your concerns are practical in nature – for example, what would happen to me financially if my partner passed away – work with your spouse to build a plan. While you can’t control every aspect of your future, you can limit the chance that you will be surprised.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Most of the time, our fears are worse when they sit below the surface, without shape or structure. When you face your fears you will probably discover that they are overblown. You have faced many difficult situations in the past and you have made it through all of them.

Regrets About the Past

By the time we reach our 60s, most of us have our share of regrets. This is completely natural. After all, what kind of a boring life would we need to live to make it through six decades without any regrets?

As with worries about the future, the important thing here is to force yourself back into the present. The past is gone and there is nothing that we can do to change it. So, stop blaming yourself and focus on what you can do in the here and not to live the best life that you can.

If you have unfinished business with another person, it may make sense to tackle the problem directly. Sometimes a heart-felt apology is all that it takes to erase a regret completely.

It doesn’t even matter whether the other person forgives you. What is important is that you have done everything that you can to make the situation better.

Whether or not you believe in karma in a spiritual sense, it is a useful concept in thinking about regrets. We may not be able to “erase” our past mistakes, but, we can do everything in our power to make the world a better place now. So, don’t worry about the person that you were yesterday, last month, or a decade ago! Focus on being the best person that you can be, right now.

If you are looking for additional inspiration, please read our article on how to live life without regrets after 60.

Worry About the Immediate Present

Life after 60 is often thought of as a peaceful time. The reality is somewhat different for women who are dealing with financial struggles, health problems or relationship challenges.

No matter what you are going through in your life, it is fixable. There are two quotes that I am always reminded of when I think about the struggles in my own life. The first is by Winston Churchill, who said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going!” The second quote, which I often tell my granddaughter, is by Creighton Abrams, who said, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”

Don’t let life control you. Take control of your life. Sit down today and make a list of all of the things that cause you stress in your everyday life. Are you surrounded by negative people? Do you worry about your financial situation? Are you worried about your health or weight? Write down what is on your mind.

Now look at the list and write down one small thing that you can do today to address your fears. Think about how much you could accomplish if you were able to use the time that you spend worrying to actually take action to fix your problems.

Your mind can help you to solve your problems, if you give it the space it needs to think and dream.

If you are looking for small steps that you can take to remove stress in specific areas, you may find the following articles useful:

Addressing concerns about money

Dealing with health concerns

Finding fun ways to lose weight

Dealing with loneliness and social isolation

Recovering from a divorce

Stress is an inevitable part of life. We can’t choose to avoid it. We can only choose how to deal with it when it occurs. Don’t worry about the future or dwell on the past. Both are beyond our control. Learn to live in the present. Learn to take action every day to make your dreams come true. And, most of all, learn to love and forgive yourself.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you deal with stress and anxiety? Please leave a comment below.

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