How Your Stress Management Should Evolve As You Age

For some people, a little stress is what they need to push through a project and meet a deadline. For others, even the slightest bit can be enough to send them over the edge. While both good and bad forms of stress exist, there's more to managing it than knowing the difference between the two. In fact, your age plays a role in how you should respond to stress.

Before we dive into that, Dr. Wendy Suzuki told MindBodyGreen that there are a few basic practices you can implement to tackle stress no matter how young or old you are. For starters, maintaining an active mindset is key. Instead of just letting the stress happen to you, bring awareness to the situation and learn from what you observe.

It's also a good idea to just breathe. Inhale for 4 counts. Hold for 4 counts. Exhale for 4 counts. Hold for 4 counts. Repeat.

Lastly, exercise. "Every time you move your body, you're giving your brain a wonderful bubble bath of positive neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins," Suzuki advises.

Responding to stress at different stages of life

Kids can't always call out stress as easily as adults, but research from 2021 published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that learning how to manage their stress can benefit them in the long run. Dr. Christina F. Chick told MindBodyGreen that children should start practicing exercises like mindful breathing and mindful movement. She also recommends teaching them positive affirmations, extended exhale breathing, and gentle yoga poses.

For teenagers and young adults, it's all about intragenerational conversations. At this age, it's important to learn that even though the stress they're currently experiencing feels like the end of the world, it will pass. Talking with older adults who can provide wisdom on how to navigate tough situations is ideal. Not only is it good for their stress levels, but it's also a good opportunity for connection.

As adults, dealing with stress by taking leisure time is the way to go. Between work and family, life is consumed by responsibility. Take some time to have fun and indulge in simple pleasures. It could be as simple as taking a walk every morning or planning a night out with friends every so often.

Speaking of friendship, it's important to prioritize social relationships in your golden years. According to MindBodyGreen, Dr. Cynthia Ackrill says social networks are one of the best ways to combat stress.