Your emotional wellbeing
Old age is not about emotional decline.
In fact, a lot of older people describe themselves as being satisfied with their lives, and less inclined to worry and be irritable. After all, we have spent a lot of time developing coping skills. Research also suggests that as we get older we pay more attention to positive experiences. So there is a lot to look forward to. And if you experience sadness or anxiousness, it’s not ‘just part of being old’. Something can be done about it.
If you have persistent feelings of sadness or worry, or find yourself avoiding activities that you used to enjoy, it is important to consider the possibility that you may have a depressive or anxiety disorder.
Often the most helpful first step to take if you think you might be depressed is to talk to your GP. Generally, the first stage of treatment for a milder depression is to try to identify whether there is a specific cause or trigger that might be able to be resolved. When the depression is more severe or persistent, professional help should definitely be considered.
While feeling nervous about an upcoming challenge or worrying about an issue some of the time is quite normal, anxiety can become a problem when it is linked to unpleasant physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations or trembling, and causes you to avoid things you used to do in order to prevent yourself from feeling anxious. If your anxiety becomes so strong that it is out of proportion to the circumstances, it is likely that you have developed an anxiety disorder. Again, the most helpful first step if you believe you are suffering from an anxiety disorder is to talk to your GP.
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