Guest post by Dee McConnell, LLI Program Leader
Your anxiety can lead you into some dark mental spaces; therefore, you must focus on what you can control:
- Fear and depression can make you feel powerless. Additionally, your anxious brain and depression can conspire against you to highlight how your life may feel worse and limited. “You can’t see your friends.” “The stock market is taking a nose-dive along with your retirement.” “I’m so scared I can barely breathe!”
- While you cannot control your feelings, your thoughts, or the actions of others, you are not powerless. Shifting your attention toward those aspects of life that you can control can help restore your sense of certainty and self-confidence.
- Things in your control can be as simple as your daily and nightly routine, what you eat, and what you wear each day. They can also be as profound as how you speak to yourself, how you’ll pursue your beliefs and goals, and how you’ll respond under pressure. Whether they be big or small, mundane or extraordinary, challenge yourself to write about things within your control.
Writing is one of the most underrated of all elderly mental exercises. Not only does writing stimulate brain cells, but it can also be effective at improving memory and increasing your intelligence. Some seniors prefer to use good old-fashioned paper and pen to write, while others like the convenience of writing on the computer in a word document. What you write really does not matter. Consider keeping a journal of your daily activities, write poems or stories, or send letters to family or friends. Even if you just write out a grocery list, you are effectively stimulating and strengthening parts of the creative brain. Try it!