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Transitions in Aging

Successful Aging

Emotional Well-being and Aging

  • We have to pay attention to our emotions at any age

a woman, alone and sad


NEXT: Occupational Well-being and Aging


Notes and References

Emotional well-being is how we feel about ourselves and the things in our life, such as feeling happy, sad, lonely, or hopeful.1



Researchers suggested that people have a reasonably high level of emotional stability inĀ  older age.2 However, with age, we may also face some challenges, such as health issues and social losses. Due to these new developments, some people may have increasing feelings of unhappiness and depression.3 So, how do we deal with these negative life events?

At this point in the module, we'd like to point out that some activities may benefit several areas of well-being. For example, participating in religious or spiritual experiences, such as going to church or doing yoga, can promote our spiritual and social well-being, but they can also help improve our emotional well-being. Seeking social or emotional support through family, friends, individuals within our social networks, and health professionals can help improve our ability to deal with emotional issues and improve the way we feel about ourselves.1 Support groups specific to emotional or physical needs may provide us with the comfort and support needed to feel more positive about our situation and our abilities. There are also some online support groups for us to connect with others and share our experience from our home.3 Life happens; when experiencing major life events that make us upset, the key is to surround ourselves with supportive people and communities to help us get through them. During difficult times, we can also reach out to health professionals, such as counselors or therapists, to help us cope with emotional trouble.

Let's see how Mary Jane works on her emotional well-being. Ever sinceĀ  Mary Jane's friend Sally passed away, she has been feeling very sad. She often misses her friend and she also thinks about how she is getting older and closer to the end of her life. This sadness does not seem to go away and her daughter thinks she should talk with a therapist about it. At first Mary Jane was very unsure, but she decided to meet a therapist suggested to her by her daughter. After meeting with the therapist, she felt like she had someone to talk to about her sad feelings. The therapist also gave her the location of a support group that meets to talk about getting older and coping with losing friends and family members. A month later Mary Jane could still feel some of those sad feelings but she was feeling so much more like herself.

References:

  1. Payne, L., Ainsworth, B., & Gobey, G. (Eds.). (2010). Leisure, health, and wellness: Making the connections. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
  2. Scheibe, S., & Carstensen, L. L. (2010). Emotional aging: Recent findings and future trends. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 65B(2), 135-144. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp132
  3. Haber, D. (2013). Health promotion and aging: Practical applications for health professionals. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
  4. Resources for support groups: Center for independent living. Retrieved from http://www.ilru.org/projects/cil-net/cil-center-and-association-directory-results/PA