What would you tell your younger self? Here, some over 50’s give their experienced mental health advice to younger people
The over 50’s have lived (and stressed) through each life stage– school exams, first jobs, having a family and potentially even retirement. This, alongside their natural wisdom, makes them well-placed to tell us exactly what is worth stressing over and what just isn’t worth our brain space. Here’s some mental health advice from them, to you.
According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 survey, 30% of older people have never felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year – a vast contrast to 7% of young adults! With factors such as debt, personal appearances and climbing the corporate ladder, it’s really no wonder so many young adults are feeling more anxious and stressed.
The price comparison website Comparethemarket.com recently sat down to get advice from Golden Years, a Northamptonshire based social group run by volunteers, to find out what they regret stressing over in their younger years.
The social group was asked whether they feel less stressed than they used to, what they do to relax and what they wished they knew when they were younger. Here’s the golden advice from this social group.
Don’t do it alone
A clear piece of advice from these over 50’s was to go out, look for help and surround yourself with friends. “There’s always help out there – don’t do it alone…don’t keep it within yourself, go out and talk to people” warns Sue Jones, 67.
Pay your bills on time
Melvin Douglas, aged 76, says “I used to worry about everything, especially paying my bills and where the money is coming from. I don’t worry now because I’m on top of everything – I pay everything on time and I don’t worry”.
Don’t stress over the small stuff
Almost all of the over 50’s we interviewed admitted to feeling less stressed now than they used to. Mary Mchugh, the 69-year-old self-proclaimed perfectionist, gave some simple mental health advice: “I think back now, and I think to myself nearly every day that I put myself through the stress I shouldn’t have”.
The key? “Put the stress two paces back and bring what you want to do forward and do it” says 82-year old Elizabeth Ann James.
Don’t forget to find the time for you
Relaxation isn’t all about spas and meditation, it’s about finding something you genuinely enjoy doing, whether that’s gardening, crocheting or even riding a motorcycle – which are some of the things these fab over 50s listed as their top ways to relax.
Mary McHugh also highlighted the need for having a social group as it helped her switch off from daily life and enjoy time with other volunteers and her friends.
There’s good in everything
It is all about perspective. “You can look at the day and think ‘what a horrible day”, but if you think about the good things in life it helps you through… and you need friends”.
Your advice to your younger self?
“Don’t worry– I worried years ago and what’s the point? Because you get to this age and you think, what was all the worrying about?” Melvin Douglas, 76.
To see the full range of data and more pearls of wisdom from the Golden Years group, please visit the Long Road to Happiness.
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