Seven million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression and 20% of older adults have a mental health disorder (read more here). Mental health is not a normal part of aging, but life transitions, changes in physical abilities can bring about depression and other forms of illness. So how do you prepare for the emotional aspects aging? Here are three “emotion exercises” to help prepare you for the aging journey.

Mediation

Ommm. Ommm. For centuries, meditation has been used to help ease the affects of mental health disorders. Meditation involves clearing the mind, making it clearer and more focused. Regular practice can help you quiet the mind and take a step away from stress. Meditation can be as easy as a few quiet breaths a day, as little as three minutes can make a difference. Check out this Psychology Today article for a step-by-step guide for an easy practice.

Laughter

When was the last time you really laughed? Laugher can decrease stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good. Take time each day to laugh a little. You know the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.”

Meaning  

A full life is one that has meaning and many older adults who once cared for children or had active careers, have difficulty discovering new meaning in older life. Before you head to retirement, make sure you take time each week to finding your meaning. Maybe it’s picking up a new hobby, maybe it’s volunteering for an organization you care about.

The aging journey is full of change and that can be hard to deal with as you get older. Don’t forget your emotions when exercising. Taking care of your emotional health today will make the aging journey that much sweeter.