How To Maintain Good Mental Health as You Age
Age doesn’t come alone. With it comes challenges that you need to learn to adapt to and face head on to remain in good health and good spirits. As well as the physical challenges that ageing brings, there are also things that can affect your mental health too. So, here are some tips for how to maintain your mental health as you age.
Eat properly and healthily
A healthy diet is important at any point in life, but especially as you get older. There is plenty of research out there that talks about all the ways that what we eat and how we feel are linked. So, to help aid healthy brain function, it’s important that as we get older, we’re eating foods that are good for our brain.
Focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as any foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fresh salmon. Any vegetables that are dark green and leafy are very good for the brain. Nuts, seeds, and legumes (for example, beans and lentils) are also great for brain function.
Stay active if you can
Not only is staying active good for physical health but it’s proven to have positive effects on your mental health too. Physical activity can reduce your risk of mental illness, stress, and depression. If you’re able to remain mobile and active in your later years, you’ll retain more freedom and independence, which can have huge benefits. After all, the feeling of helplessness or loss of independence can be a trigger for depression in the elderly.
Aim for around 150 minutes (2 and a half hours) of moderate activity every week – preferably doing a little every day. What’s good about moderate exercise is that it is safe for even most people who suffer from conditions such as osteoarthritis or other muscle or joint conditions.
Moderate activity for the elderly could be anything from the following:
· Walking briskly
· Swimming and water aerobics
· Doubles Tennis
· Pushing a lawnmower
Surround yourself with good company
Humans are social creatures by nature, so it’s important that over life, you’re building and maintaining these social relationships. The loss of social relationships can have a detrimental impact on your mental health, and, unfortunately, this is more prevalent in the older age groups than the younger.
If you’ve fallen out of touch with a friend or have been unfortunate enough to have lost friends, you still have options. There are plenty of options for socialising when you’re older. Do you have a particular hobby that you are interested in – try looking for local clubs or groups. Are there any local bars or community centres that are hosting nights for seniors? Do you enjoy bingo, or a sport, that you may be able to join near your home?
Avoid bad habits
Smoking and alcohol are two bad habits that are not only detrimental to your physical health but can also have a negative effect on your mental health. So, if you can, it’s best to limit their use or avoid it.
Alcohol may have a positive effect on your mood in the short term. However, in the long terms, excessive consumption is linked to numerous mental health issues. Depression, memory loss, and suicide are just a few of these undesirable effects. Regular drinking interferes with the chemicals in our brains that we need to promote good mental health. So, don’t risk it, and only drink in moderation.
Smoking is one of the harder bad habits to quit due to its perceived value in helping relieve stress and anxiety. However, this a myth – smoking actually increases your levels of anxiety and tensions. This means that smokers are more likely to develop depression over time. There are several physical and mental health benefits of stopping smoking, including; lowered levels of anxiety, depression and stress, improved quality of life and an overall more positive mood.
Ensuring your mental health remains in good condition is something that you need to work at. As you age, remaining in a good mental state is critical to having a good quality of life. So, take these few tips on board and make sure you are on top of your mental health.