Improving Our Mental Well-being as We Age
5 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health
By Marlene Wagner
In recent years more and more attention has been given to how we age and our mental health.
Increases in mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s have made us more and more concerned about possibly developing Alzheimer’s as we age.
Cognitive decline as we age is prevalent and has been around for as many years as we can remember. Years ago, I remember it was called hardening of the arteries.
And then came the label dementia. Dementia is a mental condition that numerous mental disorders stem from, including Alzheimer’s.
More and more of us have experienced a loved one that developed a cognitive decline as they aged.
It has most often been referred to as Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
As we age, it’s a significant concern, and we fear developing cognitive decline in some form.
What can we do now to keep our minds and brains healthy?
Our responsibility is to stay as healthy as we can while maintaining good health.
We do what we can to avoid heart disease and cancer, and now we add mental health.
Scientists and doctors tell us there are certain things we can do to improve our mental well-being.
These techniques will help you feel more positive about yourself.
Once you know that, nothing can stop you from getting what you want out of life.
Today, we will share five ways to boost your mental health.
Keep reading for more.
1. Connect With Others
Good relationships don’t need years to build. They can form in a matter of months or even weeks.
Plus, they don’t have to be an all-in, best-friends-for-life relationship.
Just talking to a neighbor or members of your church can have a significant impact on your mental health.
You learn to listen, empathize, and build strong self-worth and value.
Have you and a friend not seen each other in a while? Then, try to arrange a coffee date to get together and catch up.
How about your children or other family members? Why not try to set an hour during the day when you talk or play games?
We all know how social media has become essential to our lives.
It’s made staying in touch with important people easier, especially if they live far away.
It’s good to text and chat regularly. Just make sure technology isn’t replacing your face-to-face communications with people.
There are so many ways to connect with others.
Make arrangements with schools or hospitals in your area to read books to the children.
Go into nursing homes and get to know some of the residents. Visit with them, do an activity with them.
Join clubs. Book clubs, sewing clubs, cooking clubs, you get the idea.
Ways to connect to others are endless. Make a list, then pick one or two and do it.
2. Learn New Skills
This has got to be my all-time favorite. I believe challenging the mind is one of the most effective ways to keep your mind healthy.
Learning a new skill or hobby can significantly boost your mental health, giving you something to look forward to daily.
What is that one thing you have always wanted to learn how to do? It’s the best way to start if you don’t know where to begin.
You can’t go wrong no matter what you choose. If you intensely desire to learn one thing, you can do it.
I happen to have an insatiable desire to learn. I can’t get enough of being mentally challenged in some form.
One of the happiest times in my life was building my first business. Every day presented new challenges, and I loved it.
When my peers were retiring, I started another business. A business I didn’t know the first thing about.
But I knew what I wanted the results to look like once I arrived.
My first business was challenging every day. For twenty-five years, there were no two days alike.
My second business was challenging daily, learning to put one foot before the other and building a business I knew nothing about.
I wanted to write a book, and I had no idea how to write, edit and get a book published. But I learned and wrote an Amazon Best Seller.
Learning technology was challenging, and I loved every minute of it.
Today it’s one of my proudest achievements because I’m of the age that learned how to type on a manual typewriter.
And some of you are asking, “what is a manual typewriter?”
I don’t often talk about myself to this extent, but I am so passionate about this method of keeping the mind and brain healthy.
It happened to have been my passion. It doesn’t have to be yours. How about games? Card games, board games. Many are very challenging mentally.
How about Bridge? I can’t think of anything more mentally challenging than learning to play Bridge. Too funny; I have no interest in learning Bridge.
So how you mentally choose to challenge yourself is a very personal thing.
Here are a few more suggestions to get you thinking.
Here are some of the ways you can use those high-tech gadgets you have to good use:
- Sign up for an online course, like learning a new language or a practical skill like programming
- Look for free video tutorials online to help you out with a DIY project
- If you enjoy cooking, find healthy recipes and learn how to make them
- Try a new hobby that challenges and entertains you, like painting, writing, or gardening
- Learn to play a new sport or physical activity
It’s also an excellent way to meet new people and improve self-esteem.
And having a sense of purpose other than your work is great.
3. Pay More Attention
We’re all guilty of not paying attention to people and things happening around us.
We’re always busy with work or scrolling through our social media feeds.
Focusing all your senses on the present moment can improve your mental well-being.
It also boosts your mood and lowers stress levels. Experts call this type of focus ‘mindfulness.’
When you practice mindfulness, you enjoy the little things in life.
Things like watching a bird soar overhead or taking in the nuances of nature are just two small examples.
You feel more relaxed and at peace when you’re in tune with the small details.
Plus, you start to understand better what makes you happy or anxious, which is a healthy way to approach life’s challenges.
4. Get Physically Active
When you do any physical activity, you boost your physical fitness, as well as your mental wellness.
It could be a 15-minute walk, an hour of weekly cycling, or 30 minutes at the gym.
You pick the activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good.
Then, once you start noticing the difference, you begin to feel good about your looks.
That’s when your confidence will soar through the roof.
In addition, your brain signals the central nervous system to release ‘feel-good’ hormones known as endorphins.
These wonder chemicals trigger a positive response, boosting your mood and reducing feelings of pain and anxiety.
Check out the following tips on how to get moving to boost your mental health:
- Look online for free activities catered to your fitness level
- Find local centers where you can dance, swim, or cycle
- Suppose you have a chronic health condition or a disability. In that case, many exercises and physical activities can be customized to meet your needs.
I will add “work” to this area too.
I heard a gentleman interviewed today that turns 100 in a few days. He was alert and articulate and certainly looked younger than his chronological years.
Until recently, he lived independently in his home, shoveled snow, and mowed lawns for himself and his neighbors.
When asked what he contributed to his longevity, he defined it in one word, and that word was work.
I define work as a purpose for getting up in the morning. Work could be any project that inspires you and gives you meaning.
It could be just about any project you wish to accomplish. Declutter your home, organize your photos, etc.
If it calls for physical activity, all the better but certainly something that gives you purpose.
5. Give to Others
According to research, acts of kindness and giving are great ways to improve your mental well-being.
The reason is that when we help others, our brains release another ‘feel-good’ hormone called oxytocin.
This chemical promotes feelings of empathy and trust. It also makes us calmer, happier, and more inspired to do more.
Giving to others could be volunteering at a local shelter or helping someone on a personal level.
The point is to offer your time and energy to do something for others.
You’ll feel good about yourself in return, knowing you’re valued and appreciated.
I have enjoyed bringing you this report and hope you enjoy it as much as reading it.
Defy aging, embrace good health, and love every day we are given.
I have as-needed coaching available, and if this would be something you’d be interested in, contact me for a free one-hour discovery call.
If you have any particular challenges, let me know. I’ll include it in my content.
Starting today, make yourself a priority and begin living your best life.
But before we go, always remember to
Be true to your magnificent self,
Connect with me!! I’d love to hear from you.