To improve his mental health a senior man sits deep in thought as he discusses his concerns with a therapist and the many ways to achieve that goal.

6 Ways To Improve Mental Health As You Age

If you’ve been struggling to feel like yourself lately, here are 6 ways to help you get back to your happy place!

Your physical health is often your focus as you age, but your mental health is too important to overlook. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to find the method that works best for you to improve your emotional and well being. There are plenty of ways to improve your mental health, and these are 6 of the greatest.

How Mental Health Can Impact Seniors

Being well “seasoned” in life usually means you’ve experiences a lot—the joys of family, the pain of loss, big moves, small moves, becoming an empty nester, more aches & pains in your body—all of these things (and so much more) have an impact on your mental health.

1. Physical health decline

Your emotional state has a lot to do with your physical state. When you don’t have the motivation to move around–you’ll lose strength, flexibility, and run the risk of exacerbating previous injuries. Poor mental health can also mean slower recovery from illnesses in older adults.

2. Decreased mental capabilities

There is evidence that prolonged periods of mental health negatively impacts your cognitive capabilities. Anxiety and depression can cause memory and concentration problems, which may increase the chance of conditions like dementia.

3. Social isolation

When you aren’t feeling as chipper as you usually do, it’s hard to do the thing you enjoy. Like spending time with friends and loved ones. When you’re not mentally healthy, you often seclude yourself which can make you feel worse creating a vicious cycle.

4. Increased doctors visits

You’ll always know you’re not feeling your best, but you won’t always know why. Bad mental health can affect you in ways you wouldn’t expect, so you’ll seek out advice from doctors more often and spend less time doing the things you actually enjoy.

5. Reduced overall quality of life

When your mental health is in decline, nothing feels right. You lose interest in the activities you love. Finding anything to hold your attention is nearly impossible. Connecting with old friends and new acquaintances seems like a thing of the past. If a great outlook on life helps you have a great day, a bad outlook will make life feel colourless. 

6 Ways For Seniors To Improve Mental Health

Senior man leans back confidently smiling, as he plays cards with close friends–a great way to improve mental health in older adults.
I will beat them. Senior people playing cards at home. Focus is on foreground.

1. Stay Connected

Having someone to talk to is important at any age, but keeping up your social connections is incredibly important for mental health in older adults. It’s as simple as sharing stories with new friends, enjoying some tea with neighbours, or laughing with your family on the phone. Keeping up these connections, and making new ones, will help you feel happier, less lonely, and more supported. Sometimes it can be hard to make the effort to be social—but it is always well worth it! You’ll leave feeling rejuvenated after sharing a connection, no matter how small.

If it’s hard to get together in person, just remember that it’s even easier to stay connected to friends and family with today’s technology. You can play games with your grandkids over the internet, talk for hours through video chat, and share memories with social media.  

2. Eat A Healthy Diet

What you eat can have a bigger impact on mental health in older adults than you would first think. When your diet isn’t giving you everything you need, you’ll feel sluggish and lethargic,which can have a detrimental effect on your mental health in the long run. A balanced diet full of fruits, veggies and lean proteins is the best way to ensure your body has what it needs.

While indulging on the odd snack and treat isn’t a bad thing, it is important to remember there are foods to avoid. If it’s deep fried, overly salty or sugary–moderation is going to be your best friend.

Read more about how to eat a balanced diet when you’re 50+ here (Click Or Tap To Read)

3. Lower Your Stress

Stress is a major mental health concern in older adults, so it’s best to find a way to deal with that stress. There are plenty of ways to de-stress and relax. Most of them are everything you’d want them to be—simple, enjoyable and, obviously, relaxing!

Get A Massage

  • Melts physical & mental stress away
  • Gives you that pampered feeling
  • Feel better for days!

Try Meditation

  • Meditation helps you let go of troubling thoughts
  • Has been linked to a stronger immune system
  • Can help you sleep if performed before bed

Spend Time in Nature

  • Natural sounds like ocean waves, birds chirping or even just the soft  brush of leaves rippling in a gentle breeze can help relax you
  • Physical activity like walking through the forest helps reduce stress
  • Discovering beautiful vistas creates joyful memories

4. Keep Your Mind Active

An important part of seniors’ mental health is cognitive capabilities. The best way to improve those capabilities are activities that use your brain. Puzzles, games, and reading are ways to stay entertained while keeping your brain active. While learning a new skill is always useful and an excellent way to prevent cognitive decline, there’s nothing like the joy of perfecting a new skill.

5. Talk To A Therapist

There is nothing that can replace a trained professional when you’re struggling to feel your best. Therapists are trained to help you discover and discuss the issues that may be bothering you. Whether it’s anxiety, loneliness, depression, or any other issue–therapists are a great way for seniors to improve their mental health.

6. Stay Active With Gentle Physical Exercise

Staying active is a cornerstone of improving mental health for everyone, including older adults. From addressing feelings of anxiousness to finding new connections, getting active can help seniors improve their mental health. Physical exercise releases hormones that help you feel better, and there’s an undeniable sense of accomplishment from pushing yourself physically, even in small & gentle ways. 

Need some inspiration for getting active? You can find fun classes to join which will help take the guesswork out of exercising, like yoga classes, tai chi classes, or you can even try a dance class like the one below.

It’s important to prioritise your mental health at all ages—but especially in your golden years. With a better understanding of mental health, and even more methods to improve it right at your fingertips, it’s only a matter of time until you find the right way for you. Like staying active and embracing more fun in everything you do. That’s why you should give this program of Nifty 50s dance workouts a try! (Click Or Tap Here)