7 hobbies that improve mental health
Because mental health is as important as physical health, we show you some hobbies that improve mental health. Before that, we want to share with you that the aging process forces us to face the loss of loved ones, to see our children leaving home and to face physical transformations such as reduced energy levels.
Such events “can give rise to negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and reduced self-esteem,” according to the American Psychological Association.
Aging can also be accompanied by a number of positive transformations, such as opportunities to travel, more time to spend with grandchildren, and the opportunity to embrace new hobbies.
In this article we introduce you to some things you can do to support yourself emotionally during the aging journey and to some hobbies that improve mental health.
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7 Hobbies that improve mental health and your quality of life
“Meditation is a great way to protect our mental health as we get older,” said Jodi Baetz, clinical social worker and author of Mindful Is the New Skinny. “Not only does it train the brain to increase its attention and concentration, it also fights anxiety and enhances our ability to enjoy everyday life.”
For Baretz, meditation can also raise our tolerance for the uncomfortable and help make us less change-averse, which reduces stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed by things we don’t realize. And studies reveal that meditation can greatly help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
2. Move yourself
“Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain, bringing more oxygen into the brain, which in turn helps to prevent the dreaded ‘brain fog’ that so many women complain about after they reach a certain age when oestrogen is missing,” says Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer Movement and Move for Minds, the organization’s annual fundraising initiative.
For better results, the organization recommends a combination of aerobic exercise and weight or resistance exercise.
3. Get enough sleep
“Insomnia is a problem for many older Americans, unfortunately, so much so that it affects almost half of adults over 60,” says Bill Fish, sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck.
Insufficient sleep can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. And a 2012 study linked insomnia to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our brain goes through a process of restarting every night, during which it recharges, so we feel more active and redone in the morning,” said Fish. “If you’re not sleeping the recommended time of seven to nine hours a night, you’re not giving your brain a chance to recover to face the day ahead.”
4. Stay connected
As people get older, there may be a tendency to isolation. Retiring, seeing your friends dying and your children leaving home can all contribute to the social isolation of the elderly. But it’s important to trade last night with Netflix for an occasional dinner with friends.
Maintaining social contacts promotes our mental health, which in turn can foster our greater well-being.
5. Spend more time outside, among nature
Going outdoors can benefit our physical and mental health. So whether you spend time pruning the bushes in your garden, taking a walk in the woods, or just sitting in a nearby park enjoying peace and serenity, leaving home can help make your day better.
6. Laugh a lot
The next time something makes you laugh, take note and try to include more of it in your life. Happiness goes hand in hand with laughter, and humor is great for fighting stress!
7. Love yourself
Last but not least, you must know that developing a compassionate relationship with your own body can greatly help combat any dissatisfaction that may coincide with the aging process. Positive affirmations and visualizations can help a lot.
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