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Prioritize Mental Health for Healthy Aging – Here's Why | Blog

Prioritize Mental Health for Healthy Aging. Heres Why

  |     |   Health & Wellness

Research has long indicated that mental health is vitally important in shaping the collective well-being and lifestyles of everyone. Aging complicates and exacerbates the risk of developing or worsening diseases. 

It’s important to address mental health issues to enhance life satisfaction and maintain overall cognitive and physical function.

There is a Strong Mind-Body Connection When It Comes to Healthy Aging

Proactively managing your mental well-being can positively impact your physical health and help you age more gracefully. People with mental health issues are more likely to develop preventable physical health conditions.

This susceptibility has a variety of causes, including genetic predispositions and medication side effects that prompt decreased motivation and energy levels. But of course, wise and healthy aging is possible. Here are two suggestions to follow!

  1. Exercise is a great option. There is a release of endorphins in the brain that can improve mental alertness, energy, and mood. Physical activity can take a variety of forms, such as running, walking, or gardening. It’s important to find an enjoyable activity, making it easier to stay active.
     
  2. Making improvements to the diet can also improve mental health. The food we eat influences the development, management, and prevention of conditions, such as dementia and depression. Similar to exercise, eating a balanced diet can help improve overall well-being and mood.

Cognitive Function Affects Mental Health

Cognitive issues due to mental health conditions may include problems with attention, memory recall, planning, organizing, reasoning, and problem-solving. These cognitive skills are essential for many functional tasks including work, study, social interactions, community participation, and independent living.

Research has shown that individuals with depressive symptoms, with or without anxiety disorders, exhibit gray matter abnormalities. The researchers attribute this loss to the stress hormone cortisol, which impedes the growth of brain cells, leading to the shrinkage of certain brain regions.

Major depression is also linked to brain inflammation, which may lead to sleep disturbances and emotional issues, lower cognitive function, and susceptibility to physical health issues, 

Despite these concerning findings, there are a variety of lifestyle factors that can help you improve your cognitive health. A study conducted at UC-Davis and Rush University Medical Center shows that these behaviors can improve cognitive function and produce other health benefits as you age:

  • At least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity
  • Refraining from smoking and heavy drinking 
  • Eating a high-quality Mediterranean-style diet 
  • Participating in mentally stimulating activities, like reading, writing, and playing games

Placing a Priority On Mental Health Enhances Your Current Quality Of Life and Contributes to a Healthier and More Fulfilling Future

Begin with the knowledge that many resources can help you in your journey of understanding and taking care of your mental health. 

  1. Recognize that everyone’s mental health journey is unique
  2. Because of that uniqueness, it’s essential to tailor resources and approaches to your specific needs
  3. Ask for help if you’re struggling
    1. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and support. 

Symphony Senior Living Makes Mental Health a High Priority

The staff at Symphony Senior Living facilities understand the importance of addressing mental health issues for their residents. They know that the mind, the body, and the spirit are intertwined.

Symphony was founded on the belief that being present for others has a major impact on that person’s health. To be present is to:

  • Truly be with another person; whether physically, emotionally, or both.
  • Less focused on ourselves. 

Often we can be present by just being there, listening, caring, and lending an empathetic ear. This is what defines Symphony. Visit the website for Symphony Senior Living to learn more.

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