Much that’s written about life after fifty focuses on our physical well-being but not as much attention is given to midlife mental health.
At any age, mental health is crucial to our well-being. From childhood straight into midlife and beyond – how we think is interconnected with how we feel.
Most of us have experienced how anxiety can lead to a stomachache and headache. We don’t need to be doctors or psychologists to understand how stress and worry can make us physical ill.
“Stress can increase hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and can impact your blood pressure and heart rate.” – American Heart Association
So what are some ways we can better care for our mental health after fifty?
Start by curating uplift.
This is a biggie. Be selective about what you choose to feed your mind through your eyes.
We worry about kids being exposed to too much violence and hate but what about us? Are we too old to be influenced and maybe even hurt by it?
I’m not referring to the news or informational media (that is a whole other enchilada!).
I’m talking about social media. Let’s stop filling our Facebook or Instagram feeds with people and images that make us feel awful. That’s not to say we should filter out what we don’t agree with. It’s healthy to be exposed with and interact with people of varying perspectives. It’s also not to say we should remove the sad or serious events from our view.
But we don’t have to follow negative, angry, mean, hateful memes and feeds if we choose not to. There is enough negativity in our lives that we can’t avoid – so let’s not bombard ourselves with social media propagated hate.
If funny (but not mean) jokes, or prancing baby goat videos (guilty) or inspirational quotes make us smile and feel uplifted, then bring it on! That’s not creating a fake reality, that’s just entertaining. Figure out what makes you smile and throw more of that in your social media feed!
If following fitness and wellness sites, insightful messaging, self-improvement thought leaders, or health-related people or business feeds give us great ideas for improving our lives, then yes, please – let’s have more of that good stuff for our midlife mental health too!
For goodness sake – read, read, read!
Books are a great source for a positive mental health boost. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of well-written self-help, business, personal growth, wellness books available on the shelves of every book store, online and for free in the library. Read a few. See how you feel. If you’re like me, you’ll be left with a renewed sense of inspiration and feel boatloads of uplift.
Move yo’ body!
Nope, I’m not going to get preachy. I admit that I don’t love to exercise – never have. But we all know – exercise improves our mood, as well as our physical and mental health.
Gee I wish I hadn’t gone for that walk (run, exercise class, hike…) said no one ever. Full days sitting at a desk are unhealthy for our minds.
“It is now clear that exercise reduces the likelihood of depression and also maintains mental health as we age.” – www.psychologytoday.com
Bravely say no.
If we’ve ever reached the time in our lives where we should feel brave enough to say no, it’s now. Say no to the people, events, commitments, demands, and even food or substances that you absolutely know bring you down. Faking enthusiasm for any of these downers is not helping our mental health. As for faking anything in general, ain’t nobody got time for that!
Open your eyes.
Not to get too woo-woo on you (I could write a whole book on my fascination with woo!) but consider what we are in the universe. Look up at night and see the moon and stars. Call it religion, God, a higher power, energy, vibrations, science, call it whatever you’d like – but open your mind to all that exists beyond ourselves. What we can see and what we can’t. There’s much that we don’t know.
Kind of puts everything into perspective. On an entire planet where there are so many people suffering circumstances far worse than anything we are facing, does it matter if the little sh*t goes wrong? And even when the big sh*t goes wrong, there are still many things in our lives to be grateful for. Open your eyes to what others are going through – that is a mental health reality check.
Embracing the attitude of gratitude.
“Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfillment.” – Tony Robbins
Not every day is easy or happy, but every day is a gift.
So tell me – what are you doing to curate uplift for your midlife mental health?
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