By Dr. Deepti Kukreja, Psychiatry,
Growing old is something that most people brood about. But, it is a natural phenomenon and hence cannot be avoided. The best thing to do is accept your age and of course age with grace. Being both physically and mentally fit are the key factors for aging with grace. While researches point out many factors for the decline of mental well being of elderly people; the most common ones are- alienation, retirement, loss of loved ones, decline of physical health, poverty and sometimes even lack of participation in meaningful activities. The following is a list of ways to combat the aforesaid problems and maintain good mental health at old age.
1. Try to Stay Physically Fit- This is the most important factor for maintaining good mental health. This includes making regular visit to the doctor and following the doctor’s advice. Engaging yourself in physical activities like yoga is also very helpful. Following a proper diet, having a good sleep and avoiding stress will also help you stay physically fit and hence improve your mental health.
2. Engage Yourself in Various Activities- Research shows that since brain is a muscle, it needs regular workout to stay healthy. Keeping yourself busy with various activities will help your brain to stay fit. Try to find a new hobby, join clubs, play games like crosswords or Sudoku, play with your grandchildren or pets, read newspapers and magazines regularly.
3. Add Meaning to Your Life- As you grow old finding joy and meaning in life is more essential than counting your days and waiting for each day to pass. Volunteering for various social causes and making a deep spiritual connect may help you to make your life more meaningful.
4. Stay in Touch- The more you stay in touch with your old friends, relatives and family the happier you will be. You may even consider joining social networking sites to stay in touch with distant family or friends. Making new friends is also a good option. Being happy is also a key factor for maintaining good mental health.
5. Learn Something New- Learning something new will not only help you to pass your time effectively but also help you to boost your confidence. You may consider learning a new language or a new instrument.
6. Travel- Travelling will help you to get rid of your monotonous life. The joy of discovering new places and a change of surroundings will also help you to improve your mental health and get rid of problems like depression. Moreover, spending some time in the lap of nature will surely give you mental bliss and help you to maintain good mental health.
Along with all these, remember to stay young at heart and smile always to enjoy good mental health as you approach your zenith days.