Everyone feels blue from time to time, but as a senior, you may find yourself working to muster up a cheerful smile more often than you used to.
That’s not unusual. Your senior years are filled with lots of changes, and they’re not always pleasant. Loss of loved ones, declining health and mobility, and loneliness are all common complaints among older adults.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to boost your mood and enjoy life more fully.
If you have a sweet tooth, that’s a piece of cake, isn’t it? All jesting aside, there are actually mood-boosting foods that can help raise your spirits.
First, it’s important to note that being hungry or short on important nutrients can make you feel grumpy. Eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding skipping meals are both natural ways to boost your mood. Breakfast is especially important; research has shown correlations between regular breakfast dining and better memory, energy, and feelings of calmness.
Some studies also suggest foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to more stable moods. Good sources of omega-3s include fish, canola oil, broccoli, cauliflower, and red kidney beans. Another nutrient researchers believe may be a natural mood booster is selenium, which you can find in many kinds of saltwater and freshwater fish, some shellfish, lean pork, chicken, whole wheat bread, brown rice, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, and low-fat yogurt, among others.
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that produces a sense of well-being. When your serotonin levels are high, you may feel especially good, but low serotonin can spell trouble for your mood and even cause aggressive behaviors. Carbohydrates are one way to get more serotonin, but the added calories aren’t usually a good idea. Stick to fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains, and avoid carb-heavy snack foods. Also keep tabs on your folic acid intake since there’s some evidence that links low folic acid levels with low serotonin.
You hear all the time about the importance of exercise for your physical health, but there’s quite a bit of evidence that it affects your mental health, too. Staying physically active is another natural way to boost your mood. Some research even suggests exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. This is partly because of the feel-good chemicals, including serotonin, that exercise causes your body to release.
What’s more, when you get moving, you get your blood pumping, which stimulates your body and helps reduce the sluggishness that can come with a bad mood. Where you exercise can also affect your mood; a walk in the fresh air is often a good way to perk up, or a fitness class with others can help you feel more connected to your community.
A growing body of evidence shows that pets play an important role in mental health. As little as 15 minutes a day stroking a beloved pet can be a natural way to boost your mood. That’s why an increasing number of hospitals, senior living communities, and schools have introduced therapy animal programs. It’s also a reason our Springpoint communities are pet-friendly senior living communities. We welcome both you and your pets with amenities like walking trails and dog parks that make sharing your retirement together even more enjoyable.
Sometimes all it takes to shake a foul mood is a little distraction. Music has a powerful impact on the mind with its ability to trigger memories and instantly transport us to another time. Scientists also believe it can reduce stress hormones, especially when you choose an upbeat and lively tune, making it a natural way to boost your mood. Other forms of entertainment that can be effective mood boosters for seniors include a friendly chat with a neighbor, a lighthearted read, or a comedy film to help shift your spirits to a better place.
Surrounding yourself with others can help you shake a sense of loneliness or sadness. Spending time with others who share your interests, visiting over a cup of coffee, enjoying a leisurely walk, or dedicating your spare time to helping others are all examples of ways you can fill empty hours with activities that are good for your soul.
Thanks to our focus on whole-person wellness, residents of our Springpoint senior living communities can always find support to explore what natural remedies can lift their mood. Contact us to learn more about our commitment to ensuring each and every resident has the right resources to achieve an optimal sense of well-being.