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Keeping Your Mood Levels Elevated

Keeping Your Mood Levels Elevated

As you age, your mood can be affected. Some moods are known to go hand in hand with aging, but there are many circumstances that you can encounter that can cause changes in your mood.


Although mood changes can be linked to circumstances, they don’t have to be. Many seniors experience mood changes including depression and anger. They also experience trouble with socialization. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help lift your mood.


Depression Is Common as You Age


No matter what the circumstances, millions of people deal with depression every year. There are plenty of seniors who experience it as well. Depression can be brought on by several things - such as children leaving the home or what’s commonly known as the empty nest syndrome.


Certain milestone birthdays can make you feel depressed and so can starting retirement. It can also be brought on by health issues such as physical limitations due to age or mobility issues like having to use a walker or a cane. It can also be the result of the death of a spouse.


The signs of depression may not always be obvious or recognizable. The biggest symptom of depression is a sadness that simply won’t go away for the long term. You can also experience fatigue or lose pleasure in doing your favorite hobbies.


Withdrawal from social activities can also be a symptom of depression. Other symptoms include the loss of appetite, weight loss, and trouble sleeping. If you have a medical condition or disease, it can sometimes lead to depression.


Cancer, arthritis, stroke, lupus, and Parkinson’s disease are some of the biggest causes of depression in older people because this is the time of life when we start to focus on our mortality.


Other conditions that can lead to depression are dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disorders. Whatever the cause of your depression is, there are things you can do to help ease it.


When you’re depressed, you may not want to spend time with anyone else - but that may be exactly what you need to do to help yourself. If you’re not ready to be around others, find an activity you can do that you find pleasure in.


If you’ve lost your love for certain hobbies then find new ones. Doing puzzles, taking care of animals, and painting or drawing are all great options if you want to be alone.


Along with a hobby, exercise is another way to reverse the depression. Exercise boosts endorphins, which are the hormones that tell your body to feel good. Exercise can be beneficial for both your body and your mind.


When dealing with depression, it’s always a good idea to not keep a lot of free time on your hands. When you’re busy, you have a lesser chance of dwelling on things that are bothering you or upsetting you.


Make a habit of meeting up with friends or family. If you don’t live close enough to meet up frequently, find something else to take part in, like volunteering at an animal shelter or nonprofit organization.


For many people, a big factor of depression is feeling useless or worthless. When you volunteer at an organization where you contribute, it can make you feel better.


Another important step is avoiding things that you know make you feel depressed. For example, if you’ve lost a loved one recently, you may need to avoid going to places that remind you of him or her.


These triggers can leave you feeling worse. If the depression continues to persist, you need to discuss it with your doctor or a qualified therapist.


The Importance of Socialization


As you get older, you may notice a decline in your socialization. This can be brought on for a variety of reasons. If you have to use a walker or cane, you may be even less inclined to go out for fear of falls.


Although it may be hard to get around, especially if you’re living with a chronic or debilitating medical condition, being out of the house and among other people is important for your health, spirit, and mind.


Being isolated can lead to or worsen depression and feelings of uselessness. If you’re experiencing those, it’s a good time to get out of your house and be around others.


Letting go of a social life isn’t usually a deliberate act. A social life can begin to decline when your spouse becomes ill, or when you no longer have the ability to drive.


As you age, your social contacts start to diminish, leading to a smaller social life. The drift can start before you even realize it. There are plenty of ways that you can be around others.


You can take a college course you’ve always wanted to take - or an art class. You can also learn a foreign language. Get into reading and visit the library frequently.


Another important part about socialization is being around a group of people that are similar to you. You can join groups such as churches or civic organizations to meet other people.


You may also want to look into getting a part time job or joining an outdoor hiking group if you can handle that physically. Find out what social groups are in your town or city and join some of them.


The importance of socialization may not seem obvious, but it’s needed in every life. Socialization helps to form a sense of belonging as well as a sense of purpose.


Strengthening existing relationships or making new friends can be great for your mind and soul. Socialization also increases your self-esteem and self-confidence. If you take up volunteering at a shelter or organization, you don’t only feel a sense of belonging, but you also feel needed.


Volunteering is a great reason to get up and go every day. You may also notice that your physical and mental health improve the more active and engaged you are.


When you spend your time supporting others and others support you, it boosts  your sense of well-being. When you have higher self-esteem, it leads to a more positive outlook on life.


You’re less likely to experience depression as you age when you’re involved in things. Seek out weekly activities that can be done with others but don’t stick with an activity or group that you don’t like.


This will only give you a more negative outlook on life and can lead to a feeling of loneliness. Look for activities or programs that can help boost your emotional, physical, intellectual, social and spiritual needs. If one activity can’t meet all the needs, find two or three that can be done throughout the week.


Dealing with Anger and Anxiety as You Age


A common mood change in older people is a tendency toward feeling anger. Even if you weren’t prone to anger in your younger years, age can often intensify certain feelings.


You may find yourself getting irritated with kids or loud noises in a way you haven’t before. Some of this anger can be rooted in the need to speak your mind and can cause you to feel intolerant of things that don’t make sense or cause your time to be wasted.


This may be due to people becoming less sensitive as they age. If you live alone, you may have a way for doing things that other people don’t have. An intolerance for others and their mistakes can grow over time, especially if you don’t notice it or no one says anything about it.


Anger can also come from deeper problems, like struggling from a medical condition, feelings of isolation, and depression. If you have to have help doing daily activities that you’ve never needed help with before, you may also experience anger because no one likes to feel dependant on anyone else.


The increasing inability to live the way you want to can even lead to hostility. Although expressing your anger may not be something you’re used to, internalizing it can be dangerous.


Keeping your anger bottled up inside can lead to bitterness, resentment, and depression. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your family about it, find a close friend. If that won’t work, professional help may be needed.


You can also relieve your anger by doing a physical activity if you’re able to such as walking, jogging, or playing a sport. Find something you can do whenever you get angry that allows you to vent and you’ll find you have a more positive outlook on life.


Another problem older people may face besides anger is dealing with anxiety. Feeling nervous and anxious is common as you grow older. Your body is changing, your family is changing, and your life is changing.


It’s normal to feel anxiety over new interactions, newly diagnosed medical conditions, and new relationships. Although anxiety is normal, it should also be controllable.


Having anxiety that runs your life can be dangerous and detrimental to your mental health. Anxiety can cause feelings of dread, fear, and apprehension to things or places that pose no real threat.


As you age, you may begin having fears of medical conditions, growing apart from your kids, an inability to afford living expenses, being dependent on someone else, and death.


It’s normal to be apprehensive of these and they are major changes in your life. However, there are ways that you can overcome your anxiety. Find things you can do instead of focusing on these things you’re worrying about.


Find an activity that will keep your mind occupied. If you can’t get the worry to go away, do something that will help ease your mind. For example, if you’re worried about money, sit down with a financial planner and see what can be done.


Stay away from negativity, whether from books, newspapers, or people in your life. When you’re surrounded by negativity, it can be harder to keep your outlook positive.


You should also look into talking to a trusted family member or friend about what’s going on and why you’re worried. Prayer, meditation, and yoga are all great stress management techniques you should look into because they can help you release anxiety.


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