Posted by : Blyton Pinto | Self Development
Sadly, age-related mental illness is quite prevalent these days. Many of us will have come across someone or the other suffering from dementia, depression or schizophrenia. You can take action today to increase your chances of avoiding mental health issues.
Nowadays, you can buy an insurance policy for almost anything. House, car, life, health, pets, boats. Insurance is available even for absurd events, like Ghost insurance and Alien abductions or UFO insurance. (Read this Forbes article on the 6 Strangest Insurance Policies Ever).
The most important insurance policy is against age-related mental health issues. But alas you can’t purchase it. You have to live it – by your lifestyle. Hobbies play a crucial role in improving your mood and general as well as mental wellbeing.
There is a lot of advice out there but I’ll focus on 3 benefits and also suggest some hobbies.
1. Hobbies have the power to heal, both physically and mentally
In our day to day life, we are stressed and strained in many ways either at home, office, driving, dealing with situations etc. This takes a toll on our physical and mental health. You may not fall sick but you get negatively impacted. When this happens day in and day out over decades, it can get depressing or cause anxiety disorders. A hobby can help you rejuvenate, recover and heal.
I find gardening a really effective stress buster. Oneness with nature gives you joy, “me” time as well as a calm setting for thinking or self-reflection. Read about 6 Unexpected Health Benefits of Gardening from a true-life story. If you are living in an apartment, don’t feel left out. Even a balcony garden of 8-10 pots can give you the same benefits.
2. Hobbies keep you mentally sharp, improves your memory and, retains your presence of mind
If you repeatedly perform activities that exercise your brain and intellect, you could prolong good mental health into old age. In simple terms, mental health issues are caused by weakening or damage to brain matter, with age. Just as physical exercises are useful in maintaining muscle strength, mental exercises help to keep brain matter healthy, well oiled and running. If you use it, you will improve it.
Card games like Solitaire, Matching Pair Memory Game or solving simple Crossword puzzles can do wonders to your brain health many years down the line. You can also try reading, writing a blog, Scrabble or learning to play an instrument or a language.
3. Hobbies can give you a sense of achievement and improve self-esteem
If you choose a hobby that involves making a product or providing help or a service to someone, then you are killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Imagine making it a hobby to cook for an old person in your neighborhood or Parish. Or making handcrafted items like small bags, cushion covers, accessories for hair/clothes etc. You can make them for charity or sale.
My daughter Amy has made all of these, including furniture. It boosted her self-esteem so much to know that she is capable of creating such products. It may not mean much for a teenager, but if a person in their 50s or 60s does such a thing, they will feel so useful and have a reason to wake up every morning (provided you are in good physical health and have the time). In my case, my blog makes me so happy, I just can’t stop thinking about it.
For most of us, old age is a foregone conclusion, no worries about that, but for an increasing number of people, old age coupled with mental health issues is a living nightmare. Not just for the person but their families too. To stay fit and increase our chances of avoiding such problems, we must have at least one sustainable hobby, something that makes us feel useful, increases our self-esteem, improves memory and keeps our minds sharp.
Are you worried about getting dementia or Alzheimer’s? Do you know someone who is suffering from them? How do you cope?
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