Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions and affects people of every age, gender, and ethnicity. It is also widespread among seniors.
According to Mental Health America, over 2 million out of 34 million Americans aged 65 and older suffer from depression brought by either an existing health condition or negative life circumstances.
Depression has many symptoms depending on the form, but the most common involve apathy and helplessness. And while the treatment for depression requires medicinal support and therapy, seniors can alleviate these symptoms by boosting their motivation.
what are the most optimal ways for seniors to induce motivation?
Here are a few useful suggestions.
1. Commit to Exercises but Don’t Overdo It
There’s been a ton of research proving the positive effects of exercise on motivation for people who suffer from anxiety and depression.
One of the most recent studies from the McMaster University involved a group of healthy men aged 65 and older who had pre-diagnosed depression and had to follow an exercise protocol for 12 weeks.
The results showed that exercise helped turn on certain genes within the skeletal muscle. These genes impact the main metabolic pathways that trigger the production of mood-enhancing chemicals, such as serotonin, which helps boost motivation.
Exercise undoubtedly helps seniors become more active and motivated, but it’s essential to keep it within limits, especially if you have serious health conditions. You can start with light balance exercises and move to something more active when you feel stronger.
2. Start Learning a Foreign Language with a Native Speaker
Mental activity is another way to boost motivation. It helps distract you from negative thoughts, self-reproach, the feeling of helplessness, and apathy. And one of the best mental activities you can do on an ongoing basis is learning a foreign language.
The process of learning a new language is complex. You not only learn grammar and vocabulary, but you also enhance your cultural knowledge, learn the customs and traditions of the people who speak a particular language. Hence, learning a foreign language promoted flexible thinking and open-mindedness, effectively distracting you from negativity.
The best way to start learning a foreign language is with a native speaker because no one else will help you understand the language and its peculiarities.
Besides, some languages are impossible to master without a native speaker. For instance, if you decide to learn French, you’ll have to learn the proper pronunciation, which is very difficult unless you have a native speaker working with you.
But, like with physical exercise, don’t overwork yourself with foreign languages. One or two hours a week are enough to keep your brain working and keep your memory functioning.
3. Do Gardening Activities to Unwind
Lastly, you can try gardening as a daily motivation booster. It can be any gardening activity – from a couple of plants in your apartment to an entire backyard full of fruit trees and vegetables.
Research says that gardening is a meditative activity that helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reportedly, gardening is associated with emotional regulation and promotes mindfulness.
Gardening is the act of caring, and that’s why it is a great motivational activity. It is also an ongoing activity and can be a part of your life regardless of the season or weather.
Much like exercising and learning a foreign language, gardening distracts you from negative behaviors. It is also closely connected with work therapy which doctors often use to help treat severe depression and other mental health conditions.
The advantages of all three activities are obvious – they help your brain produce more serotonin, bringing more motivation and productivity. But all these activities only work together with the right treatment and other factors, such as support from your family and your readiness to commit to overcoming depression.
Also, when choosing the activity to boost motivation, think about what you’re comfortable with and what will suit your physical health. And remember – everything is good in moderation. You can even try all three activities, but be gentle with yourself, listen to your needs, and focus on your well-being. This is the only way to tackling depression and anxiety successfully.
Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist; you can his website here. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.