Social isolation, loss of loved ones, decreased mobility and health problems put seniors at greater risk for depression. Depression not only impacts your ability to enjoy life, depression can also impact your physical health. Check out these tips to help stave off depression.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body. Exercise helps lower blood pressure and prevent health problems such as diabetes and arthritis. Research shows seniors in poor health are more at risk of developing depression. Exercise also helps relieve stress and anxiety and can help you sleep better. Insomnia and other sleep disorders have been closely linked to depression.
Foods high in protein are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan helps increase production of serotonin which is believed to regulate mood. Protein rich foods include lean beef, poultry and tuna. Smart carbs, such as those found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, also also linked to serotonin production. It’s also important to get plenty of Vitamin D. Studies show that people with Vitamin D deficiency are at greater risk for depression.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, suggests that mindfulness meditation can ease the symptoms of depression — in some cases even better than medication. Mindfulness meditation, which involves concentrated breathing techniques, helps decrease levels of anxiety while improving concentration and attention span.
Seek Out Social Settings
Social isolation worsens feelings of depression. People are social beings, and interacting with others is essential to our psychological well being. Whether it’s a quick phone call from a friend or family member, taking a group class at a senior center, or saying hello to your neighbor– connecting with others on a daily basis helps keep depression at bay.