Journaling: A Brain Booster for Seniors
Our brain is structurally deteriorating as we age, taking a toll on our memories and mental sharpness. In fact, according to a study, our brain starts to shrink as early as age 30, and many older adults are at risk of developing neurological and mental health disorders such as dementia and depression.
Healthy lifestyle: eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, having regular exercise, managing stress, staying away from alcohol and drugs and staying socially active are well known and proven strategies that help maintain and improve mental health. However, there is a less popular way, yet simple and has solid research to prove its efficacy – and that is writing and journaling.
Here are 3 ways journaling can help maintain and improve the mental health of older adults.
- Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Journaling allows you to express your deepest thoughts and feelings — it helps you gain control of your emotions and gives you more clarity. According to studies, many people, including seniors and people with disabilities find journaling as a mental health tool to recuperate or avoid mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression. Journaling gives you an opportunity to clearly define thoughts or feelings you may not really understand. By writing down your thoughts and feelings, you can have more clarity and make necessary changes that will benefit your life. In addition, journaling can also be a sort of shopping therapy where you can choose from all different kinds of journals, notebooks, pens, pencils, and bookmarks. Thus keeping a journal is a great booster to your senior loved one’s mental health.
- Enhance Your Cognitive Abilities
Journaling allows your brain to function better as daily exercise makes your body stronger. Think what will happen to your brain when you keep a journal about your day or a planner for future events. Different areas of your brain needs to function together in order to: control hands and fingers to write legibly, remember events and occasions, describe your feelings and emotions, recall memories, connect people and events, learn new things, improve vocabulary, enhance your creativity and imagination, etc. Thus keeping a journal or planner makes your brain active and sharp.
- Gain a Better Outlook in Life
Journaling creates an opportunity for you to gain a better outlook in life. Writing about difficult life events and troubling experiences gives you the key to being able to see things clearly — rereading what you’ve written and reflecting on the entries in your journal can give you more clarity and help you gain a better outlook in life. Writing down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings in a journal can help you gain more understanding into what worked in particular situations and what didn’t. Journaling gives you the ability to weigh things and to see the brighter side of life.
As we age, our brain structurally deteriorates just like our body, but we can keep our brain in good shape as long as we provide it with a good workout. There are many ways to exercise our brain like gardening and baking, but journaling is one of the most fun, relaxing and insightful ways to spend time while giving our brain a boost. Let’s us help our seniors maintain and improve mental health to keep them happy and active by encouraging them to keep a journal. Happy journaling!