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The way we talk about mental health has changed a lot in recent years. Whether you credit the COVID-19 pandemic, public figures (including celebrities and athletes) who’ve spoken out about their experiences, or the candid landscape of social media, the reality is that there’s much more awareness than there was even a decade ago. As a result, younger adults are more likely to seek out mental health care than ever before. A survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 37% of Gen Z and 35% of millennials have received treatment or therapy from a mental health professional compared with 26% of Gen X’ers, 22% of baby boomers, and 15% of older adults.
Gen Z and millennials might be the ones talking about it on TikTok, but prioritizing mental health is something anyone can benefit from, and it’s never too late to start. “Cognitive and behavioral changes are possible at any age,” Aldrich Chan, PsyD, a Miami-based neuropsychologist, tells SELF.
In many cases, aging can actually do great things for your mental health—with age typically comes wisdom, after all. “The aging process often brings increased resilience and coping skills, contributing to better mental health outcomes,” Dr. Chan says. But that doesn’t mean older adults don’t need mental health care too: Mental health conditions are common among older adults, but often go undiagnosed and untreated, according to the World Health Organization. The stigma around aging compounds with the stigma around mental health, making people more reluctant to seek help and also to receive adequate care.
“One of the biggest misconceptions around mental health for aging populations is that later in life is too late to develop new, healthy habits or ways to take care of yourselves,” Neha Chaudhary, MD, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and chief medical officer at Modern Health, tells SELF. “Some people learn the skills they need as early as childhood, but for many people it takes years of introspection, practice, or not getting it right in your early years to get to a place where you’re ready to do the work.”
If you’re well into adulthood and have never thought twice about meditating, journaling, or talking to a therapist, however, it can be daunting to know where to start. Experts recommend beginning with these three things.
Think physical.It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your mental health actually has more to do with your body: Physical exercise is linked to improved brain health and cognitive function, reduced risk of anxiety and depression, and improved sleep and overall quality of life, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Source : Self.com