This is my 3rd article for the Dignity Foundation’s magazine for Senior Citizens. I didn’t publish the second one containing some basic methods to research health issues, which may be too elementary for our readers.
This time i want to cover the wellness aspects of our mind. But before that I want to thank Ms. Sunita for following the instructions from my previous article and leaving me a comment on my blog.
The physical health of Senior Citizens gets a lot of attention, which is quite good. But what i find worrisome is the scant disregard for mental fitness which in my opinion is much more important.
For the purpose of this topic, i put the Senior Citizens that i come across into 2 buckets – the happy kind, who are quite positive, enthusiastic and energetic, and the unhappy kind who are anything but.
Both kinds have the usual health issues – diabetes, hypertension, arthritis etc. Interestingly, i found that the happy kind took the routine health issues in their stride, whereas the unhealthy kind, were unable to handle them without stressing out.
A revelation came to me when I dug deeper into this stark contrast. The happy kind seemed to focus a lot more on their minds than on their bodies, perhaps unknowingly. While they did do their regular exercise and regular tests like most senior citizens, it is what they do with their minds that is telling. I boiled them down to 5 important activity clusters:
1. They take an active interest in things – news, cinema, politics, environment, neighborhood issues like any responsible citizen.
2. They take the opportunity to learn new languages, solve puzzles like Sudoku, join a toastmasters club, learn music, blogging – or anything that exercises their minds.
3. They do not brood over their life’s problems and regrets except as a way to draw lessons that they can pass onto others.
4. They renew their interest in cooking, taking care of grandchildren or taking care of a pet.
5. They do not focus too much on their appearance except to make sure they look and feel healthy.
On the other hand, the unhappy kind, didn’t do most of the above. And because their minds are not in top shape, even a trivial health issue seems to immobilize them. It is difficult for them to do even their day to day chores, which over time leads to illnesses like depression.
Which kind are you?
If you want to make a start towards a healthy mind, try Sudoku – it is an invigorating math puzzle that appears in almost all daily newspapers and it does not require anything other than basic arithmetic skills.