Dr. Anastasia Cantonis Parsons, Ph.D. is a counseling psychologist licensed in New York and Florida. She treats adults with a wide range of presenting concerns through the use of evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapy, tailored uniquely to each individual.
- Be mindful of the connection between changing hormone levels and your mental state. For women, menopause causes a drop in two important hormones: progesterone and estrogen. For men, aging results in lower levels of testosterone. In both cases, men and women can experience an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety as a result of these changing hormonal levels. Be sure to speak with your doctor about any emotional difficulties that you are experiencing.
- Exercise and sleep are critical to maintaining your mental health. Exercising releases the feel-good hormone, serotonin, which helps decrease mood disorders, reduces stress, improves sleep, and overall feelings of calmness and relaxation. Changes in sleep are common as you age due to a decrease in sleep duration and efficiency. In particular, poor sleep has been associated with worsening mental health symptoms. Sleep studies have even found sleep deprivation ages you quicker.
- Engage in pleasurable hobbies that give you a purpose. This is what ROAR is all about! By spending time doing things that are enjoyable and give you purpose, you are enhancing your day-to-day life, which will in turn improve your mental health.
- Focus on your connection to others and invest in your social support system. Mental health research shows time and time again that adults thrive when their social support systems are strong. Studies have even found that people who rated their social support systems as strong tended to have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than their peers who reported weaker social support systems. Take this as your reminder to call a friend or make plans to see someone you love spending time with.
- Don’t ignore grief. As you age, death becomes more of a reality, not just as you face your own mortality, but also that of your peers and colleagues. Thinking about or talking about death is not fun for anyone, however, ignoring it can result in more difficulties with your mental health down the road. Speaking with a mental health professional can help you manage feelings of grief associated with loss, aging, and illness, as well as, enhance your coping skills to handle life’s challenges.