The Secrets to Happiness at Any Age
When it comes to the curve balls life throws at us, we can sometimes feel depressed, stressed, and just downright unpleasant. This is especially true when it comes to the side effects of getting older.
Aging is one of the things that can get us down in the dumps and singing the blues, but there are different techniques that unveil the secrets to happiness at any age.
“A positive attitude and the right mind-set can do wonders for your health,” says Sarah Hallenberger, one of the lead dietitians for bistroMD. “The secret to living a long and healthy life isn’t just about eating right. One of the many secrets to living longer is just enjoying the little things that can make life that much more pleasant.”
The next time you feel down in the dumps, or feel like “little” things are bothering you, take the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy these age-specific mood lifters.
Fight the ‘Tude by Eating Better Food
“Most women don’t realize that PMS symptoms are usually strongest during their 30’s,” says Sarah. “The irritability, the mood swings, and the uncomfortable physical symptoms can actually be avoided by eating the right foods.”
That’s right, ladies—eating good food can actually improve your attitude during “that time” of the month.
“To help fight off the effects of both physical and mental symptoms of PMS, eat more foods that contain amino acids, particularly tryptophan,” says Sarah. “These foods help boost serotonin levels, which is the chemical hormone responsible for a more ‘happy’ mood.”
If you want to feel better, and fight off the “bad mood” cloud that comes with your monthly period, eat more meals and snacks that contain chicken, salmon, turkey, and nuts.
“All of these foods contain a good dose of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is all about making you feel better,” says Sarah.
It’s Okay to Say “No” Sometimes
During your 30’s and early 40’s, many people are concentrating on their careers, but can sometimes take on too much work. This can lead to major stress overload.
“When experts tell you that stress can be a ‘killer’ they are absolutely right,” says Sarah. “In a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine, people who had extremely stressful jobs were likely to live 4 years less than those who didn’t.”
The key to coping with this work-related stress? Just say “no” sometimes.
“If you have a stressful job, it might be time to change some of your work habits,” says Sarah. “For starters, forcing yourself to leave the office at the close of business instead of working overtime. This way, you can focus on yourself, and take time to exercise, or spend time with friends and family. If you get an hour for lunch, use the time wisely by taking a break, and making sure that you eat a healthy meal."
So, the next time you feel like something at work can’t wait, chances are, it probably can. After all, who wouldn’t want to have four extra years to enjoy life?
Don’t Be Ashamed to See a Psychologist
Life can be overwhelming, to say the least, but over 55% of adults between the ages of 35-40, never really confide and open up about their problems. 25% of these same adults also said that they would be embarrassed to talk to a psychologist, or seek some sort of counseling about their stress.
“Seeing a psychologist doesn’t mean that you’re crazy,” says Sarah. “Often, psychologists can give you basic advice that will improve your quality of life dramatically.”
Practicing and maintaining a positive attitude throughout your 40’s can have a significant impact on both your longevity and health. In fact, people who practice some sort of relaxation techniques and exercises like yoga or Tai Chi can add up to 5 extra years to their life.
“Take time every day in your 40’s to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five days out of the week,” says Sarah. “During your daily routine, take at least 10 minutes and practice some sort of deep breathing exercises, or relaxation techniques. Many psychologists can actually recommend certain techniques that fit best with your lifestyle.”
If you feel like you are too stressed, take it easy, and don’t be afraid to seek professional guidance. The rewards can be well worth it.
Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
“In your 40’s and 50's it is important that you get enough restful sleep,” says Sarah. “Your goal every night should be between 6-8 hours. Any less than this can actually influence symptoms of depression.”
Depression spikes for people in their 40’s and 50's, and sleep is one of the best things you can do to prevent this from happening to you.
“Sleep trouble is actually directly linked to hormones that trigger hot flashes, and night sweats in women,” says Sarah. “If you are having trouble sleeping during your 40’s or 50's, try implementing a cardio workout. The intensity of cardio exercises will actually make you feel so tired, that physical hormonal symptoms will start to diminish.”
Don't Be Afraid to Mix Things Up a Bit
"In your 50's and 60's, most people decide to retire, but can become bored with the same old, bland routine," says Sarah. "Even at this age, switching things up a bit can actually bring you more excitement, which can be a good thing for your health."
At this point in your life, get involved with things that are close to your heart, and get plenty of exercise. Volunteer at a local organization, or go back to school to learn about a subject you never got to study.
"Learning and volunteering are great ways to put a different mix into your typical schedule," says Sarah. "Many of these things will actually boost your mood and confidence levels. This will also give you the motivation to stay active. Being bored at home doesn't make good for a healthy retirement."
These age-specific mood boosters will help you stay healthy and happy, but so will a healthy diet.
"Eating the right foods is always important, because our bodies only respond based on what we put into it," says Sarah. "Food is the best fuel, but the 'right' kind of foods are even better. The meals from bistroMD are balanced to give you the right combinations of nutrients in meals, and are proportioned to promote optimal health, no matter how old you are."
To see more tips for better health from bistroMD's panel of experts, please visit our health library section of our website to read more helpful articles.