If you are living with dementia, it’s common to feel down from time to time. Luckily, there are lots of really simple things you can do to lift your mood. Here’s 12 scientifically-proven ways you can beat those blues away.
1. Listen to your favourite music
Research shows that listening to music can help people with dementia, as it awakens the part of the brain that has not been impacted by the disease. If you’re feeling down, try playing your favourite album or put together an playlist of songs you love. A family member or carer can help you do this, if you aren’t familiar with technology.
2. Spend some time laughing.
Did you know that having a good laugh relieves anxiety, stimulates your organs and even improves your immune system? Some easy ways to enjoy a good laugh is to watch a humorous TV show, read some great jokes, chat to a friend who brightens your day, or watch a funny cat video (or more!) on the Internet.
3. Do an act of kindness.
Helping another person can boost your spirits, as you feel good knowing you have brought a smile to someone’s face. One way to do this is volunteering, but there are small things you can do for others too. Try giving someone a genuine compliment, saying a kind word to a friend, helping someone with a job, or even saying hello to your neighbours next time you see them on the street.
4. Give mindful meditation a go
Meditating isn’t just for yoga enthusiasts. Simple mindfulness techniques such as focusing on the here and now, being conscious of your breathing and relaxing your muscles can do wonders for your mood. If you’d like to give it a try, The Smiling Mind is a free app that guides you through some easy meditation practices.
5. Take a walk around the block
We all know that exercise is great for mental health, as it relieves symptoms of depression, soothes stress and generally makes you feel better. A simple way to get some exercise is to go for a walk in your neighbourhood: perhaps to a local park, the shops or around the block. Take your time, knowing that moving your body is doing you some good!
6. Make a list of all the things you are thankful for
Researchers recently asked a group of people to write down things that were thankful for, and a second group to write down the things that annoyed them. After 10 weeks, the group that was thankful reported feeling more optimistic about their lives. If you’re feeling down, try making a list of what you are thankful for. You’ll be surprised how a little thankfulness can go a long way.
7. Chat to someone on the phone
When was the last time you gave someone a simple phone call for a chat? Talking to someone can help prevent isolation, especially if you are living on your own. If you’re feeling down, have a chat to a family member, friend or perhaps someone you haven’t caught up with in a while to lift your mood.
8. Give your loved one a hug
Great news: hugging your loved one is actually good for your health. When you give someone that you trust a hug, the hormone oxytocin is released into your blood stream, which has the benefit of boosting feelings of contentment. This effect also occurs if you hug your pet!
9. Hug an animal
While we’re on the subject of pets, keep your cat or dog close. Alongside the opportunity to exercise and regularly go outside, pets can help us cope with loneliness, offer companionship, and provide us with distraction from our own anxieties. If you don’t have a pet, consider spending time with a friend who has one, so you can reap the benefits.
10. List the things you love to do
To remind you if things that cheer you up when you’re down, make a list of simple activities you enjoy, such as doing a crossword, dancing to music, gardening, drinking a cup of coffee with your favourite show, or doing some painting. Keep it on hand for those times when you’re not sure what activity might cheer you up.
11. Go outside
Next time you’re feeling down, try simply going outside. Being out in nature can lower anxiety, improve memory and also give you a boost in creativity. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Try going for a walk in your local park, getting out in the garden or taking your morning coffee outside in the fresh air.
12. Declutter a space in your home
It’s a surprising one, but research shows that being in a cluttered environment can increase your stress levels and reduce your ability to focus. To clear your mind and boost your mood, try picking a small area of your home and taking some time to put a few things away. If you need help, chat to your carer or a family member about how they can support you.
Remember, if you need support with your mental health, reach out to a loved one, friend or your support worker for help. Here are some organisations that can help: