Mind & Mood

Your mood and your mental health affect every aspect of your life, from how you feel about yourself to your relationships with others and your physical health. There's a strong link between good mental health and good physical health, and vice versa. In the other direction, depression and other mental health issues can contribute to digestive disorders, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, heart disease, and other health issues.

There are many ways to keep your mind and mood in optimal shape. Exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction techniques like meditation or mindfulness can keep your brain — and your body — in tip-top shape.

When mood and mental health slip, doing something about it as early as possible can keep the change from getting worse or becoming permanent. Treating conditions like depression and anxiety improve quality of life. Learning to manage stress makes for more satisfying and productive days.

Mind & Mood Articles

How isolation affects memory and thinking skills

Isolation is associated with the potential for cognitive decline, so it is important to reach out to others and stay socially connected. Ways to do that include using social and video apps to see and chat with friends or join an online club; making phone calls to family and friends to catch up; or signing up for a buddy-call service at a senior center to be paired with a volunteer who will call and offer conversation. More »

Put your brain to the challenge

The brain has the capacity to "grow" as a person ages. Exposure to challenging experiences and tasks that require a person to learn and memorize information and skills stimulates the brain to form new neural connections, an ability called neuroplasticity. This  helps to maintain, and may even improve, memory and other brain functions. (Locked) More »

Can we restore memories we’ve lost?

Memories are stored in pieces in various regions of the brain. The different pieces contain information such as the sight, sound, and emotional reactions that occurred during an experience. The pieces are then linked into a coherent combination called a memory engram. Some research in mice suggests that if the brain is temporarily impaired, access to a memory may be temporarily lost, but it’s still there and has the potential to be retrieved later. It’s not clear yet if lost memories can be restored in humans. (Locked) More »

Is it dementia or something else?

People often fear that memory lapses, such as forgetting your keys or people’s names, are related to dementia. But there are also many more benign reasons for forgetfulness. A lack of sleep, certain medications, or even stress, anxiety, or depression can lead to memory problems. People experiencing memory lapses should see their doctor to investigate potential causes. (Locked) More »

Take a mental break from pain

Practicing mindfulness teaches people to be aware of the present moment and accept a situation without judgment. This helps a person manage episodes of pain by shifting thinking away from negativity and recognizing pain for what it is—something that you can help ease. This change in mindset also interrupts the brain’s process of painful feelings and can induce a relaxation response to release endorphins, the feel-good hormone, and help relieve discomfort. More »

Tips to retrieve old memories

To reactivate an old memory, one must think about the perceptions that were engaged as the memory was being recorded. These perceptions include images, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, thoughts, or feelings of an experience. To trigger such recorded perceptions, one can look at old photographs, read a familiar poem, hold an old article of clothing, read an old letter, listen to a favorite old song, cook a family recipe, or watch an old movie or TV show. More »

Coping with relationship fatigue

Stress, isolation, and close quarters can make for tense times at home with loved ones or a roommate. A number of approaches can ease tensions, such as realizing everyone is under a lot of stress and cutting each other some slack; setting up boundaries and agreeing when it’s okay to be together and when it’s okay to be apart; and finding a place to be alone, whether it’s a corner, another room, or a safe location outside the home. More »