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

Holiday for one?

Facing holidays alone may trigger stress, loneliness, or depression. Ways to navigate this period include reframing one’s image of what a holiday should look like. Creating new holiday traditions can help, such as making holiday foods, listening to holiday music, watching holiday entertainment on TV, or reading holiday stories. It can also help to reach out to others, for instance, by inviting neighbors over, volunteering for a local charity, or going to a community dinner. (Locked) More »

What to do about mild cognitive impairment

Everyone has occasional bouts of forgetfulness, but if these episodes become frequent or interfere with daily life, it may be a sign of mild cognitive impairment, or MCI—a stage between the usual cognitive decline of normal aging and more serious dementia. While there is no single proven method for preventing or slowing MCI, research has found that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by eating right, exercising, and perhaps enlisting in an MCI-focused clinical trial. (Locked) More »

Can brain training programs actually improve memory?

Brain training programs operate on the premise that practicing one cognitive task will translate into better memory and intelligence. However, available studies are often flawed. More research is needed before these programs are deemed to have any health benefit. More »

Ramp up your resilience!

Coping with stress in a positive way is known as resilience, and it has many health benefits. It’s associated with longevity, lower rates of depression, and greater satisfaction with life. There are many ways to increase resilience. Practicing a meditation technique counters stress by eliciting the relaxation response, which helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, and stress hormones. Seeing the upside rather than the downside of a predicament can also help build resilience. So can leaning on friends and family. (Locked) More »

Alzheimer’s wake-up call

Research has shown an association between poor sleep and a higher risk of accumulating beta-amyloid protein plaque in the brain, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The brain sweeps out excess amyloid proteins during slow-wave sleep, which is the deep sleep phase where memories are consolidated. It is still not clear if improving poor sleep or practicing good sleeping habits can protect against Alzheimer’s. Until more is known, experts suggest paying attention to sleep problems, like insomnia, sleep apnea, and nocturia (which causes people to wake up to use the bathroom). More »

Better habits, better brain health

Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits may help protect thinking skills. For example, aerobic exercise helps improve the health of brain tissue by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing the chances of injury to the brain. Maintaining routine habits of good health—such as getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, managing stress, quitting smoking, and treating underlying conditions—also support brain health. Socializing also has important brain benefits. People who report having more companionship and more emotional support have a lower risk for dementia and stroke. (Locked) More »

Putting off retirement may benefit your brain, health, and longevity

A later retirement may not only benefit your bank account but can pay dividends when it comes to your health. Research increasingly shows that a later retirement may actually improve your brain health and could extend your life. But it’s important to mention that not all research shows this benefit and some jobs, including those that are stressful or too physically demanding, may actually have the reverse effect. More »