Long, Healthy, Happy Lives

What can self-care and conscientiousness do for our mental health as we age.

July 09, 2018

What can self-care and conscientiousness do for our mental health as we age.

By Dr. Sierra Breitbeil, NA

Consolidated by Staci Graves, PRN365

When we think of living a long, healthy life, we might think of our physical health, financial goals and maybe even the people we choose to spend our time with. These are all things that benefit us in numerous ways, but our ability to truly utilize self-care practices is what helps us to stand apart from the crowd as we age and move into our twilight years. This post focuses on a few key points about self-care and how conscientiousness can promote longevity for our brains as we grow older.

  1. What is self-care?
  2. What self-care and conscientiousness can do for your mental health
  3. In Summary

Self-care is a form of conscientiousness. It is when we take the time to care for ourselves, be it through a well-balanced diet, a healthy routine of keeping our brains active, or even learning when to say no. As Dr. Sierra Breitbeil notes in her blog, “Thoughtful and diligent people are more likely to care about their diet and other health-related behaviors, thereby making better health-related decisions.”  Many people find it hard to practice self-care due to the demands of their lives, but it can be as simple as taking 10 minutes for yourself in the morning to stretch or having a cup of tea. Self-care shows that you are willing and able to take care of yourself, for yourself and in doing so, promoting longevity and a healthy brain.


Taking care of our bodies is something that most people do to have a healthy life, sometimes we forget that taking care of our brains is essential to living well also. A key trait in people who demonstrate conscientiousness is diligence. They are sure to make appointments with doctors when they don’t feel well or put in the extra effort in a job to gain the rewards it will produce. There are stresses in these people as there are in everyone, but they seem to experience less ill-effects from stress as other, less conscientious people do. Self-care is something we need to be conscious of doing and the more we do it and practice good habits, the better our brains will be as we continue to age.


As our bodies age, so do our brains. People who have an awareness of their own needs and practice good self-care habits are the people we see living long and thriving in their older age. Good self-care practices are not always easy to start, but they are proven to provide your brain with extra help as you age in maintaining health and longevity. Conscientiousness seems to relate significantly with mental health.  Something as simple as an hour away from the TV or cellphone to listen to your favorite album or taking a long walk, are ways that we say to ourselves “you matter, you need this, take care of yourself.” There are numerous ways that self-care can benefit everyone from their youth and on into their old age. The act of being conscientious highlights the dedication and love for oneself. Give yourself the time and your brain will continue to thank you for it for years to come.


By Dr. Sierra Breitbeil, NA at The Methow Valley Wellness Clinic in Winthrop, WA

Learn more about Dr. Sierra Breitbeil and read more of her work at

Consolidated by Staci Graves, PRN365, Staff Creative Writer.

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