As the Huffington Post points out, positive thinking sounds useful on the surface. After all, most of us would prefer to be positive rather than negative, but positive thinking is also a fluffy term that is easy to dismiss when faced with serious, real-world issues. However, research shows that positive thinking is about much more than wearing a smile and displaying an upbeat attitude. A study by the Yale Public School of Health suggests that having a more positive outlook on the aging process could have an effect on how one experiences it. When older adults view age as a time of wisdom, self-realization and satisfaction their positive mindset opens them up to seeing more possibilities in their own lives, and that brings with it a host of benefits, both physical and emotional.
The positive thinking that comes with optimism can decrease stress, improve immune system response, and increase lifespan. According to Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist and behavioral scientist at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago, having a positive outlook and something that gives one's life a sense of purpose can pay amazing health dividends. Purpose, says Boyle, doesn't have to be something complicated and lofty, just something that's goal oriented and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Are positive changes possible?
The answer is YES! For a long time, it was assumed that as we become older, the connections in the brain became fixed, and then it was just a matter of time that we started losing brain cells. However, this assumption is being aggressively challenged by neuroplasticity studies showing that the brain never stops changing. Neuroscientists agree that our brains are not hard-wired with fixed neuronal circuits, but rather our brain circuits can rewire, often in response to lifestyle or training. Simply put, when you choose positive thoughts and actions, your brain reinforces these behaviors and you become a more positive person.
There are lots of ways to introduce more positivity into your life. Here are just a few:
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Don't dwell on negative thoughts
- Use positive affirmations
- Help others
- Explore your creativity
- Embrace a faith or life philosophy that is meaningful to you
- Get active
- Make good nutrition a priority
- Set goals
- Engage your senses
- Stay connected with social groups
- Don't sweat the small stuff
"You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind" - Joyce Meyer
About LifeStyle Options
Founded in 1989, LifeStyle Options is one of the largest, private duty home care agencies in Illinois. With over 300 highly experienced and trained homecare professionals, CNAs, and RNs on staff, they have earned a reputation for providing exceptional service to clients throughout the Greater Chicagoland area, enabling older adults to safely remain in the comfort of their own home.