Published: Aug 15, 2017
The Power of Happiness
One could safely assume that, between being happy and sad, a majority of us would choose the former. After all, it’s when we’re happy that we tend to be more productive and treat others with kindness and respect. That’s not to say that experiencing all facets of human emotion isn’t important. For instance, when faced with the death of a loved one, it’s vital that we go through each stage of grief in order to process the event in a healthy way.
However, with advanced age and the increased frequency of some of life’s more negative experiences (e.g., death of family/friends, injury, and chronic illness), it’s not uncommon for older adults to be confronted with feelings of increased stress. And prolonged stress can potentially lead to things such as isolation, loneliness, and depression. The key to overcoming this as we age? As research indicates, one of the healthiest ways to combat moments of stress and adversity is through having a positive attitude toward aging itself.
Mind over Matter
A recent study out of North Carolina University found that those who viewed aging positively were more resilient when dealing with stressful situations. Conversely, those with a more negative outlook tended to experience higher negative emotional effects. Why does this matter in the overall scheme of things? The more negative our emotional responses are to stress, the more damage we inflict upon our body, perhaps without knowing it. Positive attitudes, on the other hand, are thought to help delay/reduce the risk of cognitive decline and cardiovascular damage.
Of course, this doesn’t just happen magically. There are factors that drive one’s positive attitude, one of which is self-perception. The way you view your ability to meet an objective can in many ways dictate success or failure – often referred to as a self-fulfilling prophecy. As an example, a study was conducted in 2009 with two groups of older adults that were tasked with taking a test. It was communicated to one group that older adults often do poorly on tests, while the other group was not told. Not surprisingly, the group that was told that older adults do poorly on tests did, in fact, do poorly, compared to the other group. As it turns out, the physiological culprit is cortisol, one of the body’s primary stress hormones. As self-esteem diminishes, cortisol levels increase and our ability to perform becomes, in essence, sabotaged.
As mentioned, it all comes down to positivity. With exposure to positive experiences that benefit the mind and body, seniors can alter their perception about getting older. Here are a few of the ways older adults can not only build up their self-confidence and resilience, but also maintain a positive attitude.
Tips for Building and Maintaining Positive Attitude
Comfort Keepers® Can Help
Above all, independence is a critical component of building and maintaining a positive attitude toward aging. Through a wide array of services, our Comfort Keepers® will work to encourage your loved ones and see that they progress toward their goals. Contact your local office today to learn more about our services.
Psychology Benefits Society. “10 Tips for Positive Aging: It’s Not Your Same Old Business.” Web. 2013.
Senior Journal. “A Positive Attitude is Good for the Health of Senior Citizens, Research Proves.” Web. 2017.
HeathLine News. “A Good Attitude Is Crucial Medicine for Seniors” by Kristen Fischer. Web. 2016.
U.S. News – Health. “Ageism, Attitude and Health,” by Lisa Esposito. Web. 2015.