According to many respected medical professionals, your attitude has a direct effect on your health and how well you age. In fact, multiple studies have shown that positive thinkers are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases and disorders as they age. Now, new research even suggests that optimism can actually prolong your life by as much as 11-15%, increasing your likelihood of living to age 85 or older.
How Positive Thinking Benefits Your Health
While numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between optimism and healthy aging, researchers are still unclear as to the exact reason why. Some theorize that positive people tend to cope with stress more effectively than their negative counterparts, thereby reducing its harmful effects on the body. Others acknowledge that optimists also tend to lead healthier lives, with more physical and social activity, better eating habits, and less interest in smoking or drinking alcohol in excess, which could be contributing factors.
Regardless of why, there is no denying that a positive attitude contributes to a variety of health benefits as we age.
Health Benefits of Positive Thinking
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Lower levels of inflammation
- Improved immunity
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease
- Increased life span
How to Be a Positive Thinker
So how do you bring more positivity into your life? Contrary to what you might have heard, positive thinking doesn’t mean that you live with your head in the clouds and ignore life’s troubles. It just means that you approach the unpleasant things in life in a more constructive way. You believe in the best-case scenario, not the worst.
Here are some things you can do right now to improve your outlook on life.
- Edit Your Inner Voice. The endless stream of unspoken thoughts in your head is known as self-talk, and it can be pretty harsh. If you find that your self-talk is overly critical or hurtful, make it a rule not to say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else. Be gentle and encouraging. When you make a mistake, instead of scolding yourself or calling yourself names, remind yourself that nobody is perfect and focus on all that is good about you.
- Practice Gratitude & Kindness. Instead of wasting your time lamenting about what you don’t have, think about the things that you are thankful for in your life. Make a conscious choice to find the good in every situation, no matter how challenging. The same goes for people. Rather than fixating on a person’s shortcomings, seek out and focus on their redeeming qualities – everybody has at least one.
- Be Forgiving. Harboring feelings of resentment and anger is a negative way to live. If you tend to hold grudges, make an effort to let go of the past. It’s normal to feel hurt or disappointed from time to time, but don’t dwell on it. Forgive and move on. Work on being empathetic and patient with others, and try to adopt a “walk in their shoes” mentality.
- Follow a Healthy Lifestyle. Diet and exercise can have a profound effect on your mood, and your thinking. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes a day, even if it means breaking it up into 10-minute intervals, to reduce stress and elevate your mood. Stay away from starchy, fatty and sugary foods, which can cause mood swings, and leave you feeling weighed down and even depressed.
Aging Well at Eddy Senior Living
When it comes to cultivating a positive attitude, it’s also important to surround yourself with other upbeat, supportive people. The residents at Eddy Senior Living can attest to that. With endless opportunities for lasting friendships, great community events, wellness programs and a focus on life enrichment activities, our senior living communities across the Albany Capital Region have helped many seniors to not only age well, but to live longer, happier, healthier lives.
To learn more about our independent senior living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care communities in Troy, Slingerlands, East Greenbush, Niskayuna and Queensbury NY, please contact us online or call 518-280-8385.