Positivity and Optimism Linked to Healthy Aging
Positivity is a choice, not always an easy one. Obstacles in life can make it difficult to maintain a bright perspective. However, practicing mindfulness and optimism, you can train yourself to see negative feelings arise and learn to shift them into positive thinking. Training your mind to expand instead of contract when things get difficult will better equip you to be resilient. You will benefit mentally, emotionally, and physically if you do this.
Research shows that people who approach life’s difficult situations with optimism generally are happier and even live longer healthier lives. Optimism and choosing to have a positive attitude may affect your health, more than you know. Stress management and quality of life both stem from the way we approach challenges and how we talk to ourselves. Those two things contribute to how we treat others like our family, friends, and neighbors. Practicing more positivity and open-mindedness can improve your quality of life and the benefits extend to everyone around you.
Positive thinking reduces stress
Having a positive outlook is closely linked to longevity, stress reduction, and improved immunity. The benefits of choosing positivity can actually contribute to living longer. Opening yourself to possibilities and an optimistic point of view can reduce stress and negative consequences. Reacting to unpleasant situations with pessimism harms you more than helps you. Being willing to stay open-minded or attempt things with optimism sets you up for better results. The less stress you create for yourself the healthier you will be. Studies show that stress harms your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Having positive practices that help decrease stress in your life contributes to your overall health and wellness.
Practice positive self-talk reduces stress
Studies show that individuals who practice positive self-talk and apply an “I can” attitude are more productive and more resilient when complications arise. Optimism and positive self-talk can set you up to be better equipped when managing stress. A helpful practice for improving your self-talk and ultimately our self-worth is to analyze your beliefs about yourself. Make a list of all the things you are good at and make a list of the things you would like to improve on. Turn your improve list into positive supportive mantras. Repeat your positive mantras daily to improve the way you approach complicated situations. Most harmful self-talk comes out of unreasonable beliefs or misconceptions. This creates confusion and more stress for ourselves when we lack information and blame ourselves for things that are out of our control. Seeking information with an optimistic attitude and approaching situations with discovery ultimately leads us to more possibilities and better judgment.
Exercise reduces stress
Research has found active people to be happier people. We all know exercise contributes to better overall health and reduces cortisol, our natural stress response hormone. A study found that when inactive people started increasing their physical activity, they also reported feeling happier. Another study showed active agers who exercise regularly were significantly happier than inactive aging adults. The good news is, if you want to improve your happiness and manage your stress effectively, you can begin today. Set yourself up by dedicating 30 min to an hour a day to walk, swim, do yoga, even dance around the house. Lowering your stress improves your mood, contributes to better performance in all things you do, and makes life more enjoyable for you and those around you.
Reducing Stress adds years to your life
Longevity is directly linked to stress and the way we live. What we practice, believe and reinforce every day creates our experience and reality. Meditation, exercise, journaling, positive relationships, and getting outdoors reduces stress and contributes to more happiness. A great way to reduce stress is through mindfulness meditation. Studies have found meditation to enlarge the part of the brain that regulates emotions. Consistent mindfulness practices can help maintain better mental health when faced with inevitable obstacles life brings.
Looking forward to aging and maintaining positivity
Studies show that how you perceive aging affects your life and longevity. A 2019 study links positive thinking to contributing to 11–15% of a longer lifespan with an increased likelihood of living past 85 years. This effect was consistent in the controlled studies regardless of age, gender, income, depression, and health status. People who maintain a positive outlook throughout their life and do not fear or dread growing older actually improve their lifespan. Research on this has shown that your opinion on growing old influences your actions and those actions contribute to your motivation and experience. These factors have a tremendous effect on your life expectancy. Those who age cheerfully tend to live longer, more fulfilling lives.
Reducing stress links to improved resilience
Effective stress management practices help us with the way we cope with difficult situations in our lives. The way we cope and approach hard times makes a big difference. When we practice optimism and positive reinforcement we set ourselves up to bounce back and recover faster after difficulties in life. This helps us create more stability and security which leads to less stress and increased feelings of self-worth. When we are more resilient, we are also more adaptable, less prone to illness and more proactive about our health.
Shifting the narrative of aging
There are many wonderful qualities that come with aging. Our modern, fast-paced world often falls short in giving respect and attention to the elders in our communities. This is unfortunate because the older people in our communities can greatly benefit from more connection and involvement. Younger generations equally can benefit from connecting with elders. Their experiences, maturity, stories, and insight can offer the youth a lot of value. The value we can all give each other through strengthening our relationships can make many positive differences in our world. Staying connected, staying active, and feeling valued can help decrease depression, and lack of self-worth amongst elders. By living a simple, healthy lifestyle and staying engaged in activities and community you can preserve your health and energy and keep a positive outlook as you age. Maintaining a positive mindset as you age can help you stay motivated, reduce depression, and maintain a higher quality of life for a longer period of time.
Tips for healthy aging and longer life
- Exercise regularly
- Get outdoors
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Practice mindfulness and meditation
- Share stories and knowledge with younger generations
- Spend time around other positive people
- Stay engaged in community
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Laugh often
Psychology studies reveal that our thoughts, self-talk, actions, relationships, and beliefs either support longer life and better our health or decline our lifespan and overall health. Research shows that optimism, positive self-talk, staying engaged, and keeping an active lifestyle as you age may reduce chronic disease, and contribute to a healthier immune system. Optimism contributes to a higher quality aging experience, more happiness, self-worth and a long fulfilling life. Live your best life!