Aging is inevitable. Embrace it with hopeful optimism to live longer and healthier …
Along with diet and exercise, research continues to reveal the importance of attitude in helping us age well. Studies prove optimism can impact lifespan and life quality as much as healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It even can have a greater effect on longevity than achieving a healthy body weight or not smoking cigarettes. Now, there’s something to be optimistic about!
Good health and optimism often coexist. Healthy eating and exercise are known to influence the brain. Certain foods help combat depression, anxiety, ADHD, and a wealth of other health issues. Through exercise, we enjoy better overall health, improved sleep, more energy, less stress, and a boost of feel-good hormones. All of these factors nurture a positive mindset and increase self-confidence.
Does a brighter outlook get you to the Center and guide you to the salad? Or, does the workout and salad promote feelings of optimism? The answer: It does not matter. This is a cycle of positivity where healthy begets health.
In addition to having its own substantial benefits, optimistic individuals tend to influence their health for the positive. One large study of adults ages 65 years and older showed improved cognitive functioning in those with a sunny perspective. This included decision-making and problem-solving, along with improved memory. People who considered themselves as “wise” in old age also were better at handling stress and solving math problems (which, for some, is one in the same).
Change Your Mind
Pessimists are proven to have an overall greater general risk of dying than their half-full counterparts. So, how do you get your POP (power of positivity) on? True, some of us are predisposed to negativity through genetics and upbringing. Shifting your mind to find the positives in daily life can be challenging. In fact, it takes mental fortitude and resilience. However, through mindfulness and brain training, it can be done.
- Choose positivity. Finding something good in a bad situation may take some exaggerated inner-bravado. Sometimes, it will not be possible. At least
the search may distract you enough for strong negativity to fizzle down to a more surmountable challenge. Try to solve the problem rather than become overwhelmed by it. The resulting successes will fuel ongoing optimism. You cannot control fate, but you can control your reaction to it.
- Find the good in people. Most of our day is spent in the presence of others—people we know and those we do not. Give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their intentions. Be polite and share kindness, especially in tricky relationships. Positivity is contagious. It radiates back to you.
- Nurture your body. Exercise regularly, eat a healthful diet, and sleep well. Feed yourself positive messages to interrupt thoughts on a downward spiral. Being an optimist is much like being an athlete. You must train for it. It takes energy, practice, and repetition to perfect your skill. And, even then, it takes more because perfection is always just beyond human reach.
Stop blaming your stiff back, high blood pressure, and other ailments on your age. Likely, it has more to do with your mind.