“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” –George Bernard Shaw. Study after study has shown the power of a positive attitude and positive thinking, is no more powerful than as we age. Maintaining a positive attitude towards getting older leads to a longer and better life.
6 Amazing Ways a Positive Attitude Improves Aging
Here are six ways a positive attitude has been shown to improve our lives and mental health.
1. We Live Longer
Research shows that a positive attitude towards growing older leads to a longer life. One study found people with positive attitudes on aging lived seven-and-a-half years longer, all other things being equal. That’s double the impact of exercising regularly or maintaining a healthy weight. The better your view of aging is, the more healthy aging you will do.
2. We Age Slower
Optimistic people have better mobility as they age and are more likely to be able to perform their activities of daily living. The aging process for people that do not have negative attitudes about aging is a lot smoother as well. Studies show staying positive about aging limits the physical signs of aging.
3. We Age Better
Lots of research has found that we walk faster, think sharper, and remain more physically fit the more positive our outlook is. It’s like we’re all little engines that could – we think we can, we think we can. And then we can! Positive emotions can go a long way when it comes to older adults living a happy, healthy life.
4. We Are Much Healthier
It’s incredible how much our outlook on life affects our health. Numerous studies have found that people with a positive mindset have less coronary disease. In fact, in one study, even people who had a family history of heart disease but a thumbs-up outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack. Similar findings have involved a wide range of maladies like strokes and even brain tumors. Other studies reveal lower cholesterol, greater ability to fight off the common cold, and other benefits, just from keeping a smile on our face.
5. We Are Less Stressed
The more we look forward to getting older, the stronger our immune system is. Being positive about aging also increases our ability to ward off the physical and emotional toll of stressful situations. Research shows a positive attitude better protects us against the inflammatory damage of stress, compared to people with a negative outlook. We’re also less likely to suffer negative emotions in response to a stressful event if we start with a positive outlook.
6. We Bounce Back from Adversity Faster
Being positive isn’t a guarantee that only good things will happen to us. People with positive attitudes fall and break their hips, get hit by cars, and suffer cancer diagnoses just like everyone else. However, research has found that people who feel good about aging were significantly better at bouncing back from severe disability than those who don’t.
The evidence is pretty clear. Whether you think your later years are going to be great or miserable, you’re likely to be right. So, why not think positively about your life ahead and enjoy all the benefits?
Ways to Improve Positive Thinking
- Start a gratitude journal
- Speak positive affirmations out loud to yourself
- Practice meditation
- Make social connections with other positive thinkers
It pays off to think like an optimist. Always remember, positivity is a choice. While it may not always be easy, the more you practice positive thoughts and actions, the easier it will become. Building a proper foundation for an overall positive life can impact your physical, mental, and emotional health in ways you would never have imagined being possible.
Additional Reading: The Power of Positive Thinking – Johns Hopkins
Nye Health Services
Nye Health Services offers seven communities in Eastern Nebraska and Wyoming, structured to meet the needs of their residents from independent living to skilled nursing care. A family-owned company with a rich history of connecting with the people they serve, Nye Health Services is open for visits anytime. Call 402.753.1400 to schedule an appointment at locations in Fremont, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Norfolk, or Jackson Hole, or visit NyeHealthServices.com for more information.