“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 about aging 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 toward 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 healthier you will be as you age.

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 older people who 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. Studies also suggest that a positive attitude about aging can even protect against cognitive decline and reverse memory loss.

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 happier, healthier, and more physically active.

4. We Are Much Healthier

It’s incredible how much our outlook on life affects our health and ability to live a healthy lifestyle. 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

Erase negative thoughts and improve your quality of life by following these helpful tips to improve positive thinking.

  • Start a gratitude journal
  • Speak positive affirmations out loud to yourself
  • Practice meditation
  • Stay connected and communicate 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 possible.

Tips for Caregivers: Supporting Positive Aging

As a caregiver for an older adult, your role extends beyond just meeting their physical needs; you also play a crucial part in nurturing their emotional well-being and supporting their overall quality of life. Here are some practical tips to help you foster a positive attitude in the seniors under your care:

  • Encourage Independence
  • Promote Social Connections
  • Listen with Empathy
  • Focus on Positivity
  • Celebrate Milestones
  • Provide Opportunities for Learning and Growth
  • Practice Patience and Flexibility
  • Offer Physical Comfort
  • Seek Support for Yourself
  • Lead by Example

By implementing these tips and strategies, you can play a vital role in promoting a positive attitude and enhancing the overall quality of life for the older adults under your care.

6 Ways to Improve your Quality of Life as you Age

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.