The Role Of Attitude In How Well You Age
Everyone has heard that a positive mental attitude is an important virtue to carry through life. Without a doubt, you will have heard the words chin up when faced with some sort of disaster. The likely response you felt at the time was annoyance; it was annoying advice that served no purpose whatsoever.
While that may be true, studies have found that being positive really does provide your emotional and physical health with a welcomed boost. The Mayo Clinic suggests that having a positive attitude reduces stress levels, thus has an impact on your overall well-being, and even increases lifespan (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950).
It may be common to experience negativity around getting older, but studies from Yale show just how important positivity is to enjoying a high quality of life throughout aging. In fact holding a positive attitude toward the prospect of aging can extend your lifespan by as much as 7.6 years (https://news.yale.edu/2002/07/29/thinking-positively-about-aging-extends-life-more-exercise-and-not-smoking). This is a greater gain than even being a non-smoker, maintaining body weight, and even exercising.
There has already been much said about how people who are negative tend to be at higher risk for dementia, which is another Yale University study (https://news.yale.edu/2015/12/07/negative-beliefs-about-aging-predict-alzheimer-s-disease-yale-led-study). People who experience negative thinking about aging tend to have an increase in neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. These are two conditions that are associated with the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s.
We are often guilty of thinking thoughts repetitively, telling ourselves that we’ll be more limited in our actions as we age or that we will start to get sick. When you repeatedly think negative thoughts, they start to become ingrained in your psyche. Then you unconsciously play these thoughts in the background to the point where you believe them to be true.
The Power of Change
It isn’t too late to rewire your brain, though. You can do so by repeating positive thoughts and focusing on positive aspects of your life. This doesn’t mean you will magically be happy all the time or that you won’t experience unpleasantness from time to time.
What it does mean is you will be better equipped to handle those negative experiences in life and come out the other side with your positive attitude still intact. You may not be able to control what life throws at you, but your response is totally within your power.
Here are some helpful reprogramming tips.
• Start On A Positive. It’s difficult to start the day positively when you feel exhausted, adjust your attitude by acknowledging everything you have to be grateful for. Set the tone for your day and make it a positive one.
• Change Your Thoughts. Your thoughts are more powerful than you give them credit for so start repeating positive affirmations to get your brain used to positivity.
• Surround Yourself With Positivity. Positivity is contagious so surround yourself with upbeat people who don’t let life get them down. Find uplifting music and movies, books, and TV shows that offer a positive message.
• Laugh. Laughter is great for improving memory, boosting the immune system, and lengthening your lifespan. So, learn to laugh at the challenges and difficulties of life, and most importantly stop taking yourself so seriously and learn to laugh a little at you, too. Positive people laugh easily, loudly, and heartily.
• Focus On The Good. There is always something to be grateful for, so start paying more attention to the silver linings in your life. Do you have a roof over your head? Food on the table? Are your basic needs being met? You’re already ahead of plenty of others out there and that may not make you feel better about other challenges you face, but it can help you break the cycle of negative thoughts.