Below, Seabury Resources for Aging welcomes guest blogger Jacob Edward from Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning as he discusses the benefits of positive thinking as you age. To find out more about how Seabury can support you and your family in making the right decisions as you age, visit our website SeaburyResources.org or call the Seabury InfoLine at 202.364.0020.
The other day, a friend of mine called me up to tell me she had finally gotten a promotion, the one she’s been trying to get for five years. For most of us, five years seems like a pretty long time to be working towards anything, but for her, positive thinking fortified her against the daily doldrums we all face. Research is constantly coming out stating that people with positive outlooks do achieve more. This is due, in part, to the idea that people are greatly influenced by their positive expectations. The same can be said for negative expectations. People who see desired results as attainable continue reaching for their goals. Conversely, people who see their dreams as unattainable withdraw before they even try. For my friend, she knew that she’d eventually get where she was going and the daily speed bumps and slow progress were all part of the process. If optimism doesn’t come to you naturally, read below for some more incentives to start your path towards positive thinking as you age.
Positive thinking leads to increased longevity:
According to numerous scientific reports optimists succeed in maintaining health and youth. Grandparents and parents everywhere have often said “if you keep frowning it’ll stick,” and there may be more wisdom to their words than originally thought. Increased positivity and a better attitude increase the body’s natural defenses and actually strengthens your immune system. Similar to how endorphins are released when you exercise, the steroid hormone cortisol is released when you are stressed, and positive thinking can actually decrease the amount of cortisol your body produces. Cortisol is useful when you are in a fight or flight situation, but high levels of the hormone are extremely damaging to the body. Cortisol can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, carbohydrate cravings leading to weight gain, and suppressed immunity. Beyond the psychology, positive thinking physically is the best way to deal with stress.
Higher levels of creativity, both personally and in the workplace:
When a person is optimistic they are able to imagine that their creativity has a purpose. Having a purpose oftentimes takes people to the next level. It allows people to create step by step goals, and with the completion of each goal, they are one step closer to the desired product. Pessimists, rather than seeing problems as solvable, many times give up preemptively before they have really given the problem a fair shot. Also, positive thinkers are more likely to take themselves out of their comfort zones and think outside of the box. This is especially important for problems that occur in the workplace because innovation is made by stepping out of bounds. The ability to cope with and push through difficult creative problems is extremely valuable.
Optimism allows people to be in the here and now:
This sounds hokey, but there is a great advantage for people who are able to understand the importance of living in the present moment. Rather than being mired down with fear of the future or regrets from the past, present-time awareness brings more fulfillment and increases self-esteem. People find fulfillment from their efforts reaching conclusion now, rather than in the far off future. Focusing your energy on what is happening in front of you allows you to shape the future you’re worried about. Living does not take place in some distant time, but in the day to day activities we sometimes take for granted.
These benefits all sound great, right? But you may be asking, ‘how in the world do I shift my outlook?’ Here’s how:
- Don’t compare yourself to others in a competitive way and try to accept that you are valuable as an individual.
- Try to find the good in situations, even ones that seem like they couldn’t get bleaker. For example, if you get a ticket while driving, rather than focusing on the money you owe, be thankful it was only a ticket and not a car accident.
- With the increase in endorphins, exercise is great both physically and mentally. Alongside exercise, try to improve your sleep schedule as well, because lack of sleep negatively affects your body in almost every way you can imagine.
- Set goals that are attainable. With the completion of small goals the larger ones won’t seem so unreachable. Also, completing goals adds an element of fulfillment to anyone’s life.
Jacob Edward is the manager of both Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Prime Medical allows seniors to stay independent longer by providing around the clock monitoring throughout the country. Senior Planning gives free assistance to seniors and their families, helping them navigate the complicated processes of long-term care planning.
From time-to-time we have guest bloggers post on our site. Although we welcome their thoughtful contributions, the views, opinions, and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Seabury Resources for Aging. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to errors, omissions, representations, or infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.