Channel Your Inner Pollyanna

Author: Michele Trice

| Published on: June,26 | Viewed: 2419 times


It seems you can’t look anywhere these days without seeing an advertisement for a new product to combat aging – a cream or a pill, some new promise to ward of the process or reverse the signs.

But studies show that one of the best things that can be done to make the aging process easier doesn’t come in a bottle or a jar. It can’t be purchased. It’s all in your attitude.

It seems that the Pollyanna attitude of yesteryear had some merit. Having a positive attitude toward aging can actually change the way a person ages.

Start Early

While adopting a positive attitude can be beneficial at any age, it seems that those individuals who hold positive feelings about age and about older individuals while in their youth (50 and younger) will have more successful responses to the aging process. This is possibly due to positive reinforcement.

It’s also possible that if you have a strong positive view of getting older, you may be more inclined to do things that will increase your potential of being healthier in your later years.

Such things include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Spending time engaging your mind

Proactive engagement in your future can positively impact how you view yourself and your potential enjoyment of your later years. Research has shown that a positive outlook can impact your projected lifespan by an additional 7.5 years.

Improve Your Health

A study done by the Yale School of Public Health in 2012 showed that patients who focus on positive thinking are 44 percent more likely to recover fully from various forms of disability than those who hold a more negative worldview.

“This is an impressive study in that it has a truly rich, longitudinal data set with very few gaps,” Terrence Murphy, a statistician on the survey said. “We think the results are very promising and encouraging and show that mindset may be associated with recovery in elderly patients.”

Pick Your Role Models

Dr. Becca Levy, who was associated with the Yale study above, has conducted multiple additional studies at Yale, including one that noted that different cultures and their attitudes toward aging are important to the individual’s attitudes.

In 2009, Levy did a research and published a study showing that Americans are often exposed to negative stereotypes of aging, even as children. Words such as “old” or “feeble” are often associated with people in their later years, and great amounts of money are put into attempting to not look one’s real age.

Levy found, however, in cultures such as in China, where the older generations are revered, the negative stereotypes are not as pronounced. Similarly, the negative health problems aren’t as pronounced either.

Take Aways?

So what does this all tell us? Positivity is good. And it can be catching. So we should spread it around.

Remember that your thinking can affect your body and your health. Think positive. Obviously, positive thinking won’t cure everything. You still have to take care of yourself. But do those basic things that you know are good for you, and do them with the idea that things will work out for the best.

And lastly, find a role model. Whether you’re 50 or 90, find someone you admire because of the attitude they bring to life and see if there are ways you can emulate that attitude. It’ll be good for you.

For more inspiring stories and advice on how to make the best of your golden years, visit the Seniorly Resource Center and search for articles by topic or keyword. 

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