New research suggests that when we have a positive attitude about growing older, we’re much more resilient and less affected by the stress of everyday life.
The study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, invited 43 participants between the ages of 60-96 years old (39 of which were women) to keep a diary for 380 days. In it, participants were asked to record their everyday thoughts and experiences of aging.
The results were crystal clear.
Participants who reported feeling happy and lively as they aged, were less likely to be thrown off course by everyday hurdles, such as being in a disagreement with a friend or family member, or other home and health-related stressors. They also reported consistent levels of stress throughout the study period. Participants with a negative outlook on aging reported higher levels of psychological stress when confronted with similar everyday obstacles.
Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn, clinical psychologist and frequent contributor to Lifetime Daily, recently wrote about this very same subject, noting that, “Our thoughts and mood are intimately connected. When we’re loaded with negative thoughts, it can cause psychological distress, even depression and anxiety. It can also affect our physical health.”
To cultivate a more positive attitude, Gunn suggests using positive affirmations or mantras to shift your attitude and mood or pursuing goals that have personal significance, citing volunteer work and community service as activities that many people find fulfilling.
All of this adds to growing evidence that embracing our age and living with intention can have a positive impact on our health. In fact, our quality of life depends on it.