Written by Jenny Smiechowski, staff writer for The Birches
Mark Twain once said: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” There’s more truth to this saying than you might realize.
Research shows that how well you age depends on what you think about aging. Do you think getting older is awful? That poor health is inevitable as you age? That all older people are frail? Then there’s a chance you’ll create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A 2017 study from the University of Michigan found that couples who view aging negatively end up less healthy and less mobile than couples who take a more positive view of aging. And a 2015 study from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that people with negative beliefs about aging are more likely to experience brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Looking at aging in a positive light, on the other hand, can help you stay healthy and happy as you age. A 2018 study from Yale University showed that people with a genetic tendency toward Alzheimer’s who held positive beliefs about aging were 50 percent less likely to develop the disease than people with negative beliefs about aging.
Research also shows that adopting a happy, optimistic outlook about life in general can relieve stress, support your immune system, prevent depression, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help you live longer.
So what are you waiting for? Why not use positive thinking to age better? And why not start today?
Changing your beliefs about life in general and aging in particular isn’t easy. Especially if you’ve held these beliefs for years…or even decades. But it is possible to shift your perspective with determination and diligence. Start by:
Above all else, always remember: negativity is a choice. Choose not to waste your mental and emotional energy on negativity when it won’t give you anything useful in return. In fact, it will most likely take things away from you, like your health and longevity. And who needs that?
“Successful Aging at Home” is a blog series that helps you stay engaged socially, intellectually, physically and spiritually, so you can age healthfully and successfully. Click “follow” at the top of this post to subscribe to our blog and receive more helpful successful aging tips.