According to pundits, a positive attitude is necessary for any sort of achievement.
“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results,” says the Red Sox’s Wade Boggs.
“A positive attitude may not solve all our problems but that is the only option we have if we want to get out of problems,” writes Subodh Gupta, author of Stress Management a Holistic Approach.
“Positive thinking is powerful thinking. If you want happiness, fulfillment, success and inner peace, start thinking you have the power to achieve those things. Focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results,” advocates producer and author Germany Kent.
Benefits of Positive Thinking
Researchers cite the benefits of positive thinking:
- Longer life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Less stress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Improved coping skills
Positive thinking has additional benefits for older adults. Seniors who hold a positive attitude about aging are more likely to recover from a disability and, one study concluded, lived an average of 7.6 years longer. Researchers posit that the recovery from disability occurs because a positive attitude limits the cardiovascular response to stress, improves balance, enhances self-esteem, and encourages healthy behaviors.
Positive Thinking Skills
Seniors are more likely to hold negative beliefs about aging, because our society perceives aging in a negative light. Seniors are more likely than the general population to experience depression, too.
For this reason, it’s especially important to encourage the senior in your life to maintain a positive attitude. Ways to do so include:
- Turn negative self-thinking around. For example, if your parent tends to think “I’ve never done that before,” help them change it to “This is an opportunity to learn something new.”
- Stay physically active. Physical activity prevents depression, which makes positive thinking easier. Take a walk with your parent or join an exercise class with them.
- Motivate them to learn. Many senior living communities offer classes, but if your parent still lives at home, you can sign them up for classes at a nearby college for minimal or no charge or encourage them to learn a new skill, such as photography or sewing or how to use their new tablet.
- Help them form social networks. Social support prevents depression, increases health, and enhances self-image, all important factors in positive thinking.
- Encourage them to develop a purpose in life. Many seniors lose their rationale for living upon retirement, which may lead to depression, a decrease in lifespan, and lower self-esteem. Volunteering, learning, and an active lifestyle can give meaning to life.
- Minimize stress. You may not think your parent has any stressors, but they do. Are they bored, lonely, afraid of change, or depressed? Find ways to help them handle stress, such as meditation, journaling or yoga.
- Surround them with a positive environment. It’s difficult to think positively in a negative environment.
- Be positive around them. If you’re negative, it’s difficult for them to be positive.
Learning to think positively isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Another way to encourage your parent to have a positive attitude is for you to learn the 4 stages of learning to think positively, developed at the Gordon Training International.
Stage 1: Learn that it’s possible to have power over your thoughts.
Stage 2: Learn that positive thinking can be learned.
Stage 3: Learn how to create a positive outlook for yourself.
Stage 4: Learn how to internalize positive thinking.
This will make it easier for you to encourage your parent to think positively.
The Arbors Encourages a Positive Outlook
As part of The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities’ emphasis on health and well-being, we’ve developed numerous programs to encourage positive thinking in residents. They include brain training, fitness classes, healthy diet, yoga, group outings, and spiritual ceremonies. Our team members are trained to observe and act on behaviors that may indicate the beginning of depression or decreased mental health.