Aging adults who are more positive and optimistic tend to enjoy healthier, more fulfilling lives than those who aren’t. Positive thinking benefits seniors in many ways, including stress reduction, improved immunity and a lower risk for heart disease. Based on a recent study, having a more positive outlook on life may even help the average senior live longer. If your aging parents are acting like a couple of “negative Nellies” right now, here’s how to help them develop a more positive attitude so they can enjoy life to the fullest.
How Positive Thinking Benefits Seniors
It’s easy for mom or dad to feel depressed for reasons like declining health, financial difficulties or the loss of a dear friend. On the other hand, researchers have found a correlation between how one perceives aging and life in general and their quality of life and longevity.
Having a positive outlook on life benefits the elderly in these ways:
- Makes them more resilient to illnesses and chronic diseases
- Reduces stress levels
- Heightens insight about life and spirituality
- More likely to exercise, eat right and avoid unhealthy habits
- Greater likelihood to participate in social activities
- Longer lifespan
If your parents are aging in place, staying positive and optimistic gives them a better chance of remaining independent for a longer period-of-time.
Positivity Tips for Older Adults
Just like anything else worthwhile in life, positive thinking takes practice. Here’s how help your aging parents cultivate positive attitudes:
Try mind-body exercises
Cleansing the mind of unhealthy thoughts is possible by participating in medicative forms of exercise like Yoga or Tai Chi. There are even Laughter Yoga classes now available that teach healthy mind-body deep breathing exercises for seniors. If your parents practice a certain religion encourage them to pray and meditate daily based on their faith.
Associate with positive thinkers
We all tend to be influenced by the company that we keep, and seniors are no exception. Associating with optimists as opposed to pessimists is a healthy way for your parents to practice positive thinking. Try to surround your loved ones with optimistic family members and friends. Moreover, encourage them to set boundaries when they are forced to spend time around negative people.
Volunteer in the community
Almost all communities need a variety of volunteers. Serving others at a hospital, food bank or cancer center is a great way for your parents to build self-esteem. It can also help them realize that their lives aren’t so bad. Volunteering will give them a reason to get up in the morning and out of the house as well.
Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a daily gratitude journal can be a powerful way for mom or dad to connect with their emotions and relieve stress. Even though the subject matter may vary slightly depending upon the day, using a journal to record what they’re most grateful for in life wi