In Lifestyle

Positive Aging and Mindset:

How to cultivate a healthy mindset and purposeful life.

Famed football coach Lou Holtz once said that “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude,” a sentiment that can apply to embracing the natural aging process. Although new challenges will present themselves, it’s important to choose a favorable outlook whenever you can. That, combined with finding meaning in your everyday purpose, might just be the secret to living a longer and happier life.

So how do you cultivate a positive mindset? Experts offer a few simple strategies to train your brain to look on the bright side. The practice of gratitude appears to be the answer for lifting spirits according to several research studies. Dr. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, says gratitude is linked “…to a host of psychological, physical, and social benefits: stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, more feelings of joy, and a greater sense of social connection, among many others.” He writes that “…people who live a life of pervasive thankfulness really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not feeling grateful.”

A Harvard Health article outlined several, easy ways to incorporate more gratitude into everyday life. These include:

  • writing thank you notes
  • thanking someone mentally
  • keeping a gratitude journal
  • counting your blessings
  • prayer
  • meditation

The practice of gratitude also builds on itself. Researchers Joshua Brown, Ph.D, and Joel Wong, Ph.D., studied the practice of writing gratitude notes. Their findings “suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time.” That means small efforts to practice thankfulness now will continue to build and can contribute to a positive mindset over time.

Along with a gratitude practice, finding a purpose and sense of fulfillment can encourage a positive mindset. People of all ages who feel they have a mission or reason for being, live longer, healthier and happier lives. A study published in JAMA Current Open found that a stronger purpose in life was associated with lower all-cause mortality, and the association  appears more significant than other contextual factors, such as wealth level, gender, race or education. In addition, the lack of a purpose is more powerful as a risk factor for mortality than drinking, smoking or exercising consistently.

One of the best ways to find a purpose is to participate in regular activities that bring you joy, such as recreation or enrichment classes, robust relationships or a spiritual practice. Activities or practices in a group setting can foster connections, which provide extra reinforcement for the good feelings associated with the activity. Finding purpose and meaning can be a spiritual exercise as you discern your next steps and ponder what you might be called upon to do next. Setting aside time each day for prayer or meditation can help attune your mind for answers.

For those who appreciate efficiency, creating a gratitude practice can serve as both a way to cultivate a positive mindset and to give purpose to your day. Start with one of the listed suggestions to include more thankfulness in your day. Make it a habit and note how your mood may improve. Also, keep track of how your gratitude efforts may give your everyday life more meaning. Seeking opportunities for gratitude and purpose is scientifically proven to improve your mindset, and that’s a secret to aging that’s worth sharing!

Discover Your Best Life at Beacon Hill at Eastgate



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Recent Posts
Please fill out this form to REGISTER.
Please fill out this application.