Determined to age well? Helping patients handle their mental and physical health can be a tough – but take to it with a sense of optimism. Recent studies show that in fact, optimism is exactly what it takes to keep the mind healthy and age well.
The pathways of the brain that influence successful aging are being mapped by scientists – and many studies have revealed that a positive outlook results in more emotional stability and control. These may strengthen the pathways and improve long term aging.
What areas it may affect: the rostral anterior cingulate cortex
Possible results: increased emotional control, minimizing stress, reduces negativity.
How to apply it to real life: learn to control more of your attention and focus. Research shows it may actually help you age more gracefully.
By contrast, pessimism and a negative focus may result in premature aging and poor health. Luckily, this mental plight can be fought with 3 simple tips:
Glass half full! Turn your focus to finding the positives in every situation. Finding proactive solutions to your problems rather than reacting to each one will empower you to face each problem.
Focus on the short term: Keep your eyes set on short term goals rather than the horizon. Long-term issues can resolve themselves with the completion of short term goals, and help reduce the harmful effects of stress – preventing future roadblocks and improving your overall ability to handle every problem that arises.
Stay realistic! Be realistic and focus on positive elements that are within your control. Negativity and feelings of being out of control will only limit your success. Make lists of clear evidence supporting your thoughts and concerns – but don’t make the evidence fit the case. If you need more information, try to discover the answer to the issue you may have identified rather than expecting to prove your suspicions.
Want to hear more on this subject? Check out this bulletin by SAMHSA to help identify mental health struggles in your aging patients as well as struggling youth. The ultimate result? Good mental health is ageless.