As you age, you may experience a myriad of health challenges, that can leave you physically weak and mentally drained. Many seniors find themselves discouraged and even depressed when they are in poor health. However, health and happiness are not mutually exclusive. You can have both! Here are a few tips on how to stay happy despite not being healthy.
There's a lot to be said for positive thinking and taking a practical, problem-solving approach to medical conditions that can otherwise feel overwhelming. In fact, Dr. Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard, says, "Your outlook—having a sense of optimism and purpose—seems to be predictive of health outcomes."
Kubzanksy has studied more than 6,000 people, focused on how emotional vitality affects their health. She has seen that positivity really does impact health. And she isn't the only one to see this trend. A study by the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement found that men and women who had expressed positive views of aging 23 years earlier lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with negative attitudes.
How to Develop a Positive Outlook
If you're not naturally optimistic (or don't see your health as something to celebrate), there's something to be said for going through the motions. Having a sense of purpose and responsibility goes a long way toward building emotional well-being.
Here are some things you can do to develop a positive outlook:
- Maintain your grooming and hygiene routine. Get up, get dressed, and plan to do something every day.
- Simply smile and laugh more often. Believe it or not, neither need be genuine to provide actual health benefits.
- Focus on the positive: Age is a number; by itself, it is meaningless. Think of your years in terms of the experiences you have had and the wisdom you have shared. Then realize that you're not done yet!
- Identify negative thinking and when you do, re-frame those thoughts. Recognizing problems is the first step in fixing them. If you're thinking, "I hate to go up and down these stairs," your next thought might be, "What can I do to limit the times I need to climb them each day?" and "I will start weight-training to help take a load off my knees!"
- Practice good posture. It not only improves blood and oxygen flow (which can make you feel better instantly) it also fosters better digestion, which is important for overall health.
- Socialize with others. Work to build and maintain friendships and social interactions. Countless studies have proven conclusively that socializing with others is good for our physical and mental well-being.
- Volunteering. Helping others is an activity that fulfills many of the "to-do" items listed above: it provides a sense of purpose and responsibility, encourages you to work with (socialize) with others, and also offers a chance to learn new things.
As you try to be happy during health challenges, know that support is available. Learn how Caring Senior Service can help you, by providing care for your senior, please contact us.