Saturday, June 4, 2016

Aging can be Productive

I read an online article by NPR that made sense; it asked “Could Thinking Positively about Aging Be the Secret of Health.”

The word ageism refers to discriminating against older people. Unfortunately, through our thoughts, we seniors are often our own worst discriminators.

Sometimes we watch too many commercials and magnify our own aches and pains, and that makes us feel sorry for ourselves. At times we respond to friends and relatives who tell us what we can or can’t do because of our age. We’re sometimes told we’re weak and dependent, and we begin to believe it.

It gets worse because when we believe what we hear we may become sedentary. That’s bad because a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a shorter lifespan.

Studies show negative thought patterns about aging can reduce a senior’s lifespan by as much as 7.5 years. In other words, by changing thought patterns seniors may live 7.5 years longer. Also, studies show those extra 7.5 years are usually productive.

Now, this doesn’t mean seniors live longer by sitting around thinking positive thoughts while drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and eating potato chips. It means adding positive thinking to a healthy lifestyle may help people live longer.

Moreover, those who have negative thoughts about aging are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, and the more negative the thoughts the more severe the Alzheimer’s.

Positive thinking seniors also tend to bounce back quicker from major health problems. 

Positive activities help stem the tide of negative thinking patterns. Plant a flower bed, go online or buy a cook book and add exotic meals to your menu. Read, even if you don’t think you like to read, read anyway. You may surprise yourself. Stories of any genre are online or at the library.

Watch movies on television, or online, and laugh yourself through an evening of Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, Lucy or Jack Benny DVD’s. Buy Lego blocks, or a puzzle, and set up your own self-entertainment center.

Visit elderly neighbors or find friends at the Villa, or Senior Center.

Challenge yourself and find your hidden interests. They may be hidden because you didn’t have time to pursue them when you were younger.

Whatever it takes give your life meaning. The life you extend may be your own.  

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