Senior Living Blog

In Challenging Times, Accentuate the Positive

January 20, 2022

“Eliminate the negative … latch on to the affirmative…” The lyrics to that old song come in handy these days. If you’re like most people, you’re spending a certain amount of time fretting. Given what’s going on in the world right now, that’s understandable. But what if you can’t stop the bad thoughts that are going through your mind?

Experts say it’s possible to restructure our thought patterns. The first step could be to talk to your healthcare provider, who can recommend a therapist or other mental health professional.

The National Institutes of Health offers these self-care tips which also can improve our thought patterns and all-around mental health:

Stay positive. Work on a balance between positive and negative emotions. Staying positive doesn’t mean that you never feel negative emotions, such as sadness or anger. You need to feel them so that you can move through difficult situations. They can help you to respond to a problem. But you don’t want those emotions to take over. It’s not helpful to dwell on bad things that happened in the past or worry too much about the future.

Try to hold on to the positive emotions when you have them. And take a break from negative information. Know when to stop watching or reading the news. Use social media to reach out for support and feel connected to others, but don’t fall for rumors, get into arguments, or compare your life negatively to others.

Practice gratitude. This can help you see life differently. Make a point of noticing things you’re thankful for. Some people find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal where they write down the things – big and small – that they are grateful for every day.

Take care of your physical health. Physical and mental health are connected, so get plenty of exercise, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet that includes all the nutrients you need.

Connect with others. Strong, healthy relationships with others can improve our attitude. This could include spending time with family and friends, volunteering, or joining clubs and other groups. (These days a lot of this socializing happens online. Ask for help from family and friends if you need assistance setting up video chatting or email.)

Develop coping techniques. A skilled therapist or support group can help. Many people also find their attitude is more positive if they practice meditation, which is a mind and body practice where you learn to focus your attention and awareness.

Source: IlluminAge AgeWise

Categories: Healthy Aging