The Power of Positivity for Cognitive Recovery

The power of positivity cannot be underestimated as a valuable tool to help people worry less, embrace joyful moments, and fulfill their potential.   Thinking positively about aging has also been found in a recent study to help seniors with mild cognitive impairment to recover more memory than those who think negatively. 

According to a recent JAMA Open Network article, research findings based on data from the National Health and Retirement Study and produced by the Yale School of Public Health, show that positive age beliefs can contribute to mild cognitive impairment recovery.  The study involved 1,716 participants over the age of 65, and those who fell into the positive age-belief group were also less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment over the 12-year study period than seniors with a negative age-belief. 

Regardless of baseline age or physical health, study participants in the positive group were more likely to recover from MCI and less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.  Researchers suggest that older adults who hold a positive attitude about aging experience less stress caused by cognitive challenges and have greater confidence, helping to boost their cognitive performance.  Cultivating a positive mindset about aging, and busting stereotypes, can have a significant impact on healthy aging and cognition. 

Although nearly 40 percent of older adults will experience some form of memory loss, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, most will be able to function in their daily lives without impediments.  A smaller percentage of seniors will have dementia – the World Health Organization estimates that 5 to 8 percent of people over 60 will develop dementia at some point with memory loss severe enough to affect their daily life and ability to learn new things, complete familiar tasks and adhere to a normal routine.  Talk with your doctor if you or your loved ones are noticing significant changes in your abilities. Hang on to that positivity!