The Power of Positivity

Facing the multitudes of tragedies and challenges in today’s world, it can be difficult to muster any sense of gratitude, joy or contentment.  Older adults however have the benefit of years of experience that can help them find the silver linings, and develop resilience to life’s many stressors.  Besides creating a space for greater life satisfaction, cultivating a positive mindset has also been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular events in people with a family of heart disease. 

According to a recent AARP Home & Family report, the TikTok “Lucky Girl Syndrome” self-help craze is a modern take on self-help movements like “The Power of Positive Thinking” in which people are called to remind themselves they are lucky and good things are coming their way.  While luck may not solve all life’s problems, keeping a positive and optimistic attitude can shift our mindset to help us be on the lookout for situations and events that confirm our belief in the bright side. 

Our brains are best primed to hold on to information as we wake in the morning – the ideal time to set a positive intention for the day.  Because people tend to experience what they expect, believing things will work out for the best and good things will come can influence our daily encounters. 

Instead of focusing solely on luck, individuals can shift their outlook to become more positive by practicing a few daily habits that reinforce an optimistic mindset.  

  • Write down things you are grateful for and what you look forward to the next day. 
  • Spend time with friends and family that provide a lift – make you feel good. 
  • Move your body each day in a way that feels good. 
  • Make time to eat nutritious meals. 
  • Spend time outdoors in nature and take in some daily sunshine(if possible).

With practice, people can learn to experience setbacks like the loss of a job, or a love interest, as an opportunity for personal growth and a new direction.  Although a positive mindset can be an enormously useful tool in creating a more joyful life, individuals who experience persistent symptoms of depression or anxiety can find help and treatment by reaching out to a mental health professional.  Denying or suppressing emotions rather than dealing with them can lead to signs of “toxic positivity” like guilt for feeling angry or sad, dismissing others’ difficult feelings, hiding painful emotions or ignoring your problems.  Learn more at VeryWellMind.