There are a number of different internal voices that can influence a senior’s mental life. To name two: there is the proud, positive voice which confidently takes ownership of past and current accomplishments. Then there is the negative voice which causes seniors to sink into a black hole of worry, doubt, insecurity, or hopelessness. The focus of this article is on the second of these voices because it has the most potential for negatively impact a senior’s mental life.
Researchers at University College London have studied the potential risks that negative thinking may have on seniors. Two hundred and ninety two adults (aged 55 and older) took a cognitive analysis that acted as a pre-evaluation for Alzheimer’s. The analysis also included assessments that tracked negative thinking by asking seniors questions about particular negative experiences. As a result, it was found that repeated negative thinking was closely associated with declines in cognition that are indicators of early Alzheimer’s. The potential for a senior to be affected negatively is real.
However, seniors have a say in the matter. Positivity is an option. That proud, positive voice is attainable, but it is the job of the senior to choose to hear this positive voice rather than the negative one. The goal should be to reduce negative thinking as much as possible.
Mindfulness training, meditation, or therapy can all be used to prevent negative thinking from destroying a senior’s mental life. By focusing on thoughts that contribute to a better mental life and by dealing with the root cause of negative thinking, it is possible to see a change in how a senior views themself and their circumstances. A medically-reviewed article gives a lot of practical tips on how to think more positively; from keeping a gratitude journal, laughing more, to practicing self-talk. The article even suggests writing down positive quotes or proverbs to look at throughout the day.
Although seniors experience a lot of adversity, focusing on the brighter side of both the past and future will help their mental life. Seniors don’t have to sink into the black hole of negativity. The positive voice can be embraced, but it must be embraced more strongly.
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By: Jonathan Reza
Office Support Specialist at WellPath Partners
B.S. in Philosophy at University of Redlands
M.A. candidate in Philosophy at California State University, Long Beach