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Staying Positive Amidst Challenging Times

A key factor in aging well is embracing the power of positive thinking. Studies show that adults who have an optimistic outlook on life often enjoy longer, healthier lives. In fact, some research indicates optimism may extend your lifespan by as much as 15%.

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a year like no other. When we’re dealing with so much adversity, from the physical isolation caused by the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 to political bickering and fires, it might seem impossible to stay positive. While it’s easy to see why so many people are feeling down right now, changing your thoughts will likely give your spirit a boost.

In honor of World Smile Day, recognized on October 2, we have a few suggestions that may help you feel more upbeat amidst challenging times.

Power of Positive Thinking: 6 Ways to Boost Mood

  1. Begin on a positive note: When you first wake up in the morning, pause to remind yourself to think positively throughout the day ahead. Some people find it helps to read a joke every morning, while others prefer to start with a daily devotional. Whatever motivates you to smile and be mindful of your thoughts, make it part of your morning routine.
  2. Become a virtual volunteer: Research shows that volunteers, especially older adults who donate their time to a charitable organization, receive more than they give. While most older adults are trying to limit time spent in public places to protect against exposure to the coronavirus, there are virtual volunteer opportunities available. Check with your local United Way agency or the Virtual Volunteer page on Volunteer Match to explore your options.
  3. Cut the negative self-talk: You’ve likely heard the saying “What you think about, you bring about.” Experts say it’s definitely true when it comes to your outlook on life. When days are tough, however, it can be hard to keep your thoughts from drifting in a negative direction. It might help to adopt a word that reminds you to focus on the positive, such as “grateful” or “thankful.” When you catch yourself focusing on the worst, silently repeat your word over and over.
  4. Engage in mindful exercise: Some types of physical activity are known for teaching deep breathing and relaxation. This mindful centering helps manage worries and stress. The result is a healthier outlook. Pilates, tai chi, yoga, and swimming are a few to try. Meditation, while not a form of exercise, is another activity that yields good results.
  5. Take time to laugh: Enjoying a good laugh on a regular basis also nurtures the spirit. And it’s better when shared with friends and family. Watch an old comedic movie that you’ve enjoyed in the past. Indulge in a video chat with a friend who always makes you feel better. Adopt a cat from a local shelter.
  6. Document your gratitude: Finally, end your day by making a list of all the good you experienced. Even the smallest of things, like getting a great parking spot at the doctor’s office or hearing from a friend, should go on the list. By training your mind to focus on the positives in daily life, you can rewire how you look at the day.

If you are a senior living alone, the coronavirus may have you feeling isolated. It’s hard to stay positive when you are lonely, and the world seems a little uncertain. Now might be a good time to consider making a change. To learn why you might benefit from moving to an independent or assisted living community, read 4 Ways Senior Living Communities Prevent Isolation.

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