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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Start the new year on an optimistic note: 3 ways to create a positive attitude

The New Year creates an image of a clean slate. A chance for a fresh beginning. Even though it’s separated from the previous year by just a day, it seems to appeal to our senses that we can start anew.

Why not take advantage of this time of year and decide to create and maintain a positive attitude?

The advantages of an optimistic outlook on life

Seniors with a positive attitude can not only enjoy relief from stress but also improved overall health. It’s not that they escape difficult situations, but their approach allows them to better handle life’s challenges.

Research has found these additional benefits of thinking positively:

  • Increased life span

  • Lower rates of depression

  • Lower levels of distress

  • Greater resistance to the common cold

  • Better psychological and physical well-being

  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

How seniors can create a positive attitude

The Mayo Clinic offers these suggestions if you’re ready to build more hopeful expectations going forward. Begin with changing any negative thinking habits you may have developed.

Most of us have a running conversation with ourselves as we go about our day. Although these thoughts often remain unspoken, their impact can be significant. Try to notice if your self-talk is mostly positive or negative. If it’s generally more negative, consider these traits and take steps to eliminate those that describe you:

Filtering: You may be dismissing the positive elements of your life and magnifying the negative ones.

Personalizing: Do you always blame yourself when something bad happens?

Catastrophizing: This occurs when you anticipate the worst will happen and assume it will continue.

Polarizing: Ask yourself if you see only in terms of good or bad, with no middle ground. As an example, you either have to be perfect or you’re a failure.

As you begin eliminating negative thoughts, you’ll need something to replace them with. The following suggestions can help create seniors with positive attitudes:

1. Identify where you need to change

Look at areas in your life for where you see the most negativity. Is it in your personal life? At work or with your family relationships? Start with one area and consider how you can change your response to be more positive.

Remember to check in with yourself often when trying to change daily ingrained habits. These can be the most challenging as the behavior now seems natural. Try to pay attention as you go about your day to what you are thinking and whether it’s positive or negative. And then make the active effort to change your self-talk, if needed.

2. Commit to a healthy lifestyle

Taking care of both your physical and emotional self can do wonders for your outlook on life. It’s hard to be positive if you don’t feel healthy or at your best.

Exercising for 30 minutes a day can have a large impact on your mood and stress levels. And don’t underestimate the power of a healthy diet. What you eat not only provides your body’s fuel but can increase or decrease depression. Learning different ways to manage your stress can also greatly improve your overall attitude toward life and others.

And don’t forget to laugh. Sometimes the simpler things we do can make such a big difference. Being able to see the lighter side of life can rally your mood. Finding humor in your days or situations, even during those times when you really have to look for it, can help you feel less stressed.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

Negative people tend to adversely impact others rather than the other way around. It can be very difficult to implement positive changes if you’re constantly being reminded of how hard life can be or that it’s pointless. Look instead for others who share a more upbeat viewpoint and who will support you in finding yours.

Setting good habits will make these changes second nature and being around others who share these characteristics will reinforce your efforts. It may take time, but eventually you will notice the changes. Of course, any time we want to see real improvement, we must practice, practice and practice.

One great way for seniors to create a positive attitude is by not saying anything to themselves that they wouldn’t say to anyone else. We are often harder on ourselves than others. When practicing positive self-talk, be aware of any negative thoughts that slip in and try replacing them with what you’re thankful for or the compassionate characteristics that you possess.   

A few final words of advice for seniors searching for a positive attitude

Remember that you have more control over your emotions and moods than you might think. Even starting each day on a positive note can be the beginning of forming an optimistic attitude. Take time to discover what actions might work best when you wake up in the morning. Consider meditation or inspirational readings. Or just take a moment to look at all that is right in your world.  

Make sure that you’re living the life you want and deserve. It’s hard to be positive if your time is not being spent in a fulfilling way. If you haven’t yet, consider what type of retirement life you always wanted to have. If your days are filled with tasks or chores instead of meaningful or fun activities, see what you can do to change that.

Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Independent Living community

If you’re considering moving to an independent living community, we think you’ll find everything you need to live a positive and uplifting life at Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge. All the elements required for a fulfilling retirement can be found right outside of your front door.

Not only will you have the choice of an apartment or cottage home, but you’ll also have the opportunity to maintain your physical and cognitive health with our fitness center, amenities and activities. Along with our chef-prepared meals and social events to meet and make new friends, we believe you’ll find yourself surrounded by the best that life has to offer.

Please visit our website for more information or call (703) 420-7105 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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