Is a Positive Attitude The Secret to Aging Well?

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In a statement published today by the North Carolina State University we can learn that having a positive attitude about aging makes older adults more resilient when faced with stressful situations.

Jennifer Bellingtier, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of the paper explains:

We wanted to see whether attitudes toward aging could account for this disparity in research findings. In other words, are older adults with positive attitudes about aging more resilient than older adults with negative attitudes?

And the answer – according to their own research – is a resounding yes.

We found that people in the study who had more positive attitudes toward aging were more resilient in response to stress – meaning that there wasn’t a significant increase in negative emotions,” Bellingtier says. “Meanwhile, study participants with more negative attitudes toward aging showed a sharp increase in negative emotional affect on stressful days.

This tells us that the way we think about aging has very real consequences for how we respond to difficult situations when we’re older,” says Shevaun Neupert, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and senior author on the paper. “That affects our quality of life and may also have health ramifications. For example, more adverse emotional responses to stress have been associated with increased cardiovascular health risks.

So if you have been wanting to improve your chances of retiring happy and aging gracefully to fully take advantage of your golden years ahead – meditation and mindfulness might be just what you need.

For the original research and statement, click here.

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Ben Baker is the communication officer and content editor for the team here at Science of Zen. His interest in personal growth topics range from mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, performance psychology and natural health.