Positive thinking 'can help older people lead healthier lives'

26 October 2012

Older people who have a positive outlook on life could see their optimism rewarded by being at a lower risk of ill health.

This is the main finding of a study conducted at the Centre for Research in Human Development in Concordia, which revealed that appreciating the finer things in life can help elderly citizens to change their negative health issues.

In order to reach this conclusion, the researchers tracked 122 senior citizens over a six-year period and asked them to rate such statements as "Even if my health is in very difficult condition, I can find something positive in life," or "When I find it impossible to overcome a health problem, I try not to blame myself".

The results showed that lonely older adults who displayed instances of positive thinking could protect their bodies from a rise in cortisol secretion.

Carsten Wrosch, a professor in Concordia's Department of Psychology and the study's co-author, reflected: "Older adults can be taught through counselling or therapy to engage in self-protective thoughts like staying positive when it comes to their own health.

"That means a better quality of life, both physically and mentally, something we all want at any age."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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