Think Positive About Aging

Think Positive About Aging

Are you worried about the aches and pains of getting old?  If you do, then don’t.  It could make you lose your mind.

Individuals who hold negative beliefs about aging are more likely to have brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new Yale University study.

Figuring out a way to think positive about growing old could be a good way to lower the rate of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the findings.  Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disorder that causes dementia in more than 5 million Americans.  The findings were published online Dec. 7 in the journal of Psychology and Aging.

“We believe it is the stress generated by the negative beliefs about aging that individuals sometimes internalize from society that can result in pathological brain changes,” said Becca Levy, associate professor of public health and of psychology.

“Although the findings are concerning, it is encouraging to realize that these negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact is not inevitable.”

Based on MRIs, the researchers found that long-time participants who held more negative beliefs about aging showed a greater decline in the volume of the hippo-campus, a part of the brain crucial to memory. Reduced hippo-campus volume is an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

Then researchers used brain autopsies to examine two other indicators of Alzheimer’s disease: Amyloid plaques, which are protein clusters that build up between brain cells; and neurofibrillary tangles, which are twisted strands of protein that build up within brain cells.

Participants holding more negative beliefs about aging had a significantly greater number of plaques and tangles. The age stereotypes were measured an average of 28 years before the plaques and tangles.

Time to adjust your attitude

So, for those who worry about getting up in years, it’s time for an attitude adjustment.  And for those who need help with positive thinking, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about taking care of the problem.

That’s where a trained wellness coach might come in.  Wellness coaches work with doctors and patients on an integrative approach to becoming healthy physically, mentally and spiritually — and staying that way.

The following two tabs change content below.
Working in the senior industry for the past 20+ years has been such rewarding experience. I've witnessed every walk of life from the rich and famous to the not so fortunate...Folks who were prepared for their future and those who are not. My hope is that your lives will be enriched from the supportive content here and that it will help enable you to "Embrace Life over 50!"