ADVERTISING FEATURE: Staying positive really helps

PERCEPTION IS REALITY: Studies show practising mindfulness can have practical benefits to your health.
PERCEPTION IS REALITY: Studies show practising mindfulness can have practical benefits to your health.

Happy, positive, optimistic thinking not only makes your life more enjoyable and fulfilling, it can have a big influence on your health and wellbeing.  Benefits may include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Better psychological and physical well-being

An interesting study found that older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of ageing, lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of ageing.

Sue Mann Nursing & Community Care has developed a list of things you can do to build and strengthen a happy, positive mindset.

Habit 1. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Possibly the most potent thing you can do for your happiness is having an attitude of gratitude. Interesting things start happening when you identify what you’re grateful for.

Your brain starts activating and producing powerful neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which many have called “the neurochemicals of happiness”.

What to do:

  • Get yourself a journal (it can be a fancy, leather bound book, a writing pad or even a file on your computer).
  • Every day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Pay special attention to the small things. Your morning coffee, the smell of rain, the feel of the grass under your feet, the cheeky smile of your grandchild, a visit from family or friends.

Habit 2. Focus on Family, Friends and Social Engagements

Not only will it make you happier it could help you live longer.

What to do:

  • Spend more quality time with family and friends – skype and facetime are good ways to keep in contact if they are not close by
  • If you’re not a member of any social clubs, think about joining one or taking up a new hobby.
  • Send more letters and emails to people. If you can, try to send a message a day. This will not only make you feel great, it will make them feel great too.

Habit 3. Exercise Regularly 

Not only is exercise good for your body and your health over the long term, it can have an immediate boost on your mood and wellbeing by increasing serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters.

What to do:

Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day. It can be going for a walk, dancing or any number of other possibilities. Be sure to check with your doctor first about what is suitable for you.

You can also speak to an Allied Health professional like an Exercise Physiologist for advice on different types of exercise.

Even if you find it difficult to leave the house, there are many options that will leave you feeling great.

Habit 4. Practice Meditation or Mindfulness

The practice goes back thousands of years, but recent studies have shown some pretty amazing benefits to meditation. Meditation has been shown that it can increase your overall happiness and sense of wellbeing, decrease anxiety and fear, lower stress hormones and much, much more.  

What to do:

  • Try meditating each day. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time or can’t sit still for 30 minutes. Even 5 minutes a day has been shown to produce results.
  • You do a search for mediation apps for your smart phone, or search for a meditation on YouTube to help you get started.

Habit 5. Set Goals

Do you have a written list of goals? Having goals can give you a sense of purpose and has been shown to increase wellbeing. On top of that, each time you set and achieve a goal, your brain releases dopamine (the same neurochemical we spoke about above).

What to do:

  • Make a list of some goals you would like to achieve. Combine some simple, easier to achieve goals that you can tick off today or tomorrow with some longer-term ones. This way you can experience the feeling of achievement right now, along with the deeper sense of purpose that comes from longer term goals.

 If you’d like some further tips, help around the house, in-home nursing care or want someone to speak with about support services in your home, call Sue Mann Nursing & Community Care on 1300 241 300. 

Sue Mann Nursing & Community Care has more than 30 years of experience helping improve the quality of life of the elderly. From the Hunter and Newcastle, to the Central Coast and Upper Sydney, they can help bring more security, mobility and independence to your life and support you living in your own home for longer.