Trying to stay positive right now can feel like trying to keep dry in a hurricane. We’re surrounded by a storm of negativity, especially when it comes to the media.
There’s the raging coronavirus pandemic and the relentless gloom-and-doom coverage. Don’t forget the ongoing civil unrest around the nation. And of course, an election year that’s already turning into the nastiest ever.
But it’s high time we try to turn it all down and tune it all out. In fact, I propose we bring back the old “power of positive thinking” that was in fashion way back when.
Because it turns out it’s not just a matter of keeping SANE in an INSANE world. New research reveals how an attitude change just might hold the key to saving your brain from cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
A bad attitude could be harming your brain health
Negative thoughts have a way of eating away at you, don’t they? You can almost feel them GNAWING at you from the inside.
Well, surprisingly, researchers say that IS kind of what’s really happening. Because that bad attitude basically eats away at your brain, leaving behind damaged proteins.
In the new study, brain scans found that people who had a long-term pattern of repetitive negative thinking had higher tau and beta-amyloid levels. That’s damage in the brain that leads to memory loss, cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
But this wasn’t just something that turned up on a brain scan. It had real-world effects, too. The folks with the pattern of negative thoughts suffered from worse cognitive decline and more memory loss over four years than those with a sunnier outlook.
In other words, it could be setting the stage for Alzheimer’s
Drive down Alzheimer’s risk with a positive outlook
So HOW can you stay positive?
I know it’s easier to say it than to do it. There’s no pill for it. And if there was, would you really want to take it? After all, who is to say good feelings ARE actually good if they’re artificially induced.
Besides, you can get the real deal instead. Because there are ways to reset your frame of mind, chase out the bad thoughts, and replace them with good ones.
Or, at the very least, put life’s “big” problems into perspective, so they’re not as big as they once seemed.
A lot of experts suggest meditation. And don’t worry, we’re not talking about lighting scented candles and chanting a mantra here. Well, unless you’re into that… and then, by all means, go right ahead.
Meditation takes many forms, including silent contemplation, and even the oldest form of meditation of all… PRAYER. For many folks, just a few minutes spent in God’s company can help lift the spirit and burn off the negativity. And that, in turn, could help reduce your risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you need a little more help, church groups are another great form of self-therapy – even if they’re more likely to meet online than in person these days. Exercise, hobbies, and group activities – even if they have to be “virtual” for now – can also do the trick. I even found free live online crafting workshops when I looked.
And for an extra boost, don’t forget the simple things in life. Put on your favorite music … have a cup of tea (or in my case coffee) … and call a friend who makes you laugh. You’ll find yourself feeling more positive in no time. And as your mood RISES, your Alzheimer’s risk will DROP.