How can positive psychology help seniors? Positive psychology is a popular buzzword these days. But it’s not just for kids! This growing body of research has discovered many important truths about human nature. Let’s discover some of these new developments, and find out how they apply to seniors.
What is positive psychology?
To put it simply, “positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living” (Csikszentmihalyi and Seligman, 2000). Positive psychology focuses on what we do well, instead of what we do poorly. It studies happiness, hope, and health from–you guessed it–a positive perspective, instead of focusing only on trauma and disorders.
Why is positive psychology important?
We are all chasing happiness. Pick up any magazine the next time you’re in line at the grocery store, and you will more than likely find articles focusing on happiness, joy, and health. These are topics that are extremely important to us. Positive psychology seeks to study what actually makes us happy, versus what we think will make us happy. If we don’t know what brings us joy, we will usually seek it in the ways that require least effort…i.e. food, shopping, alcohol, drugs, gambling, Netflix…whatever your “easy out” happens to be. We think eating the brownies will make us feel better, but in the long run, that’s just not the case. Studying the true science of happiness helps us gain more of it in more effective ways. And who doesn’t want more happiness?
So, what DOES make life worth living?
As it turns out, a lot of things! Here are just a few:
- We’ve learned a lot about money through positive psychology. Making more money doesn’t actually make us happier, and we are better off spending our money on experiences, rather than things.
- Gratitude is a huge part of happiness. Cultivating daily gratitude practices may help treat many mental illnesses, as well as just make us feel better.
- Physical affection (hugs, kisses, holding hands, etc) plays an important role in our brain chemistry.
- Serving others helps us as much as it helps those we are serving.
- Happy people spread happiness! Being around other happy people boosts our emotions, too.
How does positive psychology help seniors?
Good news: old dogs actually can learn new tricks. You are never too old to start applying the lessons we’ve learned from positive psychology. You can even start today! Try starting a gratitude journal, volunteering, spending more time with people you love, or re-allocate your finances. Your overall quality of life is likely to improve with these small, simple changes.
Stellar Living Communities are a great place to practice the science of happiness. With lots of ways to spend time with friends and opportunities to learn & grow, you’ll never run out of new ways to add joy to your life. Contact us to find out more about Stellar Living communities in your area.