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Optimism towards Aging Found to Combat Stress

A small research has revealed that optimistic outlook towards growing age can be helpful in combating stress among senior citizens. Jennifer Bellingtier, the study author and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, stated that those study participants who adopted an optimistic approach towards aging were able to give more supple reactions to stress. This implies that the increase in pessimistic thoughts was trivial, added Bellingtier in a university press release. On the contrary, those people in the research, who were more pessimistic towards increasing age, displayed a drastic increase in negative emotional impact during tensed days. The research involved an analysis of 43 people, all of whom were between the age of 60 and 96 years. The study progressed with questioning participants over their approach towards increasing age. Subsequently, they were asked to fill questionnaires every day over eight consecutive days. The queries entailed in the questionnaire pertained to the levels of stress, panic, bad temper or grief.

This tells us that the way we think about aging has very real consequences for how we respond to difficult situations when we’re older. That affects our quality of life and may also have health ramifications , said Shevaun Neupert, the senior author of the study and an Associate Professor of Psychology at the university. She elucidated with an example of increased negative emotional reactions to tense situations being related to elevated risk to cardiovascular health.

However, giving a clarification, Bellingtier stated that the outcomes of the research are most probably relevant only to other Americans. However, it is still ambiguous whether the outcomes could be generalized over other cultures as well. She noted that the outlook of people towards increase in age is extremely different across various cultures. Therefore, further studies would be required to understand the significance of approach towards aging in other cultures. A report published in Psych Central revealed, “Older adults who keep a positive attitude about aging are more resilient when faced with stressful situations, according to a new study at North Carolina State University.”

“We wanted to see whether attitudes toward aging could account for this disparity in research findings. In other words, are older adults with positive attitudes about aging more resilient than older adults with negative attitudes?”

“We found that people in the study who had more positive attitudes toward aging were more resilient in response to stress, meaning that there wasn’t a significant increase in negative emotions,” Bellingtier says. “Meanwhile, study participants with more negative attitudes toward aging showed a sharp increase in negative emotional affect on stressful days.”

According to a report in CBS NEWS by Robert Preidt, “The study included 43 people, aged 60 to 96. The participants were asked how they felt about aging and then completed a daily questionnaire for eight straight days. The questionnaire asked about levels of stress, fear, irritability or distress.”

According to study senior author Shevaun Neupert, “This tells us that the way we think about aging has very real consequences for how we respond to difficult situations when we’re older. That affects our quality of life and may also have health ramifications.” Neupert is an associate professor of psychology at the university.

“Attitudes toward aging vary widely across cultures, and more work would need to be done to determine the importance of aging attitudes in other settings,” she said.

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