Do you remember the song Keep Your Sunny Side Up? That signature tune from the 1929 American musical movie Sunny Side Up, advises listeners in part to “Always look for the bright side, start the day on the right side; and keep your sunny side up!”
Even as the holidays approach that can be tough advice to follow. In fact, according to statistics, more than 40 percent of people feel exhausted and inadequate at holiday time. And to be honest, all of us can find ourselves down in the dumps at one time or another. But did you know that optimism can be learned at any age—and if you let it—it can have an astonishing influence on every part of your life?
But how would you go about putting positive thinking into practice? If you usually say, “I’ve never done it before,” you might say, “Now I can learn something new.” If you usually say, “This is too much change for me,” you could try, “I’m going to take a chance on this.” If you usually say, “No one ever talks to me,” how about, “I’m going to make that phone call today.” And here’s another easy idea. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else.
If you tend to look at the glass half empty, don’t expect to see it as half full immediately. But if you try to make just one small change every day, eventually the world may begin to look brighter and you’ll find that you will not only be less critical of yourself, you’ll also find yourself less critical of the world around you. Living optimistically is art—not a science—and staying positive—like negotiating, mentoring, or even learning how to play the piano must be practiced over time if you expect to get good at it.
While researchers continue to study the results that positive thinking and optimism can have, here are just some of the benefits that an optimistic attitude might have on your health. They include a longer life, less depression and stress, better overall health, both physical and mental, and improved skills to deal with the hard times.
Another idea that works is to spend time with others. Both psychologists and sociologists link happiness to strong social relationships so make sure to include that time on your calendar. Whether it’s a weekly card game, a book club, a volunteer group or a standing family dinner, improved social connections may even help combat cognitive decline and conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
And finally, always remember to count your blessings. The happiest people practice gratitude for life’s simple pleasures and find things for which to be thankful every day.
We at Summit are thankful for the faith that people have trusted us with as a place to seek the best of Independent Living and personalized Assisted Living and more recently in our new Memory Care Neighborhood that specializes in caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments.
As you continue on your life journey wherever it may take you, we invite you to visit in person at www.summitofuptown.com or call 847-825-1161 to find out more about programs, activities, services, and amenities at Summit of Uptown, which has been providing quality services for seniors for more than 30 years.