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Expecting a Stressful Day May Lower Cognitive Abilities Throughout the Day

Penn State researchers have found that stress can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if you expect it to be a part of your day. Not only that, their study showed that those who expected stress — and subsequently got the stress they expected — also experienced dysfunction in their working memory. Researchers said this shows the importance of having a positive mindset from the moment you wake up.

The power of positive thinking and how our attitude affects our daily routine and health is amazing. It’s a science, really, but luckily it’s a science you can master if you put your mind to it, so to speak. If you can train yourself to do this, your positive thoughts can result in more than just a better working cognitive memory; they can also prompt changes in your body that strengthen your immune system, decrease pain and chronic disease and — yes — provide stress relief.

It doesn’t matter what your age is, either, even if you’re well into your senior years. In fact, studies show that older individuals who report positive self-perceptions of aging itself lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions on getting older. In other words, age is largely a state of mind.

Meanwhile, another study found that older people with positive stereotypes about aging were 44 percent more likely to fully recover from severe disability than those with negative age stereotypes. Positive attitude may promote recovery from disability via several pathways, according to the study:

  • Limiting cardiovascular response to stress
  • Improving physical balance
  • Enhancing self-efficacy
  • Increasing healthy behaviors

The mind-body connection is also highlighted in research showing the importance of maintaining a sense of purpose in your life as you age. If you want to feel young and enjoy your life well into old age, adopt the mantra to not act your age, and choose to be happy.

If you need help finding ways to deal with stress, I believe meditation practice can be an important part of health and well-being. Meditation not only is a powerful means of relaxing, but also useful for addressing anxiety, managing pain, preventing disease and relieving stress.

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