Friday, August 26, 2016

Optimism and Cognition, 2

Studies on adults ages sixty-five and older have provided some scientific endorsement of cognitive benefits associated with optimism. A national survey by the US National Institute of Aging linked an optimistic mindset about the future with better problem-solving abilities and fewer memory problems. Optimism is also associated with individuals taking better care of themselves, as well as to a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. Other studies have shown that gratitude is an antidote to fear, and fear can trigger downshifting of the brain and less ready access to some of the complex executive functions of the brain. According to Deepak Chopra, by adopting gratitude as your default position, you tell your brain that positive input far outweighs negative input. So if you want to hang onto your memory and other cognitive abilities, optimism and gratitude may be invaluable strategies. And because of the brain’s penchant for congruence, more optimism and gratitude tend to lead to higher levels of optimism and gratitude.

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