Every March is Optimism Month, which can sometimes elicit some groans from folks who aren’t necessarily the optimistic type. It can help to gain a deeper understanding of optimism, because it’s a mindset that is often misunderstood. Working to have a more optimistic approach to life can only help your senior and you to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
A big misconception about optimism is that it’s blind and that it’s sugary sweet, down to its core. But really optimism is about hope and about having faith and confidence that good things are around the corner. Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring the bad things, it just means that someone hopes that things are going to get better. Being even a little more optimistic can help to reduce stress levels, which can have a healthy benefit overall.
Encourage Her to Start Journaling
One way your senior can explore optimism is to start journaling. First, she can start to see her current thought patterns. For instance, she might be more optimistic than she thinks she is. Even if she isn’t, though, she can start to recognize those thought patterns that aren’t so optimistic, and she can work on turning those thoughts around into something a little more positive.
Learn to Recognize Optimism Together
You and your senior can start to work together on your optimism. Talk with each other about what optimism looks like and start pointing out optimistic thoughts and words to each other as you each use them. This is something positive you can do together that gives you both big benefits.
Apply Optimism to Her Current Situations
Something else to consider is that optimism can help your elderly family member to deal with situations happening now that maybe don’t feel so optimistic. Her health may not be where she wants it to be or there may be other challenges she’s facing. Practice optimism together in talking about those situations and work together to determine what concrete steps she can take to give optimism a helping hand.
Optimism doesn’t mean that your senior is being unrealistic. In fact, it can help her to understand when tools and assistance would make a difference for her. Things like hiring elderly care providers may seem like a step backward to her, but when she approaches the idea from a position of optimism, she can start to see the very real benefits.