Cheerfulness helps maintain a sharp mind as we age. That was the uplifting conclusion from scientists at Northwestern University who monitored the emotional states and memory of aging adults over an extended period. Using a scientifically validated questionnaire, 991 middle-age and older adults reported on their emotional status in the previous 30 days on three separate occasions – spanning a 15-year period. In the latter two of the three assessments, the subjects also completed a series of memory performance tests.
The results? Although memory declined with age, subjects who reported a more cheerful emotional state – known in medicine as a “positive affect” – experienced significantly less memory decline over time. Ponder that… Simply by being more positive, we can reduce our risk of cognitive decline!
It is now firmly established that our thoughts and state of mind have profound and far-reaching effects on our health right down to the level of our DNA. Take home message – enjoy an abundance of holiday cheer throughout the New Year and beyond to keep your mind (and body) in good working order!