Positive thinking makes for happy old people - Life

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Positive thinking makes for happy old people - Life
Positive thinking makes for happy old people - chicagotribune.com
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Positive thinking makes for happy old people
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Positive thinking makes for happy old people - chicagotribune.com
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-heb-positive-aging-201107...
Older people are, well, old. They are in declining health,
confronting death and may already be losing some of the
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people closest to them. So why do many seniors seem so
happy?
Research shows that the golden years are often the happiest.
The work by Dr. Laura Carstensen at Stanford, author of
the book "A Long Bright Future," lays out a lot of the
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polishing up those golden years
evidence for that theory. Now a new study shows how this
phenomenon takes place in the brain.
Topics
Happiness (state of mind)
Researchers in Germany used functional MRI brain scans
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to examine 22 young people (average age of 25) and 26
older volunteers (average age of 65). Their brains were
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scanned while they performed a cognitive task that included
totally irrelevant pictures of faces that were happy, sad,
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fearful or neutral.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Biological
Psychiatry, found that the elderly participants were more
distracted by the happy faces. This showed up in the brain
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with a strong signal in an area that controls emotions. The
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people with the strongest brain signal were those who were
ranked on a psychological assessment as having the
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greatest emotional stability. In other words, the brain seems
to prefer to engage in positive information later in life. But
that preference for positive experiences appears to rely on
sufficient cognitive resources. The findings may help explain the problems with regulating emotions
that are sometimes seen in older people with dementia or cognitive impairment.
Theories on one's emotional outlook during aging are beginning to coalesce. The research suggests
that older people prefer to be happy and focus on short-term rather than long-term goals as they
age. They also develop increased emotional control that enhances their happiness levels.
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"The lessons of healthy aging seem to be similar to those of resilience, throughout life," the editor of
Biological Psychiatry, Dr. John H. Krystal, said in a news release. "... when coping with extremely
stressful life challenges, it is critical to realistically appraise the situation but also to approach it with
a positive attitude."
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Positive thinking makes for happy old people - chicagotribune.com
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-heb-positive-aging-201107...
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