sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Embrace Your Dreams by Focusing on Optimism

By Noelle Nelson March 03, 2023 Mindset

At lunch the other day with a dear friend, it took me a second or so to remember something, and my friend said, “Remembering slows down with age,” as if that somehow made it all right for me to take a moment to access my mental file cabinet. I wanted to yell, “No! Don’t say that! You’ll make it so!”

I was both surprised and appalled at her comment, given what I know about how our persistent thoughts influence how we function. Research shows that what we think and feel has an observable, measurable impact on how we experience our lives, including both the quality of our lives and our very longevity.

Our brain and body are in constant communication via our neurotransmitters and hormones. If you say to yourself, as my friend commented, that “remembering slows down with age,” then your brain will respond with “as you wish,” and conform your experience to that thought, especially if it is habitual. Sure enough, you’ll find yourself forgetting more and remembering less as time goes on.

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Research has consistently shown that optimists, those with a hopeful and confident attitude toward the future, thrive in all ways. Optimists tend to be healthier, live longer, and be happier than pessimists.

Optimists do better in life, generally speaking, and – my favorite – actually tend to outperform their abilities. It’s all because optimists keep telling themselves that there is hope, that they can achieve their dreams, and that a good or better future exists.

Give Energy to Your Hopes and Dreams

It is so very important for us to give more energy to our hopes and dreams than we do to our fears and doubts. Our brains don’t just say “as you wish” to our anxieties and negative comments, our brains also say “as you wish” to our hopes and dreams, making it possible for our minds and bodies to bring those dreams to fruition.

Take Angela Alvarez, who, at 95, received an award for Best New Artist at the 23rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards.

This bears repeating: “Best New Artist” at 95.

Not a kudo for years of creating music. On the contrary, her award was for the first recording of songs Angela ever made, prompted by her grandson’s encouragement. Her children and grandchildren had listened to Angela’s original songs their whole lives.

Although Angela was discouraged by her father to pursue her musical passion, she nonetheless composed and played her songs for her family. Angela, who immigrated to the US from her native Cuba in the 1960s, is the oldest artist to ever win this award, something she never saw coming. Just to get a Latin Grammy nomination was a thrill, but to actually win – it simply confirmed Angela’s belief that it’s never too late to fulfill your dream.

Changing Your Perspective

What have you given up on? What have you told yourself you’re too old for? Or that you’re not talented enough, smart enough or strong enough to achieve? Whether you realize it or not, you, I, we are all wonderful in some way. All we need to do is be willing to accept that in some fashion we can fulfill our dreams. Even if it’s in a manner very different than what we originally planned at 20 or 30 or 40.

It doesn’t matter what your dream is – whether it’s to grow a vegetable garden, volunteer at a pet shelter, write a best-selling novel or learn Zumba. When you systematically orient your thoughts toward “anything is possible,” rather than toward systematically noticing what you can’t do, you join the legions of optimists who accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Your turn – welcome to making your dream come true!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What dream do you want to achieve? What self-talk habits do you have that get in the way of your dream? How could you change your self-talk to support your dream?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

One dream is to be able to pick up dropped stitches when I knit. I try to fix it and when it does twirl, I leave the project for months. You’re right! I will conquer the dreaded Dropped Stitch. With God’s help.


Judi, I think it’s good to set things that are frustrating aside at times and later RETURN to when in a better frame of mind. Perfect sense. I believe in you, that you will conquer the Dropped Stitch! I imagine you are creating something lovely. 💕


Negative self-talk a habit you can change.


Excellent article, thank you! Yes, stay positive and think positive thoughts, your body will thank you for it and your life will be so much better. I love saying positive affirmations, they really do work. You are so right – your brain listens to what you tell it, so tell it good things not negative thought.

Jan J

Thanks for this article, you make some interesting points. But let’s not confuse correlation with causation. This article seems to imply that being optimistic makes you healthier . It could be the other way around. Maybe the optimistic healthier people were optimistic because they didn’t have health problems

A Shively

Thanks Jan J for making this point. Although I found Dr. Nelson’s article inspiring, health problems and economic challenges can make a positive mindset far more challenging. I like the point about living YOUR best life, not comparing yourself to those who achieve in different ways. My friend just won medals in a big marathon; I’m wondering if I will be able to walk properly today – but I can overcome my challenges as she does hers.


Love this article! I’m constantly “preaching” a growth mindset mentality to my community and this embraces that! Thank you for this!

1 2 3

The Author

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, consultant and speaker. She is passionate about personal growth and happiness. She’s authored over a dozen books including The Longevity Secret: How to Live Happy, Healthy & Vibrant Into Your 70s, 80s, 90s and Beyond and Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes. Visit her at

You Might Also Like