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.
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.
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!
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?
Tags Finding Happiness
Yes this article gives me hope. I keep looking for the things I use to love. Trying to go forward in a positive way.
I sold two paintings last week. I’ve really only started devoting myself to art since I retired.
The second buyer bought my painting for her mother who collects art from all over the world.
She said, “ my mother loves this painting. You have an awesome talent and I think you’ll go far.” Inwardly, I grinned and thought, “ you better start running then Toni ‘cos you’re 66.”
I started violin lessons at 71. I played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for two years -learning and relearning correct postures and bow holds over and over…but my husband encouraged me. 4 years now, I can finally play ‘difficult’ pieces and considered by my Suzuki teacher an “advanced intermediate” …(and he’s a demanding Master violist/violinist having played and performed for 45 years.) I’m always amazed at the encouragement and support I receive from those even 50 years younger. when I first heard Schindler’s List and Ashokan Farewell , I decided to learn the violin. I can’t play Schindlers List yet but I can play Ashokan Farewell! Go for what you want and MAKE IT YOUR PERSONAL BEST! Don’t be afraid to be really bad at something even if you have to laugh at yourself .
I pull this attitude out and I’m good for a good amount of time. It’s taken me years to realize not only is it negative thoughts but there is a great amount of fear I wasn’t aware of.
Thank you for saying this!! I’m 65 and in a constant disagreement with others my age who continuously try to get me to accept “the reality of all things slowing down!” I’m trying to gain momentum as I am starting a new business!! I don’t want to slow down, that’s so depressing. I’m going to send them this article! Thanks again!!