What dose senior’s emotional life look like, and why is it so important to take care of it?

A majority of people’s experiences leave their mark in the form of emotions. They work as a personal regulator, encouraging certain behaviors or even filtering one’s thoughts. It is much easier to notice something that will strengthen the negative mood then anything that could change it.

For that reason, the ability to distinguish between one’s emotions and regulate them is very important. This skill is practiced throughout life, so it may be assumed that it will be fully developed by middle age. Indeed, numerous researches seem to confirm this statement – elderly people find their emotional lives more stable compared to their youth. They describe themselves as less emotionalistic and claim that they are less likely to look for extra excitement.

Psychologists from Duke University took under examination people ranging in age from 20 to 83.  They called randomly chosen people every day, asking about their life satisfaction and current emotions on a scale from 1 to 5. It turned out that the oldest participants showed the most positive attitudes. On the other hand, in Jasielska’s research (2011) on the subject of emotional functioning of seniors, a tendency towards negative mood was noticed. People between the ages of 60 and 85 were considered for this experiment.

It is know that differences in results come from a variety of life experiences, material status, and character.

Emotions condition the way in which a person functions in the world. Seniors with a more positive mindset are more eager to take part in various activities. They show a friendlier attitude towards other people and are more satisfied with their lives. On the other side, those more likely to experience negative emotions are more conflictive, hostile, anxious or apathetic.

It is really easy to get stuck in a vicious cycle. If the elderly see their age in black and white, sadness and anxiety are what they feel. For this reason, they withdraw from daily activities and notice more and more confirmations that they are weak and useless. Negative emotions exacerbate, leading to depression, heart attacks, autoimmune diseases, and more. A key to health collapse prevention is thought analysis. One should write it down on paper and then answer two questions: “What confirms that my thoughts are correct?” and “Is there something that may prove me wrong?”. Next, it is very helpful to note a new, alternative and neutral statement. This exercise may seem really hard at first; that is why some assistance is priceless. While the senior’s negative perspective blinds him and does not let him see the good parts, the other person may point them out.