16 May 2012

POSITIVE AGEING: Challenge your negativity

Negativity is also termed as pessimism. It is a way of approaching the world with pessimism. A person with negative attitude towards life assumes that whatever happens is somehow, will take away one’s well-being, peace of mind or life satisfaction. Negativity relates not only about the future but also how one appraises the past and present. In other words it is an individual’s biased and selective belief structure that influences his perception of peoples, situations and even his life events, (past, present and future events).Negativity in old age, like rigidity, is maladaptive style of life. Negativity leads to distress when such a person remembers about his past. The negative person’s ability to be affirmative about life-events, persons etc., diminishes. It is a serious barrier to positive ageing. It is true that a person can’t be 100 per cent positive or negative.  But a person who is primarily negative about himself or herself, his or her   rational approach towards people and situations is lost. Negativity creates false fear and impotence. Person starts thinking that nothing can be done to change the situation.

“Mr. R.P., 62yrs of age, just retired from government job, had problem throughout his life had problems, big or small, due to his negative approach. He did not have happy married life and was frequently transferred from one place to another. Had very few friends, some of his very close friends and relatives advised him to overcome his negative approach and advised him to see good part of things. He always replied to them that he does not know what the good things are.”  Mr. R.P. used to see things with pessimism. One’s someone develops such attitude then it influences all the aspects of life.

One of the important causes of suffering in old age is elderly’s negative attitude. This attitude creates maladjustment. Person fails to cope with the difficult life situations.  In a normal person or a person having positive attitude suffering promotes greater meaning and understanding about one’s life situations. He fights the situation and this fight generates courage. He finds out ways and means to combat the problem of life. On the other hand person with negative attitude will use escapes as defense mechanism.

Although changing negative approach or orientation into positive attitude is very difficult. The goal of transforming negativity is not to change the entire set of individual’s assumptions about the world. The purpose of this transformation is to suggest alternative ways to his negative approach. The benefits of optimistic world view will certainly engage him in positive thinking.


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