A very interesting discussion was on the radio a while ago and it grabbed my attention. It was all about ‘focusing on meaningful’ i.e. engage in pleasant experiences. Engagement reduces stress, increases happiness and is good for your mental health. Be active rather than passive. No matter what age and stage of life: Engage, take part rather than avoid.
This makes so much sense because when we engage in pleasant activities we enter into a mindfulness state. In other words we are experiencing life in the moment. 100 % of ourselves is engaged in the experience. We are in flow.
When people are angry, anxious, sad or overwhelmed they tend to dwell on the way that they are feeling which allows them to wallow in their pain. They focus on what they do not have rather than focusing on what they do have and on what they can do i.e. the ability to engage in enjoyable experiences.
Yes, you can shift your mood to positive by becoming task-focused or activity-focused. The engagement in the experience can transform your mood from a negative state to a more positive state (happy, content).
Research coming out on Alzheimer patients suggest that you might be able to halt the progression of the disease or improve the part of the brain that is functioning if the patients are engaged in pleasant experiences.
Just because an elderly person appears to be sitting still and not complaining that does not mean that they are ‘just fine’. Everyone – babies to elders, mentally and physically challenged to mentally and physically fit – needs time for engagement activities.
The researcher interviewed on the radio described how he took his elderly mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, to a local symphony. Within a short time, his mother began smiling and her finger was tapping her knee to the beat of the music.
Food for thought, eh!
Photo courtesy: Tony Alter