- Find the humor: Shared laughter strengthens social bonds and rewards your brain with dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Be intentional about finding at least one opportunity a day to share a laugh with someone else, even if it is on you!
- Shift your perspective: In heeding recommendations for staying safe and doing the same for those in our care, we run the risk of over-focusing on all the possible risks and ruminating on all the bad that could happen. This is a “scarcity mindset,” which makes one feel trapped and diminishes the fact that much is still possible. Instead, practice an “abundance mindset” by considering new ways to do your favorite old things at whatever level is still possible. Reframing the possibilities can strengthen and grow our brain’s neural connections.
- Journal a daily victory: Is your mind in a whirl? Give journaling a try; it slows us down just enough to help us focus and reflect. And when we pause, we reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Here is a prompt to get started: What moments of joy, sadness, frustration, peace, loss or celebration have you shared? A victory of shared emotions could be as simple as finally getting out of bed, smelling a flower, listening to birds sing, eating 5 bites, enjoying ice cream, feeling like talking to an old friend, etc. This activity reinforces the brain’s preferential bias for the positive – especially as we age.
An Abundance Mindset for Care Partners
Dr. Sandra Chapman
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Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD
Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project