Archive for the ‘Challenge of Aging’ Tag

Why being young at heart works. Is there a science behind it?   1 comment

shutterstock_164195771 - Copy (2)Thank you to Sarah Marinos of body+soul at the Courier-Mail, for writing an article recently on the health benefits of thinking and acting younger – “Why being young at heart works“. Amongst the myriad of ads by the pharmaceutical companies, this article was unexpectedly thought-provoking and brought to my attention the work of Dr Ellen Langer, Harvard University psychologist and scientific investigator who conducted a landmark experiment 30 years ago where she had seniors live in a secluded monastery as though it were 1959. The results were surprising. After a week of living as though they were younger men, the pensioners were more flexible, had better hearing and memory and felt stronger. And they also looked younger.

This experiment was the forerunner of the British ABC’s TV program, the Young Ones that I recommended in a previous blog post, “Could it be that we all have the power to think ourselves young again?”

Langer has studied the way our mind influences our body and appearance and is the person who coined the word ‘mindfulness’. “When people are taught to be mindful in a fashion very different from meditation, they become more creative, healthier, and happier”, she wrote.

In Langer’s book, counterclockwise:  Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, she reminds readers that many definitive-sounding medical diagnoses are in fact best guesses. In a sense, this is a book about the limits of empirical knowledge. But as Langer sees it, the ambiguity that inevitably accompanies medical research can be profoundly liberating. If we can’t be sure that a diagnosis — or a widely accepted truism such as “memory loss is inevitable with age” — is true, we’re less likely to apply a self-limiting label to ourselves.

So what does this mean for you and me? Are these experiments miracles or is there a law in place?

I put the question another way. What if society’s current standards and expectations were the aberration and health and eternal life the reality?

The consistent findings from these experiments point to a law or science in place. I understand it to be a divine Science. Towards the end of the 19th Century the author of the first and complete book about the laws of reality, Mary Baker Eddy  wrote, “Because of human ignorance of the divine Principle, Love, the Father of all is represented as a corporeal creator; hence men recognize themselves as merely physical, and are ignorant of man as God’s image or reflection and of man’s eternal incorporeal existence.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Christian Science makes it clear that mankind’s misunderstanding of the reality of being, of what God is and of what man really is, handicaps our life experience thus far.

This article by Kay Stroud was orginially published on her blog site.  Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Contact her to learn more about it, including Christian Science, via www.health4thinkers.com.

Ageing Gracefully or Ageless Grace?   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_4656441This post by Kay Stroud was first published on her blog, Spotlight on Spirituality and Health, and these APN news sites: Sunshine Coast Daily, Bundaberg NewsMail and Tweed MyDaily News.

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~ Betty Friedan

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” ~ Douglas MacArthur

“We are not victims of aging, sickness, and death. These are part of scenery, not the seer, who is immune to any form of change. This seer is the spirit, the expression of eternal being.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Great thinkers throughout time reveal that being old is very much about your attitude or state of mind. I’ve seen people in their 20s who seem old and others in their 90s who appear youthful.

Older Aussies might be whingeing themselves into an early grave, according to new research linking life-expectancy with attitude. Apparently, approaching old age with negative expectations can directly affect how long you live (Aussie seniors suffering from serious case of self-loathing, The Morning Bulletin, 25 October 2012).

We all want to look and feel young. Some turn to drugs and supplements seeking the elixir of life. The latest is Resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine and now available as a dietary supplement; although, its benefits are probably more from the placebo effect than anything else (The Conversation).

Others are looking to something else; a spiritual viewpoint. This is decidedly positive, as Australian researchers suggest, “Although we are largely a secular society, spiritual care should not be seen as an ‘optional extra’ for older people”. The search for meaning in later life becomes more urgent. One important view of ageing is of a spiritual journey” (Spiritual care and ageing in a secular society, MacKinlay and Trevitt, 2007).

And just this month, an even more conclusive study published in the Journal of Gerontology stated that although it was clear that personal control declines with age, they discovered that it declines less in those with high religious commitment. And here’s the interesting thing. Those that relied on God to help them control their lives, knowing that ‘all things are possible when I work together with God’ – this God-mediated control not only increased with age but partially compensated for losses in personal control. Given the significant impact that declining personal control has on mental health (and possibly physical health as well) this has very positive health benefits (Trajectories of late-life change in God-mediated control, Hayward and Krause (2013) Journal of Gerontology (Psychol & Soc Sci, part B) 68 (1):49-58)

A thirst for fun, adventure, fresh achievements and new knowledge should be part of every life-stage. However, it seems that simply aiming to age gracefully or even dis-gracefully may be missing many of the benefits of gaining a more spiritual viewpoint.

Spiritual practices, religion and near death experiences such as Dr Eban Alexander’s affirm that we continue on after the death of the body.

This knowledge “… will master either a desire to die or a dread of the grave, and thus destroy the great fear that besets mortal existence,” explains Mary Baker Eddy, an early researcher into the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health.

This realisation brings an incomparable peace and shows in ageless grace in later years.

We can only benefit from medical science and religion concurring on the need to allay the fears associated with ageing and death. As they continue to work together, it seems fairly certain that ‘ageless grace’ will become more and more achievable for us all.

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