Older and Wiser

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Marguerite Empie began exercising two years ago with tai chi, an excellent low-impact form of exercise. She became interested in yoga as a result. She is 79 years young and has only recently begun yoga classes. She now takes both yoga and tai chi three times a week and volunteered the information that her balance and walking have improved dramatically. She also highly values the interaction with the other class members.

they experience a decrease in lymphocytes (which fight off infection). An increase in psychological distress and the production of cholesterol also increases the body's production of free radicals (which can damage body cells and tissues).

Try massage therapy to defend yourself against the effects of stress. I know a couple in their late eighties who schedule themselves for a massage twice a month as pre-ventative medicine. They swear they have never felt so good or had as much energy. If you do not want to go to a professional massage therapist, get together with a friend and give each other a massage. Another relaxation technique is yoga. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that is especially beneficial for helping you learn to relax. You can start at any age.

Other negative emotions are anger, depression and loneliness. A study of 1,623 heart-attack victims, conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, discovered that "angry episodes" doubled the risk of a heart attack. The heart attacks "often occurred a mere two hours after the outburst."21 Someone suffering from anger and hostility needs to learn some forms of stress management.

Loneliness is inversely related to self-esteem. Feelings of loneliness are linked to depression, anxiety, and hostility, as well as suicide and vulnerability to health problems. Patients who suffer from depression are four times more likely to die within six months of a heart attack and three times as likely to die within 10 years of a stroke. Some researchers are beginning to investigate whether treating psychological conditions can increase survival rates, and two studies show that participants in support groups have higher survival rates for various cancers. The Charles A. Dana Foundation has established the Brain-Body Connection to further research into the ramifications of this brain-body link.

Dr. Schaie found that being married to a smart spouse is directly associated with maintaining our mental abilities and aging well. He found that the mental quickness of one spouse would entice the other spouse to become more efficient in order to "keep up." Perhaps you are not married, but you may have a significant other or a close friend with whom you spend a great deal of time. You probably share some of the same interests and may have interests in different areas as well. Learn from each other. Be adventurous. Try new restaurants, take a class together, go to the movies and discuss the plot afterward over a cup of coffee. You will practice your verbal and logic skills as you converse. You will exercise "flabby" brain connections as you learn about new ideas and explore new opportunities.

To combat loneliness and mild depression, get involved. Join a senior citizens center. Take classes. Volunteer at your local elementary school, nursing home, or hospital. Helping others will help you. Your self-esteem will increase. You will have something good to look forward to. Your appetite and energy level will increase. Those brain connections will fire right and left. Reaching out to others and feeling needed is a vital part of our lives. We all want to know we have made a difference by being here on this planet. You are never too young or too old to care for others and make that difference.

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.

— Benjamin Franklin

Spiritual

A spiritual belief is linked to a higher satisfaction with life. Knowing that there is a higher plan for your life, whatever your official religion, helps you deal with stressful situations. Spirituality has been linked to successful aging. Adults who are active in religion tend to exhibit better physical and mental health than those adults who do not participate in religion as much. Religion often can provide a sense of community with other like believers who may offer the support of a family environment. Social gatherings are often a part of this sense of community and provide opportunities for you to interact and stay mentally active in a safe, caring environment.

We believe that a sense of humor is a part of your inner spirit. Perhaps you have noticed humorous jokes and uplifting and jocular quotes throughout this book. Humor and a positive attitude are strongly associated with our feelings of being in control of our lives—whether or not we actually are. A good laugh also helps to keep us young in spirit and has been shown to be associated with aging well. Buy or check out joke books. Go out on the Internet and find joke sites. In addition, in case you're interested, you can actually search for "clean" or any other types of jokes in the library

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Eliminating Stress and Anxiety From Your Life

Eliminating Stress and Anxiety From Your Life

It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know I'm SO stressed out!? Pressures abound in this world today. Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can make us sick. Literally, sick.

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