MIND & BODY AFTER 50
Women often underestimate the value of post-menopausal life. I’ve been practicing medicine for 40 years, and many times women have told me of their self-doubt after menopause.
They say: “The best part of life seems over…” “I feel irrelevant… nonexistent…” “I’m not important…” “I don’t matter…”
This is too common. Our culture habitually overlooks the significance of older women.
But human evolution shows us something entirely different. For thousands of years, post-menopausal women were ma…
First, an explanation:
When you have a worrying, anxious mind, your body is anxious too. Your mind and body affect each other, moment by moment. Your body experiences your emotions, but it influences your emotions too.
This dynamic interplay between mind and body is a crucial new understanding of modern psychology. We now realize that being aware of your body can help you to rebalance your emotional life -- even help you to overcome the psychological legacy of trauma!
And science shows the …
Anxiety is a problem for the mind, but did you know that ongoing anxiety and worry are hard on your brain too?
That’s what research shows. People who have habits of anxiety and worry tend to lose mental clarity over time. Scientists even link chronic anxiety to an increased risk of dementia!
But, here’s the good news: older people who participate in 8-week mindfulness programs tend to worry less and have clearer minds. Their anxiety decreases. And these improvements tend to continue even 6 mo…
These days, I’ve been hearing about anxiety more than ever. Maybe it’s the effect of COVID’s fear and isolation - so many of us are hurting.
After my last post about anxiety, several women replied, asking for practical information. They ask, “What can help my anxiety?”
One woman says she’s having a hard time sleeping. “My mind just keeps on thinking. I can't ever really relax.”
Another asks “What about when anxiety spirals and you go to hyper vigilance?”
Do you hear the distress in these m…
Do you feel anxious? If so, you’re not alone.
Anxiety is the most common psychological problem in modern life. Psychiatry tells us that nearly a third of adults experience anxiety disorders at some point in their lives.
Anxiety is usually understood to be that ‘nervous’, fearful awareness that you have when you’re stressed — especially if you’re worrying or feeling apprehensive about the future. You feel anxious.
You might also experience anxiety whenever you’re very focused or intensely a…
Here’s another psychological factor that can affect your physical health — hostility.
Since the 1980’s, dozens of scientific studies have shown that people with chronic hostility & cynicism frequently develop cardiovascular illness (heart disease, high blood pressure and narrowing of the blood vessels). The evidence is clear: chronic hostility burdens the body — especially the heart & blood vessels.
Hostility is “chronic hate and anger” — it’s an individual’s tendency to feel suspicion and m…
Optimism lessens your risk of cognitive decline as you age.
That’s the findings of a 2016 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.
This study is based on data first assembled in the “Health and Retirement Study” — a national survey that tracked the health of more than 37000 American adults over the age of 50. That survey began in 1992.
In this study, researchers narrowed their focus to 4600 of those participants. All were 65 years or older when they completed a…
Here’s still more evidence showing that optimism is remarkably good for your health.
Researchers investigated “exceptional longevity” — a life span of 85 years or beyond. They discovered that optimistic people are much more likely to live into their advanced years.
The research was based on 2 studies. The largest study included more than 69,000 women who participated in the Nurses Health Study, beginning in 1976. The women completed an optimism assessment in 2004, and then their health was t…
Remarkably, science continues to demonstrate that optimistic people are at lower risk for illness and death, when contrasted with their more pessimistic peers.
In a previous post we examined a study that showed an optimistic attitude was associated with healthier aging in 33,000 women over an 8 year period. At the start of the study, their average age was 67 years.
Now, let’s consider these 3 studies that associate optimism with better cardiovascular health.
JAMA (the journal of he American …
Optimism is definitely good for women’s health — especially as we age. That’s the findings of a 2019 study by Dr. Peter James & his colleagues, of Harvard Medical School.
Researchers followed the health of more than 33,000 American women for 8 years. The women who entered the study were of average age 67. All were in good health. They completed various health tests, including a psychological test that measured their level of optimism. Some of the women were found to be in the ‘most optimistic’…