Named by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the concept of “flow” has existed for thousands of years in different forms. When you are in the flow, you are fully immersed and energized by what you are doing. In sports, performing at that point where natural skills and peak performance align is called “being in the zone.” And in ancient Chinese philosophy, when your body is in harmony between opposing Yin and Yang forces, you have an optimal flow of the vital energy called “Qi.”
What is the ideal age for retirement? While 65 is the traditional retirement age, nearly a third of non-retired Americans predict they will retire after age 67, the current minimum age for receiving full Social Security retirement benefits. A 2014 Gallup poll found that the average age at which Americans expect to retire has been increasing over the last two decades.
Deciding when to retire is one of life’s major decisions. A myriad of factors—including finances, family, health, and culture—shape that decision. A recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests one more thing to consider: how retirement affects your longevity.
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made.”
Since Robert Browning penned this famous line over a century ago, his words have become the modern day reality in many parts of the world. In a recently released documentary, “Ikaria: The island where people live forever,” Business Insider Films traveled to this remote ancient island, where one in three residents live to 90, to discover their longevity promoting habits. Here is what they learned—and why their lessons will require a shift in thinking in many parts of our lives:
Although short term stress can be advantageous, chronic stress can have the opposite effect. Our bodies are hard wired with a flight-or-flight response to give us a survival advantage. In pre-historic days, that helped us fight or escape from predators. Unlike the acute stress of facing a predator, modern stress is chronic, such as from conflicts at work or at home– and can overload our stress response. In this video, done with the amazing TED-Ed team, you can see how chronic stress can affect your heart, your waistline, and your longevity–and what you can do about it!
Exercise is deservedly considered the best medicine. It can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, lessen your risk of colon and breast cancer, and lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. It can also improve your mood, cognitive function, and your fitness in everyday life. But what dose of this medicine do you need to improve your health and live longer?
Conventional wisdom is that more is better. However, scientists do not yet know if there is there is an upper limit to the benefits of exercise, or whether there is a point where it can conversely increase your risk of mortality.
Last month a team of doctors and scientists made the case to regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving anti-aging drugs as a new pharmaceutical class. Such a designation would treat aging as disease rather than a natural process, potentially opening the door to government funding for anti-aging drug trials.
To some, such a drug may seem impossible. Yet, the physiologic basis for it exists. In fact, some candidate drugs, such as metformin, used to treat diabetes, are already being safely used for treating other conditions. Many scientists believe that designing an anti-aging medication is a matter of “when,” not “if.”
Two simple words—thank you—can open the door to unexpected benefits.
From the Latin gratia, meaning favor, and gratus, meaning pleasing, gratitude can be a feeling, an attitude, a virtue, or a choice. Feeling gratitude is the core of human connectedness–the give and take that supports and strengthens our relationships.
Whether you appreciate another’s act of kindness, the beauty of nature, or “count your blessings,” practicing gratitude can improve your emotional well-being, social relationships, and physical health.
Debilitating, exhausting, and depressing. Those are the words my patients often use when describing living with arthritis. Yet often, it is what follows in response to the pain that diminishes quality of life even more: the natural tendency to become sedentary.
This week, Jane Brody’s New York Times article explains why staying active—and avoiding the sedentary trap—is the best way to stay ahead of arthritis. Decreasing physical activity often leads to a spiral of chronic health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. It also leads to progressive weakness, which makes doing daily activities and enjoying life even harder.
By now, you have probably heard that 70 is the new 50 (or whatever decade you want to plug in)!
But what can you learn from this new breed of age-defying, physically active, mentally sharp, and emotionally fulfilled older adults?
In one word: OPTIMISM
Healthy octogenarians and even centenarians are proving that “normal” aging is different from what we once thought.
Growing older is no longer about what you lose but just as much about what you can gain. In this new view of old age, you can realistically expect enjoying life physically, emotionally, and spiritually into your 80’s, 90’s, and beyond.