Category Archives: Research

Thinking Faster, Higher, Stronger

At times aging seems like an Olympic sport. Successfully maneuvering through this time of life depends on a certain amount of preparation, perseverance and endurance. It can be a Herculean effort that requires not a little confidence.

“Perhaps two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived to the age of 65 are alive today.” Peter Peterson’s, Gray Dawn, points out some sobering statistics about the aging of the world’s population and its impact on society.  It’s unchartered territory.

And that’s what makes preparing for the “golden years” such a challenge.  This many people living this long is a relatively recent phenomenon. Never have so many faced this situation. And it is creating a lot of angst for individuals and planners.

By what standard do we qualify as old?  Read more…

The gritty part of well-being

As summer swings into full gear Americans’ attention turns to freedom and fireworks. Independence Day reminds us of the boldness of our forefathers which brought freedom from political tyranny and established a new form of governance in the world.

Grit and confidence are contributing factors to successfully conquering things that would enslave us.  This includes health-related challenges that run the gamut from cancer and Alzheimer’s to anxiety over going to the dentist.

Swedish researchers Mia Vainia and Daiva Daukantait have been looking at the relationship between grit, authenticity and well-being and have concluded that “Grit (is) positively related to all well-being factors.”

Standing up to the fear that accompanies health woes is paramount to overcoming them. But how is a gritty stance established when one is confronted with overwhelming health concerns? Read more…

Simple Prayer

The most important thing we can do today is pray.

It turns out most of us already know that, even if we don’t talk about it. Nine out of ten Americans have turned to prayer for healing at some point according to a study.

Calamities and sickness impel many to turn to God whether religious-minded or not. “For active believers and people of faith, prayer, including for healing, is more than a situationally motivated response to one’s own suffering; it is an ongoing expression of piety and of taking up the yoke to be of service to others,” writes  the study’s author, Jeff Levine at Baylor University.   Read more…

Is materialism health care’s Achilles’ heel?

“Turtles all the way down.” That’s the now famous response to a scientist’s inquiry as told in an anecdote by Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time.  After explaining the basics of astronomy and the relationship between the earth and sun, a little old lady expresses her disbelief to the scientist and pipes up, “The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”

Hawking continues, “The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ‘What is the tortoise standing on?’  ‘You’re very clever, young man, very clever,’ said the old lady.  ‘But it’s turtles all the way down.’”

There’s both humor and heartbreak in the old lady’s retort.  Such determinism has propelled the achievements of many a visionary.  It also illustrates the stifling nature of a stubborn dogma that can blind thinkers and shutter what should be the open-minded nature of true science and scholarship.

Today’s healthcare practices offer a similar dichotomy…Read more

Not So Random Acts of Kindness

World Kindness Day is November 13th, a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good

 

Ever feel impelled to give the world a big hug? We thrive on kindness. And though we frequently witness examples of callousness both in our own lives and in the news, displays of intolerance and indifference should only strengthen a desire to resist such behavior and encourage respectful relationships.

A look-out-for-yourself mentality is unnatural. We start out in life as sharers. Through their constant caregiving, the vast majority of moms and dads instill in us the capacities of empathy and generosity.

That nurturing is health-giving to children.  And it endures into adulthood.   Encouragement and kindheartedness foster wellbeing not only in recipients, but in contributors as well. Stephen Post, Director for the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, recently quoted the Book of Proverbs when speaking before a group in Cleveland:  “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”   Read more…