Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

Last week we touched briefly on a few ways to keep your Mind/Body balanced. Now it’s time to look at another very important tool, Lifelong Learning, and how it fits into the Mind/Body concept.

Actually, Lifelong learning fits beautifully with the Mind/Body way of thinking. As you learn more about this topic, the strength of the Mind/Body connection to lifelong learning will become very apparent. In the meantime, here’s a short synopsis of some of the ways they are connected.

Epidemiological studies that were mentioned previously have shown that people with few social ties are significantly more likely to become ill than those who have more social connections. In the study, men who reported more social relationships–movies, church, classes or trips with friends or relatives–were significantly less likely to die during the study period.

Lifelong learning programs promote that needed social interaction. In fact, people join lifelong learning programs as much for the social aspects as for the learning. The wealth of social activities offered at a lifelong learning program is amazing. We’ll talk more about this in future columns.

Lifelong learners enjoy another valuable Mind/Body tool: laughter. “He who laughs, lasts!” Did you know that most adults only laugh about 40 times a day while children laugh 400-500 times in that same time period. Walk down a hall past lifelong learning classes or gatherings, however, and you’ll hear laughter, and lots of it. Lifelong learners have a positive outlook on life; they are funny, gregarious and not afraid to laugh - with others and at themselves.

Being engaged in lifelong learning activities is also a wonderful de-stressor. Recent studies at the National Institute on Aging show individuals who keep their minds actively engaged in new learning report themselves as happier and more fulfilled than older adults who are less active. If you are happy you are not being overly stressed. It’s that simple.

We all have stress in our lives. The secret to handling it is to use tools to bring that stress level into balance. The sheer joy of learning something new and interesting–of interacting with others equally interested–of being able to share life’s ups and downs with like-minded folks, is today’s medicine for decreasing stress.

And then there is love. Not only have people who are involved in lifelong learning made new, lasting and deep friendships, some have even found romance. There have been many marriages between lifelong learners.

Lifelong learning programs also offer a vast array of courses, many that make it easy to incorporate the Mind/Body balancing tools into your daily life. For instance, classes on spirituality, meditation, yoga, exercise of all types, the creative arts, journaling and nature are all part of these programs. There are even courses on the Mind/Body connection itself.

Finally, it can be said that lifelong learners embrace three distinct Mind/Body attributes:
• They have pledged to make their Third Age the best it can be by experiencing lifelong learning.
• They are responsible for their own destinies and make the decisions and choices that will ensure their Third Age is the best it can be.
• They enjoy the demands of learning and the subsequent stimulation.

More on this topic next week.

“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true” – John Lilly. Think about that for a minute. It’s a very powerful statement. It also speaks to our ability to directly affect the type of lives we have, especially as we grow older. Wow!

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit

You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Nancy Merz Nordstrom is Director of the Lifelong Learning Department at Computer School for Seniors (


Anonymous said...

I love this post! Laughing is my favorite thing!

Anonymous said...

I often read the Thursday posts with my senior students in the classroom. Such great information!