LEARNING LATER, LIVING GREATER:
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!
For the next few weeks I would like for us to take a look at the Mind/Body Connection. No, we won’t be studying any hocus-pocus, but rather some sound scientific research. Being aware of the Mind/Body Connection is very important, especially as we age.
The belief that our thoughts and actions can influence our health–the Mind/Body Connection–is not a new concept. Over the years, in certain circles, this notion was an accepted fact. Research in the latter half of the 20th century, however, has shown that this long-held belief is actually true.
But what does this belief really mean? It’s probably safe to say that wishing for a gold Rolls Royce won’t suddenly make one appear in your driveway. But there is significant evidence to suggest that coordinating the interaction between our minds and bodies can result in amazing things. Lifelong learning plays a major role in this because it helps balance both your mind and body. And when things are in balance, you feel better and have the ability and desire to create a rich and satisfying life.
Technically, the study of the Mind/Body Connection goes by several intimidating labels certain to demolish anyone playing Scrabble with you. Among these names are such polysyllabic nightmares as psychoneuroimmunology, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, and psychoneuroimmunology. We’ll opt for a much shorter abbreviation of the last one: PNI.
In the 1960’s, one of the early pioneers in the study of modern day PNI was psychiatrist George Solomon. He observed that depression seemed to make rheumatoid arthritis worse. He then began investigating the impact of emotions on immune function in general. His research was responsible for the development of the new field of PNI.
Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s, cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson began studying the effects of meditation on blood pressure. He developed the term “the relaxation response,” which today is recognized far and wide. Finally in the mid 1970s, psychologist Dr. Robert Adler’s studies demonstrated that cognitive and emotional cues could affect immune response. Thanks to his research PNI was finally recognized as a legitimate medical specialty.
Since these early discoveries researchers everywhere have been studying PNI. Over the ensuing years, PNI has demonstrated its value in three different research areas – physiological research, epidemiological research and clinical research.
More on this very interesting subject next week…
THURSDAY’S THOUGHT…John C. Lilly, American physician, psychoanalyst, philosopher and writer said, “In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” Well, if that’s the case, then we all have the ability to create meaningful later lives for ourselves – lives that are enriched and far more exciting than we ever thought possible. Lifelong learning is one important tool that can help us create that life.
Till Next Time…