Aging & Attitude
Happy New Year!
The year 2015 was crappy. Although it is not politically or otherwise correct to say so, it was; and became more crappy and crappier.
Remember; it started with Tom Brady and an inflated, uninflated or deflated (whatever) football. Then as shock and dismay about Bill Crosby unfolded, we almost forgot about Hillary’s emails.
Let’s not revisit the numerous mass shootings, police killings, plane crashes, and weather related disasters. You can read about them at abcnews link, factor in any personal crappiness and evaluate the year yourself. For me, it was one of the crappiest.
Thank goodness Donald Trump added some much needed humor, Prince William and Kate appear to be a happy family, and Pope Francis’s visit to the United States prompted John Boehner to resign.
Mr. Wonderful and I were asleep by 9:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. We took a 6 am flight home to Florida, having spent Christmas in Albuquerque with our kids and grandkids, and exhausted.
I slept until 8am the next morning and while enjoying a cup of coffee viewed Dr. Oz. He discussed the glass half-full or half-empty approach to the New Year and a solution for cynicism. “Practicing Optimism,” is the catchy expression he used.
Although a sunny disposition is to some degree a byproduct of genes and life experience, there is increasing support that thoughts have a cognitive effect on the mind. Specifically, meditation and mindfulness are being studied.
“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”
In the March 2014 issue/Meditation Research Psychological Science of Meditation the following findings are listed from articles:
- Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness
- Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem
- The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippopotami and frontal volumes of gray matter
- Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density
- Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation
Sounds promising. Previous research indicating jumping up and down was the way to reactivate a shrinking hippocampus. Now we can achieve the same, if not better, improvement in a prone position.
Things are looking up. My Christmas cactus is in full bloom and being an optimist, I believe it to be a sign that 2016 will not be as crappy.
. . . . just saying
These articles discuss the benefits of practicing meditation and mindfulness. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mindfulness-research-2015_567865b6e4b06fa6887e3f1d
Global Positioning System and the Hippocampus.
Welcome to 2016! I too have experienced what I used to call “highly forgettable years.” I am glad your blog is back to some regularity; I miss you when it’s not. Happy New Year! Chris V
Chris, Yes highly forgettable says it! Thanks for your encouragement. I’ve missed writing and feel like I’m back, and then there is life. It does get in the way.
Thank you for the uplift. Here is to a meditations New Year.
Sherrie, Yes! Is meditation a daily practice for you? I’m determined to make it mine.
Hi Claudia, Love the article. You gave me quite a chuckle. I had (still having somewhat) dizzy spells and had a MRI on front and back part of my brain- nothing there. lol I felt good about that. The test put me in a more positive mood. So I am trying to keep a better outlook in 2016. I just can’t wait to see what happens in the election coming up. Should be a barnburner. Happy New Year to you and keep on writing. Glenda
Glenda, I love that a “barnburner” I feel a blog coming on. So sorry you’re experience dizziness. A better attitude, you’re the positive attitude queen. Be Well, hugs, Claudia
I’ve missed your writing. Thank you! Love, Kathe
Happy New Year girlfriend! I’ve missed my writing too, but thank you for saying so.
I have been meditating for almost 12 weeks — and I don’t think my Cortical thickness increased but got crappier..Not sure what happened to my Gray matter..got worse.. Probably listening to all of Trumps crap.. Crappy for sure.. Need to sit with Mr. wonderful and get our crap together!! May the force be with you “Me”
Marshall, Twelve weeks, impressive. Guess the questions becomes how long is long enough? . . . .just saying; May the force be with you too!
Insightful post as always—
Glad to see you’re back to blogging. So miss our girl chat/blog strategy sessions at The Beanery…I’m going to meditate in that😔
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Hey girl friend, Yes it’s left a void in my life . . . .just saying