MIND & BODY AFTER 50
Mindfulness & Positive States of Mind
Thank you for telling me about your experience of optimism. I'm smiling with you in this. We all appreciate our positive states of mind, don't we? It's such an important question. How can we support our happiness?
Even though outer problems may continue (they often do!), we want practical, realistic ways to develop positive states of mind from within. Self-care for our inner world.
But is that really possible? What is truly effective? How can we support our natural capacity for positive st…
Mindfulness is linked to Optimism!
Optimism has an important role in ‘mind-body’ medicine. Research shows optimism is a mind-state that can directly affect both physical and psychological well-being. For example, a doctor could rightly encourage her patient to develop a more optimistic attitude to protect the health of her heart -- or to extend her longevity.
Here’s a 2021 study that has more good news about optimism. It also shows that optimism is linked to mindfulness!
In 2020/21, psychologists from a Dutch university inte…
Too old to learn mindfulness?
Are you wondering if it's too late for you to learn mindfulness? I've been asked that many times during my years teaching MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction). Here's what I've seen.
Age is not an obstacle to mindfulness. In fact, some wise teachers say that happiness in ageing increases with mindfulness!
Curious? Please check out the video (4:40 min).
And see below a summary of research described in the video.
“This article examines mental and physical …
Is poor sleep a cause for mental health problems?
Here's surprising new research published recently in 2021. It shows that poor sleep can be the cause of mental health problems!
This is a new perspective. Until recently, medical science usually considered a person’s poor sleep to be a part of their mental health problem. Poor sleep was a symptom, caused by the mental health problem.
But this study considers that poor sleep can sometimes be the cause of a mental health problem, not just a symptom.
That's extra significant because sleep an…
How's Your Sleep?
Do you have sleep problems? If you’re saying ‘yes’, you’re certainly not alone!
Women often experience disturbed sleep during the perimenopausal years, and, by the age of 60, almost half say their sleep is a problem, at least from time to time.
Usually, this is just occasional sleeplessness — maybe caused by a work deadline, or a noisy neighbour, or a headache, or too much coffee, etc. etc. The woman feels tired, but, eventually her mind-body rebalances, and she’s back to regular restorat…
Why you want plenty of sleep!
Sleep scientists used to be mild-mannered folks.
They usually stayed in the background, busy measuring brain-waves and lecturing at the university. They wrote scholarly articles to be read mainly by fellow-scientists -- and the occasional medical student like me, years ago.
But recently, that’s changed.
Modern sleep scientists now speak out publicly, sounding the alarm. They say our society suffers from chronic sleep deprivation. We risk serious health problems in the years ahead.
What about sleeping pills?
People should avoid using most types of ‘sleeping pill’ for longer than 4 weeks. Sleep medications should be temporary.
That’s the standard instruction for best medical practice in most of Europe and North America. Official medical treatment guidelines recommend limited use only.
But, in reality, doctors and patients usually ignore this advice! More than half of patients use their prescribed sleeping pills for longer than than 4 weeks, and 20% continue beyond a year.
Patients say they ke…
Do you find yourself delaying sleep? It’s your bedtime, but you stay awake for no definite reason?
Scientists call this ‘sleep procrastination’.
Maybe you’re busy online or you’re watching screen-based entertainment? Maybe you’re checking your devices, reacting to messages, etc? You’re busy reading this... watching that... Caught up in vaguely purposeless activity that absorbs your attention. Time goes by and you don’t go to bed.
You may even be in bed, but still you keep looking at an e…
Hyperarousal, Sleep, and Mindfulness
What is ‘Hyperarousal’?
Hyperarousal is a common mind-body state — so common that people often experience hyperarousal as ‘normal’! But science shows us that habitual hyperarousal is unhealthy for mind and body.
Hyperarousal refers to stress reactivity — especially the physical side of stress reactivity. When people get stressed, their body goes into hyperarousal.
The body is ‘on alert’ — with muscle tension, changes in blood pressure and heart activation patterns, characteristic effects…
Your Amazing Brain!
Maiken Nedergaard is a charming Danish neuroscientist who has changed sleep science forever — and she has helped explain why Alzheimer’s disease is connected to poor sleep!
Your brain’s ‘glymphatic system’
In 2013, Dr. Nedergaard revealed her discovery of the ‘glymphatic system’ — your brain’s amazing system to cleanse itself during sleep.
Every night, during deepest sleep, the ‘astroglial’ cells of your brain actively shrink in size and arrange to form special channels that open wide. T…