Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fw: Predict How Long You Will Live

You're Only As Old As You Think You Are
Yale School of Public HealthS

ome people lose strength and vitality when they get older, while others remain robust. The same disparity exists when it comes to eyesight, hearing and mental faculties.

Genetics and lifestyle can play a part, but to a surprising extent, what you think about aging does as well. To learn more, Bottom Line/Health recently spoke to Yale psychologist Becca Levy, PhD, a renowned expert in stereotypes related to aging...


How do stereotypes affect how we age? There are numerous ways, but let's look at hearing loss as an example. Most people consider it an inevitable fact of growing older, but there's more to it than biology.

In a study conducted at Yale, we measured the hearing of more than 500 adults age 70 and older and asked them what five words or phrases first came to mind when they thought of an old person.

Three years later, the people who associated aging with stereotypes like "feeble" and "senile" had suffered significantly more hearing loss than those who had answered with positive words like "wise" and "active." In other studies, negative thoughts or beliefs about aging were linked to poorer memory as the years passed.


Can one's recovery from serious physical ailments, such as heart disease, also be affected? Apparently so. In one study, we interviewed 62 heart attack patients (ages 50 to 96) about their stereotypes of aging within two weeks after their heart attacks.

Seven months later, patients who expressed more positive stereotypes had experienced better physical recoveries -- as measured by tests involving balance and timed walking -- than those who expressed more negative stereotypes.


Could a person's views on aging even affect his/her life span? One of our studies showed just that. It involved 660 people, ages 50 to 94, who were asked questions that explored the ways they perceived their own aging.

For example, the study participants, all of whom lived in Oxford, Ohio, were asked how much they agreed with statements, such as "Things keep getting worse as I get older" and "I am as happy now as I was when I was younger."

Nearly 25 years later, researchers tracked those participants who were still alive and how long the others had lived. Those who had expressed a more positive view when surveyed lived a median of seven years longer, even after differences in their ages and health at that time were taken into account. It held true for both men and women who were over age 60 as well as those who were younger.


How do researchers explain this phenomenon? There is no definitive explanation, but we think that several mechanisms are involved. Some are physiological and might well involve the harmful effects of stress on bodily systems.

Another piece is likely to be behavioral -- people who believe that aging means unavoidable memory decline, for example, quite possibly won't try as hard or as long to remember, and won't bother to apply strategies that could help. Similarly, people who think there's nothing that can be done about hearing loss probably aren't as quick to seek medical attention if they develop hearing trouble.

In the longevity study, we found that views on aging can affect an older person's will to live -- this explained, at least in part, the difference in survival. When you don't believe that the benefits of a long life will outweigh the hardships, you're less likely to follow a healthful lifestyle and seek treatments that prolong life.


What's the source of these stereotypes? Negative depictions of aging can be found everywhere -- from greeting cards to best-selling books to the media. We think television, in particular, has a major effect. We surveyed a group of people ages 60 to 92, who watched an average of 21 hours of television per week, and found that the more TV they watched, the more negative their beliefs were about aging.

The negative stereotyping most likely starts early -- for example, wicked witches in fairy tales are gnarled and wrinkled -- and sinks in deeply. Then, as aging occurs, some individuals start applying these negative beliefs to themselves.


Is it possible to change these beliefs? We've been able to show in the lab that they change quite readily in the short term. In one recent study, we tested how fast elderly people could walk -- a key measurement of frailty (a condition that includes exhaustion and weight loss as well as loss of muscle mass and strength).

Participants were randomly assigned to either a positive or negative age-stereotype group. We subliminally flashed words with positive connotations about aging, such as "wise," "alert" and "mature," to one group, and showed negative words, such as "senile" and "decrepit," to the other group.

Participants in the positive stereotype group walked significantly faster and demonstrated better balance than those in the negative stereotype group.

To a great extent, we don't question these stereotypes because we've absorbed them so completely that we're not even conscious of them. Becoming aware of their presence in everyday life is a first step toward questioning their validity.


What, specifically, can people do to fight these stereotypes? In the TV study, we asked participants to keep a journal describing the way that older people were represented. The participants were shocked to discover how often they were made the target of jokes, and that they were frequently omitted from programming. "It's like we're nonexistent," wrote one study participant.

In your own life, make a point to pay attention to more positive images of aging -- active, effective people in politics, the arts and the community, for example. I don't mean "superstars" who are jumping out of planes at age 80. It's too easy to write them off as exceptions that have nothing to do with you. Also, spend time with older role models, such as relatives and residents of your community, and learn about their strengths and contributions.


Doesn't this promote a falsely optimistic view? Not necessarily. It's more a matter of accepting that aging will involve a range of changes -- some are positive, some are negative... some are inevitable and some are malleable. It is important to recognize the many places where a realistic attitude and positive action can make a real difference.


Editor's note: More and more organizations are now promoting the accomplishments of older adults. One such program is the Purpose Prize, which provides $10,000 and $100,000 awards to people over age 60 who make significant contributions to society.

To learn more, contact Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank that promotes the achievements of older adults, 415-222-7486, www.leadwithexperience.org.


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Bottom Line/Health interviewed Becca Levy, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut. She was the lead author of a recent study on stereotypes and aging, published in Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Science.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Fw: [now4u2] Myspace.com Blogs - Ways to Use Intuition to Feel Your Soul - Lightw...

To choose to be your soul, you must be able to experience the difference between the soul and the egomind, and clearly know which state you prefer.

*1. Bring your awareness fully into the present moment. The soul enters the world, for you, through every particle of your body. These particles of soul force, or points of light, exist only in the present moment. If your mind projects into the past or future, you lose touch with the radiance and cannot experience your soul.

*2. Put your attention on and inside your body. Since the soul enters the world through every particle of your body, to know the soul you must merge your conscious mind and your body. Do that by placing attention on the body, then sink in. Let the body come alive with tingling and vibration, and experience how conscious it is. That awareness you encounter in the body is the first level of soul wisdom.

*3. Contemplate your core motives. Feel what you want deeply as though you're experiencing it. Then drop down through that by asking "Why do I want this?" Then, "Why does my soul want these things? What experiences do these things bring that my soul wants?" When you find the handful of core motives at the heart of what you do, you will feel what you're all about, and you'll respect and love yourself.

*4. Intentionally remember and reexperience times when your heart has been open. When you feel trapped by the egomind, ask yourself to recall times when you have felt grateful, amazed, or moved by heroism or egoless action. Picture wiggly puppies, smiling babies, or the shiny eyes of a lover. As you focus attention into these things, you will return to the state of awareness you were in then. When your heart is open, the resulting experiences are indicative of the soul.

*5. Intentionally shift into a state of cheerfulness, pleasure, enthusiasm, innocence, sincerity. Intentionally recall times when you felt generous toward life, were in a good mood, were open-minded and willing to learn, or were willing to be entertained or surprised. That open-minded neutrality and positive expectancy is a quality of the soul.

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Posted By stars2man to now4u2 at 7/05/2008 05:40:00 PM

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How To Change Measurement Units in Microsoft Word | eHow.com

How To Change Measurement Units in Microsoft Word eHow.com: "Microsoft Word 2003
Step1Open Microsoft Word and start a new blank document, or open an existing document from your files. When you change the measurement units, they will be applied to your current document, as well as any other documents that you use in the future.
Step2Choose the 'Tools' menu and click on 'Options…' to open the 'Options' dialog box. The options dialog box contains several tabs that all allow you to change settings within Microsoft Word.
Step3Click on the 'General' tab in the 'Options' dialog box to view the general option settings in Microsoft Word.
Step4Locate the 'Measurement Units' drop-down menu toward the bottom of the 'Options' dialog box.
Step5Use the 'Measurement Units' drop-down menu to choose what type of measurement units you would like to use in Word. You can choose from 'Inches,' 'Centimeters,' 'Millimeters,' 'Points' or 'Picas.'
Step6Select the 'OK' button to close the 'Options' dialog box and change the measurement units within Microsoft Word.
Step7Notice that your rulers, as well as dialog boxes, will now use your newly selected measurement units."