Counterclockwise (2009) and Memory Fitness (2004) are two evidence-based resources addressing the passage of the years

At a recent post, we’ve had a great discussion, in the Comments section, with thanks to a message from Bert Eccles of Malcolm Campbell High School, about the passage of the years.

By way of bringing attention to some of the themes, addressed in the discussion, I’ve devoted the current post to two great books, that I’ve found very helpful, with regard to the passage of the years.

An excerpt from discussion follows below:

I recently came across a Washington Post article, reprinted in the Toronto Star, which, offers valuable information and reflections regarding the passage of the years.

The Toronto Star’s reprint of an April 21, 2018 Washington Post article is entitled: “Those with a positive outlook on aging are less likely to develop dementia, study finds: Attitudes about aging arise from anxiety over physical ability, appearance, loneliness or boredom, but these beliefs ‘aren’t rooted entirely in reality.’”

Counterclockwise (2009)

A book with a good overview of relevant research in this general area is: Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possiblity (2009).

A blurb (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs, for ease of online reading) at the Toronto Public Library website, for the latter study, reads:

If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now, in Counterclockwise, she presents the answer: Opening our minds to what’s possible, instead of presuming impossibility, can lead to better health – at any age.

Drawing on landmark work in the field and her own body of colorful and highly original experiments – including the first detailed discussion of her “counterclockwise” study, in which elderly men lived for a week as though it was 1959 and showed dramatic improvements in their hearing, memory, dexterity, appetite, and general well-being – Langer shows that the magic of rejuvenation and ongoing good health lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to social and cultural cues.

Examining the hidden decisions and vocabulary that shape the medical world (“chronic” versus “acute,” “cure” versus “remission”), the powerful physical effects of placebos, and the intricate but often defeatist ways we define our physical health, Langer challenges the idea that the limits we assume and impose on ourselves are real. With only subtle shifts in our thinking, in our language, and in our expectations, she tells us, we can begin to change the ingrained behaviors that sap health, optimism, and vitality from our lives. Improved vision, younger appearance, weight loss, and increased longevity are just four of the results that Langer has demonstrated.

Immensely readable and riveting, Counterclockwise offers a transformative and bold new paradigm: the psychology of possibility. A hopeful and groundbreaking book by an author who has changed how people all over the world think and feel, Counterclockwise is sure to join Mindfulness [another book by same author] as a standard source on new-century science and healing.


Memory Fitness (2004)

Another study addressing the same general theme is: Memory Fitness: A Guide for Successful Aging (2004).

A blurb (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs) at the Toronto Public Library reads:

The latest scientific information on aging and memory, along with expert advice for middle-aged and older adults concerned about memory problems. Do all adults experience memory difficulties as they age? What is the difference between normal memory change and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease? Is it possible to stem, or even reverse, memory decline?

This timely book is a comprehensive guide for the growing number of adults who are eager to learn how aging affects memory and what can or cannot be done about it. Gilles Einstein and Mark McDaniel, widely respected for their research and lectures on memory, explain how memory works and how memory processes change with age.

Based on up-to-date and rigorous scientific evidence, they also offer techniques and strategies for improving memory in everyday life; alternatives to hard-to-use mnemonic techniques; physical and mental exercises that can enhance memory; a review of drugs and nutritional supplements touted to enhance memory; a complete discussion of Alzheimer’s disease, its symptoms and risk factors, along with guidance for caretakers.


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