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Lighter as We Go: Virtues, Character Strengths, and Aging

Overview


The fears of aging have been one long cascading domino effect through the years: twenty year-olds dread thirty; forty year-olds fear fifty; sixty fears seventy, and so it goes. And there is something to worry about, though it isn't what you'd expect: research shows that having a bad attitude toward aging when we're young is associated with poorer health when we're older.

These worries tend to peak in midlife; but in Lighter as We Go, Mindy Greenstein and Jimmie Holland show us ...

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Lighter as We Go: Virtues, Character Strengths, and Aging

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Overview


The fears of aging have been one long cascading domino effect through the years: twenty year-olds dread thirty; forty year-olds fear fifty; sixty fears seventy, and so it goes. And there is something to worry about, though it isn't what you'd expect: research shows that having a bad attitude toward aging when we're young is associated with poorer health when we're older.

These worries tend to peak in midlife; but in Lighter as We Go, Mindy Greenstein and Jimmie Holland show us that, contrary to common wisdom, our sense of well-being actually increases with our age--often even in the presence of illness or disability. For the first time, Greenstein and Holland--on a joint venture between an 85 year-old and a fifty year-old--explore positive psychology concepts of character strengths and virtues to unveil how and why, through the course of a lifetime, we learn who we are as we go. Drawing from the authors' own personal, intergenerational friendship, as well as a broad array of research from many different areas--including social psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, humanities, psychiatry, and gerontology--Lighter as We Go introduces compassion, justice, community, and culture to help calm our cascading fears of aging.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I happen to fall (bad word) into the fastest growing age group--the 90 and over crowd. What to do? I say go right now, no matter your age, and get Lighter As We Go because it is the last word on the subject of growing older and living well with it. Mindy Greenstein and Jimmie Holland, at middle and older ages, have great ideas that connect with my own! Live like you're 50--have a ball! When you're 90, act any way you please! This book will help you see the rewards you haven't even thought about." --Liz Smith

"This delightful, highly readable book utilizes personal stories and a bit of human history to paint a picture of successful aging in which the mind and spirit triumph over physical limitations, and generativity and eudaimonia prevail. This outlook is consistent with information emerging from neuroscience and molecular medicine that not only are physical activity, hedonic satisfaction and good self-regulation of health behaviors important for sustaining good mental and physical health but also that finding meaning and purpose in life can be enormously beneficial." --Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and Head, Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch, Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University

"Drs. Greenstein and Holland have a unique ability to draw the reader into this ongoing and enchanting review of aging writ wide and in the spirit of 'lighter as we go.' The book is truly uplifting and fun, not didactic or sterile, unlike anything I have read about successful aging. One cannot read this book dispassionately or in isolation, so prepare yourselves to join this symposium just as Cicero called his listeners to join him through his treatise On Old Age. And like any good conversation, Jimmie and Mindy leave us prepared and eager to continue our reflections and discussion far beyond the occasion of the book." --Dan Blazer, MD, PhD, J.P. Gibbons Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Division of Community and Family Medicine, School of Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199360956
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/23/2014
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 24,316
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mindy Greenstein, PhD, is Clinical Psychologist and Psycho-oncologist, Writer and National Speaker, and Consultant to the geriatric psychiatry group in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Jimmie Holland, MD, is Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology, Attending Psychiatrist, and Founder of the geriatric psychiatry group at the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical School of Cornell University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I: Character, Character Strength, and Continuity Over Time
Chapter 1. The Oak Tree and the U-Bend: Age, Well-Being, and the Experience of Me-ness
Chapter 2. A Look at the Grownup Years
Chapter 3. Character Strengths and Virtues
Chapter 4. Older Age in the Olden Days: A History of Aging in the Western World

Part II: The Virtues
Chapter 5. The Virtue of Transcendence: Beyond the Self
Chapter 6. The Underappreciated Virtue of Humor: You Can't Spell Joy Without the Oy
Chapter 7. The Virtues of Humanity and Social Justice: Do Unto Others
Chapter 8. The Virtue of Courage: If I Only Had the Nerve
Chapter 9. The Virtue of Wisdom: Knowing What We Don't Know
Chapter 10. The Virtue of Temperance: Moderation in All Things (almost)
Chapter 11. The Virtue of Passing on to the Next Generation: The Bridge Between Past and Future

Part III Putting the Virtues to Work
Chapter 12. When Older Doesn't Feel Lighter: Loneliness and Social Isolation
Chapter 13. The Virtue of Appreciating the Cycle of Life in Elders

Appendix: Vintage Readers Book Club Readings

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