Bob Pitman has served as Executive Director of Mill Race Center, Inc. since 1985. Under his leadership, Mill Race Services became the first nationally accredited center in Indiana, developed the first senior leadership program in the state, forged a private partnership with a large private staffing service, and initiated a successful community –wide lifelong learning program.
Think Positive About Aging and Live Longer
Research shows that how you perceive aging affects how long you will live. Those with more positive perceptions of their own aging lived 7.5 years longer.
The longitudinal study looked at persons responding to surveys measuring their attitudes toward aging 23 years ago. Those who were more positive then lived longer.
No one knows for sure why a positive attitude leads to a longer life. It may be that positive thinking can increase the will to live, making us more resilient to illness and more proactive about health. Positive thinking has also been linked to stress reduction.
The following health factors are believed to add years to life:
Low Blood pressure (4 years)
Low cholesterol readings (4 years)
Healthy Weight (1-3 years)
Notsmoking (14 years)
Regular exercise (1-3 years)
Are you a positive person? Do you try to surround yourself with positive persons? Do you avoid “psychic vampires” (people who latch onto you and drain the emotional life out of you)?
When I am feeling a little low, or preoccupied with problems, the best tonic for me is to walk around Mill Race Center and talk to people. There are a lot of positive things and positive thinking happening here!
Friendship- A Vaccine Against Illness?
I ran across an article recently titled: “Friendship and conscious community-building: secrets to a happier, longer life.”
Friendship networks have even been referred to as “behavioral vaccine”—inoculating us against illness.
Dr. Robert Butler, author of The Longevity Prescription, wrote “To thrive throughout life we benefit from attachments, whether you call it love, friendship, or bonding. Those connections can add great richness to a three decade dividend.”
Research indicates that older people with extensive network of good friends and confidantes outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%, but close
relationships with children and relatives did not have the same positive effects. Other studies show that women without close friends are much more likely to die from breast cancer compared to those with a strong friend- ship network.
Evidence is mounting that building positive relationships with others is just as important as physical and mental activities in creating good health and life satisfaction. That is why senior centers measure whether members make new friends as as result of participation. Our surveys say that 64% of our members do make new friends at MRC, and that number would likely have been higher were it not that so many survey respondents have been members only a short time.
So get involved in new activities, strike up a conver- sation or introduce yourself to others. Invite friends and neighbors to join you here. You may soon find that your friendship network is expanding, and that may in turn prolong and enrich your life!