aging

The Importance of Novelty

Novelty, by definition, is anything that is new to us, and the experience of novelty can take many forms: meeting a new friend, learning a new skill, buying a new outfit, listening to new music, or traveling to a new environment. Most mammals, especially humans, naturally prefer novelty, so long as it does not come with some perceived threat. [ … ]

aging

Rewrite Your Story, Design Your Future Life

Many people start to look back on their past when they enter the second half of life. In particular, they become immersed in memories as they recall both good and hard times. But such passive retrospection isn’t enough. You must take time to do an interim accounting of your life, reflecting actively and intentionally on your past [ … ]

aging

Three Quandaries of Getting Really Old

In the college classes I teach, students are concerned about what happens in what they call “old age.” Of course the best answer is, “It surely beats the alternative.” But often, that’s not enough. Some students actually express the desire to die relatively young — as young as 50! (Which will seem old to them — until [ … ]

aging

This Is Your Brain on Games

Do you love doing crossword puzzles or playing sudoku because you think it keeps your mind sharp? Well, think again. “Most of those things don’t have a measurable impact — if it makes people happy to play them that’s good, but it doesn’t make them smarter,” says Steven Aldrich [ … ]

aging

Why Sleep is So Important for Your Brain

Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” I would revise this statement by replacing “happiness” with “sleep” [ … ]

aging

How Hormones Help Your Body

The body produces the chemicals we call hormones to control all kinds of body functions. Glands, the organs that secrete hormones, make up the endocrine system, which helps to regulate functions such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction. Imagine hormones as the Pony Express of the body [ … ]

aging

For The Artist, Age Has Its Advantages

Artistic activity of all kinds — painting, music, writing, crafts, and hobbies — seems to benefit both society and its most senior citizens. It is no accident, I think, that ancient people relied upon their elders to be their “seers,” the visionaries whose final occupation it was to create order out of elemental chaos. [ … ]