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      Mindful Sustainable Aging: Advancing a Comprehensive Approach to the Challenges and Opportunities of Old Age

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          Abstract

          The primary aim of this article is to present a new concept called mindful sustainable aging (MSA), which is informed by mindfulness practices that support the physical, the mental, and especially, the social and the existential dimensions of old life. The concept of MSA is discussed and compared with four influential psychosocial theories in the field of gerontology, i.e., activity theory, disengagement theory, successful aging theory and gerotranscendence theory. The article ends with reviewing research on how mindfulness practice can help to manage, diminish and/or improve a number of serious physical conditions that are common among older people. The potential of mindfulness when it comes to facilitating for older adults in their quest for spiritual and existential meaning is discussed extensively throughout the article.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research.

          "Physical activity," "exercise," and "physical fitness" are terms that describe different concepts. However, they are often confused with one another, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. This paper proposes definitions to distinguish them. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure. The energy expenditure can be measured in kilocalories. Physical activity in daily life can be categorized into occupational, sports, conditioning, household, or other activities. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness. Physical fitness is a set of attributes that are either health- or skill-related. The degree to which people have these attributes can be measured with specific tests. These definitions are offered as an interpretational framework for comparing studies that relate physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness to health.
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            An outpatient program in behavioral medicine for chronic pain patients based on the practice of mindfulness meditation: theoretical considerations and preliminary results.

            The practice of mindfulness meditation was used in a 10-week Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program to train chronic pain patients in self-regulation. The meditation facilitates an attentional stance towards proprioception known as detached observation. This appears to cause an "uncoupling " of the sensory dimension of the pain experience from the affective/evaluative alarm reaction and reduce the experience of suffering via cognitive reappraisal. Data are presented on 51 chronic pain patients who had not improved with traditional medical care. The dominant pain categories were low back, neck and shoulder, and headache. Facial pain, angina pectoris, noncoronary chest pain, and GI pain were also represented. At 10 weeks, 65% of the patients showed a reduction of greater than or equal to 33% in the mean total Pain Rating Index (Melzack) and 50% showed a reduction of greater than or equal to 50%. Similar decreases were recorded on other pain indices and in the number of medical symptoms reported. Large and significant reductions in mood disturbance and psychiatric symptomatology accompanied these changes and were relatively stable on follow-up. These improvements were independent of the pain category. We conclude that this form of meditation can be used as the basis for an effective behavioral program in self-regulation for chronic pain patients. Key features of the program structure, and the limitations of the present uncontrolled study are discussed.
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              Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for its Salutary Effects

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Eur J Psychol
                Eur J Psychol
                EJOP
                Europe's Journal of Psychology
                PsychOpen
                1841-0413
                August 2015
                20 August 2015
                : 11
                : 3
                : 494-508
                Affiliations
                [a ]School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden
                [b ]School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden
                [c ]Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
                Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
                Author notes
                [* ]School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, P.O. Box 408, SE-541 28, Skövde, Sweden. hakan.c.nilsson@ 123456his.se
                Article
                949
                10.5964/ejop.v11i3.949
                4873059
                27247673

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Theoretical Contributions

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