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

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

By: Jimmie C. Holland (author), Mindy Greenstein (author)Hardback

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Fifty year olds fear what sixty-five will look like, while thirty year olds dread fifty, and twenty year olds thirty. The fears of aging are like one long cascading domino effect of the fears of aging. 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. But many eighty year olds would tell people old age is better than they think. In fact, worries tend to peak in midlife, according to the "U-Bend" studies (so-called because the pattern of well-being throughout the lifespan resembles a "U") that show that the older we get, the greater our sense of well-being. In the words of philosopher William May, we learn to "travel light." Over the course of a lifetime of crises and accomplishments, we learn who we are and what our character strengths and virtues are. And we discover we may actually like ourselves. Here, Jimmie Holland and Mindy Greenstein explore positive aging and the role of character strengths and virtues along the way. They touch on compassion, empathy, kindness, justice, beauty, optimism, and hope in the context of community, experience, and culture. They go on to explore self-control, humor, courage, and wisdom, and what elderly people can teach the young. Lighter as We Go-a joint venture by an eighty-five year old and a fifty year old-explores what it means to travel light, and the fascinating process of getting there.

About Author

Mindy Greenstein, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and author whose book The House on Crash Corner and Other Unavoidable Calamities (with a foreword by New York Times columnist David Brooks), was chosen as one of O: The Oprah Magazine's Books to Pick Up. She is co-developer of Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy, and a current research affiliate working with the geriatric psychiatry team at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, SELF, and elsewhere. Dr. Greenstein also blogs for Psychology Today. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. Dr. Jimmie Holland is known as the founder of the subspecialty psycho-oncology in cancer. Her work has been seminal in alerting oncologists to the psychosocial needs of patients and to the evidence-based interventions available today. The development of a body of literature, an international journal, textbooks and training curricula resulted in a science of psychosocial care. Dr. Holland made the information available in a book widely read by cancer patients, The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty.


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

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780199360956
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 312
  • ID: 9780199360956
  • weight: 348
  • ISBN10: 0199360952

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