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Mindful sustainable aging: Advancing a comprehensive approach to the challenges and opportunities of old age
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare. School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Behavioural Science and Social Work.
School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden.
2015 (English)In: Europe's Journal of Psychology, ISSN 1841-0413, E-ISSN 1841-0413, Vol. 11, no 3, 494-508 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 11, no 3, 494-508 p.
Keyword [en]
mindfulness, social, existential, sustainable, ageing, activity theory, disengagement, successful aging, gerotranscendence
National Category
Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-27656DOI: 10.5964/ejop.v11i3.949OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-27656DiVA: diva2:844135
Available from: 2015-08-04 Created: 2015-08-04 Last updated: 2017-04-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Conceptualizing and contextualizing mindfulness: New and critical perspectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conceptualizing and contextualizing mindfulness: New and critical perspectives
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation aims at analyzing mindfulness as a concept and a multidimensional phenomenon in its historic and primordial but also contemporary contexts. In the course of examining this more general question, this dissertation targets four specific objectives: 1) classifying existing definitions of mindfulness, 2) critically analyzing and interpreting the Buddhist and Western interpretations and practices of mindfulness, 3) elaborating on the social and existential dimensions of mindfulness, and 4) applying these dimensions in advancing the notion of mindful sustainable aging in the context of successful aging. Paper I examines and assesses the numerous definitions of mindfulness that have been presented over the years by a wide range of scholars from a variety of disciplines. Paper II traces the roots of modern mindfulness in Buddhism. It continues by exploring the utility and practices of mindfulness in the context of social work. The definitions provided in Paper I and the Buddhist underpinnings discussed in Paper II call attention to the fact that in addition to the more commonly considered physical and mental dimensions, mindfulness contains a social and an existential dimension as well – dimensions that remain under-researched and not well understood. To redress this imbalance, Paper III elaborates on these two latter dimensions, emphasizing their potential to enhance health, wellbeing and meaning in life. Paper III further argues that a more nuanced understanding of physical, mental, social and existential mindfulness can be obtained by examining the interconnectedness of all four fields. Paper IV continues the discussion of the social and the existential dimensions of mindfulness with specific emphasis on their utility for successful aging, and advances the notion of mindful sustainable aging. Paper IV highlights the potential of mindfulness for living a meaningful life and boosting the elderly’s capacity to find deeper meaning in their final stage of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, 2015. 77 p.
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 60
Keyword
mindfulness; Buddhism; sati; social work; health; sustainable aging
National Category
Social Work Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-27658 (URN)978-91-85835-59-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-09-04, Insikten, Högskolevägen, Skövde, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-08-04 Created: 2015-08-04 Last updated: 2017-04-10Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, HåkanBülow, Pia H.
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