Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘stress

If we’re supposed to …

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. . . live it up happily and carefree  because “tomorrow we may die,”

why am I so stressed out about paying my bills?

— Cecil Scaglione

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Posted in A Musing

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The Heart is a Lonely Killer

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By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Lonely people face a greater risk of heart disease, the biggest killer on the globe, according to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Lonely students at Ohio State University showed increased blood pressure caused by increased resistance to blood flow that may be harmful in the long run when performing mentally and emotionally stressful tasks. Non-lonely students recorded a more-normal response of increased blood flow from increased cardiac output. Both chronic high-blood-pressure and vascular resistance have been linked to increased risks of heart disease

The students were given a loneliness questionnaire, then monitored during one task involving mental arithmetic and one involving writing and giving a speech to defend themselves against a false accusation of stealing. Blood pressure before and during these stress-inducing tasks rose similarly for both groups, but lonely students had significantly higher vascular resistance and lower cardiac output than the non- lonely students.

In a parallel study of healthy older men and women, aged 53 to 78, systolic blood pressure rose with age in the lonely while it remained more stable in those who were not lonely. The subjects in this study were also given a questionnaire on loneliness, but underwent several medical tests to assess blood pressure and other clinical measures. Blood pressure was significantly higher in the older half of the lonely group. It was similar across all ages among the non-lonely. The study also revealed that lonely people were no different from the non-lonely in terms of behavior risk factors such as drinking, smoking, diet, and compliance with medical treatments.

“Differences in the (mechanisms of blood flow) observed through the session in younger adults may contribute to elevated blood pressure across time in lonely adults,” said Dr. John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago. “Previous research has shown that passive coping is associated with elevated (blood pressure) due to vascular resistance, whereas active coping is associated with elevated (blood pressure) due to increases in (cardiac output),” the researchers stated in their report.

“The parallels between these findings are suggestive of recent evidence that lonely individuals are less likely throughout the day to actively cope and more likely to feel anxious and threatened than non-lonely individuals.” Loneliness appears to be a stable characteristic across all ages, they suggest. “Lonely individuals tend to perceive their social world as less reinforcing and more threatening generally than non- lonely individuals.”

Mature Life Features. Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Health

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Stress Is Part of Inheritance

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By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Most people have some idea what they’d do with a financial windfall.

Take a cruise around the world, pay off the mortgage, or move to another part of the world. But then what? It isn’t easy becoming wealthy overnight.

It was estimated during the ’90s that current retirees will pass on some $10 trillion dollars to their baby-boomer heirs.

Many of the people inheriting this money have little concept of the challenges they face.

The first, of course, is what to do with the money. Do you put that $10,000, $100,000 or $1 million into the stock market or real estate? Do you sell the company or farm you inherited? Do you keep all the stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in the portfolio that suddenly becomes your property?

Most financial planners offer this piece of advice: don’t do anything for a while.

That’s more difficult than it sounds. An Oppenheimer Funds survey revealed that 40 percent of baby boomers who had already received at least a $50,000 inheritance made a financial decision in less than a week after getting the money.

Inheriting a family business or apartment building will require more immediate attention than a stock portfolio. But that’s no reason to make any rash decisions.

Whatever the form of the inheritance, you should focus on what you want to do with the money. Do you invest it for retirement income, pay debts, or make charitable donations, for example?

Establishing goals will help you manage the money better.

While the financial side requires patience and some effort to educate yourself on the best avenues to follow, the emotional side of inheriting is the more difficult challenge.

The inheritance may be intertwined with the death of a loved one and, as a result, associated with grief.

Guilt is another major emotional component of an inheritance, financial planners point out, linked to the feeling that the heir is uncomfortable with not having earned the money. Or he or she might not have been fond of the benefactor.

There’s also a feeling of isolation tied to inheriting money as the recipients often worry, with good reason, about friends and family badgering them for loans or gifts.

It’s the emotional stress that causes some folks to get rid of their inheritance as quickly as possible, by disclaiming it or giving it away or just spending it as fast as they can.

On the other hand, people who have taken time to plan what to do with an inheritance have been known to sit on their wealth and continue living in their current lifestyles with the comfortable assurance that their financial future is secure.



Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm