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Mind-Body Connection

OLLI Co-Sponsors Free Lecture Oct. 14 at Fullerton's Elks Lodge

October 6, 2009

By Nancy Hill

The power of positive thinking, relaxation, meditation and a healthy dose of laughter are important tools that cardiac patients can use to become healthier, according to Keith Golay. The Fullerton psychologist says that’s because cardiac patients actually have two diseases that need treatment.

“A truly effective cardiac wellness program must treat both the mind and the body,” Golay says. “There is the diagnosed heart condition, and there is the disease or condition of the mind, which causes emotions such as panic, fear, depression and/or anxiety.”

As part of his mission to educate people about this critical issue, Golay will present “Mind-Body Connection to Cardiovascular Disease” from 9-11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Elks Club Lodge, 1451 N. Brea Blvd., Fullerton.

The free event, which is open to the public, is part of a medical lecture series sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State Fullerton and Golden Hearts, a St. Jude Medical Center support group.

People who attend the OLLI class will have an opportunity to “begin to learn how their mind and body work together to create health or illness and what they can do to be healthier,” Golay says. “Life stress is deadly if it comes in large doses of a certain kind. Learning about how illness is created can be a very powerful insight for people.”

Golay works with cardiac patients in an eight-week rehabilitation program to help them take a more positive approach to life’s daily struggles. He helps people develop the tools to:

  • Live in the present moment and think positive thoughts
  • Stop worrying about the future and regretting the past
  • Be appreciative and thankful
  • Learn to be more accepting of people’s differences
  • Enjoy the healing behavior of laughter
  • Practice self-meditation
  • Be more calm and relaxed

Recent studies provide convincing evidence that psychosocial factors contribute to the development of coronary artery disease. Golay cites a study of more than 25,000 patients from 52 countries that showed that psychological factors were stronger indicators for heart attacks and heart failure than diabetes smoking, hypertension and obesity. He also cites the groundbreaking work of author Norman Cousins, whose research indicated that emotions, thoughts, attitudes and moods have biological effects.

“Mind-Body Connection to Cardiovascular Disease” is just one of a wide variety of classes available from Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State Fullerton. OLLI provides active, older adults with opportunities to continue learning in a university setting, to engage with peers, to serve their communities, and to support and enhance the activities of the university. For more information call 657-278-446 or go to the OLLI website.

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