Filmed during Mind & Life Institute’s “Mind and Life XXV: Contemplative Practice and Health: Laboratory Findings and Real World Challenges” on October 20, 2012.

Session One – The Real World

Beyond the Clinic: Strategies for Promoting Lifelong Health and Well-Being
SPEAKER: Lis Nielsen

We are standing on the precipice of two major social challenges: For the first time in history, the number of individuals in the world population over the age of 65 will exceed the number of individuals under the age of 5, with no indication of this trend reversing in the foreseeable future. Simultaneously, the costs of treating chronic diseases in mid-late life that are attributable to modifiable aspects of behavior and the social environment are threatening to overwhelm the economies of individuals and nations. Embracing a broader life course and person-centered public health agenda may hold promise for confronting these new realities. This requires two shifts in our approach to health. First, that we appreciate the many opportunities to influence health outside the clinic, in the everyday lives of individuals. Second, that we embrace a definition of health that goes beyond the absence of disease, to encompass the promotion of adaptive development and aging, the cultivation of individual and societal well-being, and the reduction of suffering and distress. This talk will touch on several target areas – social engagement, stress reduction, behavioral self-regulation, and opportunities for personal growth – where new research is suggesting that interventions in individuals’ daily lives may hold potential to support the lifelong maintenance of health and well-being. It will review how harnessing what we already know about successful aging offers initial clues for how to design interventions that will enable individuals to live productively into their later years. It asks us to consider the shape of the world that we would like to inhabit as we age and what steps are needed to get us from here to there.

MODERATOR: Anne Harrington

INTERPRETER: Thupten Jinpa

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Jimmie Holland
David Spiegel


Lis Nielsen, PhD

National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health

Anne Harrington, PhD

Harvard University

Thupten Jinpa, PhD

Compassion Institute

Board Chair

Mind & Life Connections