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GLENVIEW, Ill. — Sheila Dixon has studied meditation under the most renowned experts.  Now, she spends her time teaching seniors how to use this holistic approach when coping with stress and disease.

At 80-years-old  one might say, Dixon has learned to handle stress better than most.

“I pay attention to if I get mad at somebody do I need to do anything about it? Do I leave it alone? And then I work to manage my feelings,” she said.

She said the key is mindful meditation.

As a retired clinical social worker Dixon has practiced meditation for 45 years and is a certified instructor.

As a Glenview resident at the Belmont Senior Living Center, she holds a weekly guided meditation class sharing her passion for a Zen-filled life with fellow residents.

Recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease Dixon said meditation can help her and others better manage their symptoms.

“I think the big thing is it helps people calm down in dealing with their anxiety,” she said. “Another part is recognizing and acknowledging the continual loss of abilities, cognitive and motor skills.”

Although not all participants have Parkinson’s Dixon said most anyone can benefit from meditation, even if it is simply for the calming effect.

“It quiets the mind,” she said.  “It gets them more in touch with themselves.”

Sheila Dixon she is one of Chicago’s Very Own.