Some of the most encouraging information I’ve found since I began writing about aging is that much of what we’ve assumed isn’t necessarily true. I confess that when I was younger I thought old people were “over the hill” as far as reaping the benefits of life. Even if they looked like they were doing well, surely the reality was far less superior than my youth? I was wrong. While there are advantages to being young, there is an equal number of benefits to getting older. I’m not suggesting that everything is perfect—at either age—but making the right choices and with the right guidance, many potential problems can be avoided and rewards enjoyed. What is true, with even as something as frightening as the potential for Alzheimer’s or dementia, is that there are lifestyle choices that you and I can make today that can help to reduce the risk. So instead of pretending or denying that such a possibility exists for many of us, isn’t it SMART to study up on current research that offers the most hopeful perspective? I sure think so! [Read more…]
My husband Thom grew up in a very religious household. A questioner by nature, he struggled to grasp what he was told without constantly asking for evidence. But one thing he heard stood out as absolutely true. Without a doubt, he knew deep in his heart and soul that the most prized possession on Earth, more precious than gold or jewels, had to be wisdom. The certainty of that awareness never wavered. As it turns out, new research appears to confirm that obtaining wisdom just might be central to what leads to a happy and healthy long life—in other words, a key to positive aging. And it’s likely that treasure is something all of us would like to experience in the years to come.
I’m no stranger to Mexico. My husband Thom and I have visited the country dozens of times throughout the years. But one thing we’ve never done is driven the Baja Peninsula. Every now and then I’d find an article or book describing the many interesting sights and towns we could find the further south we traveled. So, after several decades of hints, Thom happened to read something earlier this year about the Sea of Cortez and specifically about a town named Loreto. With that motivation, I finally convinced him that now was the time. Of course, as with all travel, the journey got more complicated the closer it came to our departure date. And now that we’ve gone and returned, I’m reminded that all travel, like life itself, is a series of adventures, trust, and even a few potholes. [Read more…]
This week SMART Living 365 is pleased to introduce you to Donna from Retirement Reflections as guest blogger while I am traveling. I have been reading Donna’s blog for nearly two years and believe she offers ideas that are inspiring, practical and SMART regardless of whether you are retired or not. Thank you, Donna, for filling in and sharing your thoughts with us this week.
When cleaning out a box of old letters and memorabilia recently, I came across a few of my old school report cards. I smiled at the recurring comment, “Donna spends much time chatting with others.” This behavior was definitely in the “things that could be improved” category. What my teachers failed to add was “If Donna continues this behaviour…it could lengthen her life!”
Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill combined data from 148 studies that looked at factors that lengthen our lives. Within this research, numerous lifestyle behaviors were examined and ranked based on their impact on longevity (diet, exercise, heart health, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, doctor visits, flu vaccines, air quality, etc.). Two factors were consistently found to impact health and longevity much more significantly than previously realized. One was close, dependable relationships with friends and family. The other was social integration. [Read more…]
As you may have guessed, I am always on the lookout for ways to stay happy and healthy. At 62 I’m also increasingly interested in any new information that shares innovative research and actions for those of us who want to continue living that way in the years to come. So, when I heard about a new book called The Longevity List—Myth Busting The Top Ways to Live A Long & Healthy Life I immediately requested a review copy. Authored by Professor Merlin Thomas from Melbourne, Australia, this book both confirms what many of us have learned through the years and shares new insights about what it takes to stay healthy. Regardless of your age today, anyone who plans to live as long as possible would be SMART to consider his ideas. [Read more…]
This morning I listened to a podcast created by author and speaker Byron Katie about overcoming our fears. I realize that writing about fear isn’t always popular. In fact, some people are adamant that they don’t have any fear to begin with. But I’m convinced that much of the current anger, outrage, hatred, and denial coming out of the news, on social media, and in conversation, is grounded in fear. So, when Byron Katie applied her “work” on a willing participant in the aforementioned podcast around the subject of current events, the foundation of fear was evident. I found her solution helpful. And perhaps because it so applied to some of my own shadow thoughts, I thought today was a perfect opportunity to bring them out in the open.
A few weeks ago, Thom and I attended a Sunday brunch hosted by a longtime friend. Both Joanne and her husband are in their seventies. Yet, you’d never guess their age by their bright and curious minds. Nearly all their guests were as old or older, but again, everyone was curious, open-minded and talkative. At some point, the conversation touched on how, as many grow older, most seem to shrink back as the years add up. Instead of trying new things and being willing to experiment and explore, there is a strong tendency for seniors to resist the unfamiliar. Many seek safety and comfort rather than possibility and opportunity. Of course, this isn’t just limited to seniors. Lots of people seem stuck these days. So once again it was highly synchronistic when I received a review copy of a book that challenges that outlook, regardless of our age. [Read more…]
We live in exciting times. Some of that enthusiasm comes after reading the book The Longevity Economy—Unlocking The World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market by Joseph F. Coughlin. Why? Even though the book appears to approach the topic from an economics point of view, the vision it paints for the coming years is provocative, uplifting and filled with potential for anyone over 50. While no one can deny that we all face challenges on a global, national and even personal level depending upon individual circumstances, the cresting wave of baby boomers signals something momentous. The question is: Are we going to ride the surge or just sit on the sidelines? Are we going to create a better future, or just attempt to maintain ourselves until we die? Those are questions for business, governments and every single person alive today. [Read more…]
I have a confession to make. I’m an information addict. In case you aren’t aware, I love reading about all sorts of things in books, magazines, online and just about anywhere I can find it. But a report I discovered yesterday reminded me that too much of anything is not always good. In fact, information-overload is the consequence of a constant search for all things new and interesting. And as I’ve just learned, by cramming every moment with either information or entertainment, I distract myself from the gifts of boredom. As any creative person knows, that downtime is where new original ideas flow. In other words, if we want to be inspired, we would do well to give ourselves the gift of boredom on a regular basis and learn to master our digital literacy. [Read more…]
This morning during my morning walk I listened to Abraham-Hicks on audio as she explained the Law Of Attraction to someone at one of her seminars. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of LOA, because even though I don’t agree with everything it proposes, the majority of the message is positive and self-empowering. This morning Hicks offered a phrase I’ve never heard before—a “poop-to-value ratio.” She also explained that a friend of hers came up with the expression, but usually uses a more descriptive word than poop. Naturally, the audience laughed in acknowledgment. But even though it sounds a bit crude, what struck me as important was how clearly this phrase reminded me of the choices, decisions, and tradeoffs we each face every single day. And the best way to know if we’ve made the right choice for us is being aware of the poop-to-value ratio involved. [Read more…]