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.
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…]
Did you know there are several unique locations in the world where people typically live to be over 100 years old? Not only do the majority of the residents live past 100, they also remain physically active, mentally sharp, and are remarkably free from common diseases. Best of all they rate themselves happy. Called Blue Zones, these regions offer one of the most intriguing formulas for a long, healthy and vibrant life. Surely it’s SMART to explore the identifiable traits found in several Blue Zones to see how they might help us all create our own zone no matter where we live? [Read more…]
One of the few magazines I read regularly is Prevention. As the years go by I’m finding news about staying healthy is becoming more and more relevant. Anyone else feel the same? During the last two issues, I’ve noticed a couple of articles pointing out how a missed diagnosis is often a problem, and that getting second opinions for serious issues is always a good idea. Bottom line? Medical care should be a partnership—not a passive surrender to outside authority. And if that’s true, then recognizing the power of placebos, the mind/body connection, and our own body’s inherent healing abilities is crucial. If we want to stay healthy and happy for as long as possible, it’s SMART to remember that our mind just might be a key medicine available to us all. [Read more…]
Like most people my age I am increasingly interested in what leads to aging well and happy. I am also keenly aware of how different that is from many of the conversations my parents had in later years. Rather than go through a depressing list of “organ – recitals” that often characterized our parents and their friends, the new emerging conversation about positive aging is leading in exciting and interesting directions every day. One recent study from the Netherlands combines the idea of healthy aging to people’s hopes, plans, and wishes for their future. Could it be that having goals and planning for certain experiences can make us happier and more satisfied as we age? This particular study says yes. [Read more…]
Henry Ford supposedly said, “If you think you can’t—you can’t. If you think you can—you can.” While that statement usually applies to reaching our goals or persevering in spite of the odds, we seldom consider it in context with aging. Yet, growing research shows that our view of aging has a sometimes dramatic effect on the quality of our health, happiness, and wellbeing. Not only does what we each think about aging matter, how we feel about aging as a society influences the experience that each of us will have as the years add up. Fortunately, if we can learn to identify those stereotypical prejudices most of us hold about aging, we can halt and maybe even reverse many of the negatives formerly believed to be our destiny.
Many of us believe that our genes are similar to a cosmic lottery. Some get lucky and are born with healthy and strong genes—others not so much. If we are fortunate enough to have parents who’ve lived a vibrant and healthy life into their nineties we feel blessed. The rest of us usually cringe when our doctor asks us at our annual checkup, “Who in your family experienced this, this and that?” —often dreadful diseases that we never want to experience. But is it luck or something else? A new book with cutting-edge research challenges that old assumption. Super Genes—Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being written by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D. claims that the new study of genetics shows us, “…in the vast majority of cases regarding health and personality, your genetic destiny is not set in stone.” [Read more…]
A week ago I turned 60. And while the number sounds much older than I feel, I am also extremely aware of how great my life is at the same time. In fact, thinking back I am hyperaware of how much my life has improved during the last 30 years. But how can that be? In a culture obsessed with youth, is it possible that we’ve all been mislead about what happens as we age? Or maybe those of us who have lived to midlife and beyond stay too silent about the benefits? Either way, now is a good time to let those who follow know that not only can we get better as we age, but life itself can be more sweet, meaningful and SMART as it goes along.
I usually stay away from politics here on SMART Living, but for an obvious reason healthcare is on my mind this week. But let me be clear, I don’t think that healthcare is or should be a political issue. Instead, our health and its care are two issues that touch every single human on the planet—including those of us who practice simple living or minimalism. Unfortunately, with all the blogs I follow—everything from minimalism to personal growth to spirituality—no one seems to be talking about this very all-encompassing concern. So, hopefully, by bringing this important subject out into the light we can recognize how vital it is and arrive at more conscious, aware and responsible actions for our future. [Read more…]