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Appreciating Great Health

August 9, 2020 by  
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Most of us humans don’t really think a lot about good health when we are totally healthy. It’s so easy to take our good health for granted when we are feeling great. But when something bad happens and we become very sick, then we sure look back at those healthy days and want to be back there again.

This brain of mine certainly has me looking back before my fall and my big, bad concussion. It’s been about a month now and I still have dizzy spells and vertigo plus my memory has been damaged. I’ve been doing better each day although it did suddenly get worse recently. However, the trend is that I am getting better in the long run.

Man, oh, man … talk about big changes in a few seconds. My life is so different now. It’s not just that I miss playing that tennis that I love so much, but I’m also not supposed to watch movies, TV, or even look at the computer screen (which I’m doing now, of course!) but I bought some special blue light glasses that help protect me. And, until yesterday, I was not even driving my car.

I started thinking about a book I wrote in 2006 where in one chapter entitled “An Umbrella Goal for Life,” I talked about how important health was in our lives. Many people think that more exercise is the most important key to living a long life. Quoting from my own book I wrote, “If you had to choose calorie restriction versus a lot of exercise to attain a longer and healthier life, animal studies prove beyond a doubt that eating less calories, and calories that are nutrient packed, will lengthen your life and cut disease by a huge factor compared to exercise alone. So, the plan is do both but especially watch my intake of calories. When I recover from this darn concussion, I am going to watch my diet more carefully and exercise more because I want to live a very long life which is more important than so many other things to me.

Next week, I want to give you a list of items you can do that will help you stay healthy and live a very long time.

Boosting Your Daily Energy

July 5, 2020 by  
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In these times of staying at home and there being a lack of social life we need ways to boost our energy. So, here’s 12 proven ways to boost your energy that have worked for me. Hope they help you a bit too!

  1. Set exciting goals that will put your big dreams into action and be sure to add a timeframe and an exciting game plan to those goals.
  2. A daily “to do” list, looked at or thought about in the morning adds extra energy to your day.
  3. Eat more nutritious foods.
  4. Drink green tea to overcome a mid-morning slump.
  5. Get plenty of exposure to natural light.
  6. Ease your stress by simplifying your life and mainly, or exclusively, pursue your life’s priority items. Delegate the rest.
  7. Heal yourself by being grateful and loving and letting go of all anger.
  8. Think positive thoughts to stimulate those good neurotransmitters called endorphins.
  9. Play and exercise hard to release more endorphins and dopamine.
  10. Get more sleep.
  11. A few minutes of yoga stretching will give you a morning boost, along with your favorite cup of java or tea.
  12. Listening to your favorite music. For some people it may be music with a heart pounding beat while for others it may be inspirational symphonic music.

Whether it’s for work or play, family or friends, we all need more energy, especially as we age. So, try a few of these above and add to the list with your own energy boosting actions.

Pushing Out the Negative

June 28, 2020 by  
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This darn pandemic is certainly creating a lot of problems, challenges, and tons of stress. For me, it’s not just the boredom, although I do miss my social life, but rather it’s the stress that has been getting to me. It has done some strange things to my sleep.

Of course, some of it is due to my age, as most of us have more trouble sleeping as we get older. On some nights, I am only able to sleep for 2 or 3 hours. Ugh! But other nights are normal. So, a couple days ago I spotted a book by Sasha Stephens titled The Effortless Sleep Method. The book is beginning to be of great help, mostly because of my change in thinking.

One section of the book jumped out at me – “The Two Negative Principles of the Mind”. Stephens said, “It is strange but true that most human beings tend to focus chronically on what they do not want. It can be difficult to spot this tendency in yourself, especially if you do not consider yourself to be a particularly negative person. But just try observing yourself for a few days. See how much of your thinking time is spent focused on what is wrong with your life. Then notice how little time you spend even noticing the good things, let alone celebrating them.” Sasha goes on to say, “If, for example, they had one bad night’s sleep along with three or four good ones, most insomniacs would focus on the one bad night. Not only does this give an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of the problem, it can actually worsen it.”

As I write this, I have just realized that by my talking to my wife about my terrible sleep and now writing about it, what I am doing could make my sleep problems worse because I am emphasizing the negative. So, I guess I will take that risk and maybe what I am writing can help others, not just with sleep problems but addressing other challenges and changing your thinking so you spend more time on the positive stuff.

I find that to spend more time on the positive things of my life and to ignore the negative, it helps to write down specific goals that I want to reach. It makes is much easier to keep my brain thinking on the positive side.  Let me give you a list of questions that I have asked myself over the years. They help me come up with specifics which helps me be more positive.

  • Do I want to substantially raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  • Do I want to become a better person?
  • Do I want to be known as a person of great accomplishment?
  • Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  • Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  • Do I want to make a fortune – a million dollars, $10 million, or even 100 million dollars? (Just think of the great good you could do with that money.)
  • Do I want the greater choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune would give me?
  • Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  • Do I want to be a big help to others as I help myself?
  • Do I want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures? (I will continue this one when the pandemic has let up–I’ve already visited 92 different countries!)

May I strongly suggest that you make up your own list. I think if you do you will be pleased with how it helps your life.

Gratitude Amidst Tragedy

June 21, 2020 by  
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Such sad, sad days for our family, especially my younger brother Scott, his kids, and his grand kids. Scott’s wonderful wife, Pat, died a few days ago. No, it wasn’t the Covid-19 virus. She has been struggling with health issues for quite some time. Wow, I feel so bad for my brother. For me, it brought back some very sad times and memories.

When I was 15 years old, my older brother Bruce, who was 17, died right in front of me on an outdoor basketball court in Ankara, Turkey where our family lived from 1959-1961. My brother’s death was devastating for me and I felt so guilty for many years thinking I should have saved him.

Unfortunately, there was a more devastating and tragic event for me that almost did me in. Many years after the tragedy of my brother’s death, my 16-year-old daughter Kristin died. That was, and still is, the biggest and most tragic event of my life. Scott’s wife’s death brought these two terrible events in my life forcefully back to my brain.

When I think of other cultures that are in the mist of war, poverty, and starvation, I realize I really don’t have it so bad. Another thought that helps my brain a bit – something that should help all of us get through the pain of losing a family member, loved one, or a dear friend – is the absolute fact that nobody gets out of this life alive. All of us pass away eventually. It is simply part of life.

One powerful lesson we should take to heart is that life is quite short, so we need to train and push ourselves to live life to the fullest. Live more fully in the great “right now” moment.

Love more.

Live more.

Give more.

And push yourself to fully understand how important those 3 things are in our lives.

For me, it is very helpful to make a list of all the good people and things in my life, reminding myself how grateful I should be to live in today’s world. I call it my gratitude list and when I feel a little down, I re-read that list. I highly recommend that everyone make their own GRATITUDE LIST and add to it every time you think of another thing in your life that makes you feel grateful!

 

A Titanic Lesson

June 14, 2020 by  
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My wonderful wife, Kimberly, talked me into watching the classic movie Titanic recently. Even though I saw the movie several times years ago, it really to me this time. Watching it was a real upper! Now when I experience problems, challenges, or a mood drop, I think about the people on board the Titanic.

How, and why, did the movie affect my brain in that way? When I think of the panic, pain, fear, and death that those aboard that ship faced, I really feel so fortunate and blessed to live in this time and in our super great country. I’ve been in many very, very poor counties that have huge poverty, pain, and suffering. Years ago, I visited India and later did an African safari. I saw so many very skinny kids begging for food in those two countries. It is so sad but, again, those trips made me feel so lucky. These things really do put my life in perspective.

Even though the $7.5 million Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable, on that April day in 1912, as most everyone knows, it hit a huge iceberg at about 27 miles an hour and, in just 2 hours and 40 minutes, it sank. It was designed to have life boats enough to carry 3547 people and there were only 2220 passengers aboard on that maiden voyage but, sadly, for reasons of aesthetics, the owners only put in enough life boats to carry 1178 and virtually each boat was loaded quickly and far below its total capacity. The pandemonium brought out the worst cowardice in many people and extraordinary bravery in others. There were only 705 survivors. More than 1500 people died.

Even with all the panic and fear, the crew tried hard to let the women and children get in the lifeboats first, but many times that didn’t happen as people pushed and shoved to get on the boats. Some guys used their bigger bodies to force their way through so they could jump on the boats. They also boarded more first-class passengers than any other class. The very first lifeboat had a capacity of 65 but it pulled away from the big, beautiful ship with only 28 people aboard. I have to wonder how brave and calm I might have been if I was there.

So much of our lives are lived in our brains. That makes it so very important for all of us to realize how and what we are thinking. When we are thinking negative thoughts, we really do have the power to redirect our brains to think about what is better for us in our lives. So, remember to appreciate what we have which, for the most part, is probably very good, and direct our brains to think positive and motivating  good thoughts to make the most out of all this good stuff we have.

Be Your Own Champion

May 31, 2020 by  
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These pandemic times have pushed me to go back and read some of my journal entries starting in February 1975 all the way to right now. My writing and the goals I logged has excited me to do more goal setting and more writing in my journals.

I have also been re-reading my blogs. I just re-read a post I wrote back in 2009 where I talked about my good friend and Olympic champion Jimmy Shea. He set goals for himself and then, with a ton of perseverance and very hard work, he won, not one, but two gold medals–one in the World Championships in 1999 and another in the winter Olympics in 2002.

I hope you will take the time to read the attached blog about Jimmy Shea and hopefully it will motivate you to make lists and set goals for yourself.

From the post “Meeting a Champion …” April 29, 2009:

This is a picture with me and Jimmy Shea Jr. He came to one of my book signings at Costco. Jimmy is an Olympic champion with quite a story. Jimmy describes his life and reaching his goals, overcoming blocks to becoming a champion:

As a youth growing up in Lake Placid, NY, Jim’s involvement in sports helped him overcome the doubt he experienced due to his battle with dyslexia. Having a severe learning disorder taught Jim the importance of perseverance and hard work, a lesson emphasized by his father and grandfather, both Winter Olympic athletes.

When Jim competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics (in the Men’s Skeleton), he became the only American to have the distinction of being a third generation Olympian. In 1932 his Grandfather, speed skater Jack Shea, became the first American to win two Winter Olympic Gold medals. In 1964 Jim’s father, Jim Shea, Sr. competed in the Nordic Combined at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics.

Jimmy also believes in giving back. He founded the Shea Family Foundation to help young Olympians in the sports he and his family have competed in for generations.

It’s great meeting people like Jimmy at book signings – thanks for coming!

 

So, while we all have tons of time, we should be putting our minds towards great goals we want to set for ourselves. We have the time to make those lists. And, as you know from reading my blog, making lists is critical to future success as is the act of writing them down. Those are great first steps to being your own champion!

You Can Always Be Ambitious

May 3, 2020 by  
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I was going a little stir crazy with all this time on my hands and missing my social life, but then my thinking was quickly interrupted when I was contacted by an old friend who suggested we get together and play tennis. I said, “Absolutely, but we must be careful and safe.” So, we got together but didn’t touch the tennis ball until we had applied extra layers of disinfectant on our hands.

This friend, who I hadn’t talked to for a long time, is a great guy who had what most people would call a HUGE setback. Regardless of that, he’s a nationwide motivational speaker who plays tennis, golf, and basketball and has won some great national titles. But what was his huge setback, you may ask. Well, many years ago, when he was 22 years old, he told me that he fell off a 40-foot barn roof landing straight up. It paralyzed him from the waist down, but that terrible accident didn’t stop him and his athletic ambitions even though he’s been in a wheelchair ever since.

So I told Jeff Griffin I would love to play some tennis. We played on my home court and, man oh man, was he ever good. The rules are that when you play a person in a wheelchair the ball can bounce twice before your wheelchair opponent hits it. I only get one bounce. However, he didn’t even need that small advantage. He hit the ball very hard, his placement of shots was near perfect, and the way he changes direction in his wheelchair with such speed and quickness was amazing. So, I find myself, a 4 times gold medal winner at the Huntsman Senior games, getting kicked by my friend in a wheelchair.  He beat me 6-3. (We only played one set since he totally wore me out.)

Jeff is an amazing person and has won so many awards that the list is too long for me to write out, but you can look him up on Google and read with amazement what he has done in his life so far. Sadly, most people, or at least many people, would look at such a huge setback like Jeff suffered and pretty much give up. Jeff didn’t let that terrible accident stop him though and, wow, has he ever gone to work on so many parts of his life to make himself better and, sometimes, even the very best!

When I get a little frustrated or disappointed I try to push my mind to think about people like Jeff and say to myself, “Hey, I am not going to let my little setbacks or failures stop me from whatever project or goal I’ve set out to do.” And neither should you!

The Friend Factor

April 19, 2020 by  
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I don’t know about you, but this world stopping virus has pounded into my head how very important and uplifting friends, and socializing in general, is to our lives. I’m sure you are like me, feeling the loss of this huge reduction of face to face socializing with friends, business partners, and even some family, especially right now. I’m sure that it’s not only me that believes keeping up friendships is important to your health and quality of life. I came across an article on the Mayo Clinic website about just how important it is to maintain your friends and social circle.

According to this article friendships can:

  1. Increase your sense of belonging and purpose.
  2. Boost your happiness.
  3. Reduce stress.
  4. Improve your self-worth.
  5. Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or death of a loved one.
  6. Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.

Now, that’s a lot of benefits for something most of us would like to do anyways. Of course, with the COVID19 virus we are suddenly hit with a huge shortage of social encounters that we have probably been taking for granted. So why don’t we, even under normal times, keep up with our friends better? It’s likely because life just gets in the way.

We are constantly drawn away from time with our friends by other priorities such as work, caring for children or elderly parents, or trying to make a dent in that long to do list that is always hanging over our heads. Also, many of us do a lot traveling and even move around the country so sometimes even our well-established friendships start to fade with the distance between us all. And then, sometimes, it’s hard to find the time and even the motivation to go out and make new friends. But that is something that we really cannot afford to not do.  Hey, maybe this virus scare will stimulate us to greatly improve our drive to be closer to our friends and make more of them.  Personally, I am certainly going to pay more attention to my face to face social life and my friends when this thing is over.

When I think of my own life and all my friends, I realize and appreciate, even more, my business of investing in real estate and all the friends I made along the way. Most are still great friends to this day. I also got a huge increase in good new friends from that thing called TENNIS-I love it!!

So, hey… let us all stay positive during this virus thing and make plans to spend more time with our friends when this is over as well as having plans to make new ones!

Direct Your Brain

April 12, 2020 by  
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Now, maybe more than ever, it’s so good for all of us that are home bound because of the virus, to live in the present or the “great right now”. There is a very thoughtful, but short and simple poem from John Greenleaf Whittier that makes a very good point:

No longer forward nor behind

I look in hope or fear,

But, grateful, take the good I find,

The best of now and here

Our human minds can do so many great things, but the brain can also do some major damage. We do have a choice, right now, to use our heads to keep us going and in good shape physically and mentally. I’ve seen in the news what I expected and that is a rise in the number of suicides. In addition, unfortunately, the instances of spousal and domestic abuse cases have jumped as well. These people are obviously having difficulties using their brain in a good way.

I did, however, laugh out loud when I read this morning about a guy in England that ran a marathon in his back yard—a very small yard too. That was a lot of circles-especially since his yard was only 20 feet wide. His name is James Campbell and he set his mind to do the huge run to raise money to help fight the coronavirus. I’m sure that thinking about helping other people gave his brain good, positive thoughts which raised his energy level. It’s been proven that your brain really can give you energy.

So now, in these tough days, most of us, being stuck in the house, have plenty of time to plan and set goals for when this is over. Hey, how about doing some detail planning of an exotic trip to Rome or Paris or, if your budget can’t handle that, how about a camping trip and hike in the mountains or even in a nearby open space or campground?

If you have lost some of your passion for life being locked up in your house, you can focus on reviving and getting your passion for living back. First of all, don’t let your brain think about all the stuff you can’t do right now or how you can’t have face to face conversations with friends, co-workers or even some family members. We do all know our social lives are quite important, but our brains can help us out here. Our brain can be our best friend or worst foe and we really can direct our brain to be the way we want it to be.

Ernie J. Zelinski says in his book, The Joy of Not Working, “Fully alive individuals experience the here and now … the more we focus on the past and the future the more we miss the right now. Sadly, we miss most of life’s precious moments because we are so preoccupied with the past and the future.” So, in times like we have right now, we need to use that great brain to think in your present moment. Or, as the author also says, “Being in the now is crucial for living happily, because the present moment is all that you really have.”

If you missed my last week’s post, I would suggest you go back and read my list of the 9 items that are helping me through these stressful times. Plus, I would strongly suggest that you work up your own list to keep your mind and body connected. It will help you lift your spirits and your life.

Your Routine Replacement List

April 5, 2020 by  
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All I can start with on this week’s blogs is just … Wow. Double Wow.

In my 75 years of life I have never ever seen anything like this COVID-19. It’s certainly changing the world right now and undoubtedly will continue to do so into the near future. But what is a normal person going to do without going absolutely stir crazy until it leads to big time depression?

When all of a sudden you are confined to your house without your normal routine, that can mean big trouble. Routine can really be a good thing, even a simple routine like going to work every day. You really don’t think or fret about that routine because you just do it and it feels fine. But you take that routine away that you have at your office or place of business or your active social life and, ouch, that can be a game changer.

I like what author James Wallman said about time, especially leisure time. He said, “Leisure doesn’t improve the quality of life unless one knows how to use it effectively.” The first time I got hit without a routine that about drove me crazy was when I retired and found myself at home without any routine and seemingly nothing to do. I did discover how to overcome that huge dilemma and, now, with this huge virus thing going on, I thought that I could share what we can all do to survive, and even thrive.

I think I will call it the anti-stir-crazy list. “List” is the key word. If we just take time to begin working on a list and making those items on the list our new routine it can, and will, enhance your life.

Here’s some of to do thing on my list as an example:

  1. Set a specific timeline and schedule to exercise every day. I’m talking, lots of walking, hiking in the hills, lifting weights, stretching, push-ups and pull-ups, etc.
  2. Take time to get super organized. There are so many things that have just been postponed that I can easily spend time doing what should have been done before
  3. Seek out and find some good books to read, both fiction and self-help.
  4. Begin and make an outline for a new book that could be written.
  5. Call, text, and/or email old friends and new ones.
  6. Make a list and an outline of what could be accomplished with my life in the next 5 or 10 years.
  7. Be more attentive and playful with kids and grandkids.
  8. Begin making a list of people or charities that I can help.
  9. Begin to learn a foreign language–download Duolingo or Rosetta Stone that makes it easy and fast.

When making this list, keep in mind these questions: What do I enjoy doing the most? Is there anything I am not adding to the list because of negative self-talk? What gives me a great sense of purpose? And don’t neglect to write the list down. If you write your goals and to-do list down you are much more likely to follow through and do those things.

I hope these ideas are helpful and might push you to work on some things to better yourself and your life as well as add to the list of what motivates you and things you like to do.

By the way, when I wrote item no. 4, I thought through my book writing and was somewhat in awe that I’ve actually written 9 books! I would have never ever guessed, those many years ago when I was a construction worker, that I would ever write even one book!  So, my advice is to push yourself to make and live by your own list. You could even brainstorm with friends or family to come up with a bigger and better list!

 

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