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Living Well and Healthy on the Way to 100

January 20, 2017 by  
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I would like to share with you some more thoughts about life and living and, yes, a few more things that you and I can do to increase our chances of living to be 100.

First, let me tell you about my super crazy few days this past week. The day after I wrote about how important it is to have great health I suddenly got very sick. It started with a severe case of acid reflux but then I could not eat or drink anything without huge chest pains and throwing it all up. I began to feel better after 3 days and so got some time in on beautiful Poipu beach. However, there I witnessed a guy being pulled from the ocean by a lifeguard just 20 or 30 feet from where we were relaxing and just having a good time.

Five paramedics went to work on this guy. They pounded his chest, did CPR on him, and shocked him many times–they worked on him for 20 minutes. Everyone on the beach just froze and watched as they tried to save this guy’s life. Many people were in tears, but even with all that effort and skilled professional work done by the paramedics, the guy did not make it.

The mood of all of us beach goers changed dramatically. We went from fun, games and joy to quiet and very somber. It is amazing how so many people care deeply about a person they do not even know. The young lady next to us broke down in tears. I was fighting back my own tears. The loss of life is a sad thing and, yes, we will all get to that point eventually. But this was a reminder that it is so critically important to live life to the fullest every single day, to do virtually everything we can to stay healthy and extend our lives —yes, to like 100 years old–in good health.

With that said here are a few more of the 100 Wonderful Ways to Live to Be 100:

  • Find reasons to laugh.
  • Do unto others but do not forget about yourself.
  • Do not dread getting older.
  • Get busy and stay busy.
  • (This one alone can add an average 7 years to your life.)
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Eat less.
  • Practice positive self-talk.
  • Use your brain–engage in games and intellectual stimulation.

Let’s not wait until illness or some unexpected tragedy makes us realize how valuable our life is. We can honor this gift we have, every day, by doing everything we can to not just live, but live well and healthy. And to live, yes, to be at least 100.

On the Way to 100

January 13, 2017 by  
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It’s early January 2017 and I’m sitting on beautiful Shipwreck Beach in Kauai.  It’s the perfect temperature with a slight breeze and as I’m writing I’m also listening and watching kids, grand kids and adults laughing, playing and having an absolute blast!  To be in a place like this doesn’t take tons of money but it certainly helps, especially if you live a thousand or two thousand miles away from a warm beach.

I’ve talked quite a bit about new year’s resolutions and goals in the last few weeks, especially talking about that big financial goal or resolution you need to set for you self for 2017.  I must say, that no matter how important financial goals are, setting goals and resolutions for your health is just as important, or I should say much more important!  Look at the billions of dollars that Steve Jobs had, but all that money couldn’t buy his health or save him from the grim reaper.

I’m surely not saying that money can’t ever help your health. It really can by providing better doctors, hospitals, and the latest and greatest hi-tech procedures and medicine, but what you and I choose to do, day by day, can greatly increase our odds of having good health. We could even live to be 100 years old and arrive there in pretty good shape.

A  article from August of 2015, titled “100 Wonderful Ways to Live to 100”, quotes a book called The Longevity Project written by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin.  In the article, it is explained that the authors’ research showed that “being conscientious was one of the best predictors of longevity. That’s because people who are conscientious may be more likely to abide by healthful behaviors, may be less prone to disease, and may find more success in relationships and in the workplace.”

In addition to that observation, I would like to share with you a few of the other article’s 100 ways to live to 100. Then maybe next week I’ll share a few more of the 100 wonderful ways and my thoughts on those. I should also add that almost all the 100 ways are backed up by good solid research. Here are a few easy one to keep in mind:

  • Don’t dread getting older…adults who developed positive attitudes about getting older live more than 7 years longer than those who had negative attitudes.
  • Find a life purpose.
  • Walk a lot.
  • Go meatless.
  • Try to keep your marriage friction-free.
  • Get your Mediterranean diet on.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol (but only in moderation).
  • Cut the sugar.
  • Drink your coffee-but only in moderation.
  • Join the 1 percent.

beach 1Yep, rich people live longer. It’s been proven in many studies!

Oops! I’ve got to stop for a few moments while I watch crazy, young, testosterone filled guys jump off the more than 100-foot-tall cliffs into the water. My son-in-law just did it and survived and went back and did it again. Ugh. It’s very scary.  Maybe I should add to the list of my rules for longevity and health not to take huge risks, like jumping off a cliff or out of a perfectly good airplane, even if I have 2 parachutes!

Ok, that’s all for this week. There will be a few more next week. In the meantime, let’s all go to work on these and set some hard and fast new year’s resolutions for our health and longevity.

 

Reflections in Lieu of a Christmas Card

December 18, 2015 by  
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Now, a week before Christmas I received this email from a very dear friend of 40 years.  He’s a great guy, now a retired doctor, whose life was turned upside down 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live.  After going through a 9-hour surgery and painful recovery he’s still hanging in there and has embraced life with incredible energy and enthusiasm, fully living life every single day.  He is a positive, lovable human being who is setting a wonderful example for all of us, a man I am proud to call a great friend.

Here is his “Reflections in lieu of a Christmas Card”

I stayed out of the hospital this year.

I played golf or pickle ball almost every day.

I enjoyed friendships, new and old.

I’m learning to say goodbye reluctantly to some
friendships that didn’t work.

I made a few new friends.

I love my kids and grand kids who each seem to be
on their own unique journey.

I continue to know less about more.

I own my own faults and will probably keep
most of them.

I travel less and enjoy my home and Robyn more.

I value things less and ideas more.

I totally reject trying to change anyone else.

I seek forgiveness for hurting anyone.

I reject exclusion, pettiness, manipulation, passive
aggressiveness, and revenge.

I love knowledge, insight, information.

I love competition and discussion.

I reject polarization, cliques, political and
group collectivism.

I advocate for things I believe and not for groups,
causes, or labels.

I advocate for health, fitness, and science.

I love animals more than people.

I reject political correctness and distribution of
wealth.  I advocate for self-determinism.

My identity is not in my possessions.

I resolve next year to reduce drama in my
life by avoiding those who need it.

I want to live as long as possible if there is good quality.

After pancreatic cancer, I’m not afraid of much so
I will speak to my beliefs.  You can have yours
so don’t be offended.  I can disagree with you
and love you.  Don’t react with anger.  Just
listen or not.

I can’t be offended unless I choose to be.

Life is short, don’t withhold love.

Don’t take yourself seriously.  Laugh at your
mistakes and embrace them.  Don’t worry
about what others think.  Worry more about
what you think of yourself.  I want you happy.

If this all sounds pontifical, it probably is.  It’s me at my best and worst.

Love to all.

–Craig Davis

Be Grateful Now

November 13, 2015 by  
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It seems most of us don’t stop and take time to appreciate and have gratitude for so many things in our lives, until we lose something that has great value for us.  However, if we lose it and then get it back, suddenly, our gratitude and appreciation factor can soar.  I’m talking about everything from our health, wealth, relationships, family, and friends, just to name just a few.

A couple of weeks ago I was hit with 3 big health issues that shook me to the core. I had been previously told that I had the beginning stages of COPD and then I came down with a horrific sinus infection that was not only very painful but my nose was running like a river day and night.  On top of that I took a blood test that showed my blood was over the safe limit in its thickness and my PSA numbers indicated that I may have prostate cancer.  Talk about getting hit in the face with your own weakness and mortality all at once!

I was beside myself not only with physical pain but huge, incessant, mental worry and stress.  I was a mess.

Now fast forward a few weeks and everything dramatically changed. The sinus pain, nasal drip and horrible cough stopped, the infection was cured by medication.  My latest pulmonary test showed my lungs were normal and improving, so most likely I didn’t have COPD and my prostate exam came back negative, so no cancer. YEA!

I was ecstatic and, on top of that, it was a huge relief. I was so VERY DAMN GRATEFUL to be healthy and pain free.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I was and then something struck me pretty hard. I was thinking, “Hey you dummy. Why weren’t you appreciative and so totally grateful back before all of your problems began?”  Why is it that we humans seem to need to lose something very before we fully appreciate what we have? It’s kind of strange but most of us really don’t fully appreciate so many things in our lives until we lose them.

So, the bottom line is that every day, I’m going to concentrate on being aware of all the great things in my life–health, wealth, family, friends, freedom, love etc.– and do that without having to take that round trip of losing it and getting it back before truly appreciate what I have. And if you don’t think you have enough good things in your life right now, stop and take a minute to think about what your life would be like if you lived in Syria or you were one of the many refugees freezing and trying to make it to a safer country. I’m certain you have a lot to be grateful for and the time to appreciate it is now.

 

Battling Fear in the Great ‘Right Now’

October 2, 2015 by  
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Fear and anxiety is something all of us experience from time to time in our lives—sometimes more often than we care to admit.  We fear and stress over big things that might not, and usually never, happen. They are these little things that can get stuck in our brains day after day that bug us and don’t let go. As a matter of fact I am experiencing a bit of fear and stress right now over something that logically shouldn’t bother me, something I’ve been through many, many times and logically I shouldn’t have any fear at this point. That fear and anxiety is all wrapped up in my head over a speech I’ve been asked to give to a group of MBA students at Utah State University.  Even though it’s not scheduled until next week and I’ve given many hundreds of presentations and seminars on the same subject over the years, I’ve still been worrying myself into a bit of a frenzy.

Part of the problem is that I haven’t given any speeches for a very long time  That shouldn’t bother me since I know my financial subject backward and forward and I’m sure none of the kids (Oops! I mean the MBA college students!) don’t have near the experience or knowledge of the subject I’ll be presenting.  So I really shouldn’t be stressing.  But of course our fears and worries aren’t necessarily logical or based on any facts. And furthermore I’m almost positive, based partly experience, that when my presentation is all finish I will think back and laugh at myself for being so uptight.

For most of us normal and average human beings it’s the same story–we fear things that may happen in the future even though most of what we fear never happens. So what is the lesson to be learned from all this?  It’s an old subject, an old lesson but one that we need to constantly be vigilant in observing and monitoring–that self-talk or negative chatter box inside our head.  We need to keep directing that self-talk to bring our thoughts from future thinking to thinking and living in the great ‘right now’!

Just taking time to write about my fear and anxiety over next week’s speech has already given my brain a calming feeling and the worry and stress has dropped considerably. Wow … I guess that is another lesson to learn! If we open up and talk or write about the fears and anxiety that we have in our heads, sharing it with others, that sharing can act as a kind of magic cure.

Well, I think I better get to work and outline and practice my presentation for the MBA students next week–that also reduces stress and anxiety.

 

The Super Brain at 70

May 2, 2014 by  
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Finally, I’ve past the 70 year mark so now I can stop being so focused on my ‘age’.  But I am thinking and acting on maintaining and improving my “Super Health”!  Why, oh why, would I want to do that?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe because great health and longevity are more than a little important to me as it is for most people, especially as we age.

With that in mind, I found myself reading, for the third time, Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. I do so love their subtitle Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being. What a great book!

Even though I was having such a fantastic time, I even thought about this book at my huge 70th birthday bash. My wife Kimberly put together the most amazing party with over 200 people including family and a ton of great friends. We had professional Brazilian dancers and a drum team (my daughter Cammy is on the dance team) plus three talented fire dancers that put on a fantastic show that reflected off our pool with the night lights of the city as a back drop.  And the party went on until 3 a.m.!

That night Chopra’s book popped into my head as I talked to an old tennis friend, Galen Young, who is just short of turning 90 years old. The thing is, Galen is still playing a mean game of tennis (he is currently ranked 10th in doubles and 5th in singles in his age group in the U.S.) He has even set another goal firmly in his super brain–he has decided that he is going to win another gold medal at the Huntsman World Senior Games–and I sure wouldn’t bet against him.

You see, the book Super Brain really does reveal some super secrets and methods to train or program your brain to give you pretty much anything you want.  The authors give some great brain plans for super health and super longevity and good ol’ Galen Young is out there doing it so you know what … anyone of us can do the same thing!

The day after the party I jumped back into the book to re-read and re-dedicate myself to applying the concepts and the methods that Super Brain reveals. Here they are …

Ok, I am teasing you now because we will wait until next week to share those details. If you can’t wait for my blog, by all means, go ahead and buy the book! You’ll want to eventually anyways.

Accepting the Moment

October 25, 2013 by  
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I noticed that myself, my wife and a number of other people are having a hard time with life events this past week. We will all have difficult times to deal with but how events affect us now and impact us in the long run depends on how we deal with them. If you’ve followed this blog for a while then you’ve probably read my thoughts on living in the now and how it affects your health, stress level, and just enjoyment of life. Well, the same kind of thing is key for dealing with hard times—awareness and acceptance of the present experience.

When we find ourselves in an emotional or difficult moment—whether it’s a deadline you’ve missed at work, a bad injury or the loss of a loved one—one of the first things that comes to mind is wanting or wishing we could change what has happened. There’s no point in doing this but we all do it just the same. If you hold onto those thoughts, you’ll just be torturing yourself which does you and those around you no good at all and can be harmful in the long run.

Now some situations can be changed for the better but not always and sometimes changing it is going to be a losing battle or just make something else worse. The first thing you need to do with any situation is to accept what has already happened. The past cannot be changed. If you missed that deadline, well, you can’t go back and get the work done on time any more but you can move forward and get the job done as soon as possible or put it aside and pick up the next most important task. If someone has passed away, celebrate who they have been and how they have enriched your life while accepting that everyone will pass on and that it’s okay, that it is just part of this wonderful miracle that is living.

Accepting and living in the moment won’t make the stress or pain of what has happened go away completely and that’s okay too. Disappointment, pain, and sorrow are normal when things get rough but they should only be momentary, a reaction to the circumstance. Feel your emotions and accept those as well. But let go of any attempts to control what has already happened. This will make it so much easier to accept difficult circumstances which will reduce the emotional and physical problems you’ll have when dealing with the situation.

So live in the now, accept the moment. Don’t spend time wishing things had been different and don’t try to change the present in an attempt to change the past and its effect on you and your loved ones. The only thing that can change how a difficult situation will affect you, is in how you deal with it.

Staying in the Now

October 4, 2013 by  
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I had a great walk in the mountains yesterday. Wow, was it refreshing! I sure hope all my readers are taking their daily walks on the beach, in the mountains or just around the block, even if for just 5 minutes, to recharge your mental and physical battery!

Having said that (and, yes, I wrote about that not too long ago) you may wonder, as I have, why does even a 5 minute walk outside make such an impact on our minds and bodies? Well, I think I may have found the answer to that question. Let me go back a few days to explain how I came to what I think is the answer to that question.

On September 29th my daughter Cammy called and asked me to join her and her brother David for a so-called “restorative yoga” class on the night of September 30th (she also jokingly called it “advanced napping”.) You see, Cammy and all her brothers and sisters along with my wife see me every year on the 30th struggle through the day and sometimes have major melt downs. That’s because the 30th of September is the birthdate of my dear sweet daughter Kristin, who died at the tender age of 16. Cammy and David thought this yoga session might help me on this particular day. And man oh man, did it ever! But the reason it was so very helpful was basically the same reason my walks in the woods are helpful and, for that matter, even playing a good competitive game of tennis.

What is it? Well, let me explain what happened. When we arrived at the yoga center, my wife Kimberly, Cammy, David and I were led in to a darkened room where we sat down on our yoga mats and listened to the yoga instructor quietly and calmly give us direction to slowly position ourselves into some basic but relaxing yoga poses, adding in very gentle, alluring and peaceful far eastern type music.

I found myself going deep inside myself in both thoughts and emotions but the constant calm voice and direction of the instructor kept our minds, thoughts, and emotions in the present moment–in the great “right now”. She told us to not let our minds and thoughts get distracted by what we had done that day or what we were planning on doing later that night or the next day, but to focus only on the present moment.

She repeated these instructions many, many times to help us stay in the “now” and she did so in a very soft and gentle way. Yes, I followed every word and when I found my mind straying away from the present moment, I gently brought it back to “the now moment”. An hour and half later when we left the center I felt so high, so refreshed and content, and so lightened and lifted.

As I waked to the car it suddenly dawned on me why my mountain walks were so wonderful and mind boosting as were my real competitive games of tennis that get me so deeply involved on a mental level. I realized that it was these type of activities that tend to take us and keep us in the present moment, that great “in the now” moment. And that, my friends, gives our body, mind and soul that super boost that we feel during the experience and for minutes, hours and maybe even longer than that afterwards. And that is something that, in our super busy world, most of us just don’t get enough of! So how about putting that on your daily to-do list, each and every day, and see the difference it can make in your life.

Live in the Now: Be Free of the Past and the Future

August 16, 2013 by  
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I hope you had a chance to read last week’s blog and have been practicing keeping aware of every moment and accepting it for what it is. Now here are a few hints that can help anyone to live in the moment or in the right now more readily and constantly. At least they have helped me and I hope they can do the same thing for you.

1. Be free of unease. Make a conscious effort to monitor your thoughts and feelings by constantly asking “What is going on in my mind right now?” Halt any worrying questions about the past or the future.

2. See if in those monitored moments you can catch yourself complaining in speech or thought. If so, you are probably “playing the victim”. Calmly silence that kind of chatter.

3. Always remember that to complain is not accepting of “what is” and it’s usually something that is in the past or something you anticipate that will happen in the future. Either do something about your complaint or accept it.

4. As you move, as you play or as you work, do it totally in the great “right now” as if this one moment is all there is and all you want.

It’s interesting to note that many times, even when a person is engaged in an activity that is meant to be fun and enjoyable, it can be ruined or at least diminished by what the brain is doing or not doing. I’ve noticed for example, that many times when I am playing a tennis match–especially in a tournament–that the more I think about a bad shot that I just made or wonder if I might be able to win this particular game or set I find myself not enjoying this game that I play in order to have fun. Plus I notice that when I am having thoughts about the recent past (the bad shot) or the future (if I can win this game, set, or match) I usually don’t play near as well as I know that I can. So I am losing in two ways—first, I am no longer having fun and second, I end up losing the match. That’s pretty dumb, don’t you agree? And it doesn’t have to be that way, not if I just work on training my brain to live “in the now” and I mean that “right this moment now”!

It’s certainly ok and even fun to recall and reminisce over good and fun times of the past and it’s quite necessary to do some planning and goal setting for the future but the key is, don’t spend the majority of your time in those two places. For maximum peace of mind, pleasure, and feeling of fulfillment, spends most of your life in the great “right now”. Make “the now” the primary focus of your life.

 

Revisiting “Living in the Now”

August 9, 2013 by  
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If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, then you know how much I believe we need to re-read books and other information even when we think we know it well. You will be surprised how many things you pick up that you didn’t the first time. Plus, we often really need a reminder to get us refocused on the things we learned the first time we read that great book or article. Or blog post.

This week I’d like to re-visit an old but very critical and important subject I’ve written about before, one that brings so very much life to your years, and even years to your life. It’s the simple but very difficult daily habit of “living in the present moment” or more simply put “living in the now”. Let me just summarize a few key points that may help you (and me!) “Live In The Now”.

No. 1 Constantly remind yourself to direct your “inner chatter”. Focus on what you are doing and feeling at the given moment. Even when you are just walking to the mailbox or standing in line, be there in your mind with each step and each breath and keep your thoughts present and positive.

No. 2 Accept whatever the present moment contains–good or bad. Of course if it’s bad and you can change it, do so. But if you can’t change it then accept it and try to do so as if you’d chosen it. Always work with it not against it. Make your circumstances your friend.

No. 3 Remove wanting and craving and you end suffering. The Buddha taught that the root of all suffering is to be found in a state of constant wanting and craving. If you think about it you can see that “wanting and craving” is certainly opposite or, at minimum, much removed from truly living in the “NOW”.

Next week, I’ll give you a few tips on how to make this process and state of being easier to achieve. In the meantime, just work on being aware and mindful of everything you do at every moment and every thought that goes through your mind. It takes practice but it can be done and it will make you happier to be in the very moment you have right now.

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