Clicky

Search:

Stress as Good And Bad

March 18, 2017 by  
Filed under blog

This week I want to talk about stress. I am even a bit stressed about getting this written in time to post it! There is a lot to stress about. Because of that people have come up with all sorts of ways and methods to reduce stress. However, stress can be good because it can push you to get more done and try harder to reach your goals. And, get this, you can actually learn how to make it so that even a ton of stress doesn’t hurt or ruin your health! I think you will be surprised and delighted to learn how to do this, as I was. But let’s examine how we think about stress for a minute.

As most people know, stress seems to be caused, for the most part, by our thinking and worrying about some future event–near or far. There is, however, two bits of really good news about stress. We all know that if we wanted to be a better or even a great tennis player, golfer, singer, writer, public speaker, etcetera, there are ways to become just that. One of the best methods is the “10,000-hour rule” as explained in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. (If you haven’t read the book, I think it’s a must.) It says you need to put in 10,000 hours at something to become world-class in that field.

From my experience and from what I read, we as humans can do “work outs” and do lots of “practice sessions” with and for our brains, just like we can invest those 10,000 hours to become the best at something. Part of the good news is that, when it’s needed, it doesn’t take 10,000 practice hours to reduce stress.

So, before I get to the good news about how stress isn’t always bad for you and your health, let me just list a few simple techniques that are easy to do to reduce or eliminate stress when you know it isn’t doing you any good:

  1. Take a walk outside.
  2. Take a run in a new neighborhood.
  3. Take a Hike.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Go to a yoga class.
  6. Share your problems or stress with others.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Take a hot bath or jump in a hot tub.
  9. Do a good deed for someone else.
  10. Give or get hugs and kisses from friends and relatives.

These simple things are easy to do and are well known to work.

Okay, that is all well and good but what about the big shocker I’ve been hinting at? This is something that hit me hard. It has to do with changing a person’s thinking and how what they believe changes their health and life span. It is pretty amazing and I will cover it next week. But in the meantime, de-stress as needed and start getting used to the idea that it’s not always bad to be stressed. Then tune in next week to see what I mean!

The Staying Young Secret: Keep Body and Mind Moving

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under blog

My dear wife gave me a Fitbit on my last birthday and that little tool has truly helped me get in better shape, just a little ‘bit’ at a time. Last week I broke my all-time record for steps and distance by walking and running just over 186,000 steps or 71.9 miles for the week. Wow … did that ever make me feel good and young again. And it’s now just a few months before my 73rd birthday.

Fitbit … what a great name for that little device that propels, persuades and motivates people to compete with themselves to keep moving and hit bigger and bigger numbers. It gets you fit a bit at a time.

An additional way to feel and stay young is to work on the top of our body–that would be by being kind to your mind. You have to keep the brain moving too and there are lots of ways to do this.

One way is to put a little bit more strain on the brain or, in other words, push yourself to think more, read more, and a do a bit of writing to others or in a personal journal. These kinds of activities have been proven to expand and improve the human mind.  You might even push yourself to write a book.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t get someone to publish your book–I couldn’t initially get published with my first book. You can do what I did instead–I published it myself and later Bantam books decided to publish it.  Don’t know what to write about? You can start by writing an autobiography or memoir type of book. Remember, it’s not only good for your brain but just think of what you’ll be passing on to your kids and grandkids. They’ll love it and will probably still be reading it long after you check out of this life.  It’s a win-win … you end up helping your brain and, no doubt, the brain of others.

It’s really a shame that so many people, as they age, begin to give up on physical and mental movement.  I’m not saying that it is easy but most things in life that are really worthwhile take effort and even a bit of pain.  But at the end of the day or the end of life the rewards are so very worth it!

So why not set some goals to read more books and write one yourself and at the same time? Get up off the sofa and go for a walk or a run and do it every day. And one other good brain builder is to have good, deep conversations with other people. So, let’s all go out there and create permanent good habits for the brain and the body so you can feel younger for many, many years to come.

 

Improvement by Measuring

October 21, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

Some studies have shown that just about anything that you take time to measure or count on a regular basis tends to improve or get better.  If you keep track of and start measuring your financial net worth or you physical health for example, they will almost magically start to improve. Perhaps you’ve noticed this in your own life.  If you decide to lose a bit of weight and you write that goal down and start to track your progress on a daily or even just weekly basis you will probably see that you are making progress.

When I was just 27 years old I started calculating and measuring my financial net worth after setting a goal to hit a net worth of one million dollars by the time I was 30.  I began measuring my net worth every few months.  What happened?  Well, I must admit, that even though my measuring seemed to help lift my net worth I didn’t make the million by age 30.  I did, however, hit that magic million dollar mark by my 31st birthday. I didn’t think that was all too bad.

To test this theory of improving things by measuring, I recently bought a pedometer.  It’s a little inexpensive device that you can clip on your belt or pocket that counts every step you take. Then without even setting a goal for walking or running I starting observing how many steps I would take each day. I would then write down the total steps taken at the end of the day.  I was a little surprised that even without a goal, the total number of steps I took each day was generally greater than the previous day.  Wow.  That made me feel so good.  As most of us know, it’s critically important to stay active, even more so as you age. Movement is a kind of magic for the human body and essential if you care about staying young or at least feeling young.

The first few days I logged between 5,000 and 7,000 steps per day. But then, without consciously thinking about it, those steps per day increased to between 10,000 and 12,000 per day.  Wow. A couple weeks later I was stunned to see that I was consistently walking between 16,000 and 19,000 steps with some days hitting well over 20,000! And remember, most of that improvement, or maybe all of it, came from simply deciding to keep track. Perhaps it’s just being more aware of the activity—we already know awareness is a critical key to a successful life– or perhaps there’s some unconscious self-competitiveness going on or maybe a little of both, but whatever it is, it does work.

Why don’t you give it a try and see if it works for you?  Measure anything that’s important to you and those around you.  In fact for starters and as a way to prove the point to yourself, why don’t you go online right now and buy a pedometer and if you see that the simple measuring of steps, works then start measuring other things in your life. This whole concept brings to mind an old management saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. How true that turns out to be!

Staying in the Now

October 4, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

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.