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Good Mood is in Your Food

July 31, 2022 by  
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Depression. it’s something none of us humans like but, at certain stages of life and under various circumstances, many of us have been hit by the big, bad D word.

In 2020, there were about just under 15 million cases of major depression in the United States. Not surprisingly, when Covid it, there was a 25% increase in depression cases. It’s also interesting to note that more people get depressed on Sunday than any other day of the week. Perhaps it’s because, both during pandemic restrictions and on Sundays, we have less structure in our lives. During those times, we may have gone without goals or plans and, certainly during the pandemic lockdown, routines were often thrown out the window.

Certainly, having a set routine and goals for the day can help a lot with depression, but there are several other methods for avoiding or getting rid of depression if you get hit with it. There is even one surprisingly simple way to reduce the likelihood of depression. Would you believe that simple thing is the foods that you eat?

I’ve read a lot about this and, from what I’ve found, I have been able to create a list of some of the most helpful foods for getting you out of a depressed state of mind. Here are some that I focus on:

  • Nuts, especially almonds
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grain bread
  • Celery
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Ginger tea
  • Foods rich in vitamin B, C, D, E, and zinc such as avocado, peas, spinach

There are certain vitamins and supplements that help a lot as well:

  • B vitamins, especially B12 and Folate
  • Vitamin C, D, E
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • St. John’s wort
  • DHEA
  • 5 HTP
  • Turmeric
  • Folic acid
  • DHA
  • Folic acid
  • L-tyrosine
  • Magnesium

You also want to drink lots of water and drink very little or no alcohol.

I eat and take most of the above and it has helped me big time. There are a lot more foods and supplements that help reduce or eliminate depression though. So, if you are struggling, or someone close to you needs help in that part of their life, look up options on the internet and, most importantly, talk to your doctor about changes to your diet and supplement regimen.

Although diet is very important, don’t forget those other simple things you can do to get out, and stay out, of those depressive moods. Set agendas and routines for yourself, get outside, and try new things such as walking through new neighborhoods, meeting new people, or planning a vacation or weekend getaway to some place you’ve never been and know very little about.

Remember, the mind craves unique places, novel experiences, new friends, and interesting new people, and when we are not getting those things, increases our chances of falling into a depression. So, push yourself to find those new places and people as well as switching up your diet to support a healthy and positive mood.

More Reasons for Living in the Right-Now

May 29, 2022 by  
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Doesn’t life seem to change quite a bit as you get older? It sure does for me. Our bodies are certainly not the same at 70 or 80 as they were when we were teenagers or even at 30 or 40.

I had lunch the other day with an old friend that I’ve known for many, many years. I’ll call him Jerry. We have had so many great years together. Recently, I called him up to ask if we could meet for lunch at a restaurant or my country club. Jerry said he’d love to, but we would have to have lunch at his house since he was not very mobile. I was quite surprised to hear this since Jerry is only about a year older than me and the last time I saw him, he seemed to be just fine and had always been in good health.

We met up a few days later at Jerry’s house and I brought him lunch. I was surprised to see him with a 4-wheel walker and, on top of that, he shocked me with the news that he had bone cancer and, even worse, the cancer was also now in his brain.

Wow, that was such bad news, and I really felt sorry for my dear, long-time friend. Aside from all that bad news, I was very happy to find, after talking to him for a while, that his thinking was in excellent shape. He told me about a trip that he just got back from. In spite of his physical shape and health problems, he said he had a wonderful get away to Europe. As we talked about some trips we had taken together in the past, I was amazed that Jerry remembered so many details of our trips, many that I have a hard time recalling myself. He really impressed me!

When most of us were young, we might have thought life was an easy ride, and we figured we would live to 100 and have plenty of time to do all the things we want to do. We might also have hoped that maybe, by the time we’d reach old age, they will have invented a medicine or procedure to extend our lives by many, many more years and maybe even close to forever (I’ll hold on to that far out dream!) But even if we could live forever, we still have to deal with our older our brains and bodies not working near as well as in our younger years.

Since we most likely won’t live to be a 100 or more, we need to wrap our minds around living in the Right-Now Moment. It is true that we can’t continuously live in the present if we want to plan a big, fun getaway trip, since that takes future thinking. However, I certainly have found that as I think about going to Europe or Japan or any new place, it lifts my spirits.

Traveling to new places and seeing new things excites my mind and, I believe, it makes me healthier. It could even push off the day that I check out of life by many more years. I sure hope so!

Slowing Down Time

April 10, 2022 by  
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I don’t know about you, but I am so amazed by how quickly 2021 went by. It was gone in a flash. And now we are almost a quarter of the way through 2022. Why does time seem to go at warp speed these days? Well, there are actually very specific answers to that question and your age has a lot to do with how quickly or slowly time passes for you, but it’s not the whole story.

The speed of time is, for one, perceived quite differently by kids and young people compared to older folks. When we are young, time seemed to go so slowly. Do you remember when you were 15 years old but just months away from turning 16 when you could then drive by yourself? Wow, the time then seemed to slow down so much it almost stopped.

But have you noticed that now, being older time seems to have sped up? I just turned 78 last week, but it seems so much less than one year ago that I cerebrated my 77th birthday. That was a really fast year.

The reason for this has a lot to do with how many new experiences we have. Our brain encodes new experiences differently than familiar ones and our subjective experience of time is tied to the number of new memories we create. The more new experiences we have, the more memories we are storing and the slower time will seem to pass. That does make sense to my brain as I get older and pay attention to my thinking and my life and the speed of our human existence.

In BBC’s Science Focus magazine, Dr. Kit Yates, author of The Math of Life and Death, writes that, “The greater our acquaintance with the routines of everyday life, the quicker we perceive time to pass and, generally, as we age, this familiarity increases.”  

He goes on to say that this theory, “suggests that, in order to make our time last longer, we should fill our lives with new and varied experiences, eschewing the time-sapping routine of the everyday.” I’d like to add that seeking out new and novel experiences is also really great for the health of your brain. It’s even been suggested that the desire to have novel experiences can be a predictor of a healthier, happier, and maybe even longer life.

If you are interested in these challenging ideas that we face as we age, I encourage you to search the internet and find out more about why time passes quicker as we age as well as ideas for adding new experiences to your life so you can slow time down and benefit from a happier and healthier brain.

Our Amazing Brain

March 27, 2022 by  
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Wow, what an incredible machine we all have and often take for granted. I’m talking about the human brain and it does so much more than we fully realize. Even as I write this, I have to stop and take note of the fact that my brain knows where each key on my computer is located to the point that I don’t even have to think about it. Likewise, when we are sleeping, the brain continues to work without our input. Then, when we are awake, we can, again, choose what we want to think about.

When I decide to accomplish a particular thing, I can think about it and set my sights on it, keeping my decision and the steps I need to get there in my mind. I can set a goal with a time frame on it and most of the time I can reach that goal, mainly because of the powerful machine in my head.

When we take a big look at the world, we can see what the human brain has been able to come up with. It came up with the automobile, airplanes, rocket ships, computers, space stations, and even heart replacement surgery! And that’s just a tiny list of the amazing things it can invent.

I’m very, very impressed by the brain’s ability to remember things, especially my wife’s. She remembers everything and with so many details that I am constantly surprised. On the other hand, the older I get, the less my brain remembers, although it’s still amazing.

The change, however, has motivated me to find various methods to kick it into gear. One that works really well for me is when I am trying to remember a person’s name that I haven’t seen or talked to in a very long time. I mentally go through the alphabet and usually, when I come to the first letter of their name, bingo, I remember it. For example, I was trying to think of a tennis friend in Kauai that I hadn’t seen in sometime so I started going through the alphabet and, wow, the first letter did it. His name was Al.

So, how do we wake up the power of our mind and intentionally and productively choose what we think about? To start, we all need to be conscious of what we are putting into our brain. What kind of information do you feed it? Do you give it challenges and problems to figure out to keep it agile? And what do you eat to keep your brain healthy?

There are a lot of ways to support your amazing brain. But the first thing you need to do is decide to intentionally take care of it and make it a priority. Once you’ve done that, be on the lookout for ways to keep it fit, healthy, and amazing.

I’ll talk more about what you can do to keep your brain fit and healthy in next week’s post.

Pay It Forward

March 13, 2022 by  
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This past week, my wife Kimberly and I drove around Salt Lake City to maybe see some houses or office buildings that we had not seen before. As you probably know, the mind craves novelty even when it’s as simple as driving through a new or rarely seen neighborhood.

Kimberly chose to drive down a street where we used to live. We decided we’d like to meet the people living at our old house. When we knocked, a young, good-looking guy came to the door. We told him we used to live there, and we’d like to take a little look around. Before we went into the house, however, Kimberly said, “Hey, Mark, why don’t you go to the car and give him one of your books?” 

I did, and when I gave it to the young man, he looked surprised and said, “I know your name.” He quickly retreated into the house and brought out a book called Pay It Forward, co-authored by Brian Tracy and several other experts, including himself.

What a coincidence! I have known Brian Tracy for years. He was a top-notch motivational speaker at some of my seminars. Not only was he super successful and a superb writer and speaker, but he was also a super nice guy.

The young co-author we meet was Daryl L. Kemsley. His section in the book was “Driven By a New Purpose”. In it he writes about taking “Three Steps Forward” which I thought could be very helpful for a lot of people. I’d suggest that you get the book and read about his three steps:

Step 1. Sacrifice helps you embrace what you deserve in life and business. 

Step 2. The principles of building a business are consistent.

Step 3. When you listen for it, you will find the people that need you the most.

Pay It Forward is an excellent little book and Brain presents a lot of great subjects in his chapter, “Create Your Own Future” including:

  • Think About the Future
  • Become a Millionaire
  • Create a Five-Year Fantasy
  • Imagine No Limitations
  • Practice Blue Sky Thinking
  • Refuse to Compromise Your Dreams

That is to name just a few of what he writes about that can be so helpful to a person’s life. I sure remember when he spoke at our seminars and how the audience loved what he had to share. You could tell they knew it would be very, very helpful to in their lives. Go out and find the book and buy it. You won’t be sorry. 

The Greatest High

February 28, 2021 by  
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When I was very young, I never got high. But now, at almost 77, I must admit I get high quite often. In fact, right now is one of those times. I’m high, real high – the captain just announced that we are about 33,000 feet high.

Ho ho… you might have thought I was talking about drugs, drugs that stimulate the brain. Nope. I’ve never done drugs. I really do love being at 30,000 feet or more, as long as I’m on an airplane. Oh yes, I love to travel, and flying not only gets me 30,000 plus feet high, it also lifts my brain as I see and experience new things.

The brain responds tremendously to novelty such as new sights and sounds. It certainly gives me a high. Yes, I know that many people are afraid to fly, especially when they see things like a jet losing an engine over Denver. But wow… look at the odds of dying on a commercial flight. Research shows there is a 1 in 29 million chance that you will die that way.

I love to visit foreign countries, not just because of the flight there, which I love, but because of the uniqueness, the novelty of new countries and new people, and the amazing variety of cultures. Sadly, those great things like foreign travel and being very social were suddenly taken away from us, but it isn’t permanent. Fortunately, it seems like we might be pulling ourselves out of this COVID mess. (And, yes, I did get my COVID vaccine!)

As I write this, we are thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean, flying from Kauai to Seattle then on to Salt Lake City. And, yes, our months in Hawaii were warm and wonderful although it did rain a ton! But we still got in some tennis time and beach time.

I am a huge believer in staying active. There is so much evidence showing that if you keep moving you will, on average, have better health and a longer life. Pair activity with novel things to do and novel places to visit and you can lead a longer and healthier life while having tons of fun!

We are now making lots of plans for future trips and are very carefully increasing our social life. I hope the best for you as well as we get our lives back to normal. How novel everything will seem then!

Creating Your Own Novelty

September 6, 2020 by  
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I’ve written before on this great thing called “novelty” and how it can excite our brains big time. In today’s COVID world we may feel like we are totally locked down, but I’d say it’s time to use our brains and think our way out of and beyond the lock down. Now, how do we do that?

Well, there is one thing that could help you now while giving you a great experience later. How about taking lots of time to research and plan a big novel trip or vacation, so when the pandemic is over, you are ready to take that great trip! I mean, if we are smart and use our brains, we could plan lots of novel things and maybe even carry some of them out right now. Like, hey, how about writing a book? And while you’re at it, draft a plan for selling that book online or to bookstores. In other words, create your own novelty.

Have you ever noticed how children and young people are always trying something new, pushing themselves, eager for adventure while older people seem to be content to do the same things they always have done and in the same old way? That’s really just a generalization as I know many older people, myself included, that still continuously seek out new and challenging experiences. However, there is a sense of complacency that is easy to fall into as we get older or as the obligations of our life wear us down.

As physical energy wanes so does our ambition and, next thing we know, our brains turn off and we are just living on autopilot. It’s at that point that making any change in our lives gets very, very difficult. The thinking is our brains don’t wear out the same way as the rest of our body. Normally, the brain is still willing and able to do its job – learning, solving problems, and amassing knowledge even when we physically feel worn out. But when faced with a lot of stress or just dull repetitious experience the brain deteriorates.

To keep your brain in top shape, give it the novelty it craves. Educating yourself through books, television shows such as those found on PBS and the History channel, and quality information on the internet will certainly help, but remember, your brain is a multi-sensory organ. Keep that great word and concept of novelty in your mind and pursue it always. Feed it. Don’t let COVID trap you.

We all can still get out of the house and experience new sights, smells, sounds, flavors, and textures. New experiences will boost both your physical and mental energies and motivate you to do even more. In fact, if you have lots of time on your hands, go and create a bucket list of that stuff you always wanted to do before you kick the bucket. Yes, just like Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson did in that movie The Bucket List. I sure know that having my own bucket list motivates me especially in these COVID times.

Ok, you and I know what to do. Now so let’s go and do it!

Revisiting a Journey

May 24, 2020 by  
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Man oh man! Do we all have so much extra time with this crazy Covid19. I have spent a ton of time going over all my past blogs and reliving some of the stuff I talked about. In fact, I am sending you this one from Oct 14, 2008. I had such a good time back then with good ole Stein Eriksen and even though he has passed on I can still relive all those memories. Of course, that’s the great advantage to writing a blog or writing in your journal on a regular basis.

I hope you enjoy reading about our time in Paris, Switzerland, and Croatia and maybe when this virus thing is over, you will be motivated to take your own trip to Europe or some other exotic place in our beautiful world.

Passion, like life, is about journeys not arriving. Kimberly and I have been planning a trip to Europe for a year. This was a goal of ours. You see, the brain craves the new, the unfamiliar. Living in the moment also stimulates the mind. Of course, it’s easy to live in the moment when you’re in Paris.

Another way is to experience something familiar through someone else’s eyes. We took our good friends Frantoise and Stein Eriksen (who has a Wikipedia page) with us. We’d been to some of the places before, but they came alive again when we showed them. Our brain loves new experiences.

Everywhere we went I asked people what their passion level was. We visited the farm of a cheese maker in Switzerland. We stayed at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad Switzerland which had unbelievable scenery and impeccable service. I got to introduce the Eriksen’s to an Australian tennis champ and we were in Germany for Oktoberfest.

The most exhilarating part of the journey though started with a train ride that had some curve balls. Getting on the train and going from Zurich to Croatia there was no one was there to greet us. We had a tough time finding a cab to make it to the ship. We finally found a cab and arrived an hour late. Luckily, they waited for us.

Once we got onto the ship, we realized it was not like the spacious hotel with great service. It was tight quarters. The bathroom was so small you could hardly change your mind, let alone change a shirt in it. The shower was a spout hooked up to the bathroom sink. You turned it on and sprayed yourself, along with the rest of the room.

The week long ship ride was full of adventure. There were people from all different nationalities speaking different languages. We stopped on islands of all sizes. We bicycled 30-40 kilometers. One island was so small that license plates weren’t necessary – everyone knew everyone else. With only a few hundred people, there were maybe 25 cars.

Then there were high winds – so high that the buses couldn’t run because they might blow over. So, we rented an expensive taxi and headed back to make our flight home – which we barely made.

While we loved the more predictable parts of the trip, our real passion was in the unexpected – the missed rides, the cramped ship, the collage of cultures, and even the storm.

Do your fears prevent you from traveling (literally or figuratively) because you’re afraid to try something new? Sometimes people are so comfortable it scares them to do something different. Yet after they go ahead, they look back and that is what stands out – that’s what they talk about.

Mixing things up, trying the new, seeing something through another’s eyes, being open to adventure …. this is how you create passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelty and Innovation

September 15, 2019 by  
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I am always so impressed, when I travel to new places, by how it stimulates my brain, especially when those new places are a new country.  Right now, we are in Macedonia and, wow, what a great and different country this is! Tomorrow we are off to Kosovo. That will make 94 countries that I have visited. That’s quite a lot but I don’t think I will make it to all 200 plus countries on earth before I check out of this life, but I will sure enjoy seeing as many new places as I can before my body assumes room temperature.

Seeing new places can produce some very big and new ideas for things like inventions, innovations, etc. As I visit and totally enjoy these new places and people, it makes me more fully realize how virtually all people, regardless of their ethnicity, skin color, and education level, are pretty much the same as far as the majority being friendly, nice, and good! And in every country, there are really creative and innovative people as well. That got me to thinking about how many times people create something by just putting two different things together to come up with a new product or invention.

For example, it wasn’t that many years ago when people hand carried their heavy suitcases as they traveled.  I thought of this as my wife and I packed 3 huge suitcases plus two drag bags for our trip to Europe. Someone not so long ago put two simple things together to create a great and super helpful new invention – just a few wheels attached to the bottom of a suitcase. Wow, that was so simple! Why didn’t you or I come up with that simple invention that has been so great and helpful to all of us globetrotting humans.

If we set our minds to coming up with new products from two or more existing products, we could make a fortune. Take a simple product like a peddle bicycle and attach a battery and, wham, bang, you have come up with a brand-new and popular product. Then the next could have been putting that battery on a scooter and you might have come up with another form of powered transportation such as Lyme and the other brands.

I’ll never forget many years ago thinking what a waste it was to have all those cars parked for days at the airport while people were arriving and renting cars. It made me think of how maybe I could set up a program where you could rent out your car when you left for a trip and then you could rent someone’s car at the airport of your destination. I knew there would be a lot of issues as to insurance and possible damage or theft and putting it together would not be very simple. Then along came UBER and LYFT a few years later, which, although a traveler’s car isn’t in use while they are away, other people’s cars are not just sitting in their driveways but are out helping traveler’s get around and usually for quite a bit less than a Taxi.

Those car services are simple but great innovations that help so many and it just took putting together existing things to make something new and super useful. These things aren’t likely to come about unless your brain is stimulated and exposed to new things. If you keep your mind active and curious with novel things and keep searching for ideas, you could come up with the next simple and super useful innovation!

A Good Type of Scary

May 24, 2019 by  
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I just got back from an incredible trip to Cuba.  We took a beautiful Norwegian cruise ship from Miami to Havana. As I have said, and preached many times before, if you want to excite your brain and body, do something very unique. That is one reason I love to travel, especially to new countries. Cuba is the 92nd country that I have been so fortunate to visit! There are presently 196 countries in the world, so I’ve got a ways to go to visit them all, although I’m pretty sure North Korea will not be one of them.

On this trip, I added one more thing that excites the brain and body. Yes, it is a little risky but it’s not too big a thing and it is totally legal. It’s not like climbing up the side of the Eiffel tower like that guy did recently, almost making it to the very top before he was arrested. That’s taking the concept a bit too far!

But what is legal and unique is petting and feeding sting rays in Cuba. It was a little scary and I guess the “scare part” is what excites the human brain. I may have been more reluctant to hold and feed a big sting ray if I had read more of the details surrounding Australian Steve Irwin, that big time crocodile hunter who was killed by an 8 foot sting ray back in 2006. As you may recall, he was being filmed underwater when he was stabbed in the heart by a sting ray. I’m not into big risks and our time standing in waist deep ocean water, feeling about a dozen or so big sting rays circling my wife Kimberly and I, softly brushing against our legs, was quite safe. Our guides demonstrated exactly what to do and closely monitored us and assured us that it was much safer than it looked.

The short video below is me holding the sting ray. Later, the guides showed us how to feed those huge guys. Yes, my heart and brain were racing as that big creature ate food right out of my hand and didn’t bite me …yay! It was a great experience and an exciting thing to do and It certainly stimulated my brain and body, which is a very good thing as it enhances one’s life.

Visiting a very different country like Cuba is a real turn on and, wow, driving thru the city of Havana, seeing hundreds of old cars from the late 1940’s and 1950’s, was a great sight to see. I had always thought and had the impression that Cuba was quite dangerous, but Kimberly and I were very pleased to find the city to be quite safe and the people were so nice and friendly. If you have a chance to go there, I would highly recommend it. Go do it for your brain and body!

 

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