Malleable

Having a capacity for adaptive change is Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition for malleable.

This remolding can be accomplished either by beating with a hammer or intentional pressure from an internal force.  However, both of these methods require that the shape being changed is flexible, elastic, fluid, adjustable and adaptable.

Gee!  That sounds like a shapeshifter.

Yet everyone can do it.

It simply takes desire, planning, and routine.

Sounds easy I know but these 3 steps are the basis of any change, such as:

  •  Desire to improve your health
  •  Plan to organize your personal workspace
  •  Establish a routine for your exercise workout

All these changes can be set in motion and you can be malleable quicker than a honey bee finding springs’ first hint of sweet nectar.

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating 100 Years

Reaching centenarian status is a real possibility.

A study in PLOS One indicates that adults who perceive aging in a positive light have a nearly 44% lower risk of developing dementia (WebMD.com, Sept./2018).

Extensive studies by WebMD provide interesting statistics:

  • 14 million, # of adults 65 and older with chronic health problems
  • 67%, adults older than 65 with high blood pressure
  • 88%, drop in dementia risk for women who are physically fit in middle age
  • 1 in 4, adults 65 and older who will fall each year

Statistical life expectancy in the U.S. is about 80 years, however living into one’s 90s is a perfectly realistic expectation for many since by 2015 there were approximately 72,000 centenarian Americans.

Sofiya Milman, MD, director of Human Longevity Studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York indicates that several genes have been identified that foster “long-lived” people.  Many studies are also looking for centenarians who not only live long lives but who also age well.

Emily Rogalski, Ph.D., who leads the SuperAging Study at Northwestern University compares ‘super-agers‘ brains to the brains of ‘average-agers.’  Super-ager brains, look more like the brains of 50-year-olds than like the brains of 80-year-old average-agers.

Living healthier while living longer may be the key to becoming a content centenarian.

Genes play a relatively small part – 25% to 33% in how long you live but you get to play a big part in the rest of the story.  Keeping a sharp mind and a healthy body keeps your positive light burning.

Additional ‘super-ager’ suggestions may be beneficial:

  • a diet high in fruits and vegetables – low in saturated fat – with complex carbs.
  • 30 min. of exercise 3-4 times a week (per tolerance) can reduce the risk of falls
  • Socializing, reading and developing a hobby may delay or starve-off dementia

More than 50% of babies born in the U.S. since 2000 could live to be centenarians.

 

 

In Everyone’s View

While driving I noticed an unattended bicycle lying on a public sidewalk.  The cycle was discarded along the side of a busy public street.  A well-worn black baseball hat hung from the handlebars and the dirty strap of a battered red water bottle languished on the bike’s universal bar.

This bike had a story.

My nursing instinct urged me to approach to see if the rider had fallen and was lying nearby on the pavement in need of help.  But surely on a busy public street like this, someone would have already seen the injured biker and called 9-1-1.

Maybe no one was injured.  Possibly the rider was tired and sitting nearby under a shade tree taking a quick rest before continuing their trip.

So, I looked around.  No one was near the bike.

My next thought was that the bike was stolen and to avoid capture the perpetrator dropped the bicycle and ran away from the police – to be retrieved later.

Another possible option was that the out-of-town rider was taking an off-road biking trail, got lost in the city and needed directions since their cell phone battery lost charge.

Whatever was going on with this bike I decided to quickly drive around the block one more time to view the scene from a different angle which may offer an answer to my many questions.  As I struggled to view the bicycle through my windshield I realized there was no bike in sight.

In the matter of a few minutes, someone retrieved the lonely cycle.

I wonder, should I have been quicker to respond?

I’ll never know the answer.

Make It Real, Write It

Storing critical information in your brain takes a three-prong strategy: saying the words, reading the words and most importantly writing the words.  There’s power in the simple act of writing words.

Writing locks into your memory the information that you need to remember and it’s more likely to stick in your long-term memory (WebMD June 2019).

You will remember the items on your shopping list.

Technology provides modern-day options such as cell phone apps and pictures sent to us on our cell phone from our loving partners about requests for milk and cheese and bread when we’re grocery shopping but there’s still something “magical” about the act of physically writing the words on paper that triggers our brain to store the information for later use.

You’ll remember to bring home the milk and cheese and the bread.

College students far and wide furiously type on their laptops taking lecture notes during “101” level classes to make sure that they don’t miss the “pearls of wisdom” offered by their learned professors and then glean information for upcoming tests or final exams.  Imagine if the students wrote the notes by hand that way the initial information would lock into their brain.

After a great job interview send a hand-written ‘thank you’ note.

When children are taught the alphabet they repeatedly write the letters on paper or a chalkboard since this process “locks in” the alphabet process: it imprints the letters on a young child’s brain.

Police officers issuing tickets often set pen to paper.

When it’s important to remember you may want to write it down.

Health Questions

The doctor’s office is a logical place to be barraged with health questions.

“Have you signed in? Do you have your insurance card?  Has your health changed?”

We freely give out personal information in a public setting to a stranger who may or may not be a trusted confidant assuming that our health will be improved by their interventions.

Imagine how effective it is to ask those same intimate questions of someone who really cares about you, someone who you know will give you an honest answer and will truly know the deep-down, gut-wrenching, soul-searching, bottom-of-the-barrel answers. Just imagine!

You are that person.

When was the last time you ask yourself health-related questions about your eating habits, exercise routine, how much water your drink every day, bowel habits and personal cleanliness cycles (i.e. handwashing, washing your bedclothes, picking your nose, sucking on your dirty fingers, scratching your groin, etc.)?

All the personal things that we do when no one is watching.

Each of us judges how our personal hygiene habits interact with our established health routines and medical diagnoses.  Maybe it’s beneficial to maintain healthy practices that enhance the medical guidelines our practitioners recommend.

Next time when asked you can answer “My health is better.”

Chronic Pain

People who are diagnosed with a chronic, painful, inflammatory disease, i.e. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, etc., may experience pain even when their inflammation is well controlled.

adult athlete cramps field

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dealing with constant pain is exhausting, debilitating, physically draining, nutritionally challenging, fatiguing and can interfering with a person’s mood and memory ability.

Centralized pain signals arise from distress changes in the central nervous system CNS which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord where pain alerts are processed according to a September/October 2018 article in Arthritis Today (p. 28).   Experiencing intense, chronic, unrelenting pain marks the brain with sensory input pathways.

According to Wikipedia, chronic disease and chronic pain is a condition that lasts longer than three months.  Can you imagine attempting to perform functions of your daily life while being bombarded by pulsing, unrelenting sensations cascading throughout your muscles and joints?

person with neon body art

Photo by Projeto Equality on Pexels.com

Merriam Webster defines “chronic” is something that is “continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.”  This includes reoccurring lower back pain or hormone-related migraine headaches as well as joint inflammation from finger and toe disfigurement of rheumatoid arthritis.

Chronic pain, pain every day in every way, raises the normal functioning awareness of throbbing affliction for anyone experiencing it to a threshold of unbearability. 

We have read well-researched professional articles discussing adequate medical interventions to either reduce or help to control life-long, unrelenting pain.   However, there is a fresh look at this well-worn issue.  MDedge/Family Medicine News reprinted a recent interesting article (September 21, 2018) originally issued from De Vita MJ et al. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 19 that addresses this exact subject.

woman wearing shirt and denim bottoms

Photo by Bruno Thethe on Pexels.com

Meta-analysis finds that the threshold for chronic pain can be raised to make the pain more tolerable.  This study states that chronic pain can feel less unpleasant and more tolerable which suggests that there can be an influence on the overall pain process.

The “influencer” in this meta-data analysis is cannabinoids wish shows that there is a significant association between cannabinoids and higher pain thresholds.  An interesting twist to this finding is that plant-based cannabis has a significantly stronger association with reductions in pain unpleasantness than synthetic.

A fresh look at pain control may be worth a glance.

Are You A Team Player?

A variety of talents and abilities are needed to maintain a healthy body.

Systems working together maintain homeostasis ensuring a disease-free body.  Your lungs breathe, your blood flows, your heart pumps, your veins and arteries integrate fluid throughout your muscles which in turn deliver movement energy to all parts of your body.

You move, you think, you breathe, you digest, you interact – you’re an integral part of the world.

Integrating these individual talents into a cohesive team is also effective in the business world. Each member has specific talents and abilities that enhance the team.  One is an attention getter, one is skilled at attaching parts, one is detail oriented, one is skilled at working on difficult problems, one insists on being the secretary for all events, one is the master promoter.

Both situations of personal body health and team-building health require that important information be transmitted from the ‘central nervous system’ to the functioning body. Communication must be effectively transmitted and put into practice.

When you’re in a team-building situation, whether it’s maintaining your own healthy body or working within a team-building situation in your workplace. It may be interesting to remember that each individual part has a different job to do.  However, when you value ‘that’ job and add it to the suggestions that have already been proposed the outcome may be even better than you imagined.

For instance, you may be relatively healthy but if you decide to exercise in the morning before you go to work your cholesterol level may improve and your energy level at work may be better.  It’s just a suggestion.

Or if you are part of a brainstorming group and stuck figuring out that last issue on a finance project you may want to ask the ‘geeky’ accountant who sits in the dark, corner cubicle – again just a suggestion.

Writer at Work

Writing is and can be an exhilarating pass time, fascination and/or professionI appreciate my friend sharing this professionally created door marker.  The insignia surely is not my creation but inspires me when I get a writing block.

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I took a short break from public writing which turned out for me to be a restless time because as we all know – ‘writers, write.’

The writing bug is beginning to buzz just like all of the busy birds and bees of spring.

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All I need to do now is ‘unclutter’ all my paperwork.

Ray Anthony Lewis

UNDENIABLE

I was watching an interview between Dan Patrick and Ray Anthony Lewis.  Ray Lewis completed a distinguished 16-year career as a middle linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens wearing #52 and is inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.

Ray mentioned many inspiring quotes during the process of the conversation but one particular thought remains with me: “If you stay ready then you ain’t never got to get ready.”  This seems to be his mantra for success.  Even though Ray experienced a challenging childhood he continues striving for success in his adult years because he wants to “stop my family’s pain.”  His humble beginnings taught him that personal dedication and striving to, as he says, “get on the other side of pain” seems to be his driving force for success.

As Ray joined his fellow teammates at the University of Miami he came to the university with 1 pair of jeans and 3 white tee shirts.  Certainly, he has expanded not only his wardrobe but his capacity to stay ready and stop his family’s pain by providing not only a sincere example of dedication but the physical trappings of material success.

A profound quote by this successful man really remains with me: “If there’s something in your life that needs changing then you better change it because if you don’t someone else will and you may not like how they do it.”

 

Vitrification

Vitrification is a process of converting a material into a glass-like amorphous solid that is free from any crystalline structure, either by the quick removal or addition of heat or by mixing with an additive.  So, what does this mean and why am I writing about it?

Well, your most recognizable example of this process occurs as you walk along the beach and you find a solid form of light-brown tinted glass lying in the sand.  When lightning strikes enough sand it can create glass.  In this case, the sand heats up and liquefies, then rapidly cools into a glass-like state.  When you reach down and pick up this vitrified glass you’re holding evidence of nature changing itself.

We can take a lesson from nature.  Feeling awkward in social situations or being mentally challenged often increases our body temperature because our innate “flight-or-flight” preservation response tells us that our system is under attack.  Things are heating up for us, we are getting hotter; sweating, dry mouth, jittery, nervous are all responses that we know.

Do we need to change?  Does the heat that we’re experiencing indicate that we’re getting ready for the proverbial bolt from above?  Will changing help us feel comfortable?  Well, nature seems to understand change fairly well and accepts the idea as part of life.  Could it be that we are stubborn when the need for change comes our way?  I think that we all agree – a bolt of lightning is extreme and no one wants to experience a fast, atmospheric, electric flash with enough energy to discharge itself and change us into glass.

Vitrification is extreme.  Maybe a slow, uncomfortable burn is more manageable when we are looking for clues of change.  We want to feel good, relate well with our partner, enhance our well-being and mental ability in a low anxiety environment.  No one wants to get zapped with high-voltage electricity!  Embracing the need for change may be a powerful potential antidote to loneliness or social isolation – “therapy without a therapist.”

Making change when we first feel uncomfortable in social situations may be the key to a comfortable transition.  Introducing small adjustments to our daily lives before big changes are needed seems logical.  It’s like experiencing light rain with far-off thunder instead of standing in a hurricane with the constant threat of a lightning strike.