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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Customize

Each likes to design their personal space – a comfy chair, pretty flowers, favorite foods.

Often we customize our exercise routine too much and end up with ‘tunnel vision’ when it comes to an expanded viewpoint on alternatives.  Some swear by free weights.  Others use aerobics.  Still, others profess that it’s only truly pure if yoga tops the list.  Possibly, the answer lies in a combination of all.

The key is to get up and move!

Your body has multiple joints – head joints, neck joints, shoulder joints, arm joints, hand joints, finger joints, back joints, hip joints, knee joints, ankle joints, feet joints, and even your tiny toe has joints.

Customize your joints by keeping them healthy and you can show them off just like a shiny red sports car.

NO to Health

Saying NO isn’t easy –  but vitally necessary.

Especially true when someone you care for asks you to postpone your physical workout.  Your workout routine keeps you healthy not only for yourself but your loved ones.

Health, wellness, and vitality is part of being totally present for your family and friends.  Truly, if the people in your life want you to be in their life for a long time they’ll understand your “NO.”

“I love you, but no.”  is a phrase penned by inspirational writer Daniel Potter and used by grandmothers everywhere.  This term gives the recipient a few words to feel good about despite the rejection.

Being candid about “No” also is an option.  “I can’t miss my workout because I missed it yesterday and so I must go to the gym today.”  Even though you don’t need to offer a reason your friend or family may be persistent.

Consideration sometimes means being brusque rather than non-responsive.   Don’t leave people wondering since it makes you appear thoughtless.  Keep your response brief but not too short. “I’m leaving.  I’m late.  Bye.”

Offer a buddy program.  When you meet resistance from friends or family in making time for yourself for maintaining your health offer the “buddy” option.   The situation may look something like this: “Why don’t we work out together and then we can talk about our day while driving home?”

Saying “NO” to health is positive when you shave off the rough corners and shine up the rounded edges.

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.

Eye Contact

We’ve all been there, albeit for just a brief moment, as we unexpectedly catch the fleeting eye glance of a truly beautiful woman.  It occurs as we’re bustling through a busy airport terminal or while hurriedly buying that last-minute item in a congested shopping mall.

woman scathing her head in front of a graffiti wall

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Pexels.com

Whatever the situation, we are intrigued by eye contact.  Eye contact increases our pulse rate, decreases our dishonesty factor (we lie less often), increases our adherence to rules and norms and helps us to attend to subtle social cues.

The world around us contains a vast array of often rapidly changing information.  If we attend to relevant information that affects us we are better able to figure out our environment and make appropriate decisions that affect us personally.

In my first novel Lines of Listening, I talk about the memories that we as children develop when we make eye contact with adults in our lives and how these non-verbal conversations don’t always match the verbal conversations that we encounter.  However, these verbal and non-verbal conversations join to form a life-long conversation.

photo of person holding iphone

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Recent EEG work has suggested that there are fundamental differences in our brain activity response to viewing another person in the same room compared to viewing that person on a computer screen. Viewing a live face with direct gaze results in more pronounced brain processing than viewing a photograph of that same face.

Recent social psychology research suggests that we may often avoid looking at other people in real life and this effect has been recently confirmed using an eye-tracking device.  In contrast, people, and in particular their faces and eyes, strongly capture and direct attention when participants view photographs.

person holding camera lens in the middle of street under blue sky

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

It, therefore, seems likely that people may not attend to other individuals in the same way when interacting in real life as when presented with a video.  This may be something that we as public consumers want to study on a long-term basis since we constantly use a cell phone to communicate with each other in our daily lives.

In social situations, eye contact is highly informative. Looking directly at the speaker while also listening to the speaker can aid us in being part of the conversation.  Instead of two people engaging in idle chatter or buzzing, annoying unrelated words, listening and responding to the spoken words that are in synchrony with direct eye contact makes for – wait for it, wait for it – conversation.

person wearing eyeglasses

Photo by Pexen Design on Pexels.com

I’m not being facetious just making a point.  Using a cell phone every day, all day may decrease our ability to maintain eye contact with the general public.  If we aren’t looking into the eyes of the people next to us how can we understand the lives and challenges of the community in which we live?

Flowers

Flowers play a prominent part in spring.

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Pink, yellow, purple, red, orange, white, green, brown, blue, turquoise, coral, speckled – flowers seem to come in all colors and a variety of shapes and sizes.

Well, I guess that nature reflects human beings when it comes to variety.  Nature seems to take a fancy pleasure in the diversity in its creation spreading the wonder of color and texture over the landscape of the weary winter soil.

Smart humans viewing nature’s array of glory take the hint when viewing their own neighborhood of diverse ethnic makeup and say “aren’t I a lucky person.”  Living in a community where we’re daily exposed to people of diverse backgrounds and ethics mixtures enrich our lives and positively expands our view of the world.

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Take a moment to view a flower garden and you’ll see blooming spring diversity in all its form.

 

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.”

 

PAIN

100 million is the estimated number of Americans who live with chronic pain. 

 

Special nerve endings in our body can distinguish pain signals from other signals.  These nerve endings send messages to our spinal cord.  That’s why you yank your hand from the fire without thinking, “That’s hot.” – Your cerebral cortex thinks about the pain and decides what to do. (WebMD July/Aug 2018p.76,77)

Your nerves, spine and brain constantly message each other to determine how you feel the pain.  – Your limbic system responds with emotion: anger, fear, frustration, or even relief.

Your brainstem controls your automonic functions (functions in your body that occur without you thinking about them) like breathing and heart rate that can change in response to pain. It’s a feedback system in your body designed to keep you healthy.

People who deal with chronic pain show actual heightened activity between a certain network of brain regions and the insula, a “receiving station” for sensory input (Arthritis Today Sept./Oct. 2018) according to Neil Basu, PhD, senior lecturer and acedemic rheumatologist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  These changes are referred to as “pro-pain” effects.  These changes stem from alterations in the central nervous system (CNS) – the brain and spinal cord – where the pain signals are processed.

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Brain Signals  Pexels.com

Pain is designed to be a defense mechanism for our body.  It tells us that something is wrong.  Something needs our attention.  Something needs to be fixed – but there is no doubt that pain causes stress.  Stress causes our body to release hormones designed to protect us from short term stress – such as a bear trying to attack our family.  Obviously, neither long term pain or long term stress is good for us, our physchological health or our body’s general well being.

You probably have some kind of pain every day says Xavier Jimenex, M.D. director of the chronic pain rehabiliation program at Cleveland Clinic – back pain, headache, and neck pain, in that order.  In fact, one in 10 American adults has been uncomfortable continuously for the past 3 months, according to a 2015 report.  And – wouldn’t you know it? – women tend to feel pain more often, longer and with a greater intensity than men, says Stanford University pain psychologist Beth Darnall, Ph,D. “That’s partly because sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone pay a role in how we experience pain,” she says. (Good Housekeeping Aug./2018 p.85)

There are options for pain relief.  Some are “natural” others are “manufactured.”

The standard American diet tends to include lots of unprocessed carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and processed foods.  Intake of these foods increases cytokines which will boost inflammation and make you susceptible to chronic pain says Robert E. Sorge, Ph.D., a psyhologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Lack of sleep will impact your pain.  When you suffer from migrains, acid reflus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions your lack of sleep increases the inflammation in your body and that will boost how much pain you feel explains Thomas Roth, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Your view of your pain can affect the intensity of your pain.  When you focus all of your attention and energy on how much your pain hurts it can tell your brain that the pain’s intensity is overwhelming your ability to deal with it.  You therefore become anxious and feel helpless to deal with not only the pain but your ability to relieve the pain.

So, flip your thoughts and create new experiences around your pain.  I am not suggesting that you ignore your pain signals, I’m just saying that thinking differently about an expeirnce, including pain, can lead you into exploring new pathway which will send a different signal about your pain to your brain. (Good Housekeeping Aug. 2018)

Obviously, intense and/or chronic pain needs attention.  That may come in the form of prescribed medication, long term physical therapy, intense exercise or a prescribed alternate relaxation method.  There are a handful of products available today that can assist you in dealing with your pain.  One is joining a medical clinical trial program.  Clinical trials are the heart of medical advances and the success of these trials hinges on the participation of people like you. (RA Today Vol. 10, Issue 2)

The news surrounding opioid addiction has been in the forefront of the media.  

In 2016. more than 214 million prescriptions were written and filled for opioids.  83% of prescription opioid-related deaths are unintended/accidental.  However, prescriptions opioids can be helpful in managing chronic pain.  An opioid overdose emergency occurs when there are so many opioid molecules in the brain that they overwhelm the brain receptors and block the body’s drive to breathe – this is life threatening. (Adapt Pharma 2018) An article in Brain & Life (Aug/Sept 2018 p.23) suggests that medical providers should prescribe pain relief medication for immediate relief and not extended-release or long-acting.  The re-evaluation for patient care should occur within 4 weeks and then again at 3 months.

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YOU’RE IN CHARGE  Pexels.com

Whatever path you choose for your pain relief make sure that it fits your needs and it works to relieve the intensity and inflammation that accompanies chronic pain.  Also pay attention to your pain signals – they are telling your that something in your body isn’t working as it should – it needs attention.  Remember, you are in charge of you!