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.

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

It’s Not Just You

Doctors and medical providers are talking to all of their patients about autoimmune diseases.

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According to a recent September 2018 Redbook article, the immune system is like the body’s army – it spends the earliest years of your life distinguishing friends from enemies so it can protect you from invaders.  An autoimmune attack can come seemingly out of nowhere, possibly due to a combination of genetics and the environment according to Anca Askanase, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center and director of the Columbia Lupus Center.

Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) are autoantibodies that attack self-proteins within cell nucleus structures; their presence in serum may indicate an autoimmune disease.  Also, positive ANA test results have been obtained in chronic infectious diseases, cancers, medication-related adverse events or in even rare events a healthy individual according to a Medscape article by Lucia M. Sur, Ph.D.; et al 2018.

Antibodies are proteins produced by lymphocytes B of the immune system that recognizes foreign antigens such as viruses, bacteria or other germs.  After recognizing the antigens, antibodies, antibodies start to recruit specialized cells and proteins, which lead to activation of the inflammation cascade – the response of the organism to defend itself.

Recent statistics gives us a glimpse into the massive issue confronting society.  Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant was needed due to a complication of lupus.  50 million Americans are affected by autoimmune diseases.  100 million is a combination of all the autoimmune diseases.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Sjogren Syndrome (SJS), Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD), Polymyositis (PM) are just a few of the medical conditions indicating a systemic autoimmune disease.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?