Got the Gratitude Attitude?

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 64 – 6/1/15

The other night I couldn’t get to sleep.  I’d had a difficult day at work and it kept me tossing and turning. Perhaps you’re familiar with that negative tape that continues to wind and rewind through your brain at night? Finally I managed to stop myself and put my mind to thinking about things I’m grateful for.  Not the typical stuff, like having a good marriage, an awesome daughter, and good health (though I am thankful for those things). 

No, this was all about the weird stuff.  Like I’m grateful for the sound of a train at night; for some reason, it makes me feel good.  I love cloud pictures and how they morph from one thing to another.  Frost on the windowpanes in the winter, which always make me pause to check out the intricate designs.  Ditto rivulets of water on a car window when driving on a rainy day. The smell of a freshly cut lawn. Hearing the song Somewhere over the Rainbow sung by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole (who left this earth far too soon, in June of 1997) and of course, rainbows (especially those rare double rainbows).   

Beautiful rainbow over a rain forest mountain

Finally, I’m grateful to have the ability to get up and write down my ideas at 4:30 in the morning! 

In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote that expressing gratitude is the #1 “happiness activity.”  Ms. Lyubomirsky had the research to back up her assertions; but to be honest, I don’t need an expert to know that being grateful is good for me and makes me happier (along with helping me fall asleep).  I mean, it simply makes sense, doesn’t it?  

I can only speak for myself – but I know that when I’m taking my life for granted and get cranky or ticked off because things simply aren’t going my way, God has a way of showing me something that stops me in my tracks.  I’ll be watching the news, and see someone who has really big problems.  I’ll click on one of those FB posts about a child who’s suffering from a rare cancer. I’ll think about my oldest sister, who’s had her independence greatly hindered because of deteriorating eyesight; or my sister-in-law, who survived cancer and other health issues, with the help of PMA (positive mental attitude).  

Along with helping me sleep, gratitude for my life helps me focus on the positive, enhances my self-confidence, decreases my stress, and simply helps me appreciate the good stuff about growing older. And it sure beats the heck out of walking around with a dark cloud above my head.  

How about you?  What does gratitude do for you? 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost: Bea’s Sense of Humor

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 58– 5/15/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday: 

Lost – One Sense of Humor

Last Seen – May 10th, 2015

Reward $$ Offered for its Return! 

Please help Bea!  She’s lost her sense of humor. Really.  It’s causing her to take herself WAY too seriously and life seems so darned difficult!  Hopefully, she’s just misplaced it, like she misplaces her car keys and such (you know, this aging thing).  If Bea has lost her sense of humor completely, she’s simply doomed to a miserable life.

 She last saw her sense of humor while reading the Sunday newspaper. Silly woman, instead of checking out the Comics section, a gloom-and-doom headline caught her eye and just like that, her sense of humor walked out the door.

Then she noticed more bad news, and more and more and yikes, her sense of humor was running like heck down the road just to get away from Bea’s crabby self.

c166960_s  Oh, this is worse than just crabby – much worse!

Bea has to find her sense of humor as soon as possible.  Heck, everyone knows that humor makes our life struggles less difficult to bear and eases our stress.  

Laughter:

  • Relaxes us
  • Boosts our immune system
  • Releases endorphins (you know, those “feel good” chemicals)
  • Protects our heart
  • Helps defuse arguments
  • Enhances our friendships 
  • And so much more!

Bea has searched everywhere and now she’s getting desperate. There’s only one thing she can do! She needs to make herself laugh! But how?

Please help her, readers. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Need more encouragement to maintain your own sense of humor? 

 

 

 

Secrets of Centenarians

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 52  

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5/1/15 Bea’s Buzz for Friday

Want to live to be 100?  You may want to take some advice from the centenarians who were polled (along with 65-year-old baby boomers) who were polled last year in UnitedHealth Group’s 9th annual 100@100 SurveyThe survey examined their health “secrets,” along with their attitudes about aging and their lifestyles. 

Not surprisingly, both the 65-year-old group and the 100 year olds feel younger than their chronological age.  While this fact may surprise younger people (you know, the ones who think 30 is like, beyond ancient), it’s certainly not news to Bea, who is a couple years this side of 60 and feels about 35! 

The “secrets” that the centenarians and baby boomers revealed aren’t too surprising, either. According to those polled:  

  • A positive attitude, and an ability to laugh at life, are key factors to good health in old age. (This has been proven again and again in scientific research – see below for additional reading)
  • Taking a pro-active approach to health by getting annual physicals, along with annual eye exams is another key to maintaining health and wellness. 
  • Finally:  Exercise, exercise, exercise! Good for both brain and body.  Both the 65-year-old group and the centenarians got regular exercise – which included strength training, walking, biking, even running. 

Then again, longevity could just be a matter of plain old luck.

Take a look at this year’s 100@100 survey, which polled centenarians and 10 year olds! 

Bea says:  Add Years to your Life, and Life to your Years

For further reading:http://beaboomerswellness.com/?p=98

Older People Become What They Think 

Attitudes about Aging Affect Longevity, Study Says

Sources:

Advisor/Source newspaper, (May 25, 2014). Centenarians reveal their secrets to a long, happy life. 

UnitedHealthcare website 

 

 

 

Bea’s Aging Philosophy

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 35 – 3/23/15

I have a simple philosophy about aging:  

  • Do the best you can with what you have.
  • Be pro-active to maintain both your emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Oh yea – have fun with it! 

Captureaa(Created at mywebface.com)

For me, the key is “growing old,” not simply “getting old.”  Like my oldest sister, who is 75, I call myself “age empowered.”   I hope to always feel this way. 

Now I know darn well that no matter how proactive I am about my health and wellness, there will be things that come up that will scare the hell out of me.  But I also believe that over the years, I’ve learned to become resilient.  I’ll do my best to bounce back from life’s curve-balls.

What about you?  What’s your attitude toward aging? 

Further reading about Aging and Attitude

Book: “Attitude is Everything. 10 Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude into Action.” (Keith Harrell)

This article describes 10 “thought distortions” that lead to negativity and provides some strategies that lead to positive thinking:  Positive Thinking for Healthy Aging

According to the American Psychological Association, people with a healthy attitude toward life just may live longer:  A Healthy Mind, a Longer Life

A person’s beliefs about aging (that is, whether or not they believe in those negative stereotypes) can affect both their physical and mental health: Older People Become What They Think

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. (Betty Friedan)

 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

Social Wellness for Vital Aging

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 31 – 3/13/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday: 

I believe that dancing with life includes social wellness.  We sure don’t need any scientific evidence (though there is an abundance of it out there) to prove that friendship, family and community connections are important for vital aging.  

If you’re looking for some social wellness opportunities, keep reading.  

Do you love to read, and want to meet other like-minded people? Join an online book club I recently found a Facebook group page, What R U Reading?  After joining this group, I met some fellow readers and I’m now getting some great reading suggestions.  Some of these ladies are local to my area, and we started going to our local movie theatre, then go to a local coffee shop to discuss the movie.  It’s been fun to meet new friends who have helped me get into the reading groove again.  

Are you looking for other people who share your specific interests?  You may want to check out the Meetup website.  You sign up for free, create a profile indicating your interests, and the site provides you with meetup groups in your local area.  

Looking for a way to help your local community?  Take a look at your city’s website to see if your community has a community foundation or other boards/commissions that provide volunteering opportunities.

A few other volunteering websites:

To help other women and girls in a variety of ways:  LiveYourDream 

From AARP, CreatetheGood  You can subscribe and get volunteering opportunities in your area sent directly to your inbox. 

Are you homebound or simply want the flexibility of helping from home? You can try online volunteering:

CareerVillage – Volunteers give career advice to low-income high school students.  

Idealist – Provides a wide variety of online volunteering opportunities:  mentoring, staffing crisis hotlines, assisting with research/writing/editing, helping fundraising for nonprofits, and much more.

For further reading: 

c164227_s

Women + Friends = Wellness

Making Friends Late in Life 

UCLA Study on Friendship among Women

 

May I Have This Dance?

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 28 – 3/6/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

So I was on my way to work, listening to a new radio station (thank goodness for Sirius XM radio):  Alt Nation, since I’m trying to shake up my music tastes a bit.  And I heard this singer singing about some girl telling him:  “Shut up and dance with me,” and of course, he was talking about the new love of his life. 

But what I heard was life talking to me. Life wants us to dance – to get down, get funky, get your back up off the wall, get your groove on, baby.  (Sorry for the goofy metaphors: I came of age in the disco era).

c166500_s

I haven’t been doing enough of that.  Have you?

How can we dance with life?    By taking a chance.  By facing our fears.  By trying something new. By doing what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. 

By taking part in something bigger than ourselves.

And even when life gives us a tune we don’t want to hear – one we can barely stand to dance to – we remain resilient.  We bounce back. We pull out that strength we know is inside of us.  

Dancin’ with life.  It’s what vital aging is all about. 

 

5 Reasons to Try Meditation for Vital Aging

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 20 – 2/18/15

 Asian woman meditating.

(1) Meditation may help us sleep better. At least 40% of Americans don’t get enough of the quality sleep they need to function well (Aschwanden).  Many of these insomnia sufferers are women.  Our insomnia is caused by hormonal changes we face in our lives, such as pregnancy and perimenopause.  Bea is one of those women, and she’s ready to try meditation to get her zzzzzz’s back! 

(2) Meditation relieves stress, and can help those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression. 

(3) Meditation provides other mental health benefits:  an increase in happiness, self-acceptance and awareness, concentration, focus and more – as found in this article from The Art of Living

(4) Meditation can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and even increase energy levels, just to name a few physical health benefits.  

(5) Meditation may help strengthen our aging brain by slowing down the loss of gray matter, as described in this article from the UCLA newsroom.

Source:

Aschwanden, Christie. (Nov 2014). Counting Sleep. Prevention Magazine.

For Further Reading: 

Want to try Guided Meditation?  Bea downloaded a guided meditation album onto her Ipod, but there are free options online as well:  

 UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center 

If you search YouTube, “guided meditations,” you’ll also find some good options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.medicaldaily.com/mental-health-benefits-meditation-itll-alter-your-brains-grey-matter-and-improve-319298

How to Build Self-Confidence for Vital Aging

 

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 18 – 2/13/15

bea

Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

How to create a habit of self-confidence

  • Listen to your self-talk – are you calling yourself derogatory names?  Do you kick yourself internally when you make a mistake?  Then ask yourself this question:  Would you call your best friend stupid, or refer to them as an idiot?  If you did, your friendship wouldn’t last.  You have to live with yourself every day.  You need to be your own best friend.  Make a concentrated effort to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Need some help? Listen to positive thinking CDs and read inspirational books. Do some research; find out what it takes to change bad habits.  It won’t be easy, but it will be well worth it. 
  • Create a mind-set of gratitude.  Every night, before bed, think about the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Think about your accomplishments. Focus on the things you did well that day. This is a good way to rid yourself of that negative self-talk.
  • Create success for yourself.  You can do that by accepting failure.  This means taking risks and working toward your goals, even though success isn’t guaranteed.  Those inevitable failures in life are valuable learning experiences.  A failure that results in a “ah-ha” moment is a stepping stone to success in reaching a goal.
  • Take care of yourself, physically and mentally.  Eating healthy food and having a regular exercise program will help you achieve a confidence in your body’s abilities; along with boosting your self-esteem.  To enhance your mental health, take steps to manage stress, get enough sleep, and socialize with friends and family.
  • When conversing with others, make a habit of active listening. We often worry about what others think about us, but when we get to know other people, we find out that they have the same fears.  Listening to others and helping them become more confident boosts our own self-confidence.
  • When facing a situation that makes you apprehensive, such as an important job interview, do your best to prepare and practice, by using online and other resources.  When facing a new situation in life, it helps to research and learn about that situation in order to help you handle uncertainties.
  • Stand up for yourself in an assertive way and hold onto your values. Attempting to live by other people’s values and beliefs, rather than your own, makes you doubt yourself.
  • Finally, stand tall, and walk with a purpose.  Wear clothes that make you feel and look good. When people compliment you, simply say “thank you,” with a smile.  Take time to compliment others.  Don’t take yourself too seriously; laugh at yourself.  Socialize with people who are positive, not those who drag you down. 

Building self-confidence isn’t something that will happen overnight.  But it’s a trait worth pursuing, because it can help us meet life’s challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude. This is an important key to vital aging.   

  It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. (Attributed to Hanoch McCarty)

 

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~Anaïs Nin

A Journey to Self-Confidence

 

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 17 – 2/11/15

Today, I’m just going to be myself, Camille – not Bea Boomer. 

Cam Photo

For many years, I lived with my eyes open only to my weaknesses and what I believed I was constantly doing “wrong.”  In high school, I tried to hide – I felt ugly. In young adulthood, I made wrong choices, based on my lack of self-worth.  In my thirties, I often felt my daughter and husband would be better off without me. 

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I realized I had to take the steps toward building my self-confidence. My brother died unexpectedly at 50 years old, and I realized how short life was.  My life was passing me by, and I wasn’t living the life I wanted to be living! I was afraid, and didn’t think I had what it took to achieve my goals. The first step to change involved taking charge of my inner beliefs. 

At the age of 47, when I got a job in a workplace that offered tuition reimbursement.  I made a commitment to myself and finally pursued my dream of getting my Bachelor’s degree (many years after getting my Associate’s at a local community college).  I graduated with high honors at the age of 50.  I felt so accomplished! 

Then at work, I became one of the primary members of our workplace wellness committee, and I got the opportunity to write health/wellness email newsletters for the employees.  And people liked what I wrote.  Then a work friend gave me a magazine article about blogging, and encouraged me to start a blog of my own.  It was so cool to be doing something I’ll always be passionate about:  writing about health and fitness for women.

These were a couple of the things that made me realize I had something valuable to offer the world.  As does every woman I know, and those I don’t know (but who I hope are reading these words).   I’ll be 58 soon, and I’ve finally content with myself, flaws and all.  I believe that changing my outlook will help me “grow” as I age, rather than just “getting” old.

Vital aging is not only about resilience, as I wrote about on Monday’s post.  It’s about discovering the wealth inside yourself.  It’s about becoming the self-confident woman you should be, no matter what your age. 

For several strategies you can take to build your own self-confidence, see Bea’s Buzz on Friday, February 13th.