Bruce White

Blog #590 Inner Peace – II

Some keys to Inner-Peace – part II

https://blog.mindvalley.com/guides-to-inner-peace/

Continuing this link to Inner Peace.  Let’s see what is there and how we can apply it.

-11 Make – and work on – Goals.  There is an adage, if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there!!  The goals don’t have to be huge, but you need to make them. Maybe even goals like to be nicer, to swear less (or not at all), to smile more, or to be on-time.  While I like SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely), I’,m not going into that concept now. But, make and work on your goals to be a better version of you.

-12 Accept what you can’t change.  Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what is called the Serenity Prayer: ““God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  If you can’t change the weather, accept it!! If you can’t change Washington politics (vote) but then accept what you cannot change.

-13 Don’t take yourself too seriously.  There are times I can laugh at myself. I am one of about 7.5 billion people on this planet.  I am NOT the most important person. Be flexible, try to understand others – (we are all made in the image of God)

-14 Love all the way.  Give unconditional love; don’t have expectations about others; don’t judge them; be vulnerable and live without fear.  

-15 Focus on the best-case outcome.  Mental experts suggest that having images in our minds can overcome problems.  If you focus on getting cancer, it is like focusing on the negative. Focus on health and good things.

-16 Let it go.  Something happened?  Let it go. Don’t harbor grudges as they will drag you down.  Your father abused you, find it in your heart to let it go, find a way to forgive.  The article says ‘don’t go down with the ship’.

-17 Be grateful.  Yes, give thanks, focus on the good – in yourself and others.  Be grateful for your blessings (and lessons – even for the tough lessons)

Hmmm … I thought I was going to finish the list, but I’ll be back tomorrow to look at the last items.

The main points I like out of this are:  Let it go; and be grateful. You get to choose who you are – a mean, spiteful, angry person, or a loving, forgiving, happy person.

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog #589 Relaxing Ideas

Some keys to Inner-Peace

https://blog.mindvalley.com/guides-to-inner-peace/

This article says “Here’s one of the simplest guides to inner peace. It really only takes a few small actions to find calm.”

-1 Unplug,  Get away from your phone, your computer, your television, your electronics.  (Remember the National Day of Unplugging – see:

https://www.nationaldayofunplugging.com)

-2  Listen to music.  The article suggests to have music that can relax you and feel upbeat.  That sounds like two. I have a Oldies channel on Pandora – with songs from the Sixties and Seventies.  But, I also have an Upbeat Classics on my iPhone (that get me charged up for the day).

-3 Run it off.  Get outside, run, walk, or other.  It gets your mind off your struggles and worries.

-4 Breathe.  The article says “Every time you bring your attention to your breath, your mind will forget about your worries right away. Try this: Count each breath and try to get to 10 without allowing your mind to wander, even for a second. Breathe your troubles away!”

-5 Clean your space.  Declutter, organize, get rid of stuff you don’t need.  (Helps you declutter your mind too!!)

-6 Play.  Play with your kids, pets, neighbors.  Be silly. Romp. Frolic. Let your inner child come out!!!

-7 Love yourself.  Get good nutrition, have positive self talk, be assertive, learn to say ‘no’, and don’t beat yourself up with past mistakes – keep positive

-8 Be here NOW.  The future will come, the past is past.  Enjoy TODAY, enjoy NOW

-9 Smile and laugh!!!  The old adage “Laughter is the best medicine” is true – find something to laugh about daily!!!  (Maybe some silly videos)

So, did that help you?  Let me know at: brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Bruce

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Blog #588 The Future You!!

The FUTURE YOU!!

Sure, the past is gone, the future is unknown, and all we really have is the present.

But, what do you think about “The Future You”?  Will your imperfections be taken care of by then?  The author in this link says “The Future Me is highly organized, never stressed, always on time and always prepared.”.  She (the author) also says about her current self “Present Me is a little disorganized, plagued with indecision, running from hither and thither, and often scrambles to get stuff done.”

She also says “Researchers have found that we perceive our future selves as strangers—not someone we’re actually connected to or become.” So, the ‘future me’ is really the Hollywood version of the current me, all the stunts are done by stunt people, the make-up department can work miracles, and what can’t be really done is fixed up by computer animation.  That future me is the Hollywood corrected version of me – maybe played by some young beautiful actor/actress.

This article suggest we do the following:

-1 Plan for your weaknesses.  You can start on the Future You now.  Block out instagram, Twitter, Facebook, computer games, whatever.  I get reports on my iPhone that say “Your usage yesterday was 21% more than normal”.  Hmmm … what should register in my brain (I wasted a LOT of time yesterday – I need to change that!!)

-2 Channel the “Future You”.  If the future you in your brain is responsible, on-time (or early), prepared, organized – you can start working on that now.  One suggestion is check tomorrow’s weather and set out your clothes for tomorrow. You can also set up your coffee pot to start automatically in the morning (one less task to stress you).  If you are habitually late in the morning, get started tonight for tomorrow. Clothes set out – check; coffee ready to start automatically; car keys, purse, billfold, all in one spot for a quick getaway in the morning.  If you spend ten minutes in the morning looking for your keys many mornings, you need an ‘absolutely’ place for things. I have a space on my desk for all the vital things. When I walk in the door, I put the keys, phone, billfold, and whatever else on that desk.  [Aside, there have been times where my arms are full – carrying groceries and I head to the kitchen first to put the cold items in the refrigerator, but then, (knowing that if I don’t keep organized I WILL waste time looking for things) I make sure I put the items on my desk.  It doesn’t take long – a minute maybe – but it sure can make the morning better.

-3 Get realistic about the “Future You”.  Hollywood is not going to make a movie about your life (well, maybe about me – haha).  

I’ve written about becoming a ‘better version of yourself’ – and you really want the “Future You” to be a better version of yourself.  Experts say it takes 21 to 30 days to set a habit. Get those good habits going now – become that better version of you now!! And, maybe if you do it good enough, you might end up with a TV show (if not a movie).  Hmm … the “Housewives of Leander Texas”; of “The retired professors of Leander Texas”.

Think about that “Future You” – do you want to be better organized?  Do you want to be more fit? Do you want to be on time? Start working on it now.

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog #587 Brain Exercises #4

Brain Exercises #4

https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/brain-exercise/

Let’s continue the brain exercises from the Reader’s Digest

-8 Open your car windows.  We live in artificial settings most of our lives.  Our houses have air conditioning/heat; our work places have the same; our cars do as well; our shopping also has air conditioning and heat.  Sure, we do get out-of-doors some (as we walk from the house to the car to the job). Do you remember rolling down the windows in the car as a child?  (Really ‘rolling’ them down – not pressing the ‘down’ button). Did you stick your head out the window (like a dog). You can smell the fields (if you are in the country.  I remember driving past alfalfa fields, recently cut; I remember passing cattle feedlots – yes, maybe not the ‘right smell’ – but definitely memorable. Use the sense of smell and expand your brain!!

-9 Play with spare change.  Hmmm – you can get the feel about of the coins,  See if you can tell by touch which ones are quarters and which ones are dimes, nickels and pennies.  Can you tell which side is heads and which side is tails by touch (and not sight)? Another case of using a different sense.

-10 Play “Ten Things” – where you think of ten other uses for a common item.  Your pen could be a baton in the hands of conductor; or a baton for twirling. Could you pen be used as a weapon to stab an intruder?  Even as a “magic wand” that could be used to change things in the world; or as a lightning rod in a storm; or as a rolling pin for small pies.  Could your pen be used as a baseball bat in a game of hit a paper wad? Could it be a microphone as you audition for “The Voice”? Try this with some other item.

-11 Scan at the grocery store.  Stores put items in the middle shelves, but down low or up high might be other items that would need your needs.  Maybe play ‘ten things’ with items at the store. What could you do with a loaf of French Bread? Be a sword person?

-12 Do an art project as a group.  Art incorporates visual senses. And, in a group, you incorporate social aspects.  Art has form, color, textures, and emotions.

-13 Make more social connections during the day.  The article says “Scientific research has repeatedly proved that social deprivation has severe negative effects on overall cognitive abilities.”  Don’t go to the self-checkout at the store – go to a regular aisle and talk to the clerk.

-14 Read differently.  Reading out loud involves sight, touch and hearing – more senses to stimulate the brain, as compared to reading slightly to yourself.  Maybe read with a partner (spouse/friend) – to listen differently.

-15 Eat unfamiliar foods.  Eating something new may involve taste, smell, and enjoying something different.  

All of these suggest that brain exercise is more than just sight.  Involving taste, smell, touch and hearing can stimulate the brain in new and novel ways.

Do you use multiple senses in your life?

Bruce

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SuperBowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday!

https://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/food/7-shocking-food-stats-super-bowl-sunday

Some quick food facts for Superbowl Sunday:

-1 –  1.25 Billion Chicken wings

That is enough to supply EVERY Hooters with wings for TWO years

-2 –  11.2 pounds of potato chips

It would take 186 Tractor Trailers filled to the top to haul that many chips!!

-3 –  120 million pounds of avocado

That would allow about 616,000 average size men to eat their weight in avocados

-4 –   4 million pizzas

With an average size of 16 inches, that is enough to stretch from Boston to St. Louis

-5 –   50 million cases of beer

That is enough to 169 Olympic sized swimming pools or 235,000 hot tubs

The article says “That’s because on Super Bowl Sunday, you’ll most likely join the rest of America in consuming calories like a competitive eater. On average, we’re expected to eat 2,400 calories each just during game time.

Are YOU ready?

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Blog #586 Brain Exercises – #3

Brain Exercises #3

https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/brain-exercise/

After two days of exercising your brain, I came on this article.  It has some unusual approaches to brain exercises.

-1 “Neurobic” exercises are like cross-training for your brain

The article states: “Giving your brain new experiences that combine physical senses—vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing—with emotional “sense” stimulates more connections between different brain areas, causes nerve cells to produce natural brain nutrients that dramatically help memory, and makes surrounding cells stronger and more resistant to the effects of aging.”

So, we should switch things up to keep life interesting!!

-2 Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. This sounds interesting.  When I brush my teeth it is almost by rote. Pick up the brush in my right hand and brush away.  

So, some of the best brain exercises involve multiple senses and cross brain boundaries.  I’m going to try that the next time I brush!! (Maybe I could switch things up and brush my teeth now (1:00 pm my time as I’m writing this)

-3 Take a shower with your eyes closed.  I kind of do this when I get soap in my eyes – fumbling as I adjust the temperature.  The article suggests that we will have different tactile experiences when we rely on difference senses (like feel here instead of sight).

-4 Switch around your morning routines. Try doing things differently.  I noticed years ago that I always put on my left sock and left shoe first before doing the right foot.  Shaking up routines will cause us to think differently.

-5 Turn objects upside down.  Put the pictures on the wall upside down; look at family pictures upside down.  It also might be a metaphor for changing your life upside down. Like my friends who took a sabbatical to Australia for a year – they lived a year ‘upside down’ (or, “down under’)!!

-6 Switch seats at the table.  With just the two of us, we are really set in our ways.  I’m always at the west side of our table and my wife on the east side.  I’m sure if I was at the table first and sat in ‘her place’, she would notice and comment.  There are other places where routine is too ingrained. Do you sit in the same pew at your church?  Do you sit in the same seat in your classes?

-7 Make a new connection with your nose.  Try shaking things up with a new fragrance – vanilla, cinnamon, peppermint, citrus or other.   The article suggests having a favorite fragrance next to the bed and smell it when you get up. (Hmmm – should I have a chocolate or cherry scent next to the bed?)

We will finish this off tomorrow.

I like the concept – do something different or in a different way.  Switch things up is a great way to stimulate your brain!!

Do you switch things around in your life!!

Bruce

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Blog #585 Brain Exercise – part II

Let’s exercise our MEMORY – Part II

https://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx

So, yesterday we looked at the first five items on this list:

-1 Test your recall

-2 Learn to play a musical instrument

-3 Do math in your head

-4 Take a cooking class

-5 Learn a foreign language

Let’s finish the list today:

-6 Create word pictures.  The author suggests “Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.”  I like Word Puzzles like Bamboozables (see)

http://www.thinkablepuzzles.com/bamboozables/bamboozable1.shtml

Like putting on four lines “wheel” – then drive on the right side and you get four wheel drive!!

-7 Draw a map from memory.  For example, we could draw a map of our Rhine River Cruise.  I’m sure it will help us remember the trip even better. Did we stop at Cologne before or after Heidelberg?


-8 Challenge your taste buds.  While eating a dish try to identify the spices and flavors in the dish.  (I love to use smoked paprika in dishes – and if you weren’t familiar with that you might try to figure that out)


-9 Refine your eye-hand abilities.  Try doing something new – like knitting, drawing, painting or other activity that requires eye-hand coordination


-10 Learn a new sport.  Have you tried Pickleball? It is like tennis, it is like badminton, it is a fast paced game that is really big with seniors now.  It has eye-hand coordination and challenges your brain. How about yoga – great for flexibility and coordination.

So, do you do this things now?  How do you exercise your brain?

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog #584 Exercise your brain – part I

Let’s exercise our MEMORY!!!

https://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx

Scenario:  You meet an old friend in the grocery store.  
You:  “Hi, great to see you again”
Them:  “And great to see you again.  How’s the family?”
You:  “We are doing great, and yours”
Them:  “Good enough.  Bob had knee replacement surgery six months ago and he is able to play tennis again”.
You: (Who is this person?  How do I know them? Are they from work?  Was I on a PTA committee with them?) “Good to see you.  I’m on a tight schedule to pick up a few things for lunch”
Them:  “Me too.  Maybe we should get together some time for coffee?”
You:  “I’d love that”

For the next day, you are trying to remember that person.  You test almost all scenarios where you know them from. You must be close friends – after all they suggested going for coffee.  And, they have a husband named Bob – who likes to play tennis. Who are they? It might be a week and when you are doing something else, the name comes to you.  

Today’s link is from Everyday Health about Brain Exercises that Boost Memory

Here are some of the thoughts from that page:

-1 Test your recall.  Make a list (any list – grocery items, neighbors, shops, etc.) and memorize it.  Then an hour later try to recall the items. And, maybe at the end of the day try to recall the items.  How did you do? Do that every day to stimulate the part of the brain that affects memory.


-2 Learn something new.  The article suggests learning an instrument or join a choir.  The studies show that learning something new and complex also stimulates your brain.  I know people who can play almost any instrument – (mostly band directors / orchestra conductors) they seem to be able to pick up (say) a flute and play.  I’ve been telling people my next instrument is going to be the bagpipes – maybe I should get started NOW!!


-3 Do math in your head.  I am tutoring math and I am disappointed in one of my students who relies on her calculator way-too-much. I have tried to suggest shortcuts – like 82 times 50 is like 82 times 100 (easy) and then divide by 2 so 4100!!  She was doing 25 times 7 the other day and I suggested thinking of quarters. If four quarters is a dollar, and eight quarters is two dollars, wouldn’t seven quarters be 1.75?

-4 Take a cooking class.  Cooking stimulates many senses:  smell, touch, sight and taste. Try something out-of-the ordinary.  Get online and find a recipe for some French dish and try it. Plus you can try things differently – with oven, stove-top, fast-cookers, slow cookers – with different spices.  There used to be a cooking show where the contestants were given ten items and asked to make something with that.


-5 Learn a foreign language.  I’ve used Duolingo to learn Spanish (and I do need to go back over that) and to learn German.  I do German lessons for about 15 minutes every day.

More tomorrow as we look at the last five items off this list!!

Are you exercising your brain?

Bruce

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Blog #583 Avoiding Alzheimer’s – part II

Avoiding Alzheimer’s – Part 2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease

Yesterday we started a short series on Avoiding Alzheimer’s.  That post said “exercise” – 20 to 30 minutes of moderate to strenuous workouts three or four times a week.

The Harvard link has two more significant activities to avoid Alzheimer’s Disease.  

Diet: “Eat a Mediterranean diet. “This has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer’s or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet,” says Dr. Marshall. The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; olive oil; nuts; legumes; fish; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy; moderate amounts of red wine; and red meat only sparingly.”

Hmmm – cookies, French Fries, ice cream are NOT on the list.  (Now, if when it says “nuts”, that means Peanut Butter – then, I’m a true devotee to the Mediterranean Diet).  

Is there a relationship with Alzheimer’s and diabetes?  SURE!! “In fact, some researchers have begun to call Alzheimer’s disease “Studies show that approximately half of people with type 2 diabetes will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.”

Sleep: Get enough sleep. “Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s and is linked to greater amyloid clearance from the brain,” says Dr. Marshall. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.

Our bodies need rest.  We need to clear our brains and our bodies – through sleep.  

So, we are to get exercise, good nutrition and sleep – that sounds reasonable!!

Other suggestions from the Harvard study suggest socialization.  Television is NOT being social. Get out of the house/apartment. Most communities have senior centers.  Go and play cards; play bingo; play dominoes; and talk to your friends. This keeps your brain busy and your social life busy!!!  

Play games.  I do the Flow and the Flow Hex games on my iPhone.  They are good logic and spatial games. Three days ago I hit the 700 mark for the Flow Hex games (with some missed days, that is over two years since I started).  I am now six years and seven days doing the daily Set puzzle – a simple logic game. I play my sister and others in Words with Friends (a Scrabble-like word game).  My brain gets challenged – which keeps it working.

So, get exercise – physical and mental; get good sleep, good nutrition, and good friends!!  While the researchers don’t know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s Disease, these factors seem to help!

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog #582 Avoiding Alzheimer’s – part I

Avoiding Alzheimer’s

https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease

I’ve looked at avoiding Alzheimer’s in the past (but a long time ago) – maybe a year.  

Let’s see what Harvard University Medical School has to say on the subject.

First – the bad news.  The article says “What causes Alzheimer’s? We still aren’t sure.”  But, there is a lot of research going on. I think of all the great health successes from the past:  polio, “The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”tuberculous, smallpox, and various vaccines against many major diseases for children and adults.  [Reminder to Bruce, I am due for my second Shingles vaccine shot].

But, on the good side – improving our lifestyle is important.

Exercise:  The article says “”The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”

This isn’t’ onerous.  30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercises, three to four days per week is very doable for most people.  Cut TV out for a certain time and take a nice walk around the block. I like to walk. Fortunately, I live in central Texas where in the winter, most days I can get outside for a walk.  I also joined the city recreation center that has a nice indoor track. [Aside, I might like to walk, but I don’t really like treadmills, yes, I get a walk, but the view doesn’t change.]  The indoor track is on the second floor and overlooks a large basketball court, so I look down on basketball, volleyball and just kids playing hoops. I just recently did this, but already I’m thinking of my walking in the Texas heat of the summer – in this air conditioned community recreation center (which also has an indoor and outdoor pools).

A second place to walk (rain, cold, or heat) in your big box grocery or retail store.  I do a fair amount of the grocery shopping, so I turn on my “MapMyWalk” feature on my iPhone as I walk around HEB or Walmart.  I can almost always get one-mile or more just finding all the things on the grocery list. (And, there have been times when I intentionally go to the back of the store to get more steps.).  The MapMyWalk feature is free (with some ads), you can get split times for quarter, half and three-quarter miles (as well as other settings), pace, time of day, and music). Lately, I’ve been downloading audiobooks (free from my library) and listening to books as I walk.  There are also free public domain LibriVox books – with Wilma Cather, Charles Dickens, and more historical authors.

A third way is to get a pedometer and count your steps during the day.  Many people like to get 10,000 steps in a day (which translates to about five miles for most people).  

There are other activities.  At this city recreation center, pickleball is a high demand activity for seniors.  Kind of a mix between tennis and badminton, it is a fast-paced game, but not as strenuous as handball or racquetball.  Swimming is also good (again, at this rec center many people swim laps for their exercise.

But, the concept is MOVE.  As the article says, “that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s”.  

Maybe you are in the 40’s or 50’s and say “I just don’t have time to exercise”.  Well, that might mean in your 70’s or 80’s you will be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s!!  Pay now, or pay later!!

There is also some evidence of hereditary factors – so if Alzheimer’s has been in your family’s history, get out and exercise!!

In my brain, I’m thinking of exercise as being ‘heart healthy’. Maybe we can be like Grinch and have our heart grow by three sizes when we love and forgive (and realize that Christmas is about LOVE).

Tomorrow, I’ll look at some other good factors – like the Mediterranean Diet and Getting Enough Sleep.

See you tomorrow!!!

Bruce

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