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Have a Civil Thanksgiving!

Do you have one of those families that usually devolves into a heated argument over the dinner table? It’s enough to make you dread gathering for the holidays.

With our current political climate, it can be hard to carry on a cordial conversation anywhere, anytime! But there’s a growing group of people who feel it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’re discouraged with how divided and quick to anger we are, I encourage you to explore this website: https://www.livingroomconversations.org. A Living Room Conversation (LRC) “is a conversational model developed by dialogue experts in order to facilitate a connection between people despite their differences, and even identify areas of common ground and shared understanding.”

Living Room Conversations can happen anywhere. Formally, the movement organizers are encouraging anyone interested in hosting a discussion to watch a video on how to lead a structured conversation. Then two hosts with different viewpoints each invite one or two others to have an arranged conversation on a specific topic. The website has a whole list of topic guides. But all the information is open source—any of us can do whatever works in our own situation.

LRC dialog experts have provided a model for how to stay civil, with everyone involved in the conversation agreeing to abide by the following principles:

  • Be curious, and listen to understand. Too often we listen just enough to decide how to respond. As we think about what we’re going to say, we miss a lot of what is being said! LRC reminds us, “Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking. You might enjoy exploring how others’ experiences have shaped their values and perspectives.”
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. We tend to judge each other, don’t we? If we can set that aside, we can learn from each other, and everyone feels respected and appreciated. “Judge not lest ye be judged”—respect must be a two-way street!
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences. Once we start talking about things like values and motivations, we may find that we are more alike than we realize. But where we differ, we need to commit to taking an interest in different beliefs and opinions. How did this person arrive at their position? What is really important to them and why?
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. A living room conversation needs to be a safe space. LRC encourages, “Share what’s important to you. Speak from your experience. Be considerate of others who are doing the same.” I think another excellent guideline is to ONLY speak from your own experience and opinions. It’s not as helpful to say “the _______ source says this,” or “a lot of people are saying that.”
  • Be purposeful and to the point. The guidelines for moderated Living Room Discussions recommend staying to a time limit, so it’s important to try to keep our comments concise and relevant to the topic. Also, it’s really important to allow everyone to take a turn speaking.
  • Own and guide the conversation. We each need to take responsibility for the quality of our participation and the conversation as a whole. We have to agree to keep ourselves on track. LRC says, “Use an agreed-upon signal like the “time out” sign if you feel the agreements are not being honored.

You can actually get cards with the guidelines printed on them to help everyone at the table stay on track. 

Even at a more informal setting, like friends and family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner,  if everyone can agree to the guidelines no matter what topic comes up, it can go a long way to ensuring civility.

If you’re interested in participating in a more formal way to encourage dialog across political (and other types of) divisions, Compassionate St. Augustine is leading the way here locally in training hosts and facilitating group discussions. By mid-November, the group hopes to have a sample LRC in a public forum so an audience can observe how it works. Then audience members can decide if they want to participate in future discussions and/or train to become leaders themselves.

You can find out more at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/compassionstaugustine/ or website https://www.compassionstaugustine.org/index.html

Category : Blog &Personal Growth

It’s Never Too Late to Grow

In 2008 I received the gift of a carved “tiki.” It is literally a palm trunk fashioned by hand to look like a stylized face. 

I was instructed to seal the rough cut top of the sculpture, but I failed to do so. Over time, it did start to break down a little. So a stuck a flat bowl in the soft center of this trunk figure and called it a birdbath. Its moved with me and adorned 3 different back yards over the years.

When Hurricane Dorian threatened, I diligently cleared the yard of anything that could become a projectile in a strong wind, including the tiki. As I went to lift it off the ground, I realized—it had started to root!

I couldn’t believe it. This piece of tree has been severed from its roots and upper trunk/fronds for at least 11 years! I have enjoyed it, but I have not watered it or nurtured it in any way. It’s been moved and moved to different spots within different yards.

But now, having been left alone in the same location since the last time I moved it (for Hurricane Irma), surrounded by mulch and native plants, and visited by birds on a regular basis, it started to grow. 

I’m sure there’s a lesson in this about resilience, about never giving up.

If there is some small bit of energy inside of us—a project or an idea or a talent—that’s been shuffled around and neglected because other things took precedence, it can still be brought to life!

Come to think of it, this might be another tiki lesson: that when we are in an environment where we feel appreciated and we have a purpose, that’s when we can begin to thrive. No matter what damage happened in our past.

Category : Blog &Personal Growth

Complementary Medicine for the Win

My son developed psoriasis. HIs first-ever outbreak was a real doozy (vulgaris). He had the tell-tale scaly “plaque” on his elbows, knees, forearms, hands, low back, belly, and feet. 

I took him first to see a dermatologist, who started treatment conservatively with a topical ointment. The doctor mentioned that it would be supportive to get a little sun exposure and some time in salt water—either in the actual ocean, or soaking in Epsom salts in the tub. 

The topical medicine didn’t get the psoriasis under control. My son did occasionally go outside for some sun, but not regularly, and he didn’t embrace the salt water therapy. The psoriasis worsened, and another trip to the doctor resulted in adding an oral medication and trying a higher grade (and higher priced) topical medication.

This combination did help at first, but my son slipped up on his dosage one weekend, and may have missed a day or two on the topical stuff, and soon his condition worsened. 

Some of the sores became red and inflamed—open wounds that scabbed over but didn’t stay closed. At one point he had difficulty walking because his knees were so raw he could barely move them without pain.

Miserable, he got more diligent about both kinds of medications, and he also started getting sun exposure and Epsom baths daily. Then one of my clients told me about an old-fashioned remedy that had helped a nasty post-surgical wound heal: honey.

Honey has been used for healing since ancient times. Modern research is confirming it has antibacterial properties, and that it may be an anti-inflammatory and stimulate immune responses within a wound.

Apparently Manuka honey is the best, and you can actually buy ointments like Medihoney and other brands, and even bandages with Manuka honey embedded in the non-stick pads.

I hesitate to use words like “miracle,” but once we added honey to the regiment, the results were astonishing. 

But wait, there’s more! In addition to modern day medicine, naturopathic and ancient healing methods, we added something almost futuristic: electronic vascular therapy. 

Just by sitting on a mat that creates a pulsed electromagnetic field—which targets the peripheral nervous system and increases blood flow in the small and very small blood vessels (microcirculation)—my son’s skin improved dramatically!

The psoriasis outbreak is almost completely resolved, and I hope that it will never flare up with such intensity ever again. But the moral of the story is: medicine has its place, as does “old fashioned” home remedies and new fangled technology. All of these therapies can work well together—we aren’t limited to one approach or another!

The doctor didn’t mention using honey, and he probably has never heard of the electromagnetic mat. But doctors can’t know everything! We must do our own research, self-advocate, and explore options to achieve our best outcome possible.

Category : Blog &Health

Compassionate Listening, Part Two

When I was in my reflexology certification program, several mornings started with a reading from a poem titled “The Unity of All Life,” by Evelyn G. Mulford. Notice how the first few lines make you feel:

“The carbon atoms that whirl and dance in me came from South Africa, and were the ones which chose to be me instead of a diamond.

My iron atoms lay for aeons in their bed in Minnesota, and the copper dancers within me came from Montana.

The salt in my tears and blood washed upon the shores on earth for billions of years, and prehistoric fish swam in my water.

My atoms were in one of the first flying creatures that dared to overcome the law of gravity.

Even now they whisper ‘Freedom.’”

Pretty cool, eh? But it goes on:

“I was part of the fire that consumed sacrifices.

My atoms were in the blood of wounded feet at Valley Forge and Gettysburg.

My atoms were in the hand that placed the ‘crown of thorns’ on the Master….

I was part of many weapons that killed in the name of love and peace.”

How did that make you feel? It made me feel uneasy. I don’t WANT to be part of the ugly aspects of life, but I am. We all are. We are ALL connected—all of humanity, all the elements in the universe, all of history. 

The carbon, iron, salt, and freedom, the inspiring things and the violent things that comprise me also make up YOU, and your loved ones, and also the people who stand firm for everything you or I stand wholeheartedly against.

The poem includes the lines, “I came from far reaches of infinity to become a part of humanness. … My own grandeur is more than I can contemplate. I am part of all that is or ever will be. … You are part of me and I of you, and there is only one Presence and one Power.”

It’s true. We are magnificent—I am, you are, and so even is the person who chooses in one heated moment to write something very ugly on a Facebook post. 

I hope we can try harder to live in the Middle Way—to listen with compassion, to appreciate someone’s passion and grandeur even when we vehemently disagree. 

Carrie Jones concludes her article with “I am loving everyone for the light energy they permeate and not the opinions they carry. I am a safe place and I will be listening, learning, and loving.”

May we all be!

Sources: 

“The Middle Way: When Clients Vent, by Carrie Jones, “Massage & Bodywork” Magazine, November/December 2018

“The Unity of All Life,” by Evelyn G. Mulford, originally published in the newsletter “Phenomena” as “Thoughts while Contemplating Teihard de Chardin.”

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Personal Growth

Compassionate Listening, Part One

Recently I read some comments on a Facebook post about an American athlete who chose to take a knee when our national anthem was being played at an international competition.

As is typical for these types of emotionally charged discussions, it escalated into an ugly exchange very quickly. When I read, “I hope you get hit by a truck,” I was so dismayed I had to move on to something else. 

I don’t know if we can ever get to a place of tolerance from our current divisiveness, but if we do, I believe it will be through compassion. I also believe we have to try.

In “The Middle Way: When Clients Vent,” massage therapist Carrie Jones states that more and more clients these days need to talk instead of zone out during their sessions. Many people have increased daily stress that leads to the need to vocalize their emotional turmoil.

How does a therapist best respond to that? I was taught in massage school that we allow the client to direct the session. If they want to be quiet, we are quiet. If they want to talk, we probably need to allow it. For some, venting is part of the “therapy.” Not that we are trained counselors—we are not! But simply being present and allowing the clients to express themselves can be more therapeutic than insisting they stay quiet and keep pent up frustration within. We don’t have to agree; in fact, it’s better if the therapist keeps her opinions to herself.

Jones challenges therapists to go one step further, to live in the Middle Way. This is a Buddhist principle that promotes a balanced approach to life. We are encouraged to take a long time and ask a lot of questions before we form an opinion on an issue—if we form an opinion at all. It’s imperative to research both (or all) sides of an issue from a neutral stance in the middle.

She shares, “It is only when we inspect both sides that we can truly form an educated opinion. Imagine for a moment if all the extreme thinkers stopped arguing and disagreeing and simply listened without the intent to respond or change others. Would they be more or less likely to have stress? Would this Middle Way unify such divided people?”

We can only hope. By seeking a greater understanding of WHY we feel the way we do, and why others feel they way they do, we can increase compassion and reduce the hate or anger or tension that can accompany having opposing viewpoints.

I have to admit, I feel very challenged by the idea of being so completely neutral that I agree to form no opinion one way or the other. Could I live that much in The Middle? Isn’t it important to take a stance and fight for what you believe in?

I think so! At least about the things that are most important to us. But we also have to find a way to be respectful and diplomatic. Perhaps we can remember that other people feel just as passionate as we do, and maybe we can even admire each other’s passion when we passionately disagree!

We have to get better at listening, at finding our commonalities so we can have compassion toward one another. To be continued next week…

Source: “The Middle Way: When Clients Vent, by Carrie Jones, “Massage & Bodywork” Magazine, November/December 2018

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Personal Growth

Are You Body Positive?

An article notification popped up on my phone one day that asked, “Is summer sexist?” I didn’t read the piece, but I gathered that the gist of it was how summer is more demanding of women, who feel like they must be thin and hairless to look good in swimsuits.

I remember a meme that went around one other summer that said, “How to have a beach body: 1) have a body, 2) go to the beach.”

It really is that simple, isn’t it? The advertising and weight loss and fitness and cosmetic surgery industries would have us believe that we have to achieve a certain level of sex appeal before we can wear shorts or sleeveless shirts or bathing suits. 

I feel so sad to know that there are people who will avoid going to the beach or being outside at all in the summer because they’re afraid they don’t measure up. 

Hopefully they’ll take to heart the message of the body positivity movement. In her article, “An Imperfect Human’s Guide to Body Positivity,” Nora Whelan explains, “Body positivity is unlearning the idea that only certain bodies are worth acceptance and praise, and instead recognizing that all bodies are equally valuable. It’s deciding what feels good and healthy for you personally, and letting other people do so for themselves. It’s understanding that you deserve to live in your body without receiving the prejudice of others (whether that means rude comments, reduced economic opportunity, inadequate health care, or something else), and working toward a world where no one’s body is the target of such bias.”

She points out that 

  • modern body positivity is 100% inclusive—of people of any gender or skin color or size or disability
  • fat acceptance is not promoting obesity (rather, “Living joyfully in one’s body and not hesitating to share those joyful moments with others, or giving representation to people who aren’t normally visible in media, only *promotes* not delaying happiness until you reach a certain dress size or number on a scale.”)
  • accepting and loving your body doesn’t make you vain
  • it’s not OK to make yourself or someone else feel better by insulting someone with a different body type (the author mentions a song by Meghan Trainor who proudly sings she’s “all about her bass” but puts down “skinny bitches”)
  • advertising is manipulative; some ads promotes thin, hairless models with airbrushed perfection, while others promote an image of inclusion that’s not real
  • we can accept people now and still encourage healthier lifestyle choices with genuine love and sensitivity
  • we need to be authentic: we can be honest about not being attracted to everyone, but we owe it to ourselves to think about WHY we have the outlook we have.

Ultimately, it’s about body autonomy. “Body positivity is about working toward a world where everyone can live in their bodies as they please while receiving the same respect, representation, and opportunities as everyone else. So explore why you feel the way you do about your body, decide based on those factors what the correct decisions are for you, and be kind and empathetic toward — and consistent in your defense of — other bodies, and you’re off to a good start.”

Now get out there and enjoy your summer!!

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/norawhelan/body-positivity-101

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

The Importance of Down Time

“How wonderful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterwards.” — Spanish proverb


If you were to take out a sheet of paper and write down the things that really matter to you, what would they be? Spending time with loved ones? Enjoying the outdoors or hobbies that bring you joy? How about your health? Would you put rest on the list?

If you were to flip that paper over and write down how you actually spend your time each day, how many of your line items would match the things that really are important to you? If you’re like most people, you probably spend so much time getting stuff done, that you don’t make enough time for things you love, or for things like your health, and rest.

It seems we tend to get so caught up in being productive that we become human doings rather than human beings. How much happier—and healthier—would we be if sometimes we could give ourselves permission to take the time to just BE?

It’s not just an indulgence! A stressful, busy life out of balance leads to a lot of health problems. The body (and mind) need periods of rest between stressful situations. Not just sleep, though getting enough sleep at night and/or taking short naps is really beneficial. I’m talking about mindful, purposeful relaxation—being fully in the moment and enjoying the resting process.

Here are some of the best ways to relax fully:

  • Meditate. There are many resources on how to meditate. As an introduction: if you have trouble turning off your inner chatter, try just focusing on your breath. Nice easy deep breaths in a quiet, comfortable place. If your “monkey mind” starts chattering, don’t get upset or give up. Just identify that you are having a thought, and you will think about that thought later, but right now you’re not going to think about anything in particular except breathing in, and breathing out. Or try dropping the thought into an imaginary stream and watching it float away—you don’t have to hang on for its crazy ride!
  • Massage and reflexology. Bodywork activates the part of our nervous system that is responsible for calming the body down. It literally lowers blood pressure, promotes relaxation and feelings of wellbeing.
  • Exercise. IF it is a type of exercise that promotes mindfulness, such as yoga or Tai Chi. (Not a competitive sport or an activity that revs you up.) If you can clear your head by walking or swimming, those can be good ways to relax.
  • Breathing exercises. I learned in martial arts training that if you can control your breathing, you can control your heart rate. Taking a deep breath is not only relaxing, but it’s good for all the tissues in your body to get fresh oxygen.

This is my favorite breathing exercise: (the goal is to get as much fresh air in and get as much old air out as you comfortably can. Start with a slow count of 3, and see if you can work your way up to 5 or 6 seconds in each step. As with any mindful relaxation, find a comfortable, quiet place (although you may find that doing this exercise at your desk, in a conference room, or in a car and beyond may really help you get through some stressful situations!). 

Close your eyes if you can. Breathe in to a slow count of 3. See if you can really move your belly, and your ribs, and fill your lungs as fully as you can. Hold your breath for a slow count of three. Then let it out to at least a slow count of three. When you think you’ve exhaled all the way, see if you can push out a little more air. The more you empty your airways, the more fresh air you can take in!

I can almost guarantee you that if you find yourself breathing fast, taking shallow breaths, because you feel angry or afraid or stressed, this exercise will help you breathe more slowly and will in turn slow down your heart rate and your adrenaline rush.

  • Relaxation exercises. These exercises use breathing and guided meditation to help you visualize a restful situation. They are very effective, because your brain reacts to imaginary things the same way it reacts to real things. So you could imagine you were lying next to a peaceful body of water on a beautiful day, for example, and your brain would help you feel as good as if you were right there. 

You can research relaxation exercises that help you with techniques like “breathe out tension, breathe in relaxation.” Or imagining that a loose band is passing over your body slowly, one section at a time, and while that body section is under the band, all the muscles and tissues just relax, completely releasing all tension until you’ve focused on relaxing from head to toe.

A client recently told me about “The Happiness Frequency” on YouTube. It’s etherial music and tones and chimes that are deliberately designed to help the brain release endorphins and dopamine—the feel-good neurotransmitters. I encourage you to check it out for a soundtrack for your meditation and relaxation.

Taking some time to do nothing once in a while will help you feel refreshed so that you can have more energy to get stuff done the rest of the time. But more importantly, it will contribute to your health and wellbeing. I encourage you to put taking care of you at the top of your to-do list!

Source: The Power of Rest, “Healthy Musings” Blog, May 7, 2014

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

Being Appreciative

Steven Covey wrote in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that “Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival: to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” 

Research suggests, in fact, that the most successful relationships have a ratio of at least 5 appreciations to every 1 criticism. The prevailing parenting advice when my kids were little included the suggestion to “catch” your kids being “good.” We are quick to reprimand and correct when we observe them doing something inappropriate; but are we a bit less likely to give them praise for any of the million things they do well?

In fact, criticism can do real damage to a relationship, but appreciations benefit everyone—kids, significant others, friends, co-workers, even strangers. Imagine giving (and receiving) five spoken positive pieces of feedback for every one critical message! 

In their article, “3 Ingredients to Mastering Appreciations,” Heath and Nicole Reed suggest that this practice is life changing, and recommend these three tips for making your mindful positive attention more effective:

  1. Keep it Brief. A one-sentence appreciation is more impactful than gushing on and on. 
  2. Speak Unarguably. Avoid hyperbole and focus instead on how you were impacted by the other person. For example, someone telling me, “That was the best massage ever!” is not as helpful as “I have less pain and so much more range of motion since you worked on my shoulder.”
  3. Be specific. Overgeneralizing is ambiguous—what does “You saved the day!” really mean? It’s better to say “I’m so relieved and happy that you’re helping me with this.”

The best appreciations, the Reeds say, “Focus on the inner nature, or essence of a person, like their integrity, patience, kindness, honesty, and how you were positively impacted.”

And there’s one person you must not forget to appreciate—YOU! We are usually our own worst critic, and that self-criticism is just as damaging as anything we might say to someone else. How much better to share appreciations with ourselves, at the same 5:1 ratio?!

Here’s the Reeds’ challenge: for one week, choose to start your day with appreciations about yourself. Say them out loud, maybe standing in front of a mirror. They have these suggestions for each day:

Day 1. Make contact with yourself and say, “I appreciate me.” Literally touch your face or give yourself a hug or put your hands over your heart and say “I appreciate ME” out loud.

Day 2. I appreciate my skill in ____________ (feel free to mention more than one skill!)

Day 3. Qualities I see and appreciate about me are __________ (this can be anything—be generous with yourself!)

Day 4. I appreciate how much I enjoy ____________ (what are your interests and hobbies and favorite things?)

Day 5. I see and appreciate my body, especially my ___________ (even if our body isn’t perfect, we can appreciate some aspect[s] of our physical selves)

Day 6. I appreciate how I love to discover _____________ .

Day 7. I appreciate how I easily communicate about _____________ .

This challenge is for one week, but the greater challenge is to switch gears when our inner critic shows up, and use appreciations to focus on what is “right” with us, rather than what is “wrong.” 

Your inner child is still in there. Catch her or him doing something “good,” just like I was advised to do with my old children 20+ years ago. I then tell yourself, “I appreciate you!” 

Source: “3 Ingredients to Mastering Apprications,” by Heath and Nicole Reed, “Massage & Bodywork” Magazine, November/December 2018

Category : Blog &Massage Therapy &Personal Growth

Speaking Up

“First They Came” by Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

If some group, some race or ethnic or religious group—of which you were not a member—was being mistreated, would you speak out?

It can be hard to do, especially if we’re non-confrontational by nature. And there are certainly times when NOT speaking up might be the appropriate choice.

But if you were in the group that was being wronged in some way, especially if you felt like you didn’t have a voice, wouldn’t you want someone to speak for you?

Last Saturday, I went to a large hardware store to get mulch. They have a staging area set up in the parking lot so that all you have to do is drive in, show your receipt, and the attendants load the mulch into your vehicle for you.

As I handed my receipt to the staff person that day, he asked “What can I Jew you out of today?” I was so taken aback that I couldn’t speak in that moment. (Which is probably a good thing, because he and his co-worker loaded the mulch cheerfully, and this gave me time to process.)

He approached my open window to confirm that I was all set and I seized the moment. “You know,” I said in a very neutral voice, “I have family and friends who are Jewish, and it’s really not OK to talk about them in such a disparaging way. It’s insulting.”

He looked completely confused. I reminded him of what he had said when I pulled up. “I just like to joke with people,” he explained, “to kill the monotony.”

“Well, maybe you could do it in a more positive way,” I suggested.

“Will do!” he replied in an overly sing-songy way that seemed dismissive to me.

I don’t know if my speaking out will have any effect on his thinking or behavior. I just know that in that moment, it felt like letting his comment go was nearly as unacceptable as the comment itself. I needed to do the right thing, even though its impact was uncertain.

When I got home, I called the store and asked to talk with the manager. I relayed what had happened, and he apologized and agreed that it was completely unacceptable. He asked who had made the comment. 

My hope is that he won’t just reprimand one employee, but will give every staff member a lesson in sensitivity training. There are many ways to make a joke or break up monotony. We don’t ever need to be disrespectful!

I posted about it on Facebook and, as I had hoped, a wonderful stream of comments followed. My goal was to encourage friends to speak out. If you see something, say something!

One of my Facebook contacts was heading to a hardware store the very moment his wife, who was in the car with him, saw my post on her phone. They went to a different shop, and called the original store manager to explain what they had done and why. 

I wasn’t trying to get friends to boycott the store, but this is a great example of how words do have consequences!

We need to support each other. Anti-semitism, along with other racist or ethnic slurs, cannot be tolerated. May we all do for others as we would have others do for us.

Category : Blog &Personal Growth

Aging Happily

Do you associate aging with pain/discomfort and a loss of mobility? I hear lots of comments like “my ____ hurts all the time but, let’s face it, I’m getting old,” or “Growing older is hell!” (Or, “not for sissies!”)

But does it have to be that way? Certainly our tissues do deteriorate as we age—they’re just not made to last forever. But what if we changed the way we THINK about aging—could it help us hurt less and move better?

Clinical psychologist and cultural anthropologist Mary Pipher says yes! In fact, she says, it is possible to age with joy. Here are 5 ways she recommends for beginning to shift our thinking and cultivate happiness:

  1. Accentuate the positive. Attitude is almost everything, and we can control how we react to the hand we’ve been dealt. Pipher says a good support network is critical—friends and family are like an emotional health insurance policy. Whether you have a book club, travel buddies, lunch group, or time with grandchildren, reaching out and spending time with people close to us can help us cope with challenges.
  2. Take action. Sometimes people with a terminal diagnosis are the ones most committed to living life to the fullest. Sometimes surviving something difficult makes us that much more resilient. Pipher states, “Part of what allows us to deeply appreciate our lives and savor our time is our past despair.” Finding purpose in our lives is beneficial, like volunteering or becoming an activist. But, it’s important to be realistic. “Our goals can be greater than our energy level,” Pipher acknowledges, and we shouldn’t let them become a burden.
  3. Reframe your story. We can get stuck re-telling tales of woe: difficult surgeries or illnesses, loss of loved ones, children moving away or relatives becoming distant. Rather than focusing on pain, tragedy and loss, Pipher says we can “train ourselves to think in stories that allow us to flourish.” Rather than rehashing the challenges, we can reflect on what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown from the experiences.
  4. Make peace with death. Pipher refers to a “death positive movement” which includes making hospice more accessible, and speaking more honestly to the dying about what is happening to them. The more prepared and informed we are, the better equipped we feel to deal with reality. Fear doesn’t help! Like dealing with a bad storm or other challenges, when faced with death and loss “often we discover surprising reserves of strength and courage,” Pipher writes.
  5. Be kind to yourself. We need to be true to ourselves, say no when we need to, and say yes to our own needs. With age comes the wisdom of self-awareness, and we can embrace being more authentic. “As we age, we gain perspective,” says Pipher, “hopefully a forgiving one of ourselves.” We can appreciate who we are, decide what we really desire and go for it!” We can also choose to help others let their light shine.

I learned that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, they believe that everything starts with an idea. We put energy toward the idea, and manifest it into reality. If you think you are hurting and stiff and there’s nothing you can do about it because it is simply a part of aging, you will probably continue to hurt and feel stiff. But, if you can work on coping skills—focusing on the positives like wisdom/perspective and your support network—and enjoy whatever activities are still realistic for you, you will very likely be motivated to move a little more, and you will hurt a little less. 

“And while we are reframing our own stories, we can also reframe the story of aging that society enforces and that minimizes everyone of a certain age.”

Source: https://considerable.com/5-things-to-be-happier-as-you-age/

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth