A couple of months ago I scheduled a routine medical checkup with my primary physician. While never a chatty or warm-hearted person, this time my doctor of nearly fifteen years barely looked at me as she sat typing and staring at the computer screen near the windowless wall of the room. After a scant ten minutes of questions and answers, she glanced up, sort of nodded in my direction, and left the room. I doubt I need to tell anyone that this happens daily in doctor’s offices all over our country. Fortunately, my routine visit presented no life-threatening issues. But what if it had? Is it possible that something like mindfulness could benefit both those of us who visit doctors and the doctors themselves? Research now says yes. [Read more…]
Most of us are familiar with the idea that trauma, especially extreme trauma like war, rape or life-threatening illness, can lead to a condition called PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome.) But what many might not realize is that many people who have experienced those extreme tragedies not only learn to cope and adapt but actually manage to thrive. Called Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) these resilient people appear to be both “antifragile” and “stress inoculated.” Best of all, this mindset allows them to do better than “bounce back” from whatever trauma they have experienced, but rather to “bounce forward” in strong and meaningful ways.
It occurred to me the other day that many people I know are experiencing a certain degree of PTSD during the last several months. Perhaps the SMARTest thing any of us can do would be to cultivate the possibility of PTG into our everyday lives so that we adjust, learn and create something new and better in the days ahead. [Read more…]
During January Thom and I decided to experiment with our diet. We had attended a lecture in December that warned us about how eating wheat and sugar was detrimental to a healthy and aging brain. That caught our attention. So during the month we avoided bread, pasta or anything containing wheat. We also eliminated desserts, juice or any beverage with added sugars. While it wasn’t without challenges, it wasn’t that difficult either—mostly because we were doing it together. Perhaps with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s SMART to remember that some of the greatest gifts of long and happy relationships are our collective health, happiness, and well-being. [Read more…]
This last week Thom and I led a discussion group about Rightsizing. It is something we’ve wanted to do ever since writing about it here on the blog during the last four or five years, and then after publishing the book, Rightsizing—A SMART Living 365 guide to Reinventing Retirement last year. Because we are so passionate about the topic, it was great to gather with others who are either curious or equally excited about the benefits. And as we suspected, the topic is so rich that no matter where any of us are on the path, each of us can learn something from every other person’s example. It boils down to the simple fact that quality always tops quantity. [Read more…]
I first heard about the practice of Ayurveda from Deepak Chopra back in the early 90s. Just as Chopra’s work became internationally recognized, we attended a three-day workshop and then read many of his books. But even though much of his spiritual and practical insights came from that five-thousand-year-old system of health and healing, I never really understood much about it. So when offered a review copy of a new book written by Acharya Shunya titled, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom I was intrigued. I was especially attracted by the subtitle of, “A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy. Clearly, Ayurveda sounded a lot like living SMART 365. [Read more…]
Lately, I’ve noticed how tempting it is to conform. When young and I had nothing to lose, it’s seemed easier to jump into new ideas feet first without thinking. Then supposedly, at the other end of life when our days are numbered, some people find the courage to live as outrageously as they’ve always wanted. But there, wedged in the middle, the unconscious agreement is often the willingness to stay stuck in a space you could call “comfortably numb.” There, cautiously hesitant to rock the boat for fear of uncertainty, many of us merely maintain the status quo. But is that living? Is living comfortably numb the best payoff for the gift of your life? While we obviously can’t return to our youth, we can and maybe should, seek ways to free our inner nonconformist in the days that lie ahead. [Read more…]
A good friend named Mark recently bought a new truck. To call it a pickup is grossly inadequate. Mark arrived one day in this shiny enormous vehicle with four doors, cushy soft leather seats, a fully digital dashboard with onboard space-like technology, a moonroof that spanned the entire length of both the front and back seats, and automatic retractable step-bars that lower and raise as you open the doors. I’ll admit I was a bit envious as I looked at my aging twelve-year-old Nissan Murano sitting next to it. But after hearing the “great deal” Mark got by paying only $50,000 for a $65,000 priced truck, all envy evaporated. My Murano is free and clear, still looks decent, and reliably gets me everywhere I want to go. Meanwhile, our family savings sits safely secure in investments that generate automatic cash flow. Instead of envy, I now have pride—pride in the benefits of a frugal and rightsized life. [Read more…]
For as long as I can remember I have always encountered a new year with optimism and hope. Even when Y2K or the Mayan 2012 (remember them?) were on the horizon and then passed, I believed that any obstacle we faced in a new year could be overcome by either going over, around, or through the problems in front of us. Now here in 2017, we are faced with new and interesting challenges. But again, it is not my nature, nor the reality that I live in, to believe that optimism and hope are suddenly impossible. As I, and others far wiser than me have said, “Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is always optional.” With that in mind, I’ve spent the first few days of the year coming up with what I believe are ten ways to embrace more happiness and hope in the next 365 days. [Read more…]
Every blogger I know is aware of how well our posts are doing. How many people visit? What are people reading? Do people comment? Is anyone out there? After all, most of us spend a lot of time and effort writing something that we think others will find interesting enough to read and hopefully share with others. If we have commercial aspirations, numbers translate to income. If we are writing just to share ideas with others, we still want to know if people find our writing helpful. Programs exist that show us how many clicks an article receives, whether the entire article is read—or just the opening paragraph. Some programs are able to clock the amount of time on each page. Even when a blogger attempts to stay true to her mission and intentions, the numbers are difficult to ignore. [Read more…]
A goal for most people I know is to live a well life. But what does that really mean? If we don’t pay attention, stay conscious and strive to be proactive, it’s likely that we are creating our life by default rather than by design. In other words, we end up reacting to whatever is happening in the world around us—in our families, our workplace, or with our health—and if it’s good, we are happy. But if any of those outward circumstances takes a nasty turn, we veer off track and end up in the bushes. Only when we consciously choose to design our life, can we claim the reality of a well life.
Fortunately there is help. A new book by Briana and Dr. Peter Borten titled, The Well Life offers dozens of ideas and practices to help us structure a life filled with balance, happiness and peace. Even those of us who have read hundreds of books on self-empowerment, spirituality and positive living can benefit by many of the suggestions offered in the book. And with a New Year just around the corner, who among us can’t use a few pointers to ensure that our design is a creation we hope to experience in the days to come?