Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Smoking Again? Yikes!!

          I thought I gave up smoking years ago when, in addition to the obvious health risks, if you continued to smoke, you were a pariah, a social outcast. It turns out I may have started smoking again and didn't even know it.

Noooooooooooo!
          Both CBS News and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health  have recently likened sitting to be the new smoking. The Journal study found that for those 60 and older, every additional hour a day spent sitting or being sedentary has been linked to a doubling of the risk disability, regardless of the amount of moderate exercise a person gets. The description of disability in this study included limitations on everyday tasks like dressing, eating, bathing and walking across a room.

          Looks like in spite of moderate regular exercise like walking daily, if you sit a lot you are at higher risk for obesity, diabetes and, no surprise, heart disease. It makes sense that if you sit at a computer or in front of the TV, circulation slows and fewer muscles get used, both of which contribute to overall poor health.

          I know for myself, as a retiree and a writer, I spend lots of time just sitting. I do exercise regularly but now I'm hearing that that's not enough to counteract the ill effects of smoking ... I mean sitting.

What to do?

          There's lots you can do, and it's relatively easy. If you don't exercise regularly (at least moderate walking 3-5 times a week), begin there. Aim for 30 minutes three times a week, even if it's in 10-minute segments three times a day.  If you do exercise but are also sitting a lot too, be sure to get up and move around every 15-20 minutes. If it's in front of the TV, get up during commercials and if it's at the computer, like it is for me, stretch for 30 seconds at regular intervals.

          Most people my age have smoked at some point during their lives. And it wasn't easy for us to finally kick the nasty habit. Don't let sitting get you down or keep you down. Don't let it impair the quality of your leisure years the way smoking was sure to do so. Add a few more seconds of movement to your routine. Live longer!


Contact me at Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook or
 
antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What are Your Intentions?

 “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”
                    
Seneca
, Moral Essays, Volume III: de Beneficiis

          Everything you do starts with intention. Without intention you’re just along for the ride, like a leaf floating on a puff of wind.  With intention you are able to create anything you want. Intention is one of the cornerstones of your most powerful self.

Clear away the fog


       Have you ever started out on one path to accomplish something and then felt somewhere along the line you got off track? For me, it's not "if" but "how often." Things became muddled and unclear or overwhelming? Looking at your intentions can clear away any fog and confusion. A lot of the time I have to literally write down my intention and post it on the bulletin board above my desk. It becomes the hub in the wagon wheel of my activities and thoughts. (groan!!!)  Did I actually just use that dorky analogy????

 
          Having a clear intention will keep us on track toward our end result. Let’s say we want a new car. We save money with the intention of having a safer and more reliable vehicle to transport our family about town. When we get to the dealer, however, that spiffy two-seater sports car beckons us like a piece of chocolate cake. The salesperson steers us toward the more expensive and less practical. If we’re not clear on our intention we drive out with a vehicle that doesn’t meet our needs. It’s fun but not what we set out to get.
We want things
 

         
We all want things; we want those things our way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting things, be they material possessions or emotional tranquility. The reason behind our wanting is more the issue. Do we want to spend thousands on improving our appearance to feel better about ourselves or to compete with a younger crowd? Staying focused on intentions can save lots of money.
          Ideally, once an intention surfaces, it’s good to evaluate all the thoughts and activities that will bring it to fruition. It’s not a test. If your eyes aren’t glued to your purpose all the time, in every situation, life will not cease to exist.  My purpose here is only to remind us all of what we know to be true.

          For me, having a clear intention brings a brightness and clarity that is always valued over uncertainly and confusion.


You might also enjoy:
          Ten Things to Make Your Senior Moments Happier
Contact me at:  antoniasseniormoments@hotmail.com or
          Antonia's Senior Moments on Facebook


 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Senior's Emotional Life: How Letting Go Helps

          This message continues to be valid no matter how much we hear it.

Letting Go of Attachments

          We get stuff and then we don’t want to let it go. By the time we’re in our senior years, we’ve accumulated a fair amount of things.

          There are boxes of unread books, that old salt and pepper shaker collection that you started 40+ years ago, dried flowers and other memorabilia from proms a cabillion years gone by and pictures. I’m not talking about digital pictures, but real pictures that were developed and printed at the local drug store. When my sister died 6 years ago, her two sons, while going through her belongings, were aghast at the volume of printed pictures she had saved over the years. “Why would she have all these pictures?” they wondered. They were just floored that anyone would keep albums and albums of pictures when they could easily be stored on a computer or cell phone.

Christine spring cleaning
          My girlfriend in Southern California sent me an e-mail yesterday saying she was in the throes of spring cleaning. While she joyously exclaims how much she loves doing it, there is always an issue of letting go of things to which she has become attached, items that bring back memories of events and loved ones.

          We can quickly get attached to things and their representation of good and bad past times. There are even reality programs dedicated to people who just can’t let go of all this stuff. It can kill you! We also develop and maintain strong attachments to people and emotions and habits and feelings and judgments and theories and falsehoods and history…I could go on.

          These kinds of less tangible attachments take on a different significance. Like possession of real things, they can be helpful or harmful but many times on a deeper psychological level. I must admit, there’ve been times when I was completely unaware of any emotional attachment I harbored until it popped up in some form of sadness or depression or even aberrant behavior.

Attachments can zap spirituality

          Attachments can spoil a healthy sense of spirituality, too. Where we can get into trouble is when we experience a feeling but then don’t let it go. It’s likely a negative feeling. We roll it around in our souls for a day or a year and by then we don’t want to let it go. It can be, for example, a perceived personal transgression, say daughter Janette doesn’t respond to that dynamite gift you sent her last week. If we cling to this as a hurtful event and make a ton of negative assumptions based on this one incident, we’re screwed; we’ve become attached emotionally to an unfounded theory. This kind of diligent clinging to less-than-uplifting vibes can cause a negative manifesto in our souls.

          Attachment to anything negative, like guessing what someone else is feeling or thinking, can totally block the way to peace and enlightenment. Where is there room for good to come in when we’re all shut down with our need to create a falsehood about something where we don’t have all the correct information?

Spiraling downward
 

          We can become consumed by these attachments and, when we can’t let go, we drift into being defined by them. We crave and are attached to attention so we set our lives up to get it. For instance, we can become narcissistic actors or focused hypochondriacs who stay stuck in their attachments when we don’t see the transient nature of the world. Things change and if we don’t see that one day we may be on top and the next day we may not, we become attached to an unrealistic outcome. Then we can spin into a spirit-stealing downward plunge.

          Even Buddha, in the second of his Four Noble Truths, says, “The origin of suffering is attachment… The reasons for suffering are desire, passion, ardour, pursuit of wealth and prestige, striving for fame and popularity, or in short: craving and clinging.” Unhealthy attachments can happen easily; we have a little, we want a lot; supersize my life!

          So, what to do? As you know, I’m not a psychologist and don’t play one on TV, so I don’t have the answers. I can only share what has worked for me personally. And, you know, of course, I’m going to say meditating and prayer are the first tools I use. But there are a couple other things that have helped me in the past when I see my attachments interfering with the here and now.

What to do

          First I look at what it is that might be controlling my life. Does it bring me a sense of well being and delight or anger and frustration? Second, I look at what I might be getting out of maintaining the attachment. Even negative reasons have their purpose and can be viewed with understanding and compassion. After I look at what it might be, I try to find a way to detach from whatever it is by changing where my physical and emotional focus is. From there I put it out into the Universe and move on with my life. I repeat this until I'm successful at shifting away from the attachment. Whatever works best for you is the right solution. Do remember to be gentle with yourself if you decide you need to make a change.

         What might you be attached to and is it time for a little emotional spring cleaning?