Archive | November, 2013

The Month in Review: Day 30 NaBloPoMo

30 Nov

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the 30th day of NaBloPoMo.

  • A voice, my own unique voice, emerged from behind the researcher/clinician’s mask and it feels right.
  • The view is not so scary when you have friendsI found clarity in my approach and the pieces of the “Be”s of Brain Health all started to make more sense.  I found a way to convey those messages to others –those that have been crystal clear in my head all along — in a more approachable way.
  • I changed because of others.   I remember the day when I was 13 (a few minutes ago…) that I told myself I would not let what other people said about me or to me change me or my behavior in any way– not for the good or the bad.   I’ve charted my own course guided by an internal compass for a whole lot of years.  Yes, I watched what successful people did and made pieces of that my own – I’ve had some great role models.  But this month I felt a swell of momentum and a drive to dig deeper to see what else was “in there” simply based on the fact that other writers, some I truly admire and hang on every word, said I was doing well.   I changed my behavior and rode that momentum exclusively fueled by other people’s opinions.   Now, ladies, see what you created?comfort zone
  • With encouragement from my friends and a great back up system, I took on this challenge in a month where I spent more than1/3 of the time on an island 31 paces wide by 79 paces long with limited electricity and internet access.   Planning  and support does trump everything….
  • I promised myself I would stay on mission – no straying from brain health issues.   I found that everything I love “lives” in that space so there was no need, until today, to stray from that mission.   Such a gift to talk about what you love and to share tangible, manageable solutions for others to live a better, fuller life.

I find myself at Day 30 of NaBloPoMo with more to say.   Who would’ve thunk it…..

eyes on the horizon

Be Purposeful to Decrease Cognitive Decline: Day 29 NaBloPoMo

29 Nov

I am a bit of research geek… I know and completely own that fact.  In most cases I try to keep the “statistically significant” talk to a minimum but this is one of those incredibly cool instances where science meets happiness and the result just might be the best reason to talk about how “finding and living your purpose” can create a path to better thinking — in scientific terms!

Link in the Chain

The stronger the link, the more powerful the message

Did you know that leading a purposeful life could help head off cognitive decline and potentially reduce your risk of developing symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease?

A study done as part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, examined how the positive aspects of life might keep dementia at bay – the goal was to actively look at “happiness, purposefulness in life, well-being and whether those kind of concepts are associated with a decreased risk of dementia,” in concrete, measureable terms.   Guess what researchers found?   People who reported that they lead a purposeful life (scored 4.2 or better out of 5 on the purpose-in-life measure) were about 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared with people who scored lower….

Carl tall trees

Grow strong roots, stand tall, and cover yourself with awesomeness :)!


Summary of findings in US News & World Report

If that is not a good enough reason, let’s look at what it means to live with a purpose from an every day brain health perspective.

  • When you do something meaningful to you, you feel good.  When you feel good your brain releases that nourishing trifecta of chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline) among other happiness related chemical and electrical reactions.
  • When you feel accomplished — like you have really contributed to the greater good – notice that your respiration is more even and your stress levels (and therefore your biological stress reactions) reduce.
  • Finding your purpose is a learning and exploring process that requires actively using so many areas of your brain.  You are looking at how you want to live from an intellectual, emotional, and solution oriented perspective.   In order to do that, you must use every higher-level cognitive process and give those rational thoughts emotional value.

One last reason to live a purposeful life – something my mom taught me and that carries me through.  The balance of the world is very delicate and how we live our lives can change that balance.   Always give more than you take and whenever possible, leave each place you go and person you meet a little better for you being there.    It is the right thing to do for the right reasons at the only moment in time (NOW).

bailey rainbow

Spread your light everywhere you go.

For fellow research nerds, here are some more studies linking how we live our lives with how well our bodies age!

Positive Benefits of Positive Thoughts and Actions on Health From University of Wisconsin – Madison Institute on Aging:

On the Power of Positive Thinking From the Carnegie Melon University:

A little less geeky perspective from the Mayo Clinic:

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