For Older Adults and Their Loved Ones
I was listening to a discussion about nutrition and diet when I was stunned with this thought: “I will likely live to be 100 years old!” Given longevity in my family and in published statistics about ever-increasing lifespans, this is not so unimaginable. I followed my own train of thought one step further: “What will I be like when I’m 100?”
It’s no surprise that I read a lot of articles about seniors, some of which include prescriptions on remaining healthy. Of course, like you, I also read about plenty of other things. Recently, in the span of two days, I read an article about aging well (encouraging for my perspective on living to 100), another article about working with people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and a third article on increasing personal productivity.
Three unrelated articles – and they all made the same basic recommendations. By the time I got to the third one, I thought, “This is really familiar; didn’t I just read this somewhere else?” I was surprised. So what was it that they all recommend?
To age better (healthier, longer, more comfortably), to live with an ADD brain (or share life with someone who has such a brain), or to increase productivity and get more done in less time, your biggest return on time invested comes from five basic areas.
Sleep. All three put this at the top of the list. Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep strengthens the immune system, leaving us less susceptible to physical ailments. It also prevents errors and misjudgments. When we don’t sleep enough, we are likely to make many mistakes we would not make if well-rested. I’m working hard to try and get eight hours of sleep every night.
Nutrition. Eating well keeps all the parts working. Not only our hearts, digestive systems, skin and so on. It also keeps our brains working well. After several weeks of being careless about what I ingested (including massive amounts of sugar), I’m back on track, mostly avoiding processed foods.
Exercise. Almost any exercise counts. This means if exercise is not part of your routine now, start anywhere. Walk a bit. Go up and down the stairs a few times. Park far away from the door you want to enter. If you already have an exercise routine, don’t forget to keep tweaking it so there is a challenge. My routine is not sufficient, but I exercise every morning. My plan is to increase little by little.
Mindfulness. I am seeing this everywhere. Mindfulness practice gives us patience, removes us from our generally distracting environment, and helps to keep us sharp and grounded. I like to meditate in the morning before my mind starts racing and all the many distractions of my world come barging into my head – and right before my exercise routine.
Gratitude. A daily practice of giving thanks provides an appreciation of our world and uplifts us, supporting a good attitude toward life in general. I like to write down what I am grateful for and challenge myself to try not to say the same things every day. You might prefer to just think about it or to share it with someone.
I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised that all three articles offered the same basic approach. While each of us is unique, we have more in common than we have differences. No matter what we are trying to do, the human body serves us well when we provide the care it requires. And to a great extent, each body – and brain – has nearly the same basic requirements. Only with proper care will the body support us when we try to do more in less time, even if our brains work differently than everybody else’s. And it will support us as we age when we support it, meeting the body’s physical needs.
So: sleep well and long, eat well and carefully, be a bit more active, look inside your being, and give thanks for whatever is in your life. I am taking this opportunity to thank you for being my reader; for supporting my work, for referring me to friends, relations, and clients; and everything else you do in my work and my life.
Let me know how it works out for you.
And if the details of daily life are overwhelming you, whether occasionally or regularly, give us a call at 203-716-1242 and let us help you bring it all under control.