Tag Archives: mindfulness

My Exercise Machine Broke!

I was fed up this week as my elliptical exercise machine broke!

I am quite pedantic about my exercise. I go on my machine 4-5 times a week and dance twice a week. That way my hip stays in working order and aerobically I think I’m doing alright. I get quite put out if I can’t keep it up, so a broken machine is pretty bad in my book and necessitated a rapid call to the ‘fixit’ man.

About fifteen years ago I had a real wake-up call. I went to the doc fearing the onset of arthritis, way too young I thought, but what else could cause such painful hands? It turned out that my body had decided to start storing sugar and my cholesterol levels were crazy.

Oh boy, I wasn’t even 50! How could my body fail me like that. I had always been a bit of a health freak – always cooked fresh, lots of veg and fruit etcetera and done a fair bit of exercise in the gym.

I was confused and dejected but Boomers bounce, so I took on a new diet and exercise regime.

I was so fearful of not seeing my grandchildren, still unborn at that time that I was super strict and it paid off. Although never very overweight the weight dropped and the fitness increased and the desire for chocolate disappeared.

Ever since then I have kept even more mindful of my health. A few years ago I went veggie. Suits me better somehow so that’s why I did it. Even so I’ve had to tweak the veg diet recently it seems bits of the body are showing signs of wear sadly and I now need to reduce even more on the carbs!!

Keeping this Boomer body fit and healthy is a continual work in progress. I’ve noticed that quiet a few friends are also becoming more attentive to their diet and have started to join belly dance groups, zumba, walking, jogging or going to the gym.

So my advice to everyone is care for that body of yours don’t take it for granted cause some things cant be fixed easily. I for one plan on a long healthy retirement, join me, please!

As Lee Hews says “learn to love your boomer body – and take good care of it.”

Go well till the next time




Laugh and Be Joyous

David Ick said:

The best way of removing negativity is to laugh and be joyous.

As the property world shakes itself into some sort of life around the world I have noticed a lot of Boomer children complaining that they will never own their own house as it is just too expensive.
I’m not sure whether or not if that’s true but I am one of those ‘glass half full people’ so looked for the upside. If we are returning to how old families lived a couple of generations ago  so be it. Its is not all bad and definitely time to remove the negativity and laugh and be joyous.

There are the Boomerang parents who still have kids at home – some of them with their own families. This is not all horrors surely, they are your own kids not strangers and as they are working they can chuck some money towards the general running of the house.  That’s a joyous moment in itself as it frees up your money  to put towards retirement, surely!

Then if the kids have a family, well you lucky, lucky person, you’ll never miss a moment as your grandchildren grow up, many joyous moments there.
So long as some rules are in place mutual support can be a really good thing, especially in the helter skelter world we live in now where both parents need to work. A bit of grandparent care beats a after-school care any day in my mind.

Then there is the MultiGen family like the one I live in. My mum shares a property with us and it has many joyous moments. Living in the same household has built stronger bonds between us. I help with health considerations like driving my Mum for her eye check-ups and I can be sure she is looked after if she feels under the weather at any time. A great relief to be close enough for that I can tell you.

Living together whether kids or parents means we can chat to at almost any time face to face and share problems and joys. Whenever there is a family gathering my mum is a godsend with her lovely table decorations and flower arrangements making it all perfect while I concentrate on the food. Perfect synergy adding to the joyous family moments.

As someone said ” life is full of many joyous moments and you want to enjoy all of them”
Let’s stop complaining about the economy, maybe it’s time to join the crowd-investing real estate platforms from the security of Mum and Dad’s home until there are enough savings to move out if that’s what you really want!

In the meantime laugh more together and enjoy the joyous moments it is throwing at us!

Go well till the next time

Why Single-Tasking Makes You Smarter

I enjoyed this article. quite thought provoking and with plenty of  self help tips.
See what you think.
Go well till the next time

By Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., Next Avenue Contributor

When I ask people at what age they feel they were (or are) the sharpest, it is shocking to me that no matter their current age – 20s, 50s, 80s – they always say their peak performance was 10, and often 20, years earlier. It does not have to be that way. Your best brain years can be ahead of you, not behind. Recent studies show that if you can change the way you think, you can change the wiring in your brain to improve its function and health.

I have spent my career researching how the brain best learns, reasons and makes sound decisions, as well as how to strengthen it. My goal is to accelerate the discovery of ways to ensure our brains remain more vibrant, supporting our need to make sound financial decisions, solve problems and retain creativity. In my recent book, Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Creativity, Energy and Focus, I condense 30 years of research into tips on how you can rev up your brain’s performance at any age.

Want to Age Well?

Learn New Tricks, Not Facts Many people define ageing negatively, as a long downward slope filled with loss, illness and loneliness. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s up to us to decide how, and how well, we want to age. For humankind to survive, we have always had to figure things out. Our brains are built to feed our curiosity, our urge to discover, uncover and invent — essentially, to be creative. And if we stay creative, and continually learn, we will be helping our brains give us a life worth living as we age.

I don’t just mean solving crossword puzzles or playing computer games. Those activities may stimulate our brains, but they only use what we already have in there. What we need to do is to explore new subjects and discover new skills while continuing to nurture old skills.

Think of people you know who used to draw, take photographs, write poetry or dance. In many cases, they stopped their activity because they felt: “What’s the use? I will never be as good at these things as I used to.”

Hogwash. As we age, we gain insight, vision and wisdom, all of which will serve our creativity well, if we just work up the courage to jump in and try once again to see the world anew.

What standards should we set for ourselves to continue to have a life worth living?

Take care of your body and your mind will follow. The more we learn about memory and creativity, the more we discover that basic good health is fundamental to preserving those skills — starting with regular exercise, a healthy diet and deep sleep. That’s obvious, perhaps, but these goals are hard for many of us to achieve. They are major lifestyle commitments that most of us don’t make — except as briefly kept New Year’s resolutions.

Reduce stress through playfulness and meditation. Resting our mind and letting it wander into new and imaginative worlds can reduce stress, limit the effects of chronic inflammation and bolster our immune system. And just think what fun it is to play games with friends and grandchildren.

Embrace creativity regularly. Participation in the arts, especially music and dance, can have a significant effect in warding off dementia. Subscribe to a concert series or get a museum membership. Join a discussion group, take a drawing class at a community center or learn how to tango at a dance school. The possibilities are infinite. All it takes is deciding to do it. (Learn more about my foundation’s ARTZ program here.)

Exercise your abilities and learn new skills. True learning — not just the stimulation of tabletop puzzles — is the final key to hopeful aging. This means taking advantage of the “procedural learning” part of the brain, which does not diminish in capacity. Keep practicing the skills you’ve mastered by repetition throughout your life, like shooting baskets or drawing a picture, not the stuff you learned through “declarative,” or rote, memory, like the name of the 12th president. Rote-learned information is what we forget and can’t recall, but our procedural skills remain and can be exercised and enhanced every day as we get older.

Many scientifically proven strategies to boost your mental performance involve easily embraceable, common-sense tactics that can have an immense impact on the long-term health of your most important natural resource. One such tactic is eliminating toxic multitasking.

Why Multitasking Fails

So often we find ourselves in environments that erroneously place a high value on being able to multitask, the prevailing perception being that the more you can do at once, the more expertly intelligent and efficient you are. Alarmingly, some people even believe that multitasking is a good workout for the brain.

This type of thinking is damaging to your health.

Multitasking is a brain drain that exhausts the mind, zaps cognitive resources and, if left unchecked, condemns us to early mental decline and decreased sharpness. Chronic multi-taskers also have increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can damage the memory region of the brain.

Why a Love of the Arts Will Help Your Brain Age Better

Now new research — and a new public television documentary — make a strong case that engagement with music, dance and other arts may be just as powerful for preserving mental health and acuity throughout our lives.
striking claims for the ability of dance to ward off dementia in older people. “The evidence says that participation in dance programs reduces the rate of development of dementia by maybe 75 percent,” says neuroscientist Peter Davies of New York’s Albert Einstein Medical Center. “There is no drug around or even on the horizon that can reduce the rate of development of Alzheimer’s disease by 75 percent.”

“Too often in our country today art is seen as something nice to have. It’s fun to go to the movies or the theater. But we think of it as one of the additives of life, as opposed to a central part of life. The point the show makes is that art is really central to human experience, creating connection with people throughout our lives and keeping our brains sharp.

“Art is central to our lives and should not be an outlier,” he adds. “It will help us get older. It’s not going to stop us from getting Alzheimer’s or cancer, but what it can do is keep us stronger mentally for as long as we’re going.”

The truth is, your brain is not designed to do more than one thing at a time. It literally cannot achieve this, except in very rare circumstances. Instead, it toggles back and forth from one task to the next. For example, when you are driving while talking on the phone, your brain can either use its resources to drive or to talk on the phone, but never both. Scans show that when you talk on the phone, there is limited activation of your visual brain – suggesting you are driving without really watching. This explains how we can sometimes end up places without knowing exactly how we got there.

Frequently switching between tasks overloads the brain and makes you less efficient. It’s a formula for failure in which your thoughts remain on the surface level and errors occur more frequently.

Multitasking, though, can be a difficult habit to break. It’s more common among teenagers and young adults who are constantly connected to email, smart phones and social media apps, but older technology users also seek the immediate satisfaction of beeps, dings and buzzes. Each creates an addicting release of dopamine in the brain, which perpetuates the need for speed and ceaseless stimulation, making the cycle more difficult to break.

Time for a Change

If you are a chronic multitasker, there is good news: You are never too old (or too young) to be proactive about brain health and performance. Recent studies provide evidence that adopting healthier thinking habits and improved cognitive strategies can rejuvenate your mind, reversing its clock by decades.

When you train your brain to think more strategically and efficiently, measurable improvements register on the biological level. Our own studies show that after only six hours of training, subjects can experience upsurges in neuron-nourishing blood flow, the genesis of new brain cells, improved communication between regions of the brain and increased white matter growth.

Consistent single-tasking helps ensure that your decision-making skills last late into your senior years. In “Healthy Brain, Healthy Decisions,” a recent study of rational ability in people age 50 to 80, sponsored by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the biggest predictor of a sound decision-maker was a high capacity for strategic attention, the ability to filter the most important information from less relevant data. Even better, the study found that strategic attention actually increases with age. And single-tasking is one of the best ways to prime the mind for strategic attention. (See tips for making better decisions from the study’s authors here.

3 Steps to Single-Tasking

Start your journey toward better brain health by adopting a single-tasking lifestyle in which getting things done sequentially is the rule. Your brain was wired for deep and innovative thinking, but that’s impossible to achieve if you’re trying to make it go in two or more directions at once. It takes a concerted effort to leave the chaotic addiction of multitasking behind, but the benefits are immediate and immense. It will increase your creativity, energy and focus. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Give your brain some down time. You will be more productive if, several times a day, you step away from mentally challenging tasks for three to five minutes. Get some fresh air, for example, or just look out the window. Taking a break will help make room for your next inspired idea because a halt in constant thinking slows the mind’s rhythms to allow more innovative “aha” moments.
Focus deeply, without distraction. Silence your phone, turn off your email and try to perform just one task at a time. Think it’s impossible to break away? Start with 15-minute intervals and work your way up to longer time periods. Giving your full attention to the project at hand will increase accuracy, innovation and speed.
Make a to-do list. Then identify your top two priorities for the day and make sure they are accomplished above all else. Giving the most important tasks your brain’s prime time will make you feel more productive. Or, as Boone Pickens said, “When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.”
These tips — along with a healthy diet, adequate rest (about eight hours a night) and regular aerobic exercise (three times a week for 50 minutes) — will keep your mind and body functioning well. Thanks to medical advances, more of us will live to 100 and beyond, but our peak brain performance comes, at best, at about half that age. So our bodies live almost another lifetime after our brains’ natural peak. This is why we all need to make a concerted effort to make our brains smarter.

Don’t let your brain go backward. Your future depends on it.

Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., is founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth and the Dee Wyly Distinguished University Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is also author of Make Your Brain Smarter: Increase Your Brain’s Creativity, Energy and Focus.



What is time, really?

New Year is just around the corner and I thank you for reading this at this time.

I’m about to see in 2015 with my family, I hope for you that your are able to as well.
If we are lucky the neighbourhood will throw  a fireworks show in their gardens and we will be able to enjoy them too, from our house!
Nasa put out this video which is quite sweet for this time of year.

Life has us all running in circles, probably no different from any other era, so I think these celebratory days throughout the year to make us slow down and appreciate our families. Do you agree?

At my New year’s eve, we all dress up and have a celebratory meal together, watch the Royal Variety Show and generally just have a really good time chilling together.

Physicists have a debate about  What time is, really?  but It’s a bit too high brow for me. For me time seems such a funny thing. At times it seems to creep past, but the older I get the faster it seems to pass and the more precious! So without further ado let me leave you with an oldie but a goodie from ABBA (Well I am a Boomer, aren’t I??)


Go well till the next time in 2015

Why Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings

I found this article about what really is cell phone etiquette so I’d like to share part of it here:

Why do so many people—especially successful people—find smartphone use in meetings to be inappropriate?

When you take out your phone it shows a:

  • Lack of respect. You consider the information on your phone to be more important than the conversation at hand, and you view people outside of the meeting to be more important than those sitting right in front of you.IMG_20141218_211720
  • Lack of attention. You are unable to stay focused on one thing at a time.
  • Lack of listening. You aren’t practising active listening, so no one around you feels heard.
  • Lack of power. You are like a modern-day Pavlovian dog who responds to the whims of others through the buzz of your phone.
  • Lack of self-awareness: You don’t understand how ridiculous your behaviour looks to other people.
  • Lack of social awareness: You don’t understand how your behaviour affects those around you.

Well as I don’t want to be labelled a Pavlovian dog I will definitely be more mindful of my cell phone usage…… well next year anyway 🙂

Come on! I’ve got to keep up with the family, which is spread around the world, this festive season, but I will be more mindful next year – promise!

Go well till next time



Carving Twig Gnomes with Your Grandchildren

Hand carved and painted twigs that soon take on the likeness of …. !

With a pocketknife I carved each twig to have a ‘face’ and ‘hat’

Gnomes 2

Step One:
Gather up your branches in the thickness you wish. Cut them to 6″ lengths.

Step Two:
Carve the front piece of the branch to expose the inner wood and shape a face and beard for your new carved friend.

Then carve upwards along the sides of the branch to make a pointed hat. Continue making slices in the branch until the tip is brought to a squared-off point.

Time to paint hats and beards to bring these new friends to life!

Gnomes 4Step Three:
The most enjoyable step of this project for both the children and I was the finishing touch of painting on beards for our new friends! For another inspiration you could try a family with rainbow hats.



The finished family of gnomes! Ready to bring cheer into the day!

Gnomes 5

Now it is time to enjoy some time of play with your handmade friends!

Some of ours found their way into a wreath that sits upon the table. Others will enjoy hitching a ride on the tops of beautifully-wrapped gifts!

Enjoy this season of giving, creating, and nurturing memories with your family!

Go well till the next time



Doodling: A Secret Weapon to Improve Your Focus and Memory!

A doodle is an unfocused or unconscious drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied.doodles

Is scribbling circles on a notepad while your company’s chief inspiration officer drones on about synergy mean you have trouble focusing? Are they paying attention or mindlessly daydreaming? Do you ever wonder if doodling helps the listening process? You may be surprised…

Research Shows That Doodling Helps People Stay Focused, Grasp New Concepts and Retain Information

It’s something Sunni Brown, author of the book The Doodle Revolution, emphasizes the importance of looking at doodling as something to embrace rather than shame. and Victoria Friedman says “Doodling is our birthright. It does not require learned skills or talent or any special understanding. It lies dormant within the unlimited cache of Creativity. The released expression in every doodle is ever-new and totally unique.”

Leaders, from Bill Gates to any of the 21 former presidents have doodled. Doodles have been found tucked into their private papers and letters (and those are just the ones we know about). So just what can doodling do for a our brain as we learn, analyse, and create? Long dismissed as a waste of time, doodling is getting new respect.

Recent research in neuroscience, psychology and design shows that doodling can help people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information. A blank page also can serve as an extended playing field for the brain, allowing people to revise and improve on creative thoughts and ideas.

Doodles are spontaneous marks that can take many forms, from abstract patterns or designs to images of objects, landscapes, people or faces. Some people doodle by retracing words or letters, but doodling doesn’t include note-taking.

“It’s a thinking tool,” says Sunni Brown

Aids Memory Recall, Reasoning and Engagement

Doodling actually stops us daydreaming and getting distracted believe it or not adoodle-sketch-vectors-smnd not surprisingly when a we are not daydreaming, we are much better at recall, reasoning, and engagement. In one study conducted by Jackie Andrade at the University of Plymouth, subjects were made to listen to a rambling phone message and then given a pop quiz on what was said. Subjects that were asked to doodle throughout the message were able to recall a solid 29% more than their non-doodling counterparts, indicating significantly better recall. In another study out of the University of Nottingham, students who were asked to make visual notes while reading science materials demonstrated better reasoning, clarification and engagement than those who were asked to write summaries or just read.

Of course, doodling is not a cure all. Doodling can become a distraction. What’s more, as most doodle_art__be_awesome_today__by_kerbyrosanes-d62ap8hof us know, not all doodlers are retaining much information at all. there is even an app called Doodle calendar!! and there’s Doodle Buddy Gold apparently the most fun you can have with your finger! Finger paint with your favorite colors and drop in playful stamps. Connect with a friend to draw together over the Internet. And finally there is a book to help us get going called:

Doodling for Seniors: Connect the dots workbook!!!connecting the dots

Yes, you’re never too old to doodle!  happy doodling!

Go well till the next time