Adjust Your Course By One Percent

 I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. Michael Jordan

Although I’ve been using weight machines and handheld weights for over eighteen months, I was recently disappointed when I learned that my bone density had again declined. I was hopping the weight training would move me in the opposite direction. 

I’ve decided to add at least one percent to my training every time I go to the gym. One more push with the weight, one more mile on the bike. James Clear in his book Atomic Habits argues for the power one percent. “If a pilot leaving from LAX adjusts his heading just 3.5 degrees south, his plane will land in Washington, D.C., instead of New York. Such a small change is barely noticeable at takeoff — the nose of the airplane moves just a few feet — but when magnified across the entire United States, passengers end up hundreds of miles from their destination.”

My take-away is that if I make even a tiny change in my workout routine, or any other aspect of my life, I can move myself to a different destination. It’s worth a try. 

Affirmation: I can do a bit more.

Coaching questions: In what area of your life do you need to adjust just one percent? What difference will it make in the long run? Are you willing to give it a try? When will you start?

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Photo by Amarnath Tade on Unsplash

The Benefits of Embracing Nature

Embracing the great outdoors cuts down on mental rumination and can boost well-being in the process. Erman Misirlisoy, PhD

This morning my intuition told me to skip the gym and spend time in nature. I exercised my body by walking. I believe I also enhanced my overall health by reducing my mental workload and taking a break from making decisions. Although my intuition is usually spot on, we now have the research to prove the benefits of spending time in nature.

Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, writes, “Spending time in nature certainly makes us feel healthier, but until now the impact on our long-term wellbeing hasn’t been fully understood. We gathered evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people to see whether nature really does provide a health boost.”

The team analyzed how the health of people with little access to green spaces compared to that of people with the highest amounts of exposure. They found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces is associated with diverse and significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death,  preterm birth, and increases sleep duration. People living closer to nature also had reduced diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and stress. They also determined that exposure to green space significantly reduces people’s levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress. 

The research team hopes that their findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend that patients spend more time in green space and natural areas. Whether it’s a visit to a park, a walk on the beach, or a hike in the woods, make it a priority to regularly spend time in nature.

Affirmation: I spend time in nature.

Coaching question: How important is it to you to spend time in nature? How does being in nature make you feel? If you are rarely exposed to nature, what’s keeping you away?

 

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Embracing Imperfect Beauty

Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. Richard Powell, author of Wabi Sabi Simple 

Fortunately, next week I get to celebrate another birthday. I’m not a woman who hides her age or laments lost youth. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature but beautiful old people are works of art.” I’m embracing her words. 

I also make an effort to embrace the Japanese notion of wabi-sabi, or “imperfect beauty.”. Wabi-sabi prizes authenticity. It’s the true acceptance of finding beauty in things as they are. Jessie Shool, in her magazine article, The Wabi-Sabi Self, writes, “By perceiving ourselves through this generous lens, we can stop endlessly striving for the ideal body and focus instead on real physical health. All it takes is a shift in perception.”

Affirmation: I am a work of art.

Coaching questions: How do you perceive your aging? What shift in perspective do you need to make to embrace wabi-sabi?

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Photo by Pablo Rebolledo on Unsplash

How Did You Sleep Last Night?

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker, actor

Sleep, such a boring topic, something we take for granted. However, if you are one of the seventy-nine percent of Americans getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night you need to know how lack of sleep may be affecting you. 

Sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. You may also be experiencing weight gain, irritability, depression, impaired short term memory, decreased libido, poor judgment, decreased productivity, and a decreased resistance to viral infections. If you have a goal of better health, start with improving your sleep habits. You’re worth it!

Affirmation: I take care of myself with adequate sleep.

Coaching questions: What’s keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep? It is worth it to change some habits so you can have better health? What are you willing to do? When will you start?

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Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash

What Kind of Mother Are You?

By not paying attention to your body, you are putting it in the same predicament as a neglected child. Deepak Chopra, author

I’ve been writing the story of a friend who was disregarded and emotionally neglected as a child. Mother loss has many faces. Through perseverance, therapy, and a “never give up” spirit, she overcame many of her emotional scars. As I thought about her experiences, I started wondering about the little girl/boy inside us all. 

What is that child telling us? When we neglect our bodies by overeating/drinking, not giving our body proper exercise, enough sleep, and limited quiet time, we are neglecting the child within. How our parents took care of us, or how we wish they had taken care, is how we need to take care of ourselves. 

Affirmation: I take care of the child within.

Coaching question: If I interviewed your child within, what would he/she say?

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Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Reframing Self-Care

We get well so we can become our best self and help the world. Sarah Wilson, journalist

Let’s reframe self-care—exercise, good sleep, healthy eating, time alone—away from the idea of selfishness. Instead, think of it as a path to being the best at what we want to do in the world. To be a great parent/grandparent, colleague, spouse, friend, activist, we need good self-care. 

An Indian spiritual leader put it this way. It’s about watering the root so you can enjoy the fruit. In other words, keeping our bodies, minds, and souls—our roots—healthy so we can bear fruit and make a difference in our world. 

Affirmation: I practice good self-care.

Coaching questions: How do you regard time spent on yourself, for yourself? What do you need to do to take better care of yourself? What’s one thing you will change this week to become a healthier, happier person? 

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Ever Considered Fasting?

Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit. Ezra Taft Benson, American farmer, Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower, religious leader

Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 for his research on how cells recycle and renew their content, a process called autophagy. “Why should I care about this?” you’re asking. Because motherless daughters—early loss daughters and daughters who have/had mothers with dementia in particular— are frequently concerned with their health and longevity. 

Ohsumi’s research shows that fasting activates autophagy and autophagy has a role in protection against inflammation, cancer, and in diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s. So, whether you simply fast from 7 pm to 7 am or take on a bigger challenge like 4 pm to 7 am or go to periodically eating two meals a day, fasting is something you might want to consider. 

Affirmation: I try new things to improve my health.

Coaching questions: If you’ve fasted in the past, what was the outcome? If this is a good time in your life to bump your fasting up to a new level, today is a good day to start. 

P.S. Fasting also aids in weight loss. 

Nap Time

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. Barbara Jordan, American lawyer, educator, politician who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

Three of my youngest grand-girls started Kindergarten this Fall. Remember when Kindergarten was half-a-day and you brought your nap rug so you could have a short snooze to make it through the morning? I wasn’t happy with nap time but if I went back to school today I might be more amenable to the concept. Today, Kindergarten is all day with no naps.

Naps don’t make up for poor quality nighttime sleep but, according to the National Sleep Foundation, a 20-30 minute nap can help improve mood, alertness, and performance. Famous nappers include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush. 

Affirmation: I stay healthy with good sleep.

Coaching questions: Do you get an adequate amount of sleep? If not, what price do you pay for your sleep deprivation? What’s one thing you will do to improve your sleep?

National Pause Day

Labor Day was enacted into federal law in 1894. It’s nice to think of the day as a national pause day. As a nation, we are choosing to take a timeout from our busy work life and making a collective effort to have some fun. Dr. Perry, from his blog MakeItUltra 

It’s Labor Day in the United States. If you’re a working person, I hope you’re enjoying a day off. Americans leave 658 million vacation days on the table every year. More than half of American workers (55%) leave vacation time unused. The United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. By law, every country in the European Union has at least four work weeks of paid vacation.

Research shows that workers who take time off are more productive, mentally alert, healthier, and have greater work satisfaction. 

Affirmation: It’s ok to take time off.

Coaching questions: What’s keeping you from taking vacation days? You may have very legitimate financial reasons for working as much as possible. Do you see value in making a change? Plan your vacation days now…what’s a better day to do it?