Category Archives: appreciation

What is Nature-Deficit Disorder?

What are we talking about here? Wikipedia says Nature-Deficit Disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. This disorder is not recognized in any of the medical manuals for mental disorders.

I confess that on first blush this term sounded kind of tree-hugging and politically-correct to me. Don’t we have enough important things to concern us without worrying about being out in nature?

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While this being nature deprived is usually applied to children, it doesn’t have to be. I am indebted to Kelly, The Spunky Caregiver, for introducing me to the concept in the first place.

Kelly mentioned it regarding care giving for seniors. She wrote, “Getting outside alleviates our stress and can literally change the mental state we are in. I have personally seen this in caring for seniors with moderate to advanced dementia. Having trees, gardens, horses and walking trails around, is like heaven after being inside. They begin to remember stories, smile more and connect. I have also seen it in rehab patients, how it inspires and elevates their optimism for recovery. For me personally, I need to get outside to feel alive in my body and the thought of being inside for days is painful. I love the sun and the trees and the air. Taking the seniors outside is a serious paid benefit!” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, appreciation, biking, blood pressure, brain, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, dementia, depression, Exercise, fat kids, healthy living, men's health, walking, Weight

The Other Side of Alzheimer’s

Regular readers know I have a strong interest in dementia as I lost an aunt to Alzheimer’s Disease and my mother suffered from dementia in her final years. A lot of my healthy aging activities are aimed at preventing that from happening to me. So I was struck by the story of Charles Schoenfeld. He didn’t get Alzheimer’s, but he took care of his mother who did. I thought it would be worthwhile for readers who might find themselves someday in the position of caregiver to hear what Charles has to say.

As you can see from the previous post, Charles spoke at Aspirus Senior Center on his book A Funny Thing Happened on my way to the Dementia Ward.

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In his own words, “After retiring from a 27 year job as a truck driver, I went to work at North Central Health Care (NCHC), providing care to residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Filed under aging, Alzheimer's, appreciation, brain, dementia, happiness, health, medicine

How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard

I have probably written five posts on Positive Psychology in the past year or so. If interested you can type the words Positive Psychology into the Search box on the right and they will pop up for you.

I was thrilled to see that Harvard has done one of their publications on Positive Psychology. The latest Healthbeat says, “Positive emotions have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being in numerous scientific studies. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry, and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease, as people react to these feelings with raised blood pressure and stiffening of blood vessels. But it isn’t easy to maintain a healthy, positive emotional state. Positive Psychology is a guide to the concepts that can help you find well-being and happiness, based on the latest research.”

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They go on to enumerate three ways to benefit from Positive Psychology.

“Express gratitude. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have — from a roof over your head to good health to people who care about you. When you acknowledge the goodness in your life, you begin to recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside yourself. In this way, gratitude helps you connect to something larger than your individual experience — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

Set aside a few minutes every day and think about five large or small things you’re grateful for. Write them down if you like. Be specific and remember what each thing means to you.

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Filed under appreciation, gratitude, happiness, life challenges, Positive Psychology

Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Regular readers know that I have written repeatedly about the importance of happiness in our lives. A couple of the posts include, Why Should I Be Happy?, What is Positive Psychology?  You can click on the happiness or kindness tags at the right to read others.

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A paper published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health on Psychological Variables that Influence Placebo Responses says that “There is also growing evidence that personality may affect the placebo response. The main personality traits for which there is evidence of an effect are optimism, pessimism, trait anxiety, and neuroticism. Dispositional optimism and pessimism are habitual styles of expecting good or bad outcomes in life and therefore can be regarded as a dispositional bias in expectation. Optimists demonstrate an attentional bias for positive information and, even when faced with negative information, will tend to reframe the information in positive ways. Optimism correlates negatively with trait anxiety and neuroticism and positively with reported use of positive coping strategies in general. Scheier and Carver [another study] suggest that the general positive expectations associated with optimists lead to persistence and striving toward goals in the face of adversity. Optimism may therefore influence the extent to which a patient, given a placebo treatment, persists in the treatment and interprets it positively.” Continue reading

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Filed under appreciation, brain, chronic pain, medicine, pain, placebo, relaxation, stress

My Favorite Piece of Advice and Writing

Here is another list of good ideas for healthier and happier living. Consider this a companion piece to Regina’s Life Lesson’s from earlier this week. Also, the regular ideas that senior supermodel Oleda Baker shares with us.
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Aspirus Healthy Aging Service Line

One of my favorite pieces of writing, every time I read it, and its been many, it makes me smile. This was written my Mary Schmich and first published in the Chicago Tribune June 1, 1997. It’s been emailed, copied, repeated millions of times and even set to music. I hope you enjoy it too!                                      –Julie Luks, MD, Medical Director of Aspirus Senior Health

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of…

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Filed under aging, appreciation, brain, Exercise, happiness, healing, health, healthy living, living longer, Oleda Baker, stretching, Weight

Notice Anything Different?

Just kidding. I’m sure regular readers thought they had hit the wrong link to get here. No picture of chocolate cake across the top. Besides the new masthead photo the blog has just undergone a seismic shift. John is gone and he has taken his chocolate cake photo with him. In its place is the new photo of and ideas from Tony. The info you get here comes from a world of facts. Ideas instead of chocolate cake. Cerebral instead of visceral. I like that. I hope you will, too.

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You probably noticed that there were no new posts the last couple of days. That’s because the blog was in a state of flux, as in fluxed up. My former co-blogger, John, and I are going our separate ways. He has transferred his rights in the blog to me. Besides ending this nearly three year creative venture, we also terminated a 30-year friendship.

The whole story is way too long to recount here, but I think you deserve at least a bit of an explanation. We started the blog in March 2010 on John’s suggestion. Our popularity grew from the start and we both enjoyed working on it. I think our friendship became closer for a while. Cut to December 2012: I found myself disappointed over a lot of what John was posting and I have a strong feeling he felt the same way about what I wrote. A good example, and possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back, is my post – A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s – NOT.

John posted a number of comments to it and pretty much stopped talking to me as a result.

Bottom line:  The king is dead. Long live the king.

I don’t have any particular ill will toward John. He was a gentleman about stepping down from the blog and letting me own it. As I have written numerous times here, I am currently enjoying the best health of my life, both mental and physical, and the reason is all of the things I have learned in writing for this blog for the past months. Writing for this blog is undoubtedly the best thing that has happened to me in the last 10 years.

The blog was John’s idea. He asked me if I wanted to do it. He had done blogs at work. I never had, but he said not to worry about it. So, I agreed and the rest is history. I am totally grateful to John for having the idea in the first place and inviting me along in the second. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

As soon as I figure out how to change the title from Two Regular Guys to One … I will. Although I have owned a personal computer since 1979, I am really not very geeky. If I am not able to get it changed, I promise to work as hard as Two Regular Guys … and leave it unchanged. (I found it!)

What all this means to you, dear reader, is that I will be continuing to research and learn and write about topics that help individuals to eat healthy, exercise adequately and live to a ripe old age with their mental faculties intact. I hope you will be sticking around for the fun.

Tony

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Filed under aging, appreciation, biking, junk food, Weight

Ode to Billy Joe – Bobby Gentry

I wrote this for my other blog, but since it is a post of gratitude and appreciation to an artist for a splendid creation, I thought it belonged here, too.
Tony

Willing Wheeling

I have Sirius Satellite Radio in my car and my presets include music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. On a recent ride, Ode to Billie Joe came on and I found myself haunted by the writing as well as being transported by the eerie music backing it. I was really happy to learn that Bobbie Gentry, the singer, wrote it and this was her debut recording.

Although it was created just short of 50 years ago, I doubt that any current readers are not familiar with the song.

Here is the first verse:
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door “y’all remember to wipe your feet”
And then she said “I got some…

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Filed under appreciation, movies, music, thanksgiving