Did you know you grow new brain cells every day? More on that further down.
Nobody told me aging wellness was going to be a risky business. One of the risky parts of aging looks to be the horde of well meaning professional types gathering on the horizon and preparing to descend on us Boomers to protect us from....getting older.
I suppose that sounds a bit hypocritical from someone with a Master's in counseling education, who has been one of the well meaning horde who descended on the domestic violence perpatrator.
However, I want to take care of my aging myself, because I have learned a few things over the years that really work for me.
I would love to be involved in a bunch of Boomer communities though, to exchange ideas, and get inspired by others my age who are grabbing life to the fullest and wringing some sweet juice out of it yet.
No young person can understand the experience of a Boomer or Senior, just like I cannot understand what women go through when they give birth, simply because I have not been there, so for a kid to explain to me that I need to do pre-retirement counseling planning when I cannot retire until I am about 80 years old is absurd.
Just so you know while I rant, the guys at my YMCA who are in their upper 80's call me a "kid" at 61.
So maybe I should get back to aging wellness, since I did start talking about working out.
There are a number of things we Boomers can do to prepare us for aging wellness, we can exercise, eat well, sleep well, manage out stress, and continue novel learning experiences to enhance our brain fitness, our neurogenesis, and our neuroplasticity, for one thing.
With a healthy physical and mental platform in place, we can begin to prepare for the work of aging wellness, which will include things like looking at end of life issues, a life review, retirement and estate planning, spirituality, and bereavement as our friends and family pass.
Hopefully, your aging wellness will not include elder abuse, a growing phenomena in our country.
Ever heard of Michael Merzenich,Ph.D.? He is one of the world's leading neuroplasticity researchers whose Posit Science Brain Fitness program was just put to the test in the IMPACT study, which showed that the Boomer and Senior brain can learn new tricks, putting to rest that old saw, "Old Dogs Can't Learn New Tricks."
Click on the triangular button in the middle of the box to see the video.
Nobody knew about neuroplasticity or neurogenesis until about 10 or 12 years ago, and until just recently was there any information, to my knowledge about how to enhance those newly discovered capacities of the human brain so that we could age with more wellness.
I first came across Merzenich's work about a year ago, in the book by Norman Doidge, M.D., who interviewed Merzenich in THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF.
Merzinich is our age folks, and has put together quite a tool, which has some real bearing on how we function in our senior years.
One of his programs is for senior drivers, which would allow us to keep our mobility and independence for longer. You will find a link below.
So it would appear that we can exert some real control over our physical and emotional and cognitive well being throughout the life span.
Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. have written a very interesting e-book, or hard cover if you want that, called Brainfit for Life which culls the research for tidbits of information which we can use to keep our brains fit ourselves.
They describe what they call the pillars of brain fitness, physical exercise, nutrition which must include omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences which includes Michael Merzinich's Posit Science Brain Fitness Program.
The most important pillar of brain fitness for our aging wellness is physical activity/exercise, and I like the model that Scott and Angie Tousignant have put together for couples and if you look about half way down the page that link takes you to, you will meet and a couple using the Tousignant model who are in their 80's.
That is good enough for me. So on the days I do not go to the YMCA I do the Tousignant routine at home for a good workout.
Evans and Burghardt place quite a bit of emphasis on omega 3 fatty acid for our aging wellness.
The best source for Omega 3 fatty acids is fish, which means I have to monitor the fish for mercury pollution unless I want to use a supplement. Stress management is a key piece of the brain fitness and aging well pie.
The best stress management tool is deep breathing, and when I say that to my clients, they all nod sagely and go right back to breathing shallow, so I teach a wonderful stress management tool called HeartMath which is heart rate variability biofeedback, which teaches folks to manage the time between heart beats.
Once the HeartMath process is learned, I can cue the physiology on demand, on any given heart beat and the chemistry in my body changes from adrenalin and cortisol to DHEA, which is the anti-aging hormone.
And the HeartMath process helps me access my higher perceptual centers in my brain.
Evans and Burghardt also talk about the dual n back task and research that has been done on that brain fitness tool.
It turns out folks that we can actually increase our IQ if we want to now, simply by doing a computer program.
It is not as long as the Posit Science Program, and works a little different slice of the aging wellness brain fitness pie, but is just as effective.
Here is a link.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.