For the past several months I have been writing about the concept of “Successful Aging”, beginning with a brief overview of 9 “Habits of Successful Aging”. My subsequent posts have described and explained these habits in greater detail and suggested some avenues and options to more successfully include them in your lifestyle.This post's topic for discussion is “Be Positive”.
Having recently returned from the excellent International Council on Active Aging Annual Conference in San Diego, I have been thinking about and talking even more than usual about lifestyle 'behavior' and how it relates to independence and quality of life in our 'Second Fifty. Here's the result of all that pondering! Back in 2004 the then Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Richard Cardoma was quoted as saying
When we want to ‘make a difference’ in our lives (get more active, get fit, lose weight, reduce stress etc), we go to an ‘expert’ for advice, guidance and, often, motivation. After all, an expert is usually someone who is highly trained and highly knowledgeable. This means that they know what to do. More importantly they know what YOU should do, what you ought to do (and of course what you have been meaning to do for some time!).
As we think about what we 'should' do in our quest for health and wellness (and, too often, 'why' we don't do it!) we frequently find our thoughts blowing around and around inside our head just like those child's colored windmills. As I was writing this, it reminded me of the words of that Michel Legrand song of the late 60's, "Windmills of your Mind".
"Like a circle in a spiral, Like a wheel within a wheel, Never ending or beginning, On an ever-spinning reel ...
As I do most mornings before anyone else is up, I was listening to an audio book of the Tao Te Ching (Wayne Dyer's "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life" - I recommend it highly). Verse 59 was about 'Living untroubled by good or bad fortune', and in his analysis of this verse he mentioned the Albert Einstein quote which is the title of this post "Nothing happens until something moves".
If history is any judge, telling people what to do is not a great way of eliciting behavior change. As I have commented many times in different ways on this blog, goals are best achieved when they are truly/intrinsically important to the individual involved and when they have 'ownership' of the goal and the actions and directions leading to its achievement. However, offering 'options' rather than 'instructions' or 'tips' can be one way of eliciting this kind of 'intrinsic thinking'. So ... here are some great options that have worked for many people who were ready to become more active.
In recent years building 'Wellness Cultures' in Senior communities has received much attention, and the benefits of adopting what has come to be known as a 'wellness lifestyle' has been confirmed and reconfirmed from a wide variety of 'evidence-based' research. There can be little doubt that for senior residential and retirement communities wellness cultures, appropriately designed and developed, can elicit a whole range of lifestyle, health and even economic benefits for the facility, the facility residents and the facility staff.
We have known for several decades now that simply providing people with accurate, easy to understand information about exercise and wellness is no guarantee that they will actually act on this information. Never before, on the web and in the media has there been such a wealth of easily accessible information about paths to active, healthy living, and simultaneously never before has there been such a prevalence of inactivity and obesity/overweight in the US.