Monday, January 2, 2017

I do not believe in New Year resolutions,...well, not exactly

every year i read about  or hear people talking about their new year resolutions. i decided a long time ago, that making resolutions really was not for me. perhaps it was the fear of failure on my part? anyway, i do examine the past year's life events, and i try to come up with what i used  to call my goals for the new  year. the term goals sounded too much like resolutions to me, so this year i have decided to make some " lifestyle changes" that will hopefully  benefit me in the coming year. call it what you will, i have decided to try to make permanent lifestyle changes for the coming year(s).

some of these ideas  are simple- things that can be  found in the pages of  any popular magazine. i was reading a post by an expert on alzheimer's disease the other day, and i liked a lot of his top ten things to do to that would be beneficial for good brain health. i am going to incorporate some of the ideas the expert mentioned, along with some of my own. of course, i can not start any list of lifestyle changes without a biggie for me, and one that goes without saying- NO CANCER FOR ME THIS YEAR! hopefully, any other year, as well.

so, here is a list of some of my  "lifestyle changes" for this year, and hopefully, in  the years to come. maybe it will give you some ideas of your own, or some inspiration to try some of these ideas out in ways that suit you.

1. get more exercise. see, i told you that they were simple ideas! every popular magazine out there has an article on this i am sure. my problem is that i was scheduled for a knee replacement last year- a week before my bilateral mastectomies. needless to say, the knee replacement surgery went on the back burner. my knee is getting worse, and exercise is challenging to say the least. i had to stop my beloved zumba classes( after doing them for the past 5 years). of course, i am able to walk. but let's just say that a fairly fast turtle, perhaps even a very fit snail, could beat me in a foot( or whatever) race. i abhor the idea of more surgery at this time. my physical therapist said if i could put it off for about 5 more years, it would be easier for me to recover from the surgery. i think i can not wait that long, unfortunately. and if i do not get some good exercise soon, i just may be able to be a stunt double for Jabba the Hutt.

2. get more sleep. when we are sleeping well  is the only time that our brains are not making amyloid plaques. these fiendish creatures not only affect brain function, but they may also trigger inflammation, and cause the destruction of disabled cells. sounds to me like an episode from the walking dead. good information to have, though.

3. incorporate the "Mediterranean diet". this diet is pretty self explanatory. less red meat ( i do not eat that anyway), more chicken, vegetables, olive oil, and here is a real challenge for me- less refined sugar. i have a sweet tooth that i am going to try to reign in this year. i can not eliminate all sugar from my diet ( i am NOT Gyneth Paltrow), but i do think that i can at least cut down a bit. i plan to do this gradually...........

4. learn something new! learning new skills improves our brain health. while it is a complicated process, suffice it to say that learning something new and practicing it makes our brains more elastic. learning kind of improves our data transmission, you might say. while learning to play a musical instrument is probably the best activity, there are other things that a person can do. several years ago, i took a stained glass course. i made a fairly simple stained glass panel of a flower. i love working with stained glass, and i have located a class that i am planning on taking. i am not putting any pressure on myself to exceed in this; i am going to do  it for my good old brain, and for the enjoyment of working with stained glass. which brings me to bullet point number 5..

5. try to reduce stress. i use the word " try", because some stress is good for us. remember the tiger in the jungle? flight or fight? we just do not need to go overboard on the stress thing. too much stress makes our bodies susceptible   to inflammation, which can cause infection, stress has also been linked to cancer. i have some anxiety related stress wondering if "the big C" will be paying me another visit. scans and checkups are difficult, so i need to get more of a handle on this. which leads me to number 6 on my countdown.....

6. practice meditation or mindful thinking. some people achieve peace when they pray, and that is good of course. i think that a somewhat structured or guided meditation plan would also  be very helpful. i have not worked out all of the details on this as yet. i do know that being out in nature, which is easy to do where i live- provided the weather is good, is very beneficial to my mental health. i feel at peace and less stressed when i am outside and aware of my surroundings. some people just trudge on ( and i have been guilty of this, plenty of times) and forget to look up at the sky. notice beautiful bird song. touch the water in a stream. before i get too carried away, i will just say that we are all creatures of the universe and need to appreciate the world around us.

7. take my vitamins. i have read that vitamin B-12 is very beneficial to good brain health. do i sound too much like the scarecrow from the wizard of oz or what? i have a brain, i just want to keep it working as well as possible.

there you have it. or most of it, anyway. my ideal lifestyle changes. this year,  if i can do even a small part of these things, i will be better off than i was last year. and that is the idea, isn't it?

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