Category Archives: Healthy Living

Healthy living articles, healthy living tips, healthy living resources, and information on Intent.com

Living with Intent: 6 Steps to Living a Healthier, More Joyful & Purposeful Life

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About two years ago, I approached my father (Deepak Chopra) with a confession. I told him I was generally exhausted, over caffeinated and my sugar addiction was out of control.  I realized I was overscheduled trying to balance my role as a wife, mom, and entrepreneur with Intent.com, my start-up social media company. I felt bloated and had a lot of body pain. I hadn’t been meditating or exercising much, and at night I was having trouble sleeping. My father looked shell shocked, and it took a few moments for him to transition from concerned father to Deepak Chopra, the person that thousands go to for health advice. Continue reading

The “New Old Age” Just Got Better

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For at least two decades we’ve been living with a drastic revision of growing old. What is now dubbed the “old old age” prevailed for centuries; it was a set of beliefs that turned the aging process into inevitable decline physically and mentally. After a lifetime of work, people found themselves set aside, no longer productive or active members of society. Generation after generation these expectations came true. But everyone trapped in the old old age was mistaken to think such expectations were inevitable. Hidden factors were causing beliefs to turn into reality.

The “new old age,” created by the baby boomer generation, threw out the previous beliefs, exchanging them for more optimistic ones, and by now we’ve grown used to a set of readjusted expectations. Millions of people over 65 haven’t retired, and few have taken to the rocking chair. To be healthy and active one’s whole life seems possible. But as much good as the new old age has done, it faced two major obstacles. The first was that aging itself has long been a mystery, not explained by medical science because too many changes occur over a lifetime, and these changes vary from person to person.  The second obstacle, assuming that aging could be defined, was how to reverse it.

An enormous leap forward in overcoming both obstacles was made by Elizabeth Blackburn, the molecular biologist who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their discovery of telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes a section of DNA known as telomeres, which cap the end of each chromosome like a period ending a sentence. Telomeres are “noncoding” DNA, meaning that they have no specified function in building cells, but they are far from passive. Their function seems to be to preserve cells. Every time a cell divides, which happens constantly somewhere in the body, its telomeres are shortened. Longer telomeres are typical of young cells in the stage of luxuriant growth; shortened or frayed telomeres are typical of weary senescent cells.

Now the head of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, Blackburn covers every aspect of cell aging and renewal in her 2017 book, The Telomere Effect, co-authored with her close colleague, UCSF Professor and health psychologist Elissa Epel.  They convincingly describe telomeres and levels of telomerase in the cell as our best marker yet for the multifold process of aging. This also implies that by increasing one’s telomerase levels and thereby causing telomeres to grow longer, a healthy lifespan can be founded on cells that keep renewing themselves for decades.

In their book Blackburn and Epel cite a startling actuarial prediction. There are currently around 300,000 centenarians existing around the world, a number that is rapidly increasing. According to one estimate, reaching one hundred is about to become so commonplace that one-third of children born in the UK will live to be centenarians—the issue of protecting your cells is suddenly more urgent than ever.  We highly recommend reading Blackburn and Epel’s book–its wealth of information needs to be absorbed in detail. But the bottom line is to understand what puts your telomeres at high risk and low risk. Continue reading

Designing A Workout Program That Makes You Thrive

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A lot of people want to workout. Most people don’t know how. Thankfully, psychology can show us the best types of exercise routines for every person. A practical fellow should not always have the same style of workout that the intuitive fellow does. The important thing is that they have a workout to begin with. That is the key. Motivation helps us to improve and become the people that we should be. Continue reading

Encouraging Insight From The Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum

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This week 1,300 Alzheimer’s advocates converged on Washington D.C. in a sea of purple to meet with lawmakers and discuss the urgency of the issues surrounding this disease. The atmosphere was one of hopeful determination.

As I reflect on the events of the past few days, I am more determined than ever to turn the tragedy of my personal loss into the triumph of a cure! This is what I have learned. Continue reading

Improve Your Breathing, Improve your Health

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Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to breathing. Your breathing habits have a direct effect on your health and wellbeing, on your athletic and creative abilities, your performance at work, and in everyday life. What you don’t know could be hurting you or holding you back on many levels, both in the short term and in the long run.

“Statistics suggest that many millions of people worldwide suffer with the profound and misunderstood symptoms and deficits of learned dysfunctional breathing habits. Unfortunately, these habits are rarely identified by practitioners, their effects mistakenly attributed to other causes, and their resolutions prescriptive in nature focus is on symptoms rather than causes.” (Dr. Peter Litchfield, President of the Graduate School of Behavioral Health Sciences”

Dysfunctional breathing habits not only compromise physical wellbeing, but they can have direct, immediate, and profound effects on your emotional and psychological health as well.

Here are some things that you can do on your own to improve your breathing and along with it, your health: Continue reading

What’s a Body For Anyway? Four Ways To Love Your Body For The Love That It Gives

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As a repeat offender, my Weight Watcher “Lifetime” status has always felt more like a prison sentence than an achievement. Chained forever to this body of mine, staying in shape (or rather, keeping a shape) means constant awareness and self-discipline. For the first 20 years of of my marriage, days began blurry-eyed on the treadmill and ended blurry-eyed at the fridge. I’d stand there petulant, demanding to know (in that bottom-of-the-barrel-last-fraying-knot tone-of-thought): “Who cares what I eat right now or how far I ran today? Why am I killing myself like this? What’s a body for anyway?”

There is an answer, but I didn’t get it until my mother-in-law passed away.

She and I were alone that day. Minutes passed to the rhythm of the respirator. Scared and bewildered, I took her hand in mine and began analyzing it in a way that you would never do with a person were they aware. I memorized every wrinkle, every fingernail, and every blood vessel. I wondered about all the things those hands had held, all the people they had touched, all the work they had done. Most of all, I thought on how those fingers had caressed my husband, as an infant, as a little boy, as a man…and how they had been nearly the first to wrap around my babies the moment they entered this life.

Two days later, in preparation for her memorial service, my sisters-in-law and I volunteered to dress Mother’s body at the funeral home. Arranging her skirt and buttoning her blouse, we were filled with reverence. Tenderly, we painted her nails, styled her hair, and brushed pink on her still cheeks, remembering the way she rocked a baby, wiped a tear, stroked a forehead, tied a shoe, fed a family, kissed a cheek, supported an elbow, packed a bag, waved good-bye. Her loving spirit had cherished us, but it was her physical self that had actually carried out the desires of her heart.

Mother’s last lesson revolutionized me. It was clear now that I had been trying too hard to “master” my physical appearance. Better to focus on working in harmony with my body, I realized, if its real purpose is to love others. Mother, for instance–though pretty and well groomed–definitely showed wear-and-tear: but her stretch marks and dishpan hands were marks of love. In fact, they made her all the more beautiful to those who really cared and really counted.

Because of this singular experience, I began to see and treat my body very differently: the way I would treat a cashmere sweater verses a worn-out sweatshirt. I called my new perspective the “Cashmere Resolution” (because Mother preferred cashmere), but keeping that resolution through the years since has not been easy. Frequent reminders are a must. Here’s how I repeatedly convince myself that my body is—in and of itself, regardless of its present shape—luxuriously wonderful. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Get Outside!

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With weather warming up, now is a good time to mix up the old routine! Rather than work through all the daylight hours, we want to find new ways to enjoy the sunshine. Thanks to daylight savings, our days are a little longer so even after-work hours are in play if we really put our minds to it. We intend to get outside!

You too? Here are 3 ways to take advantage of the sunshine: Continue reading

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish! 5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care

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There have been a few times in my life that I have had what I refer to as a “light bulb” moment. It happens when something becomes so crystal clear and illuminated in my mind, almost like a light bulb has been turned on in a dark room.

I had a light bulb moment when thinking about my self-care routines, and ultimately it helped to transform me and change extended to my entire family.

As a young mom I had an idea in my head that being a martyr meant I was “doing it right.” I thought that putting everyone else’s needs before my own meant that I was proving my love to my family. The only problem was that when I did they got the exhausted, depleted, and overwhelmed version of Mommy.

We have all heard flight attendants instruct us to put our oxygen mask on before those that we are caring for. Every single time I fly I silently thank the airline for the gentle reminder. It never gets old.

We cannot share what we don’t have. If we don’t have reserves of energy that allow us to feel balanced and centered we can’t give our best to our children and loved ones, to our jobs, or to our friends and extended family.

The more I began to prioritize my own needs and care, by practicing meditation, mindfulness and gratitude, the more patient, present and joyful I became. I was able to bring the best version of myself to everyone that I cared about.

What I learned as I transformed from a “hot mess” to a “mindful mom” is that it doesn’t take as much time as one would think to practice self-care. Small tweaks had a huge impact on my life. Things such as: Continue reading

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