Tag Archives: Longevity

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Deepak Chopra: Can We Influence the Aging Process?

Is aging a prescribed process or do certain factors affect the speed and mode in which we age? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses the relationship between the passage of time and our biological clock or sense of “age.”

Perhaps we can begin to entertain the notion that there ways to transcend the effects of time on our biological clock. Cultivating awareness, for instance, may be one way to affect our activities, our health and sense of self, and thus affect our relationship with time.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well, and check out Deepak’s book Grow Younger, Live Longer!

photo by: VinothChandar

Mallika Chopra: Train Your Mind Like An Olympic Athlete

 

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By Mallika Chopra

Wellness is a popular trend these days. From bootcamps, to botox, to gluten-free diets — there is no shortage of methods and techniques promising to change your body and fix your life. But we, as a society, often forget that wellness is not just about physical prowess. How far you can run, how fast you can swim, how heavy a weight you can lift – these kinds of measures sometimes suggest that wellness always comes with a six-pack and perfectly sculpted calves.

No doubt, physical fitness is  important – especially the strength, balance, and confidence that becomes so important for quality and longevity of life. But let’s not forget the emotional and mental aspects of wellness.

Olympic athletes like cross-country skier Chandra Crawford, alpine skier Emily Brydon and freestyle skier Shannon Deanne Bahrke have spoken about how yoga, mindfulness, meditation and breathing has helped them deal with the pressure of competitive sports, as well as giving them the mental clarity and space to perform better.

Body and mind are intricately interdependent, and in my experience, fitness and healthy lifestyle habits are made infinitely more successful when coupled with a clear and centered mind.

This is where meditation comes in.

I began meditation at 9 years old. Meditation was a powerful tool my family and I shared to cultivate mindfulness and clarity — because nurturing a balanced, healthy home was something we all cared about. I didn’t know how the practice might benefit my life in the long-run, but all that mattered was how it made me feel in the present moment. In my teenage and adult years, the practice of meditation stayed with me as a lifestyle technique I could use in countless situations. The mental strength gained through meditation, which I have the benefit of nearly a lifetime in practicing, gives me that extra edge to stay centered and persevere through even the hardest of “workouts,” whatever shapes they might take.

Many recent studies illustrate meditation’s benefits. A study from researchers in Brazil showed that meditation increases people’s mental focus.  Researchers in India have found that meditation (and yoga!) can improve stamina, cardiorespiratory performance, and even increase the body’s secretion of melatonin, which is important in sleep regulation. Finally, another study by researchers at the University of Oregon demonstrated that mindfulness meditation training can even lead to white matter growth in the brain. While these studies are only preliminary, they do suggest that meditation could provide benefits for athletes in their training. And for the rest of us, meditation is a powerful tool for helping us achieve our fitness intents.

My father, Deepak Chopra, is a great example of someone who has been meditating for many years and has maintained excellent health into his 60’s. Through my own meditation practice, I have gained more awareness of my body, and the ability to listen to what I need to feel healthier, more energetic and more balanced.

My intent is to continue meditating for my own mental, physical, and spiritual health, and to encourage others to incorporate meditation into their every day routines. And, I’d love to hear from you if meditation affects your exercise experience, in particular.

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If you would like to learn the basics of meditation and live in New York, I’d like to invite you to join me for a very special evening of mindfulness and meditation in partnership with Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY.

On Thursday, June 20th, I’ll be teaching a short meditation, followed by a reception with refreshments and live entertainment at the Reebok Sports Club/NY,  from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. We’ll cover strategies for quieting your mind and incorporating meditation into your life, as well as the vast health benefits of its practice. More information here

Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

The 7 Reasons Why I Choose Gardening for Health and Happiness

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 3.28.19 PMThroughout the ages gardeners have known the secrets to longevity and health. They were the roots of mind/body medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing the major wellness principles for both physical and mental health to be found in a garden. Being crazy busy sets us up for chronic stress which creates a tipping point for illness. However, nature reduces the inflammatory response of stress which is damaging to all our bodily processes and sets us up for unhappiness. So wake up and smell the roses!

Why I believe gardeners are healthier:

  • Gardeners get terrific exercise, a combination of cardio and strength training. They can lose track of time because they enjoy this activity as opposed to constantly checking the clock. Also, medical research claims that gardeners do not tend to get osteoporosis because they lift bags of soil and heavy pots.
  • Gardeners restore their natural rhythm outdoors and do not suffer from technology overload. In addition, the nature of gardening is to single task as opposed to multi-task, so they are alive and alert to the terrain and its inhabitants. Their focus is superb as they are present to what they are doing.
  • Meditation has been shown to forge new neural pathways in the brain to help with sadness, chronic pain and stress. For many people sitting still to meditate is an overwhelming and daunting process. However, gardeners engage in a moving meditation – a multi-sensory experience of the visual, fragrance and sound. There is serenity in a garden. When I had sciatica, I was focused on the pain and impatient with it. The only time I felt a respite was while planting flowers. Soon the intervals of being pain free increased while the pain dissipated and ultimately left. Creativity replaced destruction.
  • Gardeners experience firsthand the cycle of life. Plants die and seeds sprout. They realize that new buds and seedlings have no consciousness of the past as they grow toward the light. This is a life lesson of hope. In my neighborhood the white pines were so damaged by the salt water from hurricane Sandy that they looked dead, yet now they are starting to regenerate slowly – what a miracle! I can transfer this analogy to my personal life in terms of my own metamorphosis.
  • Gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables loaded with phytonutrients. I love eating vine ripened tomatoes and crisp cucumbers that have not been bombarded with pesticides and picked the same day. Fresh herbs season my salads. If you don’t have a piece of land dedicated to planting, then consider potted vegetables like cherry tomatoes and dwarf zucchini on a patio or terrace. And if your city dwelling place doesn’t have the space, consider working in a communal garden or neighborhood beautification project. There is also indoor gardening like window sills to consider!
  • Tap into the sunshine vitamin D which is transmitted by sunlight directly to your skin helping to release serotonin to improve your mood. Exposure to sunlight stimulates the pineal gland to produce melatonin which plays a role in quality sleep, so that you wake up refreshed to start your day – without irritability.
  • Gardening makes you feel sexy. Playing in the dirt, warmed by the sun and watching the birds and the bees. Need I say more?

 

Photo credit: Flickr

World’s Oldest Person Celebrates His 116th Birthday!

enhanced-buzz-9101-1356637562-7Jiroeman Kimura celebrated his 116th birthday today in the Japanese town of Kyotango. This makes Kimura not only the oldest person alive today, but also the longest living person in the world ever, as far as we know. He is one of 12 people alive still who were born before 1900, and it is almost incomprehensible to imagine everything he has lived through in his century-plus lifetime. Kimura worked as a postman until the age of 65, later took up farming, and finally retired at the ripe age of 90. He now lives surrounded by dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even great-great-grandchildren.

Turns out Kimura isn’t the only one of his generation in the vicinity. Just a few hours drive away lives 115-year-old Misao Okawa, the second oldest person in the world. Coincidence that the two oldest people are from Japan? Not necessarily. Japan has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world, but also has a shrinking population due to the large proportion of elderly citizens. To what can we attribute this extraordinary longevity? Traditionally, Japanese diets have included high amounts of vegetables, fish, fruit, and soy. Who knows if this diet is directly or solely responsible for the high life expectancy, but it is certainly something to consider, especially compounded by the country’s low obesity rate.

Regardless, we wish a very happy birthday to Jiroeman Kimura, and many happy returns!

Here is Jiroeman at 115-years-old, surrounded by family:

Photo credit: Kyotango City/Associated Press

6 Tips for Fulfilling Your Fitness Intents

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Somewhere between our two favorite eating holidays – the cakes, pies, cookies, chocolates, eggnog, and all the things that make us thankful, merry and full of holiday cheer – comes the guilt of it all. That’s when I receive phone calls, emails, and text messages about the new New Years resolution of working out, losing weight, or pledges of improving overall health and wellness.

So after many years of listening to my family, friends, and students tell me how this year they are going to take better care of themselves, I’ve decided to compile a list of surefire tips that will help you stick to your healthy intentions beyond January 2013.

1. Start your fitness resolution by doing what you like to do. If you enjoy walking then walk, running then run, dancing then dance, swimming then swim, and if it’s yoga, come see me, LOL. Don’t start building your fitness routine around a bunch of things you don’t like because you won’t stick with it. I know some of you are saying, “I don’t like working out at all.” Guess what? You are going to have to motivate yourself by stepping outside your box! Just make sure you don’t do something drastic because it will only further your disdain for fitness. There is nothing wrong with starting slow.

2. Avoid routine boredom by researching different types of fitness options. Find a yoga studio, gym, wellness center or even a local church or recreation center in your area. Visit them first and sample a few classes before making a commitment. If yoga is your flavor, then keep in mind that there is several types of yoga so find a studio that offers some variety so you can identify which type is right for you. I teach several types of yoga that assist with weight loss, muscle tone, detoxification, and overall well being.

3. Get adequate rest. (This tip is also for me too! LOL). I took a nap the other day for the first time in months. I forgot how good it feels to take a siesta in the middle of the day. It reminded me how important rest really is. I was much clearer for my classes, my family, and my work. Now, I have people who come to my classes all the time with weight loss as their primary focus. However, when I ask them about their sleeping habits they all complain about fatigue. Adequate rest makes all the difference in your ability to do anything, including show up for yoga or workout classes. You are not going to be able to get what you want out of your body if you are constantly pushing its limits. It’s like going to the bank for a withdrawal without making any deposits. So, make a commitment to adding more rest to your schedule.

4. Start eating healthy. Eating better really is not a mystery. However, improving your eating habits requires complete honesty with yourself. I talk with people all the time who are either embarrassed by their food choices or uncomfortable with their lack of control over their eating habits. Weight loss seems to stay at the top of the resolution list but bad eating habits are just like any other bad habit – they have to be broken first. Find a program that will help you improve your eating habits or consult with a local nutritionist to help you understand the right way to build a healthy food plan, which will help you to increase your energy level. Your success with your workout is not going to come if you are stuffing your body with vending machine snacks, fast foods, sweets, and preservatives because these are not successful building blocks.

5. Nurture yourself. When I went to yoga training, our instructor told us to find someone to take care of us and do body work for us while we were in training. Now, I know your goal is not to do 4 to 5 hours of yoga daily yet, but having someone to help you take care of your body will certainly make all the difference in your experience. Find a good massage therapist, acupuncturist, colon hydrotherapist, chiropractor, etc. These people will give you more relief during your transition towards your goal and help you improve your connection to your body.

6. Make a realistic workout schedule. I know you want to start the New Year with a dynamite workout routine. Making a workout appointment will give you time to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is required. It will also help you to prioritize your health into your day. However, when making your workout schedule again be realistic. If you can only dedicate 2 hours per week to working out then that is where you should start. Revisit your schedule in a few weeks and see if you can add additional hours.

Following the steps above will offer you success towards the new you for the New Year!

Wishing you health and happiness in 2013!

Tiffany

3 Tips to Get Over a Bad Break-Up

Being in a relationship is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, not all wonderful experiences are meant to last. In fact, more often than not when a relationship ends it is typically over faster for one person than the other. The worst relationship breakups occur when one person just wants out and the other person desperately wants to stay in.

No matter how hard you to fight to keep the relationship going if the other person is out they are out. There is no amount of pleading, begging, crying, chasing, bargaining or threatening that will make them come back. But, for some reason, you are not willing to let go. Have you ever thought about why you can’t let go? Why are some people unable or unwilling to accept the end of a relationship, even if it wasn’t that good for them in the first place?

Often the reason that people cling to a bad relationship or a dead romance is because they have a real internal fear that they can never achieve another interpersonal relationship connection. Sometimes this thought has evolved over time and with influence from the other person in the relationship. If this is the case the last thing you need is another relationship at this time. You are already a prime candidate for finding a partner that is at best likely to be very controlling and at worst abusive.

The best way to get over a bad breakup or a relationship that you desperately wanted to save is to get out of the dating game and focus in on yourself. To do this try at least one of the following tips to controlling your own destination and getting your life back on course.

Tip 1: Set A Personal Goal

This needs to be a non-romantic or dating goal. Pick one area of your life that you want to improve and set a “do-able” goal in that area. Maybe you want to learn how to skydive or you want to take a ballroom dancing class. Maybe you want to run a 10k or take a photography course. Whatever it is make it something you want to accomplish for yourself.

Tip 2: Determine What Makes YOU Happy

Stop and think about all the things in your world that make you happy. What do you enjoy doing, what is important in your life and what makes you smile? Then, start to think about how your want your next partner to represent those things that make you happy. Make a list of what the new partner needs to have as their personality traits and characteristics.

Tip 3: Think Positively About The Future

Stop focusing on what didn’t work and what you wished had happened; that is all in the past. Instead, focus on a positive future with the right partner that is as in love with you as you are with them. See this relationship as a truth in your world. See your future as positive, happy and, when you are ready, full of the love that you desire.

Only by making these personal changes will you be in the right emotional and spiritual space to make the most of a new relationship. You will have dealt with the past and moved into a new era of making choices based on your own positive future.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at  www.sherrygaba.com  Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio. Are you a Love Addict? Take Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the Empty Heart:  5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction.

 

Breathing, Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery

Sometimes when people are walking their pathway toward recovery from an addiction they tend to look only towards the big picture. This means that they miss out on the small details that can help in the day to day issues that everyone faces when making life changes. One of the most overlooked aspects of personal care in recovery is managing the stress, anxiety and inner tension that can be triggered by any number of given events and situations.

Let’s look at this in a step by step fashion. Understanding your options to relax using controlled breathing is a major breakthrough for most people and it all starts with being mindful of changes that occur in your body when you are put in a stressful or anxiety provoking situation.

Step 1 Understanding Relaxed Breathing

The first step in being able to know when you are reaching a level of stress or anxiety that is problematic is to first know how your body acts in a relaxed and stress free state. To do this take a few minutes when you are not frustrated, worried or tense and close your eyes. Feel the way that your breathing pattern naturally occurs. Visualize the air moving into your nose, through your airways and into your lungs. Notice how your lungs expand in inhalation and contract when you exhale. Your breathing is deep and long and very soothing.

Step 2 Learn How To Take A Complete Breath

In “The Law of Sobriety” I provide a detailed explanation of taking a complete breath, also known as Pranayama. Start by lying down with your eyes and mouth closed one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and feel your lungs and chest expand. Hold the breath for a moment and breathe out feeling the lungs empty. Hold this for a second and then breathe in again. By increasing the duration of inhalation with relation to holding and exhaling you can increase your energy levels. Exhaling slowly and longer will increase your feelings of relaxation.

Step 3 Breathe With Mindfulness

Once you have practiced complete breaths in a quiet location you can start to use the technique anywhere. When you notice your breathing patterns change to become quicker and shallower you will recognize that is a sign that you are starting to feel anxious, nervous or stressed.  When this happens you can immediately practice complete breathing to provide natural stress relief. This, in turn, allows you time to stop, think and relax, assisting you to continue on the positive path to recovery from any type of addiction.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at  www.sherrygaba.com  Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio

3 Questions to Clarify Your Relationship with Food

photo: SteFou!
When people think of the damage that an eating disorder causes, they usually focus in on health concerns as a result of dramatic changes in body weight. Depending on the type of eating disorder, a gradual and continual increase in weight may be a key symptom or people may become unhealthy after rapid and dramatic weight loss. Additionally there are those that tend to go through periods of weight gain followed by rapid and very unhealthy weight loss.

While these physical issues are the visible symptoms of an eating disorder, there are profound ripples throughout an individual’s social, emotional and relationship areas of their life. Individuals that have eating disorders, which may include binge eating, anorexia, bulimia or other condition, have a higher risk of depression and related mental health disorders. In a study at the University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center ,it was found that 24% of people with bipolar disorder were also dealing with an eating disorder. Other research shows that individuals with anorexia nervosa are 50 times more likely to commit suicide than non-eating disordered individuals.

In fact, eating disorders, like any type of addiction, can have profound impact on your ability to interact with others. In my book, “The Law of Sobriety” I dedicate several chapters to the devastation that low self-esteem and ability to see the good in yourself can cause in your emotional life. This feeling of dissatisfaction with self can also be a major factor driving the addictive behavior of the eating disorder. To understand how an eating disorder, a food addiction, may be impacting your life consider the following:

  1. Have your thoughts about your body changed your feelings about yourself for the negative?
  2. When is the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and felt satisfied with your weight and body image?
  3. Are you uncomfortable, embarrassed or even afraid to meet people because of what you perceive as their impression of you based on your weight?

Talking with a counselor that is familiar with food addictions and eating disorders is the first step in understanding how this issue is creating difficulties in many areas of your life. It is also the start of making meaningful changes and bringing positive energy back into your world.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at  www.sherrygaba.com  Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio

Volunteer Your Way To Abundance

The summer is finally here! As we welcome the warm weather, the sunny sky and the thought of vacations and exciting times with our friends and family, we need to take a small step back. Even though your mind may be racing with positive thoughts and energy because the sun is shining, not everyone is abundantly blessed. For most of us, the summer time gives us a few more hours per month to kick back and relax. Have you thought about investing that time and energy into something that will reap benefits far beyond what you would normally expect? When you invest a few hours of time into a charitable activity you are volunteering your way towards personal abundance.

We know that The Law of Attraction tells us that the energy we release to the universe comes back to use many times over. When we volunteer for a cause that is near and dear to us, without the thought of personal gain, you will experience that energy in return. How does this work? It works because giving generously and without thought of self is one of our obligations to the planet and our fellow people.

When we experience great hardships such as being homeless or not being able to eat healthy because groceries are too expensive, people quickly lose hope. The loss of hopes fosters negative energy. Individuals become jaded, upset and extremely angry that they are living hand to mouth. What bigger gift can you give to a human being that is suffering than a renewed belief that people do care?

Our volunteer efforts not only give material resources to those in need, they also give them the spiritual and emotional resources they may not know they need. In my case, I support treatment centers that provide services to those that do not have the financial resources to enter addiction recovery treatment.

I work one-on-one with many clients who need help but simply don’t have the money or insurance that cover addiction recovery treatment. Many are not aware that there are a large percentage of individuals struggling with addiction that want help, but they are turned away. Many treatment centers won’t take insurance, even if the insurance covers the treatment services. These struggling individuals are turned away right when they need help the most.

I’ve spoken and worked with many people in recovery whose drug and alcohol use escalated because they couldn’t receive the help they needed. By investing my time and energy towards helping these individuals, without the thought of self-promotion, I have gained an abundance of positive aftereffects. This is a prime example of how giving positive energy, along with material resources to those in need is rewarded. The reward of abundance by volunteering is the way the world says thank you.

Simply put, the summer often allots extra time. Use those hours to give back and experience an abundance of positive energy.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at http://thelawofsobriety.com/store/   Contact Sherry at for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio

photo by: mRio

What a Surprise? You Hold the Key to Longevity

Everyone is destined to die. It’s like this analogy: We all come in the middle of the movie and we all leave in the middle of the movie. However, you can maximize your good time in the theatre. To live longer and with a better life quality you need to know how to harness your power.  Here is the formula:  The more things you love and enjoy, the longer you will live.  A positive outlook is intricately connected to longevity and life quality.

Essentially, you can to a good degree will yourself healthier.  Think yourself timeless. Scientific research to date asserts that the secret to a long life may be linked to your personality. Are you living in chronic stress or do you let perceived insults slide off as though you massaged olive oil on your body?

A study (May 2012) in the Journal Aging analyzes people who lived 100 years or more in relatively good health. The common denominator for all the participants is a positive outlook, an authentic cheerful demeanor. Nir Barzilai of Albert Einstein Medical College while focusing on the genetic reason for longevity, interestingly enough became aware that hopeful feelings and resilient thoughts contribute too. In fact, past scientific research has claimed that chronic stress shortens DNA telomeres and shorter telomeres are a concrete marker for accelerated aging.

Dr. Albert Levy, MD, a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York explained to me during a radio interview that throughout the years he has observed that his healthiest patients have the happiest demeanors.  Happiness and optimism boost the immune system to function at peak performance. Perhaps, happy people take better care of themselves too.

6 steps to extend your life journey and make it joyous. Now, step on it!

  • Practice reinterpreting the negative into the positive. Tell yourself a better story as your life depends on it. However, if you are still angry, put all that churning energy into a positive purpose. Get passionate with righteous indignation to effect a change for the better.
  •  Make the unconscious conscious as Freud said. Stress is based on individual perception. Become aware of your stressors. Don’t suppress them; give them a voice and let them go. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 80% of patients’ symptoms presented to their family care practitioners are stress-related.
  •  Listen to your body to figure out what your mind is trying to tell you. Physical symptoms of stress can potentially unlock a mindset: Back pain- who is not supporting you? Stiff neck – feeling stubborn and unyielding? Stomach pain – a bruised ego? Acne – an angry eruption? Head ache – Overanalyzing? Knee pain – Afraid to move forward? Laryngitis – lost your voice?
  •  You are what you eat to the extent that food and mood correlate highly – eat quality foods. Also, stop having a food fight. Remember to savor your food and really taste it.
  •  You are what you absorb. Bad moods are contagious. Move away or at least put up an emotional barrier like an invisible wall when you are near toxic people. Read and watch uplifting stories.
  •  Move your body and the mind will follow. Create movement that matters, so that you mind your muscle. Have a positive intention for your exercise regimen and reap the emotional rewards.
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photo by: Steve-h