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Get Yourself Some Good Stress

Stress is commonly identified as the culprit behind poor health. It can weaken the immune system and make yourself vulnerable to a variety of diseases. Stress is not always bad. We need the right kind of stress to be healthy and live fulfilling lives, not to mention fight dementia. There is a word for this type of good stress. It is called eustress (eu is a  Greek root word for good.)

Stress can be fun. Why else would we want to ride a roller coaster or watch a thrilling movie? Excitement causes a rush of adrenaline which feels good.

The right amount of stress on the brain can help protect against cognitive decline. Stressing your brain to come up with words to fill out a crossword puzzle or keeping track of cards during a bridge game will provide stimulation to keep your brain healthy. The brain, even in old age, works to adapt and rewire itself when stimulated.

Exercise stresses the body in a good way. Muscles need stress to grow strong. Lifting weights stresses and tears muscle fibers. Resting the muscles after a workout promotes a healing process which strengthens muscles. Bones benefit from weight bearing and impact exercises. Stress on the bones promotes the deposit of proteins and increases bone density.

Aerobic exercise stresses the heart and lungs. The result is a stronger heart and increased energy.

Stretching stresses muscles to become longer and more flexible. Flexibility decreases the risk of injury by helping joints move through their full range of motion.

Challenging yourself to learn or do something new can be stressful. There is the fear of failure or the frustration of not getting it right. Successfully facing a challenge however, can bring a tremendous sense of satisfaction that is well worth the effort.

Making friends and developing relationships doesn’t come easy as you get older. It can stress your emotions to reach out to others, reveal personal strengths and frailties, and become vulnerable to rejection. The payoff is belonging to a community which supports you in good times and in bad.

Good stresses in life help to reduce harmful stress. Living a safe and sedentary life does not provide the stimulation and outlet to manage harmful stress. Experts who give advice on stress management emphasize making friends and developing a support base, learning ways to build satisfaction, exercising, playing games and finding ways to have fun.

Is it a coincidence that giving the brain this good stress, exercising, making friends and having strong community ties are ways to fight dementia? I think not.

 

 

 

 

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Losing Things

Losing essential everyday items can be extremely frustrating. Where are my keys? What have I done with my glasses? I thought I put my checkbook right here on my desk and now it is gone. Why do we keep on losing things when it frustrates us so much?

It may feel comforting to know that you are not alone. Many people often lose things. Research by time management experts estimate that we spend approximately four hours each year searching for lost items. What a waste of time.

There are some simple reasons why we lose things. The first has to do with paying attention. You hear the phone ringing as you unlock the door. In the rush to answer the phone, you set your keys down. No wonder you can’t find your keys the next morning. You weren’t paying attention to where you put them yesterday.

You may just be accustomed to leaving things around the house wherever it is convenient at the time. If you change the spots you keep your checkbook, sometimes on the kitchen counter, sometime on the desk, sometimes in your purse, you won’t know where to look for it.

Although searching for lost objects is irritating, you aren’t bothered by it until it happens. You put your energy into the search, rather than spending time developing the habits to avoid misplacing things in the first place. The problem is solved once you find your keys and you go on your merry way – until it happens again. The cycle repeats over and over.

Identifying the reasons for losing things can help you build a strategy to stop the cycle. Making a commitment to organizing the things you keep losing is a great start.

Make a list of the objects you lose most frequently. You may be relieved to find out that there are just a few things on your list. Then, identify a place where you will store it. For example, you can get a key rack to hang right outside your door. Sunglasses go into a basket on the hall table. The checkbook stays in your purse until it is time to pay bills, then it goes on the top left-hand drawer of your desk.

Don’t lose the list! Stick it on your refrigerator or bulletin board.

Make a commitment to pay attention. Don’t be in such a rush. It will take more time to find you coat if you hastily throw it over a chair, than making the effort to hang it in the closet. If you must throw it over the chair, take the time to say out loud – I am leaving my coat on the chair where I can easily find it when I have to go out soon.

Put like objects together. Don’t store some medications in your bathroom cabinet, others on your night stand and others in the kitchen. Keep spices in the same place, store rice next to the pasta. If you have a hard time remembering where things should go (or to prevent others in your household spoiling your new organizational skills) place labels on shelves, plastic containers, inside drawers and cabinets.

Make a list to keep in your car when you are running errands. If it just occurs to you that Fido is low on kibble while driving to the grocery store, simply place an unusual object on your dash in front of the speedometer after parking your car .  When you return, you will notice a napkin right in front of your face. That will jog your memory that you intentionally put it there as a reminder to go to the pet store.

Once you get the hang of it, you can create simple strategies to stop losing things and reduce frustration.

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