One of the most common barriers to changing behaviour and optimising a different future, I encounter in myself and in the work I do with others, is constantly looking back. Whilst it is really important to live in and enjoy the moment, setting goals and focusing on things that we would like to do is a positive health benefit. Recent research suggests that creating goals and partcipating in activities can stimulate, delay or prevent the possibility of dementia and encourage longevity. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/713649967 and http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Prevention/21105 reference research with small study groups.
The merits associated with setting goals is to increase our value within community and the value of ourselves, rather than thoughts of the diminishing value of self that can occur in later middle age and senior years.
As an older woman I have often found myself thinking that I am invisible. Interestingly when I was young I felt invincible! Invisibility becomes self fulfilling when I do not participate actively in social and professional relationships or community events. Other friends have also stated their sens of"invisibility". Yet, when we look at the communities in which we live, the numbers of youth, young, middle age and seniors are all present. Oftentimes seniors and middle aged outnumber younger families and youth. Certainly the baby boomer demographic is evident in many communites on Vancouver Island.
Perhaps the sense of invisibility is a white North American or British phenomenon that has to do with social discrimination and circumstances. Our lack of respect and inclusion of "the elder" and availability to be involved with multi-generational and diverse socio economic events.
I experimented last week with being "off-line"for the most part. I wanted to see if and how the use of my time would change and whether I needed to re-structure my time and efforts writing and engaging socially on-line. We also had some year end school and dance recital activities so there was, in fact, a lot of social time spent outside of the home and less time indoors. That naturally happens too when the Spring/Summer season gets into full swing.
What I noticed was that when I was alone I became mentally and intellectually foggy, I was not challenging myself and I slumped into watching late night TV, which is an old habit that I have pretty much managed to get out of. So, for me online writing, blogging and engaging in positive activities stimulates my mental energy and promotes health and wellness and brain activity. Of course, it is important to balance that with physical activity and that happens when I feel positive.
I also noticed that I became a little crankier and focused on things that were not going so well or had not gone so well in the past. Then there was the little friend "historical anger" beckoning me to start down the path of resentment. Not good at all!
Whatever it is that motivates you - creatively, physically, spiritually, these activities are essential for good health and well being. They feed each other, the more alert we are the more physically active we become and so on.
Exercise for step 77: Review the activities you do on a day to day basis - what seasonal activities do you enjoy - do you permit yourself to engage in them? Are you locked into a habit that creates a mental or physical fog? Create a collage with activities that you enjoy and have in the past or plan to include in the future. Use words and pictures. Date and name the collage.
Record your successes and challenges.....