What is Your Definition of Success?

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I overheard a conversation between two young men the other day about what it takes to be successful. These two young men were sold on the fact that to be successful you need to make and have a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking money. But….. I have met a number of people who in my opinion are extremely successful and they don’t have a ton of it. The asset they do have is they are mentally strong. I love to be around this type of person and I try to do a good job at being mentally strong myself. We all know that we have to work to develop and maintain any good habit and being mentally strong is a good habit.

I will be the first to admit that I need to put some work in on this, but here is a collection of actions that mentally strong people take:

They keep their problems in prospective. It’s easy to exaggerate the negative and let things fly out of control.

They reassure themselves. They have self confidence and self assurance….”I can deal with this. I’ll be OK no matter what happens.”

They focus on what they can control. They spring into action when they can prevent problems and they don’t waste energy on things they can’t control.

They are aware of what might bring them down. They are able to adjust their activities and their lifestyle accordingly to shield themselves against potentially damaging influences.

They establish healthy boundaries. They speak up when necessary, and take responsibility for getting their needs met.

They spend time with positive people. If you’re surrounded by negative people, chances are they will infringe on your mental fortitude.

They prioritize their tasks. Mentally strong people understand that time is possibly their most important resource. They aren’t hesitant to scrap activities that bring them down. If it is something unpleasant yet important that must be accomplished, they dig in, get it done and out of the way.

They don’t forget to have fun. One of the best ways to stay mentally strong is to engage in leisure activities. No matter what the activity, if it improves their mental state they make sure to find time for it.

They have developed healthy coping skills. Mentally strong people use healthy coping skills such as meditation, walking, journaling and/or ?? to help keep their mind clear of negative influences.

As with most skills, living an all around healthy lifestyle provides a solid foundation for the mentally strong…. Enough sleep, a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity will give your mind a boost.

A Good Night’s Sleep

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Last time I reached out, we talked about procrastination. One of the suggestions to help reduce procrastination was to make a list of what we want to accomplish the next day. It took a couple of months, but planning my day the night before is now part of my routine.

The reason I mention this is that I am a bit of a worrier and once in bed, I would think about all the things I needed to accomplish tomorrow and the mental masturbation would begin. Now that I make my list in the evening I have noticed that I am able to get to sleep easier and faster!!

Since I was feeling more rested in the morning as a result of getting more sleep, I decided to take a look at some other things I could do to get an even better night’s sleep. While looking around for suggestions, I ran across a quote….”Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”. It’s true! The right amount of quality sleep offers so many benefits to a healthy mind and body. Sleep is something that is extremely restorative and will help you the next day and the day after that.”

There are many suggestions on how to get a good night’s sleep. Here are five that seem to be at the top of most lists:

  1. Never Oversleep

Never oversleep because of a poor night’s sleep. This is the most crucial rule. Get up at about the same time every day, especially on the morning after you’ve lost sleep. Sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle — you’ll be getting sleepy later and waking up later.

2. Exercise

Keep physically active during the day. This is especially important the day after a bad night’s sleep. When you sleep less, you should be more active during the day. Being less active is one of the worst things a person who has trouble sleeping can do.

3. Don’t nap

Do not take any naps the day after you’ve lost sleep. When you feel sleepy, get up and do something.

4.  Set a bedtime schedule using these two steps:

First, try to go to bed at about the same time every night. Be regular. Most people get hungry at 7 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. because they’ve eaten at those times for years. Going to bed at about the same time every night can make sleep as regular as hunger.

5. Set your body clock

Light helps restart your body clock to its active daytime phase. So when you get up, go outside and get some sunlight. Or if that’s difficult, turn on all the lights in your room. Then walk around for a few minutes. The calves of your legs act as pumps and get blood circulating, carrying more oxygen to your brain to help get you going.

Regarding # 5…..To get moving in the morning takes a little time. Remember….If people were meant to pop out of bed we’d all sleep in toasters.

next day and the day after that.”

WE ALL CAN WORK MORE EFFICIENTLY

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In my last post, we talked about procrastination and I gave some suggestions as to how to avoid/deal with it. I decided to take some of my own medicine and start planning my days the night before. It’s not a habit quite yet, but I will say that the days following the nights that I do I lay out a plan have much improved productivity!

This exercise reminded me of a story I heard years ago about two guys who decided to get in the firewood business…. At the end of the first day, they added up their costs and had lost money so they vowed to work harder the next day. At day’s end they had lost money again. On the third day they agreed to start sooner, skip lunch and work later. They did just that and yet again, lost money!!

Moral of the story? They never stopped to sharpen their axes.

Procrastination

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I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who said he had read my prior posts on exercise and the one about my friend in the hospital who doesn’t exercise. He said he wants to get started on an exercise program but he keeps procrastinating.

Did you know that twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators?!!

Whether you are, or you are not a chronic procrastinator, here are a few strategies I thought I would pass along:

 Make a list of everything you have to get done for the week.

 Prioritize what is on your list.

 Break your weekly task list into a day-by-day list. Review your daily list the night before or morning of and if necessary, several times throughout the day.

 Don’t give in to feeling good: People often trade what they want most for what they want in the moment.

 Reduce uncertainty and distractions. Make sure the environment around you is working to strengthen your willpower and focus. Don’t let distractions undermine your efforts.

Procrastination has many negative effects but what caught my eye was that research shows it creates higher levels of stress hormones in the body, wearing it out faster and creating a vicious cycle: the more tired the procrastinator feels, the less they do and more they procrastinate.

Procrastination can disrupt getting good, restorative sleep, thus weakening the immune system and increasing susceptibility to illness. And it doesn’t do a thing for relationships either.

So in the interest of Whole Body Health, remember that the pain of discipline feels so much better than the pain of regret!!

A Friend in the Hospital

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My last several posts have been on my weight loss quest and what I did to get in better shape. It wasn’t easy but with a gym close by and my wife as my workout and meal planning buddy, we were able to get it done.

I bring this up AGAIN as an elderly friend of ours ended up in the hospital a week agowith sharp pains in her neck. I happened to be there when the doctor was going over all of her health issues. These included diabetes and a minor stroke suffered four years ago.

After a battery of tests offering no clue as to what was wrong, the doctors concluded her neck pain was from inflammation, gave her some pretty serious anti-inflammatory drugs (which worked) and sent her home three days later.

I’m trying not to pass judgment here but she gets absolutely no exercise. She sits in her chair and either reads or watches TV all day. Who wouldn’t have neck pain?? And from what I witnessed when ordering dinner and breakfast the afternoon I was visiting the hospital, her diet is also a bit out of whack.

Note: A recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics concludes that only 35 percent of adults exercise regularly (more than 6 of 10 don’t), and nearly four in 10 aren’t physically active at all (our friend falls into this category). Lack of exercise can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (she has two). The National Center for Disease Control estimates that about 112,000 deaths are associated with obesity each year in the United States…. Did I mention she is approximately 40 pounds overweight?

So what would I recommend she do when she gets home?

In my opinion most of her ailments are a result of poor diet and lack of exercise. Not sure what her releasing physician recommended but if I were her, here is what I would do.

Go to my GP and make sure I am ok to start a light workout program. If ok, I would start out slowly and build up activity gradually over a period of several months. Try to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity each day. She has a dog but has relegated their pet’s exercise to her husband. They could do this together.

Once this has become a habit I would have her add some kind of strength developing exercises at least twice a week. I would leave this to a professional as this woman is 83 and her activities need to be compatible with her age and physical condition. Her husband just put in a garden right outside their back door. Help with that??

There is a gym close to their house that participates in the Silver Sneakers program. Check this out….Free gym membership to anyone who is signed up for Social Security. They used to go 3 days a week years ago and then just stopped.•

Concerning the 40 extra pounds:

Take in fewer calories than you expend. Few people understand this basic, simple concept. And from what I observed at the hospital this is a big contributor to the problem.

I do know at their house they eat three “square meals” a day. They should try to eat smaller meals 3-5 times per day. Nutrient dense foods such as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Eat slowly and wait 10-15 minutes before taking second helpings.

Drink plenty of water, especially immediately before meals.

Eat in moderation. If you are not hungry, don’t eat. My downfall is ice cream. I can be stuffed and can always find room for ice cream!! None of us are perfect.

Know this is all very basic, but more and more elderly people are just “giving up”! Touchy subject as to how or if you can help. As they say, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink”.

Interesting Information on Stress and Anxiety

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Have to say….. I have been feeling a bit more stressed out lately and even experiencing a bit of anxiety. Not sure why as things seem to be status quo in my life.

The reason I bring this up is I read an article this morning about stress and anxiety. After reading it, I didn’t feel any better but as you will see, I (we) are not alone!

According to research from the American Institute of Stress (AIS) and the American Psychological Association (APA), in 2014, 77% of people regularly experienced physical symptoms caused by stress, 73% say they regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress, while 48% of those surveyed claimed their stress has increased over the last five years…..That would be me!

The poll also listed the top seven causes of stress in the U.S. Listed in order are: Job pressure, money, health, relationships, poor nutrition, media overload and sleep deprivation.

In addition, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), seven out of ten adults in the U.S. say they experience stress or anxiety daily, while one third have experienced persistent stress or excessive anxiety or that they have had a panic attack!! This gets worse!!…The ADAA also noted that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. age 18 and older. If my numbers are correct, that’s almost 20% of the U.S. adult population!!

One point I also found interesting is that while stress and anxiety often go hand in hand, there is a difference between the two. Stress is a response to a threat from a situation where anxiety is a reaction to the stress. So I take this to mean, for example, if my boss tells me there is a good chance I will be laid off next month, the thought of that happening is going to create stress! Now, if I don’t have a fall – back position i.e. another job offer, family money or ?? to help alleviate the stress, I am most likely going to develop some serious anxiety! And…In addition to these feelings being no fun at all, there is substantial evidence that stress profoundly affects the immune system.

So what is the answer?? I don’t have one…. However, what I am going to do is sit down and try to figure out what it really is that has caused my stress and anxiety levels to increase over the last five years and if I can reduce these levels on my own. If I can’t, then it is probably time to go get some help.

From a “Whole Body Health “approach, I think we all need to take inventory here. The mental health statistics above are certainly alarming and when you boil it all down….. yes, you are what you eat…..but even more so…..You are what you think!!

About Me

Hi There,

A number of people have asked me to write a little about myself….So here goes.

My name is Ken Hobson and I am 66 years old, married, two sons and two Grandchildren. Between work, our children/grandchildren, our 2 dogs and trying to stay in shape, we don’t seem to find time for much else. We have a very nice life here in Portland, Oregon.

I was born into a military family and as a result traveled the world as a young boy which included four years in Japan. My last two years of high school were in Dayton, Ohio after which I attended and graduated from University of Oregon (Go Ducks!). We had traveled to Oregon a number of times during my younger years and I always wanted to come back.

I have lived in Oregon since graduation with the exception of 2 years in Southern California (Huntington Beach) as a result of the sale of a business I was involved in.

Business has been a main interest of mine and without going into much detail I have helped start, started, bought and sold eleven companies. These ranging from one built and sold to a Fortune 500 Company down to a small Dry Cleaners.

Currently I am the co-founder of a company by the name of Life Span Labs. We have a product,112 Degrees, which is geared toward helping men with their urogenital health.

I have a strong desire to stay in good health. I’m not a fanatic by any means, but as mentioned, I’m 66 and want to remain independent mentally and physically for as long as possible. It is very important to me that I am able to continue to do the things I love to do.

That is why I started the Whole Body Health blog as I like to learn, experiment and share what I experience with others and hopefully get feedback and learn more. In my first post I told you that I am not an expert in the areas on which I write…..Just a regular who wants to live out my life in good health.

Best Regards,

Ken