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Psychology is the scientific study of human
flourishing; the study and application of what it takes for people and
communities to adapt and thrive; and the study of building the best things in
book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
gives us food for thought about empowering ourselves to improve Brain Health.
In this focus on folks who exceed our expectations, Gladwell emphasizes the
“10,000 hours” rule that practicing a skill is more likely than genius to
explain success beyond what would seem possible. Family and community support
can also be factors. Gladwell opined that one factor in the extraordinary
success of Bill Gates was the 10,000 hours of programming that was possible
because he had access to a computer from the age of 13.
vast array of successes who will be your role model for vigorous longevity with
Brain Health to live for?
Calment of France who lived from 1875 to 1997 was confirmed to have the longest
human lifespan. It’s been reported that she consumed a lot of chocolate, rode a
bicycle until she was 100, walked all over town and was unflappable. While this
writing is not confirming the truth of those reports, should we find fault with
any of those? She lived 122 years!
Wouk, author of The Caine Mutiny and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for
Literature released Sailor and Fiddler:
Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author which NPR called "a lovely coda
to the career of a man who made American literature a kinder, smarter, better
Lefeber had her first solo art exhibit at the age of 100. Working as a nurse
for more than fifty years influenced her commitment to healthy lifestyle
choices which reportedly includes exercising five mornings a week.
oldest working nurse, Florence Rigney, RN, turned 92 in May 2017. KING-5 quotes
her saying she feels “honored and humbled” to still be working at Tacoma
General Hospital in Washington, USA, as well as “very blessed to be still able
Marchand, also of France, set a world record at the age of 105 for his age
group by bicycling 14 miles in an hour. A winner of previous competitions, his apparently
believes in a positively evolving personal best. There could be wisdom is
modeling after his pattern of training for an hour each day and eating lots of
fruits and vegetables with not much meat.
Reiner at the age of 95 has produced a new documentary. Interviewed for AARP
Bulletin, he attributed his vigorous longevity to stretching for flexibility,
walking “around the block singing all the words to maybe 20 songs,” and
enjoying the good times while walking “away from the bumps.” Could his be a
model for turning stress into power and creativity?
Havana in 1915 and living in New York City, Carmen Herrera’s abstract art
brought her international attention late in life. Reportedly, it’s “the beauty
of the straight line” that still sustains her.
ado about scores hit the media when the Swiss professional tennis player, Roger
Federer, won his 18 Grand Slam singles title at the age of 35. That’s a record
in the history of men's tennis.
another historical record: 99-year-old World War II veteran Orville Rogers won
the indoor track race by 0.05 seconds. His younger
competitor, Dixon Hemphill wished he had leaned in at the finish. Rogers
attributed his success to training hard three times a week in addition to
visualizing success in everything he does.
are examples of using Positive Psychology for personal empowerment in the quest
for vigorous longevity.
published in 2001 and still worth reading is The Okinawa Program: How the World's
Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health--And How You Can Too. It teaches us how a community lived
such that theirs was declared a Centenarian Center of the World by the World
Health Organization (WHO). One of my favorite vignettes from this book tells of
the researchers approaching the home of a centenarian they planned to
interview, seeing a man in his “70s” on the veranda, assuming that was his son,
and announcing the purpose of their visit to the “young” gentleman who, they
learned, was the centenarian they were looking for. This book is especially
valuable when read along with The Blue
Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest.
Both books emphasize that genetic inheritance is but one factor in living a
long healthy life. There’s a great deal of personal empowerment in this
perspective that lifestyle choices are how you earn vigorous longevity. The Blue Zones drives that point home
with poignant clarity by detailing how changes in lifestyle choices with
Western influence has resulted in only one Centenarian Center remaining at that
preceding examples that emphasize lifestyle choices highlight the key point
that will be emphasized and clarified in this series on Brain Health: By the
time you use every evidence-based intervention research associates with
improving brain chemistry, architecture and performance, it is likely that your
only side effect will be improved general health. Thus, the preferred way for
you to learn vigorous longevity with a brain to live for is to use evolving
neuroscience to refine your goals, strategies and game plan for consistently
maintaining actions and belief that a positively evolving personal best is the
greatest gift that you can give to yourself and to everyone around you. That is
Brain Health by YOU.