People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

by Patti Neighmond

July 28, 2014 4:57 AM ETWe know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial.
To find out if having a sense of purpose has an effect on aging and adult development, Patrick Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, looked at data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Hill and his colleague Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester Medical Center looked to see how more than 6,000 people answered questions like “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them,” and other questions that gauged positive and negative emotions.

They found that 14 years after those questions were asked, people who had reported a greater sense of purpose and direction in life were more likely to outlive their peers.

In fact, people with a sense of purpose had a 15 percent lower risk of death,compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s.
Hill’s analysis controlled for other factors known to affect longevity, things like age, gender and emotional well-being. A sense of purpose trumped all that.

Hill defines it as providing something like a “compass or lighthouse that provides an overarching aim and direction in day-to-day lives.”

Of course, purpose means different things to different people. Hill says it could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change. It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity.

“Often this is individuals who want to produce something that is appreciated by others in written or artistic form, whether it’s music, dance or visual arts,” Hill says.
It’s not exactly clear how purpose might benefit health. Purposeful individuals may simply lead healthier lives, says Hill, but it also could be that a sense of purpose protects against the harmful effects of stress.

An experiment in Chicago tested this theory. Anthony Burrow, a developmental psychologist at Cornell University, had college student volunteers of different races and ethnicities ride rapid transit through the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago, recording their emotions as individuals of different racial and ethnic groups boarded.

Earlier research has shown that when people are surrounded by people of different ethnic or racial groups than their own, their level of stress increases. Burrow wanted to know if thinking about their sense of purpose might reduce that stress.

He had about half the students write for about 10 minutes about their life’s direction. The other half wrote about the last movie they saw. They were all then given packets that listed the name of every stop. When they got to a stop, they were asked to assess how they felt and how much they felt that way by placing an “X” in a box next to negative emotions such as feeling scared, fearful, alone or distressed.

It turned out that the students who wrote about the last movie they saw experienced the expected levels of stress as the percentage of people of different ethnicity increased. But the students who wrote about their sense of purpose reported no feelings of increased stress at all.

More research is needed, but Burrow says his findings suggest that having “a sense of purpose may protect people against stress,” with all of its harmful effects, including greater risk of heart disease. And that may explain why people with a sense of purpose live longer.

philosophy
psychology
mental health

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

-

Memories are thoughts that arise. They’re not realities. Only when you believe that they are real, then they have the power over you. But when you realize it’s just another thought arising about the past, then you can have a spacious relationship with that thought. The thought no longer has you in its grip.-Eckhart Tolle

-

The heart of marriage is memories; and if the two of you happen to have the same ones and can savor your reruns, then your marriage is a gift from the gods.-Bill Cosby

-

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.-Bob Dylan

-

You shouldn’t wait for other people to make special things happen. You have to create your own memories.-Heidi Klum

-

To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again.-Ricky Nelson

-

Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.-Corrie Ten Boom

-

Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: Deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good.-Mariska Hargitay

-

It’s great to reminisce about good memories of my past. It was enjoyable when it was today. So learning to enjoy today has two benefits: it gives me happiness right now, and it becomes a good memory later.-George Foreman

-

Memories of my girls are pretty precious. – Jim Frey

-

Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.-Steven Wright

-

I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer’s disease where they slowly began to recover other people’s lost memories.-George Carlin

 Richard Davidson: Exercise Our Minds for Happiness

 Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=s_utwhETq_8

Richard J. Davidson, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, is the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, and Founder and Chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984. He has published more than 275 articles, many chapters and reviews and edited 13 books. He has been a member of the Mind and Life Institute’s Board of Directors since 1991. He is also the author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

In this episode of Office Hours, Dr. Davidson discusses his research and how we can exercise our minds – and change our brains – through meditation to be happier and more compassionate.

We found that just two weeks of [meditation] training actually produces reliable differences in the brain that were clearly measurable using our MRI procedures. And we found that participants actually engaged in more altruistic and compassionate behavior as a consequence of the two weeks of training.

Print Friendly

Staying In Your Own Business
–by Byron Katie (May 19, 2014)

I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. For me, the word God means “reality.” Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control, and
everyone else’s control — I call that God’s business.

Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.

I noticed this early in 1986. When I mentally went into my mother’s business, for example, with a thought like “My mother should understand me,” I immediately experienced a feeling of loneliness. And I realized that every time in my life that I had felt hurt or lonely, I had been in someone else’s business.

If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is here living mine? We’re both over there. Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own. I am separate from myself, wondering why my life doesn’t work.To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear. Do I know what’s right for me? That is my only business. Let me work with that before I try to solve your problems for you. If you understand the three kinds of business enough to stay in your own business, it could free your life in a way that you can’t even imagine.

The next time you’re feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself. And you may come to see that you’ve never really been present, that you’ve been mentally living in other people’s business all your life. Just to notice that you’re in someone else’s business can bring you back to your own wonderful self. And if you practice it for a while, you may come to see that you don’t have any business either and that your life runs perfectly well on its own.

–Byron Katie

- See more at: http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=997#sthash.VUgeP7mz.dpuf

A good article from Craig Ballantyne and Early to Rise…

Action Takers Rule the World

As Mark Ford correctly points out in his book, “The Reluctant Entrepreneur”, most business owners do not bet the farm. They take little bets. Little bets start with having the courage to take the first step. Today, Ryan Murdock shows you how. I did it, he did it, and you can do it too.Craig Ballantyne”If you’re always thinking about possibility, you’ll find it. You’ll always be creating your future.” – Sir Ken Robinson


How to Find the Courage to Take that First Step

by Ryan Murdock

It was 9:30am on a Wednesday. And I was sitting in a bathroom stall in an office building in Ottawa writing Communist slogans on the toilet paper.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a Communist by any possible stretch of the imagination. I was doing this in an effort to stay sane. Working as a temp in a government office where not a single person bothered to learn my name was starting to get me down, and drastic measures were called for.

And so each morning on my break I stuck a felt tipped marker in my back pocket and went to the toilet. I rolled down the paper and wrote things like “Power to the People!” or “The Party is Always Right”. And then I rolled it back up again.

I spent the rest of my mornings unfastening endless piles of research grant applications and putting them into a different order, because the applicants hadn’t followed the directions. I was grateful for the money, of course. But it was mind numbingly boring.

Whenever I began to feel my soul draining out of me, I pictured some guy in the bathroom peeling off a strip of toilet paper and finding one of those slogans. His first reaction was likely to be, “What the….?” quickly followed by, “Why…?” And then hopefully he’d start laughing like he hadn’t laughed in years. I wanted to bring a little sunshine into that otherwise grey world.

I hated that job. I hated every job I ever had. I woke up swearing every morning. I swore in the shower and I muttered profanity under my breath all the way to work. I felt useless because the work I was doing had no meaning. I wasn’t drawing on my talents. I wasn’t making the world a better place. And I felt trapped because the pay I earned was barely enough to live on, and I didn’t have any savings.

I wanted to write, and I knew my words would add value to other people’s lives. But I couldn’t see a way to make enough money to survive at it.

I finally reached a point where that didn’t matter anymore. I couldn’t imagine a more miserable life than the one I was already in. And so I vowed to make a living by doing what I loved — or starve to death trying. And I meant it in every fiber of my being.

When the contract ended, I asked the temp agency to remove my name from their list. And that was the last actual “job” I ever had.

Since then I’ve met an awful lot of people who feel trapped by the miserable circumstances of their lives. They’re completely unhappy. But when I ask them why they don’t change, they say they’re afraid to take the first step.

Well I’ll let you in on a secret…

You don’t need courage to take that first step. You just need to focus on two things: hate and desperation.

You already know that I hated my old job so much that even the worst failure was better than going back to that office. But where does “desperation” come in?

Fast forward to a couple years later. I was earning a little money from my writing, but we were still living on my wife’s salary as a translator in the automotive industry.

Payment for freelance work was irregular at best, and I needed money to pay some bills. Badly. By the middle of next week. And I had no idea how I was going to get it.

I had no one to borrow from. I didn’t have a job. And I wasn’t expecting checks from any magazine publishers either — not that you can ever count on “Check’s in the mail” from them!

What did I do? I drew on everything I learned in my 20+ years of martial arts training. It was the only other thing I could consider myself a legitimate “expert” in. I drove over to Future Shop and bought a mini-DV video camera and some editing software with my credit card. Then I sat down with a paper and pencil and wrote a list of every crazy push up variation I could think of. I got on the floor and made up a bunch of new ones too.

I filmed it all as a 25-minute tutorial, named it Beyond Pushups, uploaded it to a website called E-Junkie, and linked it to my PayPal account. And then I posted a teaser and description of my program on a fitness forum where I was a certified coach, and I emailed the link to everyone I knew.

I set the price at $10. My wife didn’t think I’d even be able to pay for the camera. She gave me a smug look and said, “And then what are you going to do?”

I plugged my ears and went to bed. And when I woke up the next morning, I had $1,000 in my PayPal account. I paid off the camera and software immediately, and still made a nice little profit.

I ended up filming several more of those downloadable tutorials in the following months. One on ab exercise variations, one on ankle strength, and one on mobility drills using a stick. My audience loved them. Each one sold better than the previous installment, and always for $10.

People would write to me and say, “Why are you giving this away for so little? You could easily make it into a full DVD!”

But I didn’t raise the price. I over delivered and built loyalty and trust with my audience instead. And six months later, I coauthored a larger online product with a friend. We called it Bodyweight Exercise Revolution and it made $10,000 in its first month.

Fast forward again — this time by 3 or 4 years. That coauthored program evolved into a business partnership. Adam Steer and I created and sold many more online fitness programs through a site called BodyweightCoach.com. And today we’ve got a seven figure business called Shapeshifter Media, where we help other new authors publish their work in the online fitness niche.

So yeah, that’s what I tell people when they ask me, “How do you get the courage to take that first step?”

In my experience you need two things:

1) Hate: you have to hate where you are right now so much that staying the same is far worse than the discomfort it’ll take you to change.

2) Desperation: sometimes you have to back yourself into a corner so you’re forced to come up with creative solutions.

I hated my job so much that staying there was worse than the risk of trying to live my dream and starving to death. And I needed that moment of desperation — having bills to pay but no money to pay them with — to free up my imagination so it could find a creative solution.

But thankfully you don’t have to do anything dumb to get that desperation. There’s no need to go into massive debt, or poke a lion with a stick. It can be something as simple as setting a really tight deadline. Or buying a one-way ticket to a place you’re scared to travel.

Try it today. Rig the game in your favor and commit to your goal in public. You’ll be amazed at the creative solutions you come up with.

And don’t sweat it too much if you hate your current circumstances with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I hated mine too. Transform that energy into positive momentum instead.

Tell us what first step you are ready to take.

Share Rate today’s article

[Ed. Note: Ryan Murdock is the author of Personal Freedom: A Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams. When not helping people find their own brand of personal freedom, Ryan travels the world’s marginal places as Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost magazine. He recently released his first travel book, called Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

-

The minute you start compromising for the sake of massaging somebody’s ego, that’s it, game over.-Gordon Ramsay

-
To walk around with an ego is a bad thing. To have confidence in yourself is a great thing.-Fred Durst

-
We must go beyond the constant clamor of ego, beyond the tools of logic and reason, to the still, calm place within us: the realm of the soul.-Deepak Chopra

-
Ego stops you from getting things done and getting people to work with you. That’s why I firmly believe that ego and success are not compatible.-Harvey Mackay

-

Our egos are often the invisible wall to getting things done with less effort. –Jim Frey

-

Let go of the ego’s need to be right. When you’re in the middle of an argument, ask yourself: Do I want to be right or to be happy? –Wayne Dyer

-
Nations have their ego, just like individuals.-James Joyce

-
Because of its phantom nature, and despite elaborate defense mechanisms, the ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. This, by the way, is the case even if the ego is outwardly very confident.-Eckhart Tolle

 

Food-Mood Connection: How You Eat Can Amp Up Or Tamp Down Stress

by Allison Aubrey -July 14, 2014

Eat more when you’re stressed? You’re not alone. More than a third of the participants in a national survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health said they change their diets during stressful times.

And many of us are quick to turn to either sugary foods or highly refined carbohydrates such as bagels or white pasta when the stress hits.

Stress-Busting Foods

Eggs
Dark, leafy greens like kale or Swiss chard
Pumpkin seeds
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like sardines, salmon or canned tuna
Flaxseed
Dark chocolate
“There can be a bit of a vicious cycle,” says David Ludwig, a professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard University and a researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. “When we feel stressed we seek foods that are going to comfort us immediately, but often times those foods lead to surges and crashes in hormones and blood sugar that increase our susceptibility to new stresses.”

Now, of course, we can’t control lots of the events and circumstances that lead to stress. But, Ludwig says, “our body chemistry can very much affect how that stress gets to us.”

He points to a study he and some colleagues published in the journal Pediatrics several years back.

They gave teenage boys different types of breakfast meals. One included protein-rich eggs, while another meal included high-fiber, steel-cut oats. A third meal of instant oatmeal was highest on the glycemic index, a measure of how quickly sugar is absorbed and how soon a food is likely to make you hungry again.

“After the highly refined instant oatmeal, blood sugar soared but then crashed a few hours later,” Ludwig says. “And when that happened the [stress] hormone adrenaline, or epinephrine, surged to very high levels.”

Ludwig says the links between food and mood are complex. And just as there are individual differences in susceptibility to diseases, there are differences in response to food, too. Not all of us are equally sensitive to foods like instant oatmeal, high on the glycemic index.

Given what we know about how different foods affect the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, “why should it be so surprising that the nature of the foods we eat can also affect our emotional and mental well-being?” Ludwig says.

So, if eating lots of refined carbs and sugar may exacerbate our responses to stress, are there other types of food that make us more resilient? Researcher Joe Hibbeln of the National Institutes of Health believes the answer is yes.

“I think there’s a very strong connection between what you eat and your mood,” Hibbeln says.

He has spent the past two decades investigating links between the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and emotional health.

“One of the most basic ways that omega-3s help to regulate mood is by quieting down the [body's] response to inflammation,” Hibbeln says.

When you get walloped by something, whether it’s a virus or an emotional stressor, you want to bounce back as quickly as possible, he notes.

“You can either be good at weathering stress or you can be brittle. And omega-3s make your stress system more flexible,” Hibbeln says. He points to studies showing that omega-3s can help protect neurons against the damage that can be done by chronic stress.

He also points to clinical trials that have found that omega-3s may help control depressive symptoms. And a study of schoolchildren in England linked omega-3s to more pro-social behavior.

Hibbeln knows that some people shy away from fish due to the cost, so he points to affordable options such as canned light tuna and sardines, which are good sources of omega-3s. There are also plant-based sources of omega-3s, such as flaxseed and chia seeds.

Now, clearly, omega-3s aren’t the only food that’s good for our emotional health.

Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist at Columbia University and author of The Happiness Diet, says a nutrient-rich diet is best for beating stress.

He points to his favorite stress-busting breakfast: scrambled eggs mixed with kale (or other greens) and topped with pumpkin seeds.

With this meal, you’re covering all your bases, Ramsey says. The eggs are a good source of B vitamins and protein, which can be more satiating than a carb-based breakfast. The greens are incredibly nutrient-dense, and are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium.

And the pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium — which is thought to play a role in fending off anxiety — and zinc, which may help boost the immune system.

For dessert, go for dark chocolate, which “has an acute affect on mood,” Ramsey says. He points to a study that found cocoa flavanols can help boost mood and sustain clear thinking among adults who are engaged in intense mental efforts — like students cramming, or journalists on deadline.

In addition, dark chocolate has been shown to improve vascular health by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

The bottom line? The foods we choose can’t magic away stress. But Ramsey says he believes “there is a very, very strong connection between food and mood.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/14/329529110/food-mood-connection-how-you-eat-can-amp-up-or-tamp-down-stress