3 Things You Can Do in Midlife to Avoid Dementia

head-826319 One of the things we worry about with aging is our mental acuity. Most of the women I speak with can accept the physical decline but the mental one is a source of concern. It impacts our ability to remain independent and function in a way that is satisfying to us. Research has some very encouraging news. The brain grows new brain cells right to the end of life, in part it’s our actions that determine what becomes of them.

While those with a college education are half as likely to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and the same is true for those with complex jobs there are things that can be done at whatever age you are to increase your cognitive reserve and reduce your risk of dementia by more than a third. The two most important components are engagement and challenging.

artist-870105_1920Engagement well engages your brain in many ways requiring connections and associations to fire up. A challenge creates new neuropathways and puts those new brain cells into active use. If something is a challenge say learning something new it is likely also engaging as you need to devote your attention to learning it. This is why you hear of brain games and the importance of trying new things. So what exactly can you do to boost your brain power and stave off dementia??

Here are the top three things:

Learn Something New – something that challenges you, it can be a new hobby, a class, a different spin on an old pastime, the key is that it is hard meaning you need to engage and actively participate in it.

Engage – read, meet friends for dinner, see a movie, listen to live music, basically interact, connect and participate.

Move – we all know exercise is good for us but for the brain specifically it increases blood flow, helps those new brain cells survive, and boosts the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning, a simple 20-minute brisk walk daily helps brain function more than either of the two things above.

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How to Release the Grip of Scarcity

The opposite of scarcity is not abundance it’s sufficiencyThe opposite of scarcity is not abundance it’s sufficiency. We live in a culture of scarcity, where we feel compelled to strive for more because there is the illusion of not enough.

 

The pursuit of abundance itself is a scarcity tactic, creating a low level(sometimes high level) of anxiety that makes it hard for us to relax and appreciate what is. The marketing world plays on this using advertising that hijacks your amygdala and has you looking for ‘enough’ outside of yourself. Using your resources, time, money and energy, in ways that aren’t in alignment with who you are and what you are a stand for.

 

Sufficiency is enough, not just getting by, not less than, but simply enough. Sufficiency does not preclude fiscal responsibility or wealth building, or vacations, or nice things.

It’s about being enough,

The state of mind,

The state of being,

The state of engaging ….. as enough.

 

It’s not a number or a goal. It’s about appreciating what is. It’s about aligning with your unique set of values and commitments. It’s using your resources, time, money, and energy, on the things that are meaningful to you, that bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment. Sufficiency lets the excess fall away and frees you up to focus on what is really important to you.

 

Ironically this is also what opens the way for abundance, because abundance is all about flow. There needs to be movement, a freedom that can organically go where it needs to. Scarcity has us holding on too tightly. Sufficiency loosens the grip and lets us see more clearly what’s really important. When we lose touch with our inner compass it’s easy to get side tracked thinking that the next thing is the answer.

Take a few minutes and look at where you’re plugged into the ‘not enough’ scarcity mentality. Is it money? Is it time? Is it resources?

For tips to rewrite your relationship with scarcity click here

 

 

 

 

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Can You Rewrite Your Story?

Can You Rewrite Your Money Story_

It’s woven into the tapestry of all that we do, it’s in the equation when we try a new hobby or class, it influences our choice of career and jobs, it’s stirred into the recipe of what we eat, it’s tangled up in our self worth, and though we don’t like to admit it it’s enmeshed in our relationships too.

The common denominator here, simple and paradoxically complex, is the bartering tool we call money. It informs so many of our choices and colors so many of our decisions yet it’s shrouded in secrecy.

There is a practical need for checks and balances -a basket of my tomatoes in exchange for a basket of your corn. If only it were that easy. Our society has moved into much more complex transactions.

If we scratch beneath the surface a little you come up with subconscious beliefs, limitations, and judgments all of which impact our lives and remain hidden sometimes very well hidden.

Have you ever received a sudden windfall only to have an unexpected expense pop up shortly afterwards? There is the feast/famine pattern that keeps the scales heavily tilted one way or another again and again. Or the story about ‘people like me’ don’t have that kind of success. The most common story is a variation of ‘it’s better to give than to receive’.

13382788_mAll of these scenarios have a story behind them one that’s uniquely yours and there are also common patterns. The only way to shift the pattern is to uncover it and change it. One of my favorite ways to do that is to play pen pal. (I know I’m dating myself) For more ides join the 10 day challenge here

The idea is to create a dialogue between you and money. Of course you’re writing both sides(it would be very interesting if that twenty in your wallet penned a response)

 

 

Give yourself the gift of some time to play with this. Take each of the prompts below and write first from your perspective of money then moneys response to you. Be a little playful at first and let it flow. What comes out may surprise you.

 

Prompts:

If my money were a person I would tell her……

Dear Debt, I want you to know…..

 

Example Excerpts:

Dear Money. Why are you so fickle? You’re totally there for me one minute and completely gone the next. Sometimes you’re friendly and like to snuggle into my wallet …..

Reply:

Dear Cathy, What me fickle!! Ha You pay attention to me when I’m not around yet when I am you barely give me the time of day. No respect!….

For more ideas join us for the 10 day Money Mojo Challenge

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Money, Vulnerability, & Limits

Vulnerability and MoneyWho knew that at 50 I would be looking at my financial picture through the lens of a single income earner. I certainly didn’t. I can tell you it is a different view. There’s no fall back income, no one to share the decisions with, all at a point where you’re supposed to have it all figured out.

 

Financial decisions have a different weight after fifty. Retirement looms as an actual possibility rather than an idea existing in the wispy land of far far away. The college costs of kids (if you have them) have eaten away at your net worth. The job market is narrower and more limited, alas ageism is alive and well.

 

There is of course an up side. There is no one to argue with over what to spend where. (for me this translates into guiltless shoe purchases)The pressure of being the sole provider steps up my game. I’m taking risks in a more calculated way and consciously choosing where to invest my money. But best of all vacation costs are cut in half.

 

One of the biggest surprises that came up for me was my story about money. It is the background noise that runs pretty consistently. I thought I would simply adjust my lifestyle, cut a few corners, and earn a little more to balance things out and WaLa things would be right as rain. Not so true…..It was kinda crazy the things that came up – my money set point, the beliefs about wealth and wealth accumulation, the ideas about the ‘right’ way to earn money. All those limiting beliefs that were in many ways counterbalanced by my ex came up front and center.

 

I discovered that I’m exceptionally good at generating money for other people. One of the kids needs a new computer, my ex wanting a motorcycle, my grandsons tuition. Easy for me, I just set my intention, tuned in, and took action. It worked every single time.

 

Not so for myself. Even in the writing of this I’m getting a little squirmy, I pause at this point because the story in my head says polite people don’t talk about money. And in this moment there it is another limiting belief to untangle. Another layer to look at.

 

For now this is enough, maybe there’s something for you to mull over until next week , I’ll share one of the tools I use to help me untangle. I would  love to hear  your thoughts in the comments  below.

 

 

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Big Changes, Transformations, and Midlife Crisis (part 2 of 2)

a woman’s greatest vulnerability is autonomy.I listened to a podcast last year (try as I might I can not remember which one it was) the woman being interviewed was researcher who studies women and desire. She talked about women being wired for connection. It’s basically in our DNA to create community. This is proven out time and again with foreign aid donations women have a much higher likelihood  do what is best for the family or community.

What really fascinated me was that her research showed that a woman’s greatest vulnerability is autonomy. This struck me very deeply as a truth.

In my own process of sorting through what my next chapter would be I had the yo–yo effect of stay –    no – go –    no – stay and most of it centered around how my actions would effect everyone else, my ex, my family, friends, clients, and colleagues. It wasn’t until I began to focus on what I truly wanted that clarity and certainty started to bubble up.

 

Peeling back the layers of what others wanted and expected and what I truly wanted took some time, some work and a lot of self-exploration. It was scary, exhilarating, fun, sad, and enlightening.

 

There is a lot to be said on this subject and this article touches the surface only. Change is uncertain whether it’s a change in job, a change in relationship, living situation, or health. The unknown can be scary and intimidating. The innate urge to foster connection and community can make it even more difficult to get to the core of what the right choice for you is.

 

Looking back here are the top 3 things that helped me:

 

rockclimbingLearn to trust yourself – sounds silly but the truth is for most of us we’ve been thinking of other peoples needs for so long we’ve turned the volume down on our own wants and desires. Trusting that the pull I was feeling was to nourish my soul and each step in that direction was a celebration

 

 

 

rp_nurse-frustrated-150x150.jpgFeel what you need to feel– It’s messy and uncomfortable and absolutely necessary. And , specifically for women we need to know – anger is okay; really it is , there are healthy ways to express it. Bottling it up, squashing it down, and pretending it doesn’t exist is a recipe for unhappiness, health issues, and staying stuck.

 

rp_kitty-perscpective-150x150.pngStretch yourself – try new things, test new ideas, step outside your comfort zone …even a little bit to help you grow and expand into the woman your longing to become

 

 

 

Know you are not alone millions of women reach crossroads and choose where they want to go, finding their unique path.

I believe in you.

I believe in your deepest dream.

I believe in your amazing possibility.

Today do 1 thing that celebrates that spark inside of you.

Share in the comments below.

 

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Big Changes, Transformations, and Midlife Crisis (part 1 of 2)

Change is such a chameleon. Sometimes we embrace it with open arms, other times we greet it kicking and screaming , and sometimes we simply turn and run.A friend recently asked me what my process was for making all of the big changes in my life the past couple of years. (For those who are newer here I left everything I knew moved 3,000 miles to a city where I knew no one, split with my husband of 26 years, re-branded my business, began traveling internationally)

 

As I pondered for a moment it occurred to me that I hadn’t really thought about the actual process.

 

I remember being immersed in each shift and doing my best to respond to what was right in front of me, yet clearly there was a pattern, certain things that underpinned the changes and transformation.

 

Transformation, not only have I lived it, but it’s what my work is all about. I told her I wanted to give it the honor of some dedicated time and thought and would report back to her.

 

Change is such a chameleon. Sometimes we embrace it with open arms, other times we greet it kicking and screaming, and sometimes we simply turn and run. Most often it’s a combination excited but a little nervous, scared and a little curious, resistance with some acceptance.

 

rp_leaf-water-150x150.jpgParadoxically change is a constant in our lives. Understanding it and how you respond to it is an important skill.

 

So much of transformation is underneath the surface. Swirling in the muck of indecision and emotion is the heavy lifting. We want to be certain. We want to KNOW what the right choice is. The big emotions are hard to navigate which only adds to the uncertainty.

 

This is only amplified at midlife when we’re beginning to look at time in the bigger picture of meaning and legacy. The pull to contribute in a more meaningful, personal way (if we could just figure out what that was) is getting stronger.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll explore desire, connection, and community and 3 tips for easing the way.

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