Aging Well October 7th 2014

Lily Tomlin said, “Reality is the leading cause of stress – among those in touch with it.” And for those of us who have stayed in touch, we have experienced the various stresses in all chapters of our lives: in school worrying about exams and first dates, during mid-life while encountering family and work decisions; and now in this, our third chapter, worrying about personal health issues, caring for loved ones and facing the ultimate reality of death.

Doctor Mike Evans, who produced the popular short video on the importance of 30 minutes of daily physical activity called “23 ½ Hours”, has also produced a short ten minute video on stress: “The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Stress”. (You can find both videos on YouTube.)

According to Doctor Mike Evans, the causes of stress are complex, with significant harmful consequences. But the current research suggests the most effective treatment to manage stress is changing your thinking style. He explains that stress doesn’t just happen to us, it passes through our brain. And our brain – that space between the action we experience and our response to what happens – is where we create the stress. In other words, it is our thinking that brings the stress.

This idea is embodied in the 90/10 rule. Ten percent of how we do in life is based on what happens to us, but ninety percent is how we respond. And we have the ability to manage that ninety percent. In the video, Dr. Evans explains in more detail how stress management can be learned through different techniques such as problem solving, avoiding thinking traps and reframing automatic thinking to healthier thinking patterns.

In particular, he points out the effectiveness of mindfulness training which combines an increased self-awareness, breathing techniques, meditation and letting go of distractions – being in the moment. 

We don’t live in a make believe Shangri-La. Consequently, reality will always offer us many challenges. But how we experience and respond to those challenges are the key to managing our stress. As the famous American psychologist William James pointed out, the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

Thanks to everyone who attended the 4th Annual Baby Back Rib dinner that raised close to $7,000 for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center. And to everyone who made it possible: Donna Cooper and her staff at The Springs of Mill Creek – sponsors of the dinner, Meals-on-Wheels director Nise Patton and crew for preparing the delicious ribs, Ashley Lauterbach for organizing the Silent Auction and Raffle, Hardshell Harmony for providing the perfect music for a perfect evening and all the wonderful volunteer ticket-takers, waitresses and table-clearers (busboys just doesn’t sound right!) including two of our Wasco County Commissioners – Steve Kramer and Rod Runyon. And now, let me be the first to invite you to the 5th Annual Baby Back Rib Dinner on the first Friday in October, 2015.

I know many of you have already received your Flu shots, but if you haven’t yet, and you know you should, Flu shots will be conveniently available at the center on Wednesday, October 8th, from 10:00 – 2:00. The shots will be provided by Rite-Aid and they will have the regular strength, as well as the extra strength flu vaccine that is recommended for adults over 65.

For the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on October 14th, I will show the video “The Mechanics of Aging” produced for the PBS television series “Life part 2”, followed by a discussion about how our bodies are not as cooperative as they once were and what we can do about it.

For the Center’s Tuesday Night Music starting at 7:00 on October 14th, Martin and Friends will be performing. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

Andy Warhol was the American artist who said “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Don McAllister.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, I’m just going to give a quote with no other hints or clues – to make it a little more challenging. When asked what she wore to bed, what movie star (okay, one hint) answered “Why, Chanel No.5, of course”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”.

Well, it’s been another week jumping from the frying pan to the skillet. Until we meet again, keep singing your song – even if no one listens.

 “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.” – Author unknown

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