Share the good news, you just may live longer.

Every day we are inundated with fear based messages. The stories can run the gamut from contaminated lettuce, volcanic eruptions or superbugs to the ever-present and growing contagion of terrorist activities. Stress from the constant assault on our psyche that we are in imminent danger is growing exponentially primarily because we don’t take the time to reflect on the past.

When I give a workshop on stress I often hear how the “world is going to hell in a hand basket”. There is an absurdity to this statement if one takes it literally. How is it possible to put the world and all its problems in a hand basket that simulates hell? I often counter by sharing some historical references that might put things into perspective. When Attila the Hun was raping and pillaging the countryside, the only source that was available to warn surrounding villages and countries was a man on a horse. It would often take days to get through. CNN would have had a field day with this incident. Today, smart phones with cameras are a way of life. As soon as any egregious event occurs it is instantly shared with millions.

As the story is shared it often grows in intensity. It becomes similar to the old game I used to play called, “Telephone”. We sat in a circle and shared a statement by whispering it in a person’s ear who then shared it with the person sitting next to them. After ten people shared the comment the last person said what they heard out loud. The laughter came after hearing how distorted the statement became..

We humans love to put our own spin on things and embellishing stories is something we are good at especially making them worse than they are. Unfortunately the news seems to forget that life is also laden with stories of hope, kindness and compassion. Oh, they give us little nuggets of optimistic news items. But they are few and far between. Let’s not forget that ratings are what they strive for, and reporting that someone in New York helped a disabled individual cross the street is not that big a deal.

What has been forgotten and put aside in the world of news, twitter, Instagram and whatever else has become a conduit for instant news is that small acts of kindness add up and help people feel that “the universe is a friendly place”. When we exhibit kindness towards others it not only improves our immune system but also that of others who may be watching.

Make a conscious effort not to watch news clips all day. Believe me if the world is coming to an end you’ll know it. Until then fill yourself with good news and share it with others. It may help you live longer!

Age gracefully with laughter

Not a day goes by without an article, news flash, or post on Facebook about a new incredible breakthrough in the field of anti-aging. The gamut can run from a recognizable berry like blueberries to a new fruit that was discovered by anthropologists studying Pigmies in the Amazon jungle and is a must for your daily smoothie. Blue berries were touted as a memory enhancer, especially if you could ingest a bushel a day. If you could follow this dictate, you might be able to give elephants a run for their money. I didn’t take long for that to become passé.

Oatmeal was once considered the go to food to reduce cholesterol. You could find it infused in a myriad of foods because of its miracle properties. It transitioned into soaps, creams, lotions and I’m surprised it didn’t become wearable. Why not a pair of pants made of oatmeal? it might have more lasting results!. I think quinoa has taken its place.

How many skin product companies have absolutely been certain that their creams reduce wrinkles, firm and tighten skin after several applications? I have bought into this marketing hype for the majority of my life. Research in this arena has shown over and over that skin cream can do very little to remove wrinkles. It can moisturize your skin which makes it  look plumper, but a humid day will do that too.

What I really get a good laugh about is when they try to combine faux science with a product. The idea that a skin product is going to open pores so that the cream can rappel down into several layers is ludicrous. If pores opened and closed you would emerge out of a bath looking like a balloon.

Celebrity anti-aging products are big now. Many of them have their own lines of creams, potions, work out clothing, and waters that can transform you into being one of their clones. One such celebrity has yoga pants that are supposed to make you appear slimmer and more toned. Somehow the practice has been lost in translation. Yoga is supposed to be a relaxed type of exercise which is analogous to creating a holistic approach. If the pants I’m wearing contain a material that feels like my flesh is being steam rolled while I’m trying to execute “down facing dog”, something is amiss.

What I find frustrating is that so many individuals get sucked into the above in the belief that aging can be avoided by applying something or obsessively eating a certain food. Some of the most important factors are hardly ever addressed and they are readily available. Laugh often, have fun, be playful, don’t take yourself seriously, be with family and friends often, go out in nature, appreciate art and music, and most importantly be grateful for each day.