Some health and life tips from Deepak Chopra

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Some health and life tips from Deepak Chopra
Some health and life tips from Deepak Chopra

As it's a new year, it's as good a time as any to take stock of our health—both mental and physical. Deepak Chopra offers some great advice in this department. 

I know what some of you are thinking. That mind-body guy? No thanks. Some people may not be sold on holistic medicine, but I find it hard to not find truth in what Chopra says. He is a medical doctor, of course.

I recently finished an old book of his that is still relevant more than 15 years later. It is called “Ageless body, Timeless Mind.” In it, he talks about the role that molecular energy plays in health. Essentially, he says that what happens on the cellular level affects how we age. Intense work and personal stress, for example, eventually may add up and contribute to some serious health problems down the road.

He also spends time examining studies on centenarians and how they lived their lives. There are things we can do, he says, to take care of ourselves and slow down the aging process. He offers a list that he credits to Maurice Ernst, a writer in the 1930s. Ernst researched biographies of centenarians across European cultures back to ancient times. He concluded that understanding a few physical processes would extend our lives to 100 to 120 years. Here are his recommendations:

—Eat frugally

—Exercise and get plenty of fresh air

—Choose a congenial occupation

—Develop a placid or easygoing personality

—Maintain a high level of personal hygiene

—Drink wholesome liquids

—Abstain from stimulants and sedatives

—Get plenty of rest

—Have a bowel movement once a day

—Live in a temperate climate

—Enjoy a reasonable sex life

—Get proper medical attention in case of illness

If you're like me, you're probably looking at this list and thinking, OK, check, check, hmmm, maybe not. So, unless you live in a monastery (and even if you do), it may be hard to subscribe to all these habits. Of course, we can always try.

But Chopra offers other actions that can make a serious difference in our health. He talks about the power of meditation to slow down our minds, the benefits of having a balanced life and learning how to improve the way we react to unpleasant situations.

He also shatters the concept of age. There are three different ages, he says: chronological, biological and psychological. In other words, that birthday number is pretty irrelevant.

Ultimately, the book is about living the right way. Who knows if we'll make it to 100, but continuing to stay engaged and enjoying the moment sounds like a recipe for happiness to me.

Noteworthy:

On an unrelated note, the Assisted Living Federation of America has been sponsoring a short films competition about ageism in America. Film makers, film students and others interested in cinematography are invited to produce and submit a short film of no more than nine minutes in length to ALFA that will educate the public about ageism. The winning films will be awarded cash prizes of up to $10,000 and will be screened during the ALFA Annual Conference & Expo, April 5-7, 2011, in Orlando. Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 1. For more information and ALFA points of contact, visit www.alfa.org/film.

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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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