How Seniors Can Take Control of Their Physical and Mental Health

I'd like to share the following article, written by Jason Lewis, a personal trainer who in 2002, became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. He realized, as he helped her with her recovery, that there's a special need for trainers that can assist seniors. He worked with his mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65.

How Seniors Can Take Control of Their Physical and Mental Health

For older adults struggling with isolation and depression, taking control of your mental and physical health and feeling good is a matter of staying active. In fact, the relationship between the physical and the psychological is so close that focusing on one often benefits the other, so find something that you truly enjoy, whether it’s going for a swim or just sitting down with a crossword puzzle for a couple of hours. Whatever you choose to do, keeping both your mind and body occupied is the key to improving your quality of life. 

Keep Moving

You might be surprised at how physical exercise can make you feel happier. It gets the blood pumping and releases “feel-good” hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, into the body. Before you know it, you’re invigorated and motivated to do even more. Activities that make you feel good will leave you wanting more. Exercise builds muscle, strengthens bones and joints, improves balance, reduces the likelihood of falls, and alleviates the stress and anxiety that places many seniors in a precarious mental state. 

Turn on Some Tunes

There’s a powerful connection between music and mood, memory, and your bodily rhythms. Some believe that musiccan soothe or exhilarate depending on the kind of music you prefer and contributes to good health and feelings of well-being. The release of natural mood-enhancing hormones leaves you feeling better, encourages social interaction, and even helps you sleep better, so play your favorite music while cleaning the house — it’s powerful medicine. Take an iPod along with you to the store or when you’re in line at the post office. Pop in a favorite CD while driving, invite friends to the symphony, and consider joining a local choir.   

Make Friends with Technology

Many older adults have a phobia when it comes to technology, and that’s a shame because computers and smartphones have so much to offer seniors who need a quick and easy way to stay in contact with loved ones. Spend some time learning how to text and email, start a Facebookpage, and use FaceTime or Skype so you can stay in touch with the people you care about. You’ll also benefit from exercisevideos on YouTube, playing along with Nintendo Wii games, or using a fitness app that counts your steps each day.  


Few things are as damaging to a senior’s quality of life as isolation and loneliness. Depressionis often the result, sometimes leading to even more serious conditions that are mentally and physically debilitating. Social activity is an effective antidote, but it can be difficult to make new connections, especially if you’re separated from friends and family. Church can be an ideal place to make friends and join in group activities with like-minded people. If you don’t belong to a church, volunteer at a charitable organization that supports a cause you feel passionate about. 

Stay Grateful

People who maintain a persistently grateful mindset tend to exhibit good heart health, sleep well, and have a heightened sense of well-being, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine. “The important thing is to make a commitment to integrating gratitude into your life in a conscious and deliberate way and to make a plan for how you’ll do that,” said Sarah Kopelovich, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. It’s a touchstone that instills emotional resilience and helps you cope more effectively with the ups and downs life throws our way.

Keeping a journal is one good way to actualize your gratitude; try keeping a list of things you’re thankful for, and write about how each one has helped you. If you’re looking for little ways to energize yourself, try spending time with positive individuals who motivate you to stay physically active and pursue new activities.

Finding ways to stay active is key for seniors who want to maintain an enriching lifestyle. Many activities engage both the mind and the body, encouraging a positive mindset that keeps you motivated to stay healthy. Focusing on the things you enjoy will keep you going! 

For more information on the specialized personal training services geared toward seniors, please visit or contact Jason at  I hope you find this guest article informative and beneficial for you, a parent, or friend.  Blessings,  Ann

Image courtesy of Pixabay

What About You?

Last column I shared that as always, this Lenten season has been for me a time to consider how I’m living in light of God’s presence and grace in my life; to reflect on my life as it is, and as it could be.

As we continue in what for me, is the holiest week of the calendar, I can’t help but reflect on the life and death of Jesus. As stated in “The Passion Week Experience” by Chad Balthrop, “No single individual has had more influence on the history of the world than Jesus Christ. For generations, His life and teaching have transformed individuals and communities. Our modern view of freedom, civil rights, generosity, compassion, and humility are the direct result of His influence.”

My personal reflection this Lenten season has nudged me to be more fully present in my day-to-day BEing; more aware of how I invest my time, energy, and gifts, and more aligned with principles and ways of living and being in the world that Jesus modeled.

In these next few days, as Holy Week progresses, I hope those of you who already believe or are curious about this man who has influenced so many, will take time to really learn about or remember the events of His last days in physical form: his sorrow, his last meal shared with friends, his betrayal and abandonment by those friends, and the agony of his crucifixion, and the tomb. Without understanding his life, we can’t fully appreciate or experience the gift and the joy of the empty tomb, of resurrection.

May we find hope in the joy of resurrection, and/or simply in the rebirth and renewal that comes in nature as we move into Spring. My prayer is that we as individuals, as families, as communities, as nations, and as children of the infinite intelligence, by whatever name we might call it, may find hope, and wisdom, and peace.

What about you? Can you believe that you are empowered by the presence of a higher power (than our own) to live a changed life?  Can you believe that you have the power of the creator of all that is, in you, enabling you to live your best life, now? What now? In the words of the Avery and Marsh song,   “Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on! Ev’ry day’s a resurrection day, the past is over and gone! I am one of the Easter people. My new life has begun.”  What now? My hope for you is that you are empowered to be the best YOU you can be!

A New Season

In the last couple of columns, I’ve talked about reflection, specifically my season of reflection during Lent. Now I need to share with you, readers, that a piece of my discernment over these last weeks has been that it is time for me to say goodbye to the writing of this column. I’ve enjoyed writing FOOD FOR THOUGHT, sharing all kinds of “food” from spiritual to metaphysical, kudos to questions, tough love to encouragement. FOR THOUGHT about loving yourself, celebrating our country, our freedom, peace, new beginnings; thoughts about presence, resilience, joy, and even about our mortality.

I appreciate so very much you folks who have encouraged me, debated with me,  or emailed me. More people have spoken to me at the dump (aka transfer station) than any other single location!

As I  wrote in my very first column, back in 2011:  “…..I aspire to, and hope to inspire you to, stretch and ‘chew’ on some of this FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Whether the column resonates with you, irritates you, or makes you laugh –  I hope it will make you THINK.”

If this column has encouraged you to THINK, perhaps a bit differently, then I have achieved my goal in writing it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, ALL for the opportunity to share with you over nearly seven years.  I wish you all, blessings in abundance.  May you be as richly blessed in your journey as I have been.  Fondly, Ann Finnie

I leave you with two of my favorite quotes:

For Everything There Is a Season- The words to the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, by The Byrds as based on the scriptures from Ecclesiastes. But I’ll used the former…..

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate

A time of war, a time of peace

A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time for love, a time for hate

A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

And……..I’ll ask you, in the words of Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it YOU plan to do with YOUR one wild and precious life?”

Energy Work: Healing for Body, Mind and Spirit

A guest blog post with a wonderful explanation of Energy Work, shared by permission of Alexandra Windsong – Healer, Intuitive, Life Coach

Many people have heard the term energy work at some point. But what exactly is it? And how does energy work actually work? And why would anyone want or need to get energy work?


Energy healing modalities such as intuitive energy healing and Reiki, often referred to as energy work, involve the transfer and direction of universal life force energy to help clear, strengthen and balance one’s energy field and energy pathways to facilitate, support and speed the healing processes. Sounds good as a sound-byte but what exactly does it mean? What is the energy field, why is it important and what does it have to do with our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being? And how does clearing, balancing and strengthening this “energy field” affect our health and well-being? So again, the question remains, how does energy work, work?


Let’s break it down . . .

We are energy and we are surrounded by energy. Everything in the universe is energy at it’s most basic level, and so are we. Within this sea of energy, each of us has our own unique energy field, our own unique energy pattern or vibration. This energy field is very complex. However, for our purposes we shall break it down into two simple components.

First there is the part of the energy field which is created by you. Created by your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, your beliefs, your experiences. Created by the electrochemical processes occurring within your physical body all the time. Created by your very existence. This part of your energy field emanates from you and surrounds you and is often referred to as the aura (the chakras are also a part of this energy field). The second component of your energy field is the universal life force energy flowing through and around you and your energy field.

There are many layers or “bodies” within this energy field and many energy pathways as well. Each layer of your energy field is typically associated with an aspect of yourself, for example, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. There are also many pathways within this energy field along which energy flows, connecting the different layers or energy bodies to each other. To help us better understand why this flow of energy is important and how it relates to our health and well-being, let’s first take a look at what happens in our physical bodies.

One of the first concepts we learn in high school biology is the concept of homeostasis – maintaining a state of balance. It is amazing how many of the body’s systems are involved or in maintaining balance: the right temperature, the right balance of electrolytes, the correct balance of hormones, etc. In addition many systems are designed to prevent the build up of wastes and toxins to help ensure the balance and healthy functioning of the body.

The human body is designed to be in a certain state of balance in order to function properly. And this state of balance is associated with the overall wellness or health of the individual. It is not something we have to think about or make happen, it is programmed into the body’s very nature to be so. However, problems arise when the body’s ability to maintain this homeostasis is disrupted in same way. This disruption can be in the form of something that impacts the body directly from outside itself, dropping a hammer on your foot for example. It can also occur when an essential nutrient or something else that the body needs to function correctly is not provided. Or it can be more indirect, the stress our lifestyles or our emotions can put on our bodies, interfering with our body’s ability to repair and maintain itself. Furthermore, a problem in one part of the body eventually has an impact on every other part.

The same concepts hold true on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels in that balance is innate. These aspects of ourselves know where balanced is. It is when we are blocked in some way or are impacted by what is around us that we lose our balance.

Just as blood flows through your circulatory system, bringing nutrients to cells and removing harmful wastes, universal life force energy travels along the pathways of your energy systems. This life force energy not only nourishes and supports every cell of your body, it provides “nourishment” and support to you on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels as well. Each of these aspects of your being are intimately connected to each other and a problem in one can have an affect on the others. When the flow of life force energy within your energy field is disrupted, blocked, or out of balance, the healthy functioning of this energy field is impaired. This impairment can then manifest as mental, emotional, physical or spiritual issues within your life.

Our energies respond and are affected by the energies around us and in our environment. They can also be affected by our experiences and our life circumstances. Most importantly they are affected by our responses to the “outside” influences in our lives. Every thought, every emotion, that we have has an energy to it that affects our energy field. Every belief that we have has an energy pattern that our affects our energy field. Just as toxins can build up in our blood stream eventually poisoning the entire system if the body’s systems of elimination are blocked, so our energy fields can become a toxic wasteland if we hold on to emotions, thoughts, and energy patterns whose time is past. So, our energy field is affected by us and it is affected by our environment (if we allow it to be).

Energy therapies such as Reiki and Intuitive Energy Healing, help to restore the healthy balance of the energy field and its associated energy pathways, clearing blockages and addressing imbalances, thereby facilitating health and wellness, keeping the healthy flow of energy moving through your energy field. Energy work can also help release energy patterns that interfere with the healthy functioning of one’s energy systems.

Many people find energy work to be a beneficial tool for chronic and acute pain; mental clarity; relaxation and stress management; depression and anxiety; spiritual growth and connection; an enhanced sense of inner peace and well-being; release of unwanted patterns and energies, improved immunity, recovery from surgery; chronic or acute illness; support during times of transition or challenge; life purpose and direction; healing from abuse, trauma and neglect; grief; and minimizing the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Both Reiki and Intuitive Energy Healing are safe non-invasive energy healing techniques that are safe for children, adults and animals. During a healing session, the practitioner places their hands lightly on, or slightly off, the body to channel and direct the flow of universal life force energy for the recipient, clearing blockages, restoring balance and ‘charging’ the system with additional universal life force energy, not unlike charging a battery. The goal is to restore the healthy functioning of the energy field and thus promote and facilitate healing for body, mind and spirit.

A gifted healer and intuitive, Alexandra has been an energy worker since the early 1990’s, and has been teaching Reiki and Intuitive Energy Healing since 1995.

For more information about Alexandra Windsong, click here.


Do you ever find that what you said is not what was heard?  Or what you heard is not what was said? This happens to me sometimes, and I don’t think it’s just because I’m getting older!

Lately I’ve been trying hard to make sure I understand what someone really means when I am unclear. Recently I made plans to meet a friend for lunch and after listening to the litany of errands she planned to do before we met, I found myself asking “so, do I understand correctly that you want to meet at 1pm at Panera in Hanover?” “Oh no, she said, can you meet me at Panera in Hingham?”  Yes. Glad we clarified.

Long ago in the dark ages for we all had cell phones, a friend and I made plans to meet for lunch at Pizzeria UNO.  As I sat waiting for her well past our arranged meeting time at the UNOs in Hanover, wondering if everything was ok with her, she sat waiting at the UNOs in Kingston wondering if everything was ok with me. Even in these days of cell phones and texts, miscommunications still happen. A misunderstanding about where to meet, like we experienced, can be an inconvenient but benign miscommunication.

More difficulty or hurt feelings can result when emotions are involved. For instance, when we make a suggestion as to how something might be done, and the person to whom we make the suggestion hears “you’re doing it wrong.”  Or we suggest getting together to talk or do something and the other person hears the suggestion as a demand on their time and an inconvenience.  When I invite someone to connect I find myself saying “no pressure, just the offer.” I want to offer to get together, but will not be offended if the offer is not taken.

Another miscommunication can happen when someone reads into what we don’t say.  I recently had a situation where someone understood my “quiet.” Knowing that I amrarely quiet and not realizing that I was consciously trying to be “more quiet,” she misunderstood my silence as disproval or distance between us.  I was simply trying to “mind my own business” and honor her boundaries.  I was more than willing to talk but I was not going to pry into her business.  As a result, my silence was misinterpreted as something wrong between us.

Yes, communication can be work sometimes.  Yes, we need to think about what we say and how we say it, and what we ask and how we ask it. Tone of voice can be helpful in discerning a person’s state of mind when we are actually speaking in person.  Much is “lost in the translation” when we email or text. I have made mistakes many times in thinking I know “someone’s tone of voice” when reading a text or email I have often been quite incorrect as to my interpretation.  I’ve also sometimes experienced hurt feelings or frustration in not receiving a reply to a text or email, making us some “story” as to why I have been ignored, when all the while, the intended recipient never received my initial contact.

I don’t know about you, but many a time I have created a text then neglected to hit “send.” Then I wonder why I get no reply, until the next day when I discover my unsent text. Do you ever do that?  Or I’ve sent emails that got “lost in space” because I did not have the email correctly spelled out.  It used to be that they would bounce back, as undeliverable.  But today, there are so many millions of people with emails out there that are so similar, it’s likely that someone received the email, but not the recipient I intended, thus it didn’t bounce back.

So rather than get upset, or make up a story about why someone is not responding….they may be just busy, or away, or just did not get the message….when someone doesn’t reply to a text or email within a reasonable time, and I need a reply, I resort to the old fashioned method of picking up the telephone, rather than assume that I am being snubbed, and letting a resentment grow and fester into anger.  Most times the person will say they never got my inquiry and even if that’s not true, I get the answer I need, and avoid the “she’s ignoring me anger” that might otherwise follow.  You get the idea.

Clear communication doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes clarification is needed.  The bottom line is to not let unclear communication interfere with relationships, friendships, jobs, etc.   Speak up, listen up, and when necessary clarify. It isn’t always easy; sometimes it may even be a bit awkward, but it is well worth the effort.  Now, what did you hear me to say?  Let’s be sure you heard what I meant to say.

Happy Valentine's ME!

Can you believe it’s February already! The day for celebrating love, affection, and friendship is coming up next week. I want to recommend being your own valentine- that is to say gift yourself with love, affection, and friendship. Yes, some folks already hold an abundance of self-regard, but many hold themselves with too little. What I’m suggesting is that loving yourself is important.

Loving yourself is extremely important, as your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have. Self-love is the very essence of wellbeing, self-empowerment, joy, and imperative for the ability to create and enjoy the kind of life you want. You will not enjoy happiness if you are not at peace with yourself.

It’s by turning your attention inward to yourself that you may be able to experience your connection with Spirit, God, Source, whatever the name you call this vital energy. In the human experience, every relationship with someone else mirrors of the relationship you have with yourself.

Not knowing how to love yourself creates all kinds of effects on a spectrum from just not feeling good about yourself, living in self doubt, insecurity, indecision, to being plagued by depression, or even self-hatred, which affects every area of your life.

Self-criticism or negative self-talk cuts you off from connection with universal life force energy, and the love of the divine.

Not that God, cuts you off, but that you cut yourself off from God, Spirit, The Source of All That Is.

Until you know how to love yourself, there can be an inner struggle taking place that divides your energy and sabotages your efforts to move toward happiness.  And furthermore, remember back to the articles on the Law of Attraction?  If you do not love yourself and are emitting that kind of energy, you attract people and circumstances that mirror your negative beliefs and feelings about yourself; not just in love relationships, but all around you.  For you to draw in loving people and circumstances, you need to know how to love yourself first.

And, simply knowing how to love yourself, and not practicing loving yourself- well that will have little effect. So, how can you be more loving to yourself?  Well, that could be a 52-week course in itself!  But in the limited in space and time I have here, the most important thing I can suggest is that you be aware of your inner negativity and negative self-talk. Pretty much all lack of self-love stems from these.  Even if some of the “talk” came from parents, teachers, etc., it has become your self-talk.  The good news about that is that since it is now yours, you can change it!

The very first step is to become aware of your negative self-talk, and create positive self-talk in its place.  This simple step will get you started on your way to loving yourself.  Change “I’m fat an unattractive, no wonder I don’t have a partner,” to “I’m beautiful inside and out, and I love me.”  Even if you don’t believe it YET, affirm it, daily, many times daily, and you WILL come to believe it.  Change “My life is stuck, and I’m going nowhere,” to “I’m moving forward in new and exciting directions.”  You get the idea!

Second, when you catch yourself “being mean to yourself,” or using negative self-talk, try to talk to yourself the way your best friend would talk to you if you were telling them this information. For instance, you eat something that is not on the food plan. You beat yourself up with “you, stupid idiot!  You have no willpower!  You’ll never lose weight.”   What would your best friend say to you?  Probably something more like “ok, you slipped.  Just get back on track and go from there. Get back in the groove and you’re fine.”  Or think what you would tell that friend in a similar situation.

Another affirmation to remember and repeat, from Shakti Gawain, in Reflections in the Light, “As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!  And practice loving yourself!