Live well. Age well.


Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 -- How do we maintain a positive and healthy state of mind with the turmoil and anxieties associated with the coming election -- and all the stress of today’s constantly evolving technologies?

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I don’t know about you, but many friends and family members seem to be fighting some kind of health challenge, condition or even cancer.  As an outplacement consultant specializing in loss and grief, I counsel workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  Job loss, like divorce and death, can be devastating to one’s health and overall wellness.   

Our journey is filled with potholes, detours and pitfalls.  No one promised a cake walk!  After a while, the stress and strain can have serious consequences on our immune system.

So what can we do?  Aside from running from reality and avoiding people altogether, we could consider focusing on our successes, abilities, passions, close friends, hobbies and individuals who energize our lives.  But all too often, we forget to become our own best friends rather than our own worst critics.  Yes, many of us are guilty of beating ourselves up too frequently.  I believe that high achievers account for the majority of patients suffering from ulcers, hives and other conditions exacerbated (if not caused) by stress.  Accused of being a member of this group, it is easy for me to set unrealistically high expectations for my life and when I fail to live up to my unreasonable goals, I blame myself and self-esteem falters.   Years of managing stress enabled me to “see the light” and I now take a more reasonable approach to life, but it took too many emergency room visits with various symptoms (i.e. compromised immunity, hives, heart palpitations, vision changes, insomnia, etc.)

A Reasonable and Healthy Approach

One of my favorite perspectives of “success” is when we have become the composite of those individuals we have admired over our lifetime (so far).  There are elements of our mentors, idols and perhaps family members that we especially treasure.  When we realize that these nuggets have combined to form the person we are today, we should embrace our achievement.  It is often said, we should be careful what we wish for. Well, it can happen that when we wish and focus on positive, healthy attributes we stand a much better chance of becoming what we wish for!

Our enlightened approach to self-awareness starts with self-acceptance.  Again, we must begin with realizing our skills, accomplishments and give ourselves some credit!  Let’s stop the negative self-talk and critical focus.

Two major personality types I have observed:

  1. Positive -- Shines light onto those who come in contact with them; offers encouraging words and supportive behavior
  2. Negative -- Casts a shadow onto the spirits of those around them.  They are generally pessimistic and tend to be critical of themselves and others

Challenge: To find out how to show others the true person you have become through your actions and words.  Don’t merely tell people to trust you. Give them a reason to trust you!  Demonstrate your reliability.  It is largely up to us which personality we become!



In conclusion, if you met YOU in a bar would you buy “yourself” a drink…or would you run the other way?

Chuck Oakes is an aging-in-place specialist with two books on the subject of graceful aging. His latest book, "Your Home, Your Castle" can be purchased through your local bookseller or from For more information, visit





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