Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: January 2015
It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ask Paul Simon About leaving Your Lover

Self-Reflection, Emotions and Breaking Up There was an article in The New York Times, January 18, 2015 that gave an example of the best way to get over a breakup. A psychology professor and graduate student evaluated the self-reflection of 210 individuals ranging in age from 17 to 29 who had recently broke up with her partners. In one group, the individuals filled out a questionnaire pertaining to emotional feelings and then completed a four minute assignment in which they were asked to talk into a recording device and give responses to various questions that pertained to self-evaluation at intervals of 3, 6, and again at 9 weeks.

   The second group filled out the questionnaire at the beginning, as well as the end of the nine week exercise. Then, they did the speaking exercise only once after filling out their final questionnaire. Thus, the first group were given more opportunities to think and to mull over their responses regarding self on three separate occasions. It is suggested that these pertinent questions, assisted, these individuals into insights into their character.

   The researchers found that the first group experienced greater improvements in self-concept clarity [the degree to which you understand yourself as a person]. Briefly, the difference or explanation given by the researcher was that the speaking exercise helped people because it changed their thinking about their sense of self that was independent and separate of their former partner. This researcher thought that getting back a sense of self after breakup was extremely crucial.

   Perhaps another variable not measured might account for the differences in self-concept clarity. Given an opportunity to think about self might have changed an individual’s thinking. Learning, reflecting and thinking that the world is not coming to an end and that one can spend their time differently and productively can add to defining self. I agree that the sense of self is a very important variable and how thinking can change perception of self. The key is separation, individuation or a separate and independent self from partner. Otherwise, symbiotic attachments and other unhealthy components like dependency can surface and be suffocating.
    Thus, looking at the change [process] in thinking might provide more clues as to breakup efficiency. Further, it would be interesting to look at different character types to assess if some individuals can better utilize the self-reflection or emotional tool.

   Paul Simon’s 1975 song “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” alludes to this research. For example, let’s take a look at some of the lyrics: “the problem is all inside your head” she said to me….. I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free….. Make a new plan, Stan…… Just get yourself free…… These lines of the Simon song acknowledge that the problem is in your head, which relates to thinking and perception of self. I’ d like to help you in your struggle to be free , suggests the struggle for separation and individuation while make a new plan gets one thinking about other ways to live and do things with their life. Just get yourself free again is to remove dependency issues by becoming separate emotionally.

 While this is going on, keep smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Fast, Effectively

I think many of us believe that fasting is a good thing. An article in the January 18, 2015 edition of The New York Times Magazine had an article about two different studies with mice. Perhaps, you might apply this to your own eating habits. And in the process, rethink about dieting.

Essentially, researchers at the Salk Institute had mice eating in different patterns. For example, they had some mice eating high-fat food whenever they wanted; and other mice had the same diet, but could only eat during an eight hour time window. And none of the mice exercised. In this study, the mice that ate at all hours grew chubby and unwell with symptoms of diabetes. However, the mice on the eight hour schedule gained little weight and developed no metabolic problems.

In the other study, Salk researchers fed groups of adult male mice, one of four diets: [1. High-fat 2. High fructose 3.  High-fat and high sucrose 4 regular mouse kibble. Even though the choleric intake for all mice was the same, some were allowed to eat whatever they wanted in their waking hours while others were restricted to 9,12 or 15 hours of eating. The findings were: mice eating at all hours were generally obese and metabolically ill. But mice eating within a 9 or 12 hour window remained sleek and healthy, even if they cheated occasionally on the weekend. So in other words, time restricted eating prevented obesity.

These researchers believe that mealtimes effects circadian rhythms. This result influences the genes that involve metabolism. Whether or not their explanation is fully understood, the results speak for themselves. Just think, if you eat your last meal around 5 PM in the evening and then your breakfast is around 7:30 AM, you will have fasted 14 ½ hours. And just think if you do that, five days a week. And this is without exercise. Just think if you add exercise to this program?

In the process, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Josh Barro, Economics and Working Out

How many of you have ever had a gym membership? And if you had one, for how long did you attend? Further, did you get your money’s worth from that membership? There are economists and corporations attempting to figure out how to get people to continue their attendance and workouts because of the high discontinued or failure rates. Studies have shown that people discontinue in great numbers. Just think what a gym facility would be like, if everyone attended. It would not be fun, as you’d likely be waiting for that machine or free weight.

Economists have come up with incentives to see if they can motivate people to continue their workouts. Certainly paying for a gym membership upfront doesn’t seem to work. One study gave undergraduates free iPods loaded with audiobooks of their choice. The students were told they could listen to them only at the gym. Initially, that worked for a while [for about seven weeks]. In another study, with a Fortune 500 company, the employees were paid $10 per visit up to three times a week to work out. Then after four weeks there were no payments but the workers were offered a contract. The contract set aside their own money that would be released to them only if they worked out over the next two months. Otherwise, that money would be given to charity. Those that had commitment contracts worked out after three years [about 20% worked out more than those that hadn’t been offered cash or any other incentive.] So, this worked for 20% of those employees. The researchers concluded that self-funded payments seem to be able to change workout habits for some people. The New York Times, January 11, 2015.

For me, an iPod; $10 per visit; or some commitment contract in and of itself would likely not work. I like goals. My goal has to be relevant, concrete, and attainable by me alone and easily measured. For example, for the last 12 or more years, my goal has been to run at least 50 miles per week. That week could be one to seven days [this week I ran over 50 miles in five days]. I decide where to run and what day to run. All I have to do is total the number of miles per day. If I’m ill, or go on vacation then I don’t worry about my mileage total that week.

That goal has been relatively “easy” to attain. Since it’s a sub goal for competing in some running, riding event, or for my physical and mental health. The running goal is also related to running and competing with friends. In essence, running meets a number of motives [Often I clear my head, while running, and even write a post in my mind.] Running for just an iPod or money does not appeal to me.  It’s been said that if you enjoy something, it’s better than having to make money while doing it. I agree.

Don’t forget to keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating in the process.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Islamist Gangs are Racist,Criminals and Murderers

   Racist Islamist Gangs are  a Group of Criminals and Murderers
 I am disappointed to say the least in how our media portrays today’s so-called terrorists. They refer to these groups of people as radical Islamists and misinterpret their motivation. And of course, when a terrorist or racist thug mentions God or Allah that reinforces this incorrect and misguided motivational label. Since when is Islam a religion of hate, sadism, and/or sadomasochism? And since when does Mohammed preach the opposite of love? Further, how can Allah be so  dull , imperceptible and ignorant when it comes to satire, Charlie Hebdo cartoons and/or comedians? Allah is likely loving, judgmental, smart and all-knowing when it comes to current affairs.

If Allah were alive, Allah would not be upset, angry and want revenge when it comes to a mere cartoon or someone making a joke about religion in today’s world. Certainly, Christ or the Hebrew God Elohim would not reinforce or feel good about killing a journalist or Solomon Rushdie for writing about or critiquing the religion of Islam.

Many of these thugs hide behind the religion of Allah. These ruffians are not about love or living a life with human connections or brotherhood. These racist criminals are not about making a better world for all. Many of these racist criminals are unconnected, have little social skills, and simply cannot take part in society today. They are fooling themselves about who they really are. Certainly, unemployment, poverty, income inequality and lack of social mobility affects many and contribute to their stress and not fitting in well in society.

If we peel away, their talk about Allah or their hateful prayers, what do we find at the unconscious level? We find evil, hate, sadomasochism and a life without generativity [Guiding the next generation in creativity and productivity]. The pretense of religion allows these misguided souls to act out their unconscious character structure. They misuse religion. It allows them, unconsciously if you will, to mask who and what they are.

And so the press buys in to what they say, instead of focusing on their behavior. The key is not what they say but what they do. We are not defined, as humans, by words. Instead, it’s our behavior that tells the story about our values and our character structure. We love by our ability to love others   or we kill by killing others [Revenge], and rationalize the act. This criminal behavior is clearly destructive and hateful to others with the cruel beheadings and to self with suicidal behaviors [Fighting it out with the police, or blowing oneself up with a bomb]. They seek out other gangs such as Hezbollah etc.  that have the same or similar negative character types. [Grossly selfish, callus, irresponsible, unable to feel guilt, low frustration tolerance and blame others for their behavior.] They are dangerous gangs of racist criminals and make no mistake about it. Let’s call them what they are- racist criminals and murderers and their motivational cause is hate.

Friday, January 9, 2015

When Swearing Is Good for You

  When Swearing Is Needed or Necessary

In the December 10-11, 2011 Wall Street Journal, there was a summary about dealing with pain. Pain is frequently encountered, especially as we age. Of course, we don’t have to age to experience pain. And we also know that there are levels or degrees of pain. Just go into a doctor’s office and the nurse will likely ask you to, on a scale of 1-10, rate your pain level.

About a month ago, my wife Linda had her second knee replacement. So the study that follows seemed pertinent. In this study, 71 undergraduates held their hand in a container of near freezing water for as long as they could. The variable studied was the use of obscene or offensive swear words. In other words, would swearing activate, fight or flight responses that have been known to release opiates?

In this research, swearing helped nearly ¾ of the students deal with pain. In other words, they endured the test for a longer period of time [Average length of time improvement was 31 seconds or about 50% over non-swears].

 I suggested to Linda that she start swearing when she was experiencing pain related to her surgery. Initially, she had difficulty using cuss words. At first, when I reminded her, she would say or give a word without much enthusiasm or conviction. As I continued coaching and/ or reminding her over time, she improved somewhat. For her, when experiencing the pain, swearing didn’t come immediately to her mind.

Linda had to practice swearing so that her reaction became more immediate, more credible or believable. So, it’s not clear if swearing can help reduce her pain. Another idea about confronting pain, is to re-frame thinking. Instead of calling it pain, refer to it as discomfort. By re-framing, one can then think about the discomfort differently as the associations associated with discomfort are very different than the associations associated with pain. Hopefully, perception will allow you to think differently about the workings of your body and yourself.

Next time you’re having difficulty or when things aren’t working properly, consider swearing and re-framing. Like everything, practice can make it better.In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Collecting and Hoarding

 Am I just collecting or am I hoarding? Do you know anyone that collects animals, i.e. cats; clothing, books, magazines, newspapers or some other mixture of items? Do you know anyone who engages in excessive buying that often creates a financial strain? Do you know anyone that has difficulty discarding their possessions? Do you know anyone that creates clutter in their living room, in their bedroom, in their garages, making it difficult to find a place to sit down? When shopping the hoarder likes to touch and handle things and has difficulty walking away and controlling that urge to possess and buy. Perhaps this individual is aging and also seems to invite you less and less into their home. In any event, there are other characteristics of hoarding.

According to Erich Fromm, the hoarding character is orderly and stingy with things, thoughts and feelings. The person has difficulty dealing with things that seem to be out of place. And only he can put them in order, which means the person controls the space. Irrational punctuality and/or compulsive cleanliness are other behaviors that allow the person to control time and things. This orderly individual is generally not overly clean, but could be actually dirty. And this person, often prevents anything from leaving the living space by saving. For the individual that saves, it is like fortifying his home, garage [Fortress]. And of course, that person is also stubborn and often obstinate.

This character trait allows the individual to employ possession as a means of security, or feeling safe in a dangerous world. If you possess it, you control it. Then it’s yours and yours alone. In essence we are talking about employing possession to control an irrational or dangerous world.

So if you know a collector or hoarder, you might consider suggesting professional help. And that task often presents a problem for the helper.

One might ask, what does this have to do with health and well-being?  More than likely this psychological character trait can get in the way of productivity and relationships which interferes with maximizing growth. In other words, this trait get in the way and limit one’s life. If your orientation is for hoarding , it’s the antithesis of health.

Moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating is a healthier way to orient yourself to the world.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Resilience and DNA

An article in the November 30, 2014 edition of the New York Times brings to mind the Nature-Nurture argument. Simply put, is man more or less controlled by his nature or DNA [Machiavelli, John Locke] versus nurture- the conditioning within society [Rousseau]?   More recently, the nature idea was put in place in the 30s with Nazism and their supposedly superiority of race.

In this article, the question of whether or not positive interventions like preschool helps all children equally. In reality, some children seem more delicate, and appear to have it more difficult if exposed to stress and deprivation, but do better when given a lot of support and care. Others, it appears seem to be more resilient to the negative aspects of their environment and appear not to benefit much from positive experiences and support.  Research is attempting to differentiate which children should be given help and which children should not be given assistance. This has implications for state, local and federal funding. Who would argue to give assistance to children if they do not benefit from it?

 The research, in question, was designed to determine and identify which children are more susceptible to both negative and positive interventions. This research looked at the genetic makeup of children. Research findings suggested that people who carry certain variations of short alleles of the gene 5-HTTL PR [this gene transports serotonin] has been linked to depression. While long alleles of the dopamine receptor gene, DRD 4 have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnoses. And children who carry either or both of these genes appear to be the most adversely affected by negative experiences and seem to benefit most from supportive ones. While children, who don’t have either of these genes, seem relatively immune to the effects of both supportive and unsupportive environments.

The question: Should our society seek to identify by DNA these most susceptible children and target them with special programs?

Watching the movie Hidalgo, while on the elliptical, got me thinking about this particular article. In the movie, Frank T. Hopkins, played by Vigo Mortensen, rode his Mustang Hidalgo in a 3000 mile horse race against pure blooded Arabian horses. In the movie, the theme was that the bloodline of the Bedouin riders horses were superior and unequaled [nature]. However, Hopkins challenged that notion and talked about the will of man [nurture], and the will of the horse.
As an equestrian, we always talk about both the breeding of the horse and the heart of the horse. That distinction refers to the characteristics of that horse, but also the bonding that takes place between man and animal. And we sometimes think that the horse is either going to protect us [nurture] or run until it drops because that horse doesn’t want to let us down.

For me, I believe there is an interaction and relationship between nature and nurture. I have a younger brother, [5 years] and younger sister [10 years]. They are highly intelligent and competitive, especially when it comes to education and career. My brother is a physician and my sister a CEO headhunter of information technology. We all had the same parents, actually attended the same elementary, high school and universities [Wayne State and the University Michigan]. One could make a strong argument for DNA similarities.

However, I excel in sports and health and am in superior physical condition compared to both of my siblings. I don’t know how much variation in the DNA there is between us, but I do know mental toughness differentiates us. I am not ready, at this juncture, to rely solely on DNA differences to start subgrouping either people or children.


Tony, Randall, and I ran the 10 mile trail run event on New Year’s Day. Tony, believes his completion time was similar to last year. This year’s run was a little longer and more challenging than in the previous 5 years. I’m not convinced that I ran faster than last year, but I do believe I ran well and am pleased to start the New Year In my present condition.
As I say, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating for 2015.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Few 2014 Memories

Hello 2015

Goodbye 2014 and hello 2015. Looking back at this past year, there have been many highlights. Since I’m into health, I am pleased to report that my Achilles discomfort has just been practically eliminated. This means that I’ve taken very little ibuprofen or Advil this past year.  I ran a 10 mile trail run; two 50 K trail runs; 2 marathon trail runs; a half marathon trail run and a 10 K competitively. During the 50-52 week calendar year, I put in on average, 50 miles of running with some elliptical thrown in per week. My conditioning has been fine.

My recent book Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football was released in September. Linda and I went back to Michigan for the initial book launch for book signings and interviews with the players interviewed in the book.

Mike Keller, Fritz Seyferth, Reggie McKenzie, Linda Gusich and her two sons, Jim Brandstatter [the Duke] and his wife, Jim Betts, and his wife, Thom Darden and his wife, and many others were met at the Big House. Mike, Fritz, the Duke, Jim and Thom were involved in the book signings. Jim Betts, and Mike Keller and the Duke accompanied me at a Michigan alumni presentation in Ann Arbor, were we shared the stage with Michigan’s football coach Brady Hoke.

Jim Betts and Mike Keller accompanied me on a radio interview, and another radio interview on the Jim Brandstatter -Brady Hoke radio show. The time, in Ann Arbor was great and filled with fun memories. Prior to going Ann Arbor, my wife, Linda and I traveled to Charlevoix, Michigan [close to the Mackinac Bridge] for a family reunion with cousins and family. That was good to reconnect with the Detroit family. We have reunions every 1 to 2 years. In 2015 we are likely to meet in Ann Arbor.

I am pleased that I’ve been able to maintain trail running along with the book promotion. Likely, 2015 will be more of the same. With the Jim Harbaugh, hiring as Michigan’s new football coach, the year could be very exciting. Jim Harbaugh played for Bo Schembechler and was coached by Gary Moeller, among others. The University of Michigan family is intact and well-connected.

On New Year’s Day, I am running the 10 mile trail run with Randall and Tony. After, we will party and my home. In the meantime, Go Blue; keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, appreciating and loving.