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The Age Well  Fall 2012 


I hope you enjoy this issue of The Age Well.  Please take a moment to forward this issue along to family and friends so we can expand our Age Well Be Well  community. 


As an integrated health coach, I am passionate about supporting you in your journey toward wellness.  I would love to explore ways I can support you on your journey as a coach.  If you are not sure what it is like to work with a coach, consider taking advantage of a complementary initial consultation and 30 minute telephone coaching session.  Use the link below to indicate your interest and I will get in touch with you to schedule a time for us to connect.


This month, I'm offering a 20% discount on the Longevity Enhancement Workshop (see side bar for details) to anyone who has previously attended one of my programs or been a client.  I hope you will consider registering for this interactive learning opportunity.  It's a great and affordable way to jumpstart your efforts this fall to take better care of yourself.   


Be Well,

Paula Signature 

Healing Places and Spaces


 As an integrative health coach, I help my clients evaluate their wellbeing from a holistic perspective.  This includes exploring the dimension of the client's physical environment and how physical elements can support or hinder wellness.  Some of the questions I encourage clients to explore include:


  • What internal and external spaces do I enjoy being in? 
  • How do I feel in these special spaces?
  • What characteristics do these spaces have in common?
  • Are there amenities, colors, sounds, and smells that promote my alertness, productivity, relaxation or sense of ease? 
  • What things in my environment might contribute to ill health, poor lifestyle decisions, or stress?"


The answer to these questions will often tell you much about how to best promote or restore health, nurture the mind and nourish the spirit.  


For example, I discovered that tending a garden and spending time in wide-open spaces ground me, restore my energy level and often provide clarity to my thinking.    When I first moved to New England, I noticed that spending time by the ocean made me feel at home.   Years later it dawned on me that the expansiveness I felt by the ocean was very similar to the openness I experienced as a child growing up in the midwest among miles of rolling corn fields.  Spending as much time as I can close to the ocean is vital for my wellbeing.  It is here that I feel most at home.  


Our physical environment often presents a formable obstacle to making healthy lifestyle changes.  For example, having a television and computer in the bedroom does little to promote a healthy sleep-rest pattern since it is far too tempting to fall asleep in front of a late night show or check email one last time before going to bed.  Neither of these activities promotes relaxation nor induces sleep. 


Other times, integrating things readily available in the physical environment is a great way to jumpstart healthy lifestyle changes.  I spend much of my summers on Cape Cod so building my exercise routine around the beach and nearby bike path makes a whole lot more sense than setting goals to go to the gym three days a week. 


For thousands of years people have understood that some places have healing powers but not until the 20th century did scientists really begin studying how space affects both mental and physical health.  The science behind this realization is fascinating and I highly recommend Ester Sternberg's book, Healing Spaces:  The Science of Place and Well-being (Book & Research Review Section.


Consider taking time to really evaluate your physical environment, noticing how it impacts your mood, behaviors and levels of stress.  Sometimes we have a sense for which environments promote our own wellness and which ones cause stress, but we still don't take the time to create an environment at work and home that capitalize on this self-knowledge.  Take a few moments now to reflect on your own physical environment.  Is there something easy you could do right away to make your environment a bit more conducive to your health?  If so, set this intention and act on it today.   In addition, consider sharing your goal with the Age Well Be Well community by posting it on my blog this week.  Paula's Blog


Here are a few changes I have made in my own physical environment that have had a substantial impact on my wellbeing.  I hope they will encourage you to begin brainstorming ways to change your own environment to make it more supportive of health and happiness. 


Music:  I'm not someone who is constantly plugged into my iPod but I have discovered that music has an important influence on my mood and outlook.  I have even become aware of how certain songs trigger a cascade of memories and stories in my mind.  Sometimes this is beneficial but often it causes me to begin thinking or worrying about the past or future, hijacking my enjoyment of the present moment.  So I decided to take control of my musical input by creating tracks on my iPod for the mood/outlook I desire.  I have a track for exercise that is upbeat and energizing as well as a track that pulls together music I find relaxing.  I also like listening to Pandora Radio because it allows me to create my own stations.  When a song is played that doesn't generate the spirit I desire, I can quickly log this into the system and it won't play on my station again.  I'm particularly fond of ambient music, finding it helps me focus when I'm working and relax when I'm ready for bed. 


Visual Cues in the Kitchen:  When it comes to eating, I often makes choices based on convenience and the amount of time I have to prepare and eat a meal or snack.  With this in mind, I decided to put healthy and quick options clearly visible and readily available in my kitchen.  I purchased a variety of clear plastic containers to sit on my kitchen counter and filled them with nuts, seeds, dried fruits and whole-wheat crackers.  In addition, after shopping for produce I immediately clean and prepare most of the fruits and vegetables and place them in easy to reach containers in my refrigerator.   When it's time to prepare a meal or snack, they are ready to cook or eat immediately with very little additional effort. 


Special Space for Meditation:  It took me time to find a space that was conducive to my formal sitting meditative practice.  I tried a number of locations in my home before settling on a surprising site.  I live in a four-story narrow brownstone in Boston and discovered that a small bench on the fourth floor landing is perfect.  This very small space has little to distract me and a skylight provides natural light.  On the padded bench, I have a small meditation book and a bamboo basket that holds small scrapes of paper with the names of family, friends, or situations I wish to hold close to my heart.  The simplicity and natural light are undoubtedly important but I also realize having a space that is completely devoted to meditation validates how essential this element is to my life.  The more I practice on this small landing, the more this space seems to cultivate my practice and create a deeper sense of wellbeing.  


Toss A Coin In The Well . . .
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This column gives readers an opportunity to respond to an interesting question in each issue. 


Toss your ideas and insights or "coins" into the well by contributing to my blog on the  Age Well Be Well website.  In this way, our whole community can learn from your experiences!

This Issue's Question Is: 

This month my blog focuses on sharing our intentions to make changes in our physical environment to promote health and wellbeing.  Follow this link to my blog to learn three things I have done recently to make my own environment more conducive to health.  Please consider posting your own intention.  This will not only encourage others in our Age Well Be Well community to make changes but will actually increase the chances that you will actually follow through on your own intention!


See Paula's Blog for her answer to this question and to share your own experiences.  


Book & Research Review
Healing Spaces-Sternberg
Healing Spaces:  The Science of Place and Well-being by Esther Sternberg (2009)  

This book explains the science behind what many of us intuitively know. . . that place, space, sunlight, sounds and aromas all have the capacity to move us from illness to health, restoring our balance and wellbeing. Sternberg is a physician and National Institute of Health researcher.
(Link to the book on Amazon.com)

"A Few No Brainers""


Consider purchasing a water filter for your home that is certified to remove the contaminants found in your water.  See this review on water filters by  Consumer Reports .


Evaluate and make corrections in your workspace to ensure proper ergonomics.  Providing proper physical support for your body prevents injury and fatigue.  Cornell University has a special website focused on ergonomics that I really like.  Go to Cornell - Human.Ergonomics 

and start out by exploring the "Guides & Information" link.


A Moment To Be Mindful

To be mindful is to bring a high level of awareness to what is happening in one's immediate experience with care and discernment.  This involves both paying close attention to what is going on internally in our body and mind (thinking, feelings, emotions, perceptions, sensations) and being aware of our external environment.  The Financial Times published an article just last week that nicely explains mindfulness, the benefits and the wide variety of companies that are investing in the training of mindfulness to employees and executives.  Financial Times  In addition, the Spring 2011 Age Well Be Well newsletter focused entirely on mindfulness (Link to the Spring 2011 Newsletter).  Supporting the development of formal and informal practices that cultivate mindfulness is fundamental to my work with clients.  Each newsletter will now include ideas and resources to help nurture this important practice.


This month I would like to invite you to attend a special book signing and presentation by Lama Surya Das, author of Living  in Buddha Standard Time:  It's not Time we lack but Focus.  The Buddhist meditation group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading is sponsoring this event on the evening of September 29th.  You can register at: (An Evening with Lama Surya Das)


Translating Buddhist principles to their most practical form for today's world, Lama Surya Das will be sharing his insight on transforming our relationship with time-paradoxically allowing us to become more effective, productive, and happy as we become less preoccupied with schedules and deadlines. We have all the time in the world; it's only focus and awareness that we lack.  Surya Das is one of the nation's foremost Buddhist meditation masters and spiritual leaders.  


In This Issue
Healing Places and Spaces
Toss A Coin  
In The Well   

Book Review

"A No Brainer"   

A Moment To 
Be Mindful

Quick Links
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The Age Well

Register Now for one or more of our Upcoming Events
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Sept. 13 (Thursday)
Add Years to Your Life & Life to 
Your Years

18th Annual Conference for Gerontological Nurses

Conference Center
29 Commerce Drive
New Hampshire

This program is part of an all day continuing nursing education conference sponsored by Saint Anselm College.  If you are a nurse, you can register at 
or call 603-641-7086

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Sept. 20th, 27th & Oct. 4th & 11th
4-week series 
10 a.m. - noon
Loring House
Room 101
Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading
239 Woburn Street
Reading, MA
This program is designed to help participants explore strategies that will enhance their health, longevity and wellbeing.  The sessions will be interactive and participants will have opportunities to try out a variety of techniques during each of the sessions.
Session 1
Highlights the most recent research on aging and the impact lifestyle changes have on longevity and quality of life.
Session 2
Focuses on nourishment not just for our bodies but also the mind and spirit.  This will include looking at nutrition and strategies to manage stress.
Session 3
Explores exercise and fitness for the mind, body and spirit.
Session 4
Focuses on the value of quieting our mind, body and spirit.  It will explore sleep hygiene and mindfulness.
The program fee is $20 for Session 1 or $75 for the entire series.  This is a four part series but you are welcome to come to the first session and then decide if you want to participate in the remainder of the series.
Prior Registration appreciated
or call 617-835-7087
Payments by check or cash accepted at the first session
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 Oct. 23 (Tuesday)
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
How It Can Help Us 
Age With Grace
Jenks Senior Center
109 Skillings Road
Winchester, MA
The health and emotional benefits of living mindfully are compelling.  New research now supports what some cultures have known for thousands of years, practicing mindfulness helps alleviate stress and the suffering associated with physical illness as well as the emotional pain and fear that can accompany aging.  This program will present the latest research on the benefits of mindfulness focusing specifically on those elements that pertain to aging.  Learn about mindfulness-based strategies that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to facilitate clarity and calmness each and everyday and don't require meditating on a cushion!
 No registration required
Sponsored by
Winchester Council on Aging
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Other Related Events 
to Note:

Sept. 29 (Saturday)

Lama Durya Das 
Book Signing and presentation:

"Living in Buddha Standard Time:  It's Not Time We Lack But Focus"

7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading
239 Woburn Street
Reading, MA

Tickets for this event can be purchased at 
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Colleague and friend, Terry Currier will make two presentations at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reading this fall.  Terry is a fitness trainer, hypnotherapist, EFT practitioner and author of "Waist Management:  Train Body, Heart & Mind for Permanent Weight Loss."

Oct. 10 (Wednesday)
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Why Can't I 
Stop Eating?

Oct. 17 (Wednesday)
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Mindful Eating

Community Hall
Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading
239 Woburn Street
Reading, MA

These programs are sponsored by the church's adult enrichment committee.  There is no fee but registration is requested.  Please call 781-944-0494

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