What makes a ‘good life’ ?

I have been reflecting on the ingredients for a good life – what does it take? My thoughts went to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as in the diagram below.

Well being 4

In reading about it on Wikipedia I found there is a new theory that has overtaken Maslow’s and it is the Attachment Theory.

I am interested in finding out some more about that, but not tonight 🙂

I did a Google search on well-being and also found these diagrams that attempt to sum up what it takes to experience well-being.


What do you think of them and do you have any alternative strategies to achieve well-being?

Fifty something …

MondayI want to point out to the world that people over 50 have a lot to offer. I want to point this out to all age groups but especially to people who are past 50 or thereabouts.

I get tired of hearing people talk about retirement. Retirement belongs to the previous generations – our parents and their parents (if they lived long enough). I am not suggesting that we keep working at a job we hate or find too difficult. I am saying that we need to pause and reflect on this phase of our lives. You may need to keep working at your job due to financial pressures but is there the capacity to reduce your hours?

Consider the following:

• Is there so much more you would like to be doing with your time?

• Do you have interests that you would like to pursue now but don’t have the time?

• This period of our lives (say 45 – 80ish) is likely to be very different than it was for our parents who were born before World War II

• If you are anticipating using your time to catching up on years of reading, and are happy to do that, then that is fine. Read no further!

• Maybe you want to spend more time with your grandchildren or are artistic and enjoy you leisure time in these pursuits and find them to be gratifying.

• Do you get up each morning and wonder what is the point of getting up as you did yesterday what you will do again today and the day after?

• Do you get irritable because the world seems to be run by young people – eg doctors, the media, some politicians that don’t look old enough to vote?

• Does your brain still function the way it used to, or is it even better now that you have abandoned a lot of the crap that came from working full-time and the office politics?

• Are you unsure of how to dress – you don’t want to be masquerading as a young person? How do you see yourself?

• Are you able to graciously profess your views without getting defensive when younger people see your views as obsolete?

• Consider how you plan to spend the next 20-30 years? Do you want to sit around getting old and immobile? If you are still actively involved in sport, then good for you!

• Is there a way we can collectively find a valuable place in society that breaks the common stereotypes of the over fifties?

• Does social media provide us with an avenue to express ourselves and perhaps help others at the same time?

• How would you feel about using some of your skills or developing new skills to assist the community to improve health, education and environmental outcomes?

• How would you feel about gaining your community’s respect and gratitude for the use of these skills?

• Would you be prepared to work for a nominal amount that Not For Profits could afford?

• Can you see the difference between this idea and the tremendous work that thousands of volunteers already do each day in Australia (and other parts of the world)?

• Can you make sense of all of the above and are excited about contributing ideas on how we can change this concept into reality?

If you would like to get more involved with me on this project you can email me on reoh@iinet.net.au

Thanks for reading 🙂

Do you ever think “I can’t do it”?

I am currently reading “The Confidence Gap – from fear to freedom” by Dr Russ Harris and published by Penguin Portfolio.

I bought the book some time ago and read some of it and then left it sitting on the shelf. I have had some confidence issues so I thought I had better read some more. I am getting more out of it this time. I am learning (again) about listening to my thoughts and the chatter that goes on in my head. I sometimes think things like, “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”, or thoughts along similar lines.

The author suggests we listen to our thoughts and then acknowledge… I just had a thought that said … “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”. He recommends a range of strategies to help us get unhooked from our thoughts. He says that when we fuse with our thinking we cannot see the difference between who we are and what we think.

The next step is to say to myself … I just noticed I had a thought that said … “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”.

It is amazing and sometimes alarming to listen to the array of thoughts that go on in my head. It is so easy to undermine our selves by giving credibility to these thoughts. I am not my thoughts however if I get hooked into thinking in a particular way that isn’t helpful then I allow these thoughts to decide how I live my life. I think I will read some more …

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Five ways to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed

Cosy wood heater

Cosy wood heater

Here are some things that work for me when I feel overwhelmed …

1. Close your eyes and listen … try to hear sounds nearby and then further and further away. Focus on listening without judgement.

2. Stop what you are doing and focus on a small task – something that you can make a start on immediately. Decide to focus on that task only for a short period of time. It could be for five minutes, an hour or a day.

3. Keep breathing. If you are in a public situation and feel overwhelmed, just breathe as normally as possible, say little, smile occasionally and keep doing what you are doing. No one will ever know the inner turmoil you may be experiencing and maybe they don’t need to know.

4. If practical, get outdoors in the garden, beach, parkland etc. Being outside in the fresh air can do wonders for the spirit.

5. Allow yourself a ten minute nap (might be a bit hard if you are at work). Sometimes time out helps improve clarity and perspective. Keep it to a short nap though as you don’t want to indulge negative emotions that may arise.











Daily Post: Mr Sandman

A recent Daily Post Prompt asked, “What kind of sleeper are you? Do you drop off like a stone and awaken refreshed, or do you need pitch black and silence to drift off to dream?”

So, what kind of sleeper am I? NOT GOOD!

I am nearing the end of Week 1 of a four-week trial in using some really interesting equipment to help me to sleep better at night. Teddy offered to model the two masks for me for this blog today :-). It is for the relief of sleep apnoea.

You can click on the link HERE if you would like to read more about it. I am feeling much better already 🙂

Up close and personal


Many local “baby boomers” are taking part in a new four-year study on healthy ageing. I recently received a letter in the post inviting me to take part and I happily agreed to participate.

The State Government is contributing $1 million to the Busselton Population Medical Research Foundation Inc to conduct the study. The Foundation is working in conjunction with researchers from The University of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Lions Eye Institute and Ear Science Institute of Australia.

18 February 2014 006 (Copy)

I had to fast from midnight and arrive at the facility at 7.30am this morning. The process started with a range of blood tests, including one for my DNA. Afterwards they provided me with toast and Vegemite for breakfast, then on with lots more tests.

I was there for three hours in total and there wasn’t a minute where I wasn’t being tested for one thing or another.

The study hopes to include about 4,000 people. There are around 7,000 “baby boomers” living locally but not everyone wants to take part in research. From my point of view, it was a great opportunity to get a comprehensive medical check-up for free!
Researchers are investigating factors related to:

  • Obesity, nutrition and physical activity
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Stroke and disability
  • Dementia and mental disease
  • Respiratory and sleep health
  • Physical function
  • Spinal pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss

Media references from the original press release in 2009.

Jennie Hui (Busselton Population Medical Research Foundation)  (+61 4) 11 233 458
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 5563  /  (+61 4) 32 637 716

Mindfulness or situational awareness?

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2010) Operations Speci...

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2010) Operations Specialist 2nd Class Nahconian Douglas, left, Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Nancy Real and Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Megan Sanderson provide situational awareness for pilots from the tactical air control squadron aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Taylor is participating in theater security cooperation activities in the Adriatic Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward Kessler/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was watching at TV show about an investigation into an air crash. The findings revealed that the crew were so busy reading their charts they were not aware that their plane was flying toward a mountain range. The findings said they lacked situational awareness. They were so focused on one task that they lost the big picture of what was happening to the plane – and it ended in disaster with many lives lost.

A few hours later I was watching a medical documentary about emergency surgical procedures. A woman had surgery for a straight forward procedure and the surgical team had difficulty inserting the tubing for her to breathe. A re-enactment of the procedure showed how four or five medical professionals became increasingly stressed to the point they lost their situational awareness and the patient was starved of oxygen and went into a coma  – she died days later. There were alternative options open to the surgeons but they were so focused on fixing the problem they couldn’t see what was obvious to a non-medical observer.

The medical presenter coincidentally visited a flight training centre to see how they deal with similar situations of extreme pressure. He also visited a training centre for fire-fighters where decisions have to be made quickly while taking note of the overall scene and the details within each situation.

As I reflected on these situations I wondered how it is similar and how it differs from  mindfulness. I see mindfulness as being fully aware of what is going on around me and within me at the same time. It is different to a narrow-minded focus – it is not driven or under pressure.

I like the words, situational awareness and think it is worth reflecting on this occasionally as we go about our daily activities. It is so easy to get caught up in one thing and neglect others at the same time. Something to think about …



Six months into 2013 – the fabric of my life

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Write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post.

  • In the first six months of 2013 I divided most of my time between doing some consultancy work and being a Committee Member of the Residents Committee of the life-style village where I live. I assisted three community organisations to apply for grant funding and I was also contracted by three private businesses to undertake work on their behalf.
  • During this time I decided to give my business a complete shake up with a change of name and focus. I had some support through some ‘pro bono’ coaching and the local business enterprise centre.
  • We have visited the city (Perth) at least three times. One time was when we were in transit to a funeral interstate when my Aunt passed away in March at 92 years old. Another friend in his early 60’s passed away two days after my Aunt. The second visit included catching up with some old friends, which was good :-). The third visit was to see an eye specialist.
  • The trip interstate provided a great opportunity to see my son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons. They were the silver lining behind that cloud.
  • April was a bit tough with the recent deaths and took some coming to terms with but it has got easier with time.
  • During these six months we have enjoyed visits from family and friends including an especially nice Mothers Day this year.
  • I saw a dietitian about some ongoing food sensitivities and she recommended I go on the Low FODMAP Diet  – it works better than anything else I have tried (as long as I stick to it anyway).
  • In June I did a one-day training course to set up a business page on Facebook. It was good fun. I have now started a unit of  study about publishing, editing and design. On the learning front, I am also being trained to tutor adults with reading and writing difficulties.
  • And I spent some time blogging too. I passed the 500 blogs marker :-)! So, I wonder what the next six months will hold.



Time out for reflection – here’s how I did it

Every now and again we need to stop and reassess where we are going with our lives – just like I did ten years ago. I traveled to a small coastal community called Hopetoun in Western Australia to spend a few days gaining some perspective on my life. I stayed in a lovely rammed earth unit and equipped myself with some light reading material and some favourite food to nurture my soul (chocolate bullets and ice-cream of course)!

The weather was overcast and this suited my mood. I enjoyed some quiet time by the beach with no one else in sight. It was so calm and peaceful and I felt more a part of the environment than an observer of it.

I came away from the experience feeling nourished and reinvigorated. It was a precious few days and I urge others to try it sometime ;-). Very good for the soul.