The Green Buddha

August 10, 2010 by  
Filed under people oomph! videos

The Green Buddha from oomphTV on Vimeo.

Acting Your Age with oomph!

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

old-sky
I just read in the New York Times an article called “Turn 70, Act Your Grandchild’s Age,” which plays into the notion that some of us expect 70 year olds to act like you should be 20 not 70. This article makes me think of the work we do here at oomphTV. I hope we don’t give the false impression that you must act like a 20 year old to have oomph!

Accepting your age and your limitations, while still doing what you want (and being realistic about what you can do) is part of the message of oomphTV. And a big part of having oomph! is simply enjoying and celebrating life, no matter what you can and can’t do. After all, life is short and let’s simply enjoy what we can while we are here.

Recently Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday by playing at the Radio City Music Hall and saying his new hero is BB King, who still jams in his 80s. They will be followed by Bob Dylan (“May you stay forever young”) and Paul Simon (“How terribly strange to be 70”) who still both perform and write music.
ringo-starr
Dr. Butler, a psychiatrist, died, at age 83, a few days before Ringo’s big bash. No one, his colleagues said, had done more to improve the image of aging in America. His work established that the old did not inevitably become senile, and that they could be productive, intellectually engaged, and active, sexually and otherwise. His life provided a good example: He worked until three days before his death from acute leukemia.

But as much as Dr. Butler would have cheered an aging Beatle onstage, his colleagues said he would have also cautioned against embracing the opposite stereotype, the idea that “aging successfully,” in his phrase, means that you have to be banging on drums in front of thousands or still be acting like you did at 22 or 42.

“The stories that we hear tend to pull us toward the extreme,” said Anne Basting, the director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. “It’s either the stories of young-onset Alzheimer’s, or it’s the sky-diving grandmas. We don’t hear enough about the huge middle, which is the vast majority of folks.”
betty-white
In the film and television business, the business I’m in, Clint Eastwood is still directing films at 80 and Betty White is now starring in a new sitcom at 88 (I worked with her on “Ugly Betty” and she was amazing) The pressure for 70 and 80 year olds is not to face mortality, but to kick up those slightly arthritic heels ever higher.

In the eighth decade, said Dr. Basting, is “now seen as an active time of life: you’re just past retirement, that’s your time to explore and play mentally.” But while many will be healthy, others will not. “There will be an increase in frailty and disability because people are living longer,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a demographer at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studies aging. For some people, an increased risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s “is going to be the price they pay for extended longevity,” he said.

The risk, gerontologists say, is that in celebrating the remarkable stories, we make those not playing Radio City, and certainly those suffering the diseases that often accompany old age, feel inadequate.

Thomas R. Cole, director of the McGovern Center for Health, Humanities and the Human Spirit at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and the author of a cultural history of aging, said “We’re going to make it look like if you’re sick, it’s your own fault. If you’re not having orgasms or running marathons, there’s something wrong with you.
elderly-sign
Here at oomphTV we don’t want to just portray “aging extremes,” but also inspirational people that fall somewhere in the middle. If we simply profiled extremes we would run into the possibility of alienating everyday people.

We did produce a story on Jack Kirk – The Dipsea Demon, the 94 year old runner. He could be considered one of those extremes. However, we also profiled Alice and Richard Matzkin. Both Alice and Richard Matzkin express themselves through their art, one by painting and the other by sculpting. They are not running any foot race, but clearly they have oomph!
alice-richard
In addition, we are currently in post-production on “The Green Buddha”, a wonderful story about my sister, Dana Dowell Windatt, and my own mother, Jeanne Dowell, that have started a new apparel business, based on gratitude. My mother has just turned 80 and was the original inspiration behind oomphtv.com She is not running a marathon or doing trapeze, but she is still doing what she wants to do at 80 years of age.

We are looking for different kinds of stories about people over 40 and sometimes way over 40 that have oomph! However, we do want to include stories of people that do have limitations. If you know of any, please write to us.

I hope we have found the right balance. Please feel free to write us and let us know what your thoughts are. We want to continue to inspire and inform, but not alienate our audience.

Gratitude Can Inspire

May 26, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

gratitude-rock
You know when you read something and it really hits home? I just read about another study today done on gratitude. I know I just wrote about gratitude and oomph! not to long ago. But, here goes another one. And why not share these studies with everyone you can? I think if everyone expressed gratitude more often, we would be living in a better world.

When I express gratitude to my wife it always is appreciated and can be contagious.

Picking up some flowers. Issuing a compliment. Doing your partner’s chores. All are small acts that provoke gratitude and strengthen relationships, say the authors of a new study.

Researchers studied 65 couples who were in committed, satisfying relationships and tracked the day-to-day fluctuations in relationship satisfaction. The so-called “ups and downs.” The researchers found that feelings of gratitude boost the health of relationships. Both the giver and the receiver of an act of kindness benefit, said the lead author of the study, Sara Algoe, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The emotion of gratitude helps people find and then bond to people who care about their welfare, the study finds.

“Gratitude triggers a cascade of responses within the person who feels it in that very moment, changing the way the person views the generous benefactor, as well as motivations toward the benefactor,” Algoe said in a news release. “This is especially true when a person shows that they care about the partner’s needs and preferences.” The study is published online in the journal Personal Relationships.

This work was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biobehavior Issus in Physical and Mental Health.

And why did I place this blogpost under “inspiration?” Because I do feel gratitude does inspire.
grat-love

Gratitude and Oomph!

April 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Personal Development

attitude-yes
One of the next videos we are working on is in part based on the person that inspired oomphTV…. my own 80-year old mother. Jeanne Dowell, along with my sister, Dana Windatt, recently launched an eco-friendly clothing line, called “Green Buddha.” (see more photos of the Green Buddha event on oomphTV’s Facebook page). The clothing and accessories are all based on the spirit of Gratitude. You can check them out at: Green Buddha
oomphtv-team

Today I finished reading an ongoing research project about Gratitude that is being done at UC Davis. The findings are interesting and I had to share them with you.

Gratitude can be a powerfully transformative practice. Psychologists Robert Emmons of U.C. Davis and Michael McCullough of the University of Miami have found that practicing gratitude can actually improve our emotional and physical well-being. Their ongoing research project on Gratitude and Thankfulness has found that people who keep weekly gratitude journals had fewer physical symptoms, exercised more, had a better outlook on life and were more likely to reach their goals.
smile-face
Gratitude Interventions and Psychological and Physical Well-Being

• In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

• A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment:  Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.

• A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison.

• Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.

• In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.

• Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).
quiet-mind
Measuring the Grateful Disposition

• Well-Being:  Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.  The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions.  Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.

• Prosociality: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others.  They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).

• Spirituality:  Those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer reading religious material score are more likely to be grateful.  Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others (McCullough et. al., 2002). Gratitude does not require religious faith, but faith enhances the ability to be grateful.

• Materialism:  Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of  others; and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.

• Oomph: Grateful people have more oomph! (however, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim)
jeanne-dana
I am proud of my sister and 80-year old mother in more ways than one. Starting a new business, especially an apparel business in these challenging economic times, is no easy task. My sister and mother have done an amazing job and have worked very hard in making Green Buddha happen. The clothing line is beautiful and so are the accessories. Most important, they are reminding people about the power of Gratitude and that can give us all some real oomph!

I am inspired by them both and I’m sure you will too, when you get to see the video. I will let you know.

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