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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just a Bite

Quote to ponder under the apple tree

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
-- Albert Schweitzer, born January 14, 1875

Resources to bite into

1. Hunt for Happiness Week *

Actually, much as I admire Albert Schweitzer, he was wrong: Good health is not a prerequisite for happiness, although perhaps forgetting who “done you wrong” is. Next week is Hunt for Happiness Week promoted by the Secret Society of Happy People (SOHP, http://www.sohp.com/) so happiness is a focus of the current Brain Aerobics Weekly which features a quiz on who’s happy, synonyms for happiness and a little bit about the work of Martin Seligman, PhD, the psychologist who wrote Authentic Happiness, among other titles. (To learn more about the book or order it, click here.)

According to Dr. Seligman, there are three components to happiness: pleasure, flow (being completely engaged in what you are doing) and meaning (feeling what you are doing is worthwhile). What’s more, you can be trained to be happier. Good news!

2. Celebrating Pooh *

January 18 is “Pooh Day” in honor of A.A. Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh books, who was born on that date in 1882. His son, Christopher Robin, was a bit of an Eeyore about having such a recognizable name, but in later life made an uneasy peace with it, charging customers in his bookstore to sign one of his father’s books. (He donated the money to charity.) For most of us, however, Winnie-the-Pooh is associated with stuffed animals, innocent, “hummy” days, and happy words like “smackeral.” If you have fond memories of a childhood blankie, teddy bear or other “lovey,” you might want to check out the book Dirty Wow Wow by Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz. (To learn more about the book or order it, click here.)

3. Improv Wisdom *

The current Wiser Now Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Tips focuses on the wonderfully insightful book Improv Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madson. The first maxim – wise advice for life as well as caregiving – is, “Say ‘Yes, and . . .’” It means to say yes to what life hands you and then enhance it. You can learn more about the book or order it by clicking here. To learn about applying the wisdom to caregiving, order the newsletter!

* These items are likely to provide interesting discussions for the JAB subscribers working with people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tips/ideas/insights to savor

The word game in the current issue of Brain Aerobics Weekly is one that works well played in pairs or teams, because it involves coming up with words that are not quite synonyms, but have similar initial sounds, an exercise for which multiple brains helps. Asking people to make rhymes is usually easy, but asking them to think of words with the same initial sound is harder. (This usually does not work well with people who have dementia.) For example, can you name (Answers below):
1. At least 12 words that have to do with wetness, beginning with the letters “sp,” such as “spill.”
2. At least 15 words about motion that begin with the letters “fl,” such as “flight.”

Did you know?
January 18 is also the birthday (in 1779) of Peter Mark Roget, the creator of what is now known as Roget’s Thesaurus. English is virtually the only language that has – or needs – a thesaurus, because most other languages do not have so many words of similar meanings. (Some would argue that we don’t need all that we have.)

Possible answers:
spa, spatter, spew, spigot, spill, spit, splash, splatter, splutter, spray, spring, sprinkle, spritz, spurt and possibly sponge
flail, flap, flare, flee, flick or flicker, flight, flinch, flip, flop, flounce, flow, fluff, flurry, flush, flutter, fly

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