Ten Extra Years

Welcome to Focus Pocus:  The Magic of Inquiry and Intent!  This week, your assignment (if you care/dare to accept it) is to watch Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk, The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years.

This great talk is worth 19 minutes.  Even if you don’t watch it right now, keep reading!  Play along with me and you can add 10 extra years of your life!  (Maybe you’ll be so intrigued by the ideas that you can’t wait to watch the talk!)  Sweet!

Jane McGonigal is a computer game designer and a big advocate for playing games.  Me?  I don’t like games – especially computer games.  Oh, I’ve played a little Tetris in my time, don’t get me wrong.  But basically, games aren’t my thing.

But living a long, happy, healthy life?  THAT, my friends, is totally and completely my thing.  And when I listened to this fun, interactive talk, I thought, “Hey!  Nia is a game that can give an extra 10 years!”

Here’s how I figure it:  Jane McGonigal explains that regularly doing things to increase four types of resilience – physical, mental, emotional and social – actually extends life expectancy.  She has lots of science to back up her claim that you can check that out at her site.  Science is awesome AND it makes sense and experience confirms it:  as our resilience is strengthened, we have more resources available when life gets hairy.

So let’s get to it: Nia will boost your four types of resilience and extend your life!  Check it out:

  1. Physical Resilience – Your body is designed to move.  The less time you spend sitting still, the stronger your physical resilience.  As Debbie Rosas once said, “The most dangerous activity you can engage in is sitting still!”  Nia is movement.  And Nia is about awareness and listening to the body.  Because the body wants to move, if I am aware of my body, I won’t be able to sit still for long without wanting to move.  Do Nia to increase physical resilience?  Check!
  2. Mental Resilience – Any time we face even a tiny challenge without giving up, any time we do some mental gymnastics to figure something out, we strengthen our mental resilience.  Nia is full of opportunities for moving in ways that challenges our nervous system and our minds!  Nia is about breaking habits and creating movement variety.  I often talk about the “oogy” feeling of awkwardness that is exactly the kind of little challenge that bolsters mental resilience.  So, Nia boosts mental resilience?  You bet.
  3. Emotional Resilience – If we experience three positive emotions for every one negative emotion, we strengthen our emotional resilience.  Nia is all about feeling good.  Nia encourages pleasure, curiosity, love and compassion.  The music used in Nia is specifically chosen to be inspiring and empowering.  And while Nia invites all emotions into the practice, my experience is that I feel well over three times as many positive emotions as negative ones in Nia.  Nia and emotional resilience.  Yes.
  4. Social Resilience – Positive connection with others, especially with gratitude and encouragement, boosts social resilience.  Through most of my sabbatical, I was doing plenty of Nia – mostly, alone.  I got enhancements in the first three resiliencies, and it was only when I went to class that I reinforced my social resilience.  Nia is designed to be done together.  As I take class, I am encouraged to connect with others with eyes, awareness, and sometimes touch.  In my experience, Nia communities are some of the strongest and most supportive that I’ve encountered.  Connections made in Nia offer friendliness before and after class, support and encouragement in the face of difficulties, and even deep and lasting friendships.  When I look at my closest friends and the people I turn to for help, most are from my Nia community. Nia strengthens social resilience? Absolutely.

So there you have it.  Nia can increase your core resiliencies and extend your life (by ten years according to Jane McGonigal).  Of course, there are lots of ways to boost your resiliencies.  If Nia isn’t your thing, find ways of moving, figuring out, feeling good and connecting every day.  I just love the notion that I can fortify all four, just by showing up to one Nia class.  So jump into Nia this week, or whatever bolsters your resilience, so we can hang out together, dancing, playing, connecting, feeling good, reading blogs for an extra ten years.  Sounds like a really, really good deal.


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