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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

February 2012 Letter From The Publisher

Jan 31, 2012 07:27AM

I’ve always liked being around people with brilliant minds that seem to know something about everything, but it’s happy people I love to be with. Show me someone blessed with a combination of intelligence, openhearted optimism and funloving creativity, and you’ll likely find them surrounded by good friends and loved ones.

In bringing this month’s Healthy Mind theme to life, I was struck by how elements that contribute to a healthier state of mind are among those that also contribute to our happiness. I know I’m always at my happiest when I’ve have a good night’s sleep, eat the right foods, exercise outdoors in nature and simply embrace all of my loved ones, flaws included—all areas covered in this issue.

I am also aware that I’m at my best in any situation when my brain is functioning at its highest capacity. While we all have days that we’re more “on” than other times, I’m reluctant to just accept signs of mental weakening as an inevitable part of the aging process. I know better, thanks in part to my sister Kate, who works for Dr. David Perlmutter, one of America’s top neurologists. He writes books and speaks nationally about his groundbreaking research on optimal brain functioning, most recently on The Dr. Oz Show.

Dr. Perlmutter, too, has contributed to this month’s discussion in, “Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment,”. We’re privileged to catch him giving a rare local talk February 9, at Unity of Naples.

One of the oldest precepts of neuroscience has been that our brain is what it is and shapes our mental capacities. Recent research, though, also attests to the flip side: Choosing to focus on certain repetitive mental activities can actually affect physical changes in the brain’s structure and neural wiring and hence, capabilities. This means that if we think happy thoughts and look on the bright side, we can retrain our thinking processes to be more positive. Wow.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (, a lively account of the year the author spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research and lessons from popular culture, in order to make herself happier. I happily discovered that I can start right now, with small, actionable steps that are accessible to everyone.

In addition to loads of practical gems for enjoying life more, I was struck by a great truth: Happiness is a choice and takes effort; it doesn’t come naturally… but it’s one of the best gifts we can give to our self and others.

Intend to be happier and you will be, too! It’s easier in the Sunshine State.

Happily yours,


Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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