Make Happiness Your Default Setting

In the world today, happiness can be elusive. There are injustices, wars, need, greed, divisiveness, and more at play on a global scale. And that doesn’t even begin to touch the struggles of daily life. While all of these issues affect women and men, it seems to impact women more. In fact, one of the best documented gender gaps is the mood disorder — depression. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop major depression.
However, a new study finds that many women get happier in later life, particularly in the years between 50 and 70. The study, believed to be one of the first of its kind, measured “Qualities of happiness” which included optimism, self-esteem, social support, social interest, freedom, energy, cheerfulness, and thought clarity. University of Melbourne researchers also found that both negative mood and depressive symptoms decreased significantly over that time.
Study author and psychologist Katherine Campbell says the findings suggest that mood improves as women transition from midlife to late-life. “The women in this study reported feeling more patient, less tense, and they tended to be less withdrawn as they entered their sixties,” she says.
“Women feel more in control of their lives and are still physically capable of enjoying their hobbies and traveling. They are often more financially stable and have less responsibility for children. They are free to enjoy the fruits of their hard work and are able to prioritize their own needs and wants.”
That’s great news because happiness is important, not only because it feels good, but also because it’s actually good for you. According to study published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, women who have a positive outlook, or are happy, have a much lower risk of dying from serious illnesses, especially cardiovascular diseases. The study finds that a higher degree of optimism coincided with a lower mortality risk from cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection.
For those women who have not necessarily hit their “Golden Years” of happiness, or are off to a slow start, there are several things Martin P. Seligman says you can do to make happiness your default setting. First, he suggests that we learn to be miserable or happy internally, not through material or external rewards, but by building good character. The rewards are not extrinsic but intrinsic, stemming from inner satisfaction rather than satisfaction from the outer world. Seligman’s school has identified 24 character strengths that we can develop to guide us to happiness in our lives. Their study of over 5,000 men and women revealed four core traits that were most important. They called these “heart strengths”: gratitude, hope, zest and the ability to love and be loved. Put simply: “Relationships with other people are what makes us the happiest.”
In addition to working on creating or improving our relationships, we can also work to embrace a “path” to happiness. Seligman suggests:

  • The “pleasant life” path involves finding activities and things that give you pleasure. You enjoy lots of fun, good times and play.
  • The “engaged life” path allows you to lose yourself in some passion or activity. You look up and the time has flown. That is joy.
  • The “meaningful life” path requires having a purpose in your life. Giving of yourself as a volunteer provides a reason to get up each day. You’re doing more than just taking up space and oxygen.

Choosing a path and working towards happiness not only makes a difference in our health, it can make a difference in how we relate to ourselves and others. My Leading Women co-author Kristin Andress writes that, “When you focus on mastering your mind, and thus your perceptions and perspective, you discover different paths in the landscape of your possibilities.”
Framing and reframing your experiences can prevent you from slipping into a state of anxiety or depression. The ability to catch yourself when you get that sinking feeling lies in being aware that it is happening, and choosing to pause and select a new perspective. This is much more than seeing the glass half full or making lemons into lemonade. It is a matter of deciding how you will integrate your way of “being” into your life and lifestyle. The power to reflect on your perspective and reframe it gives you an opening to see the world, other people, and yourself in different ways. Typically, it is also a much more peaceful and satisfying way to live.
As negative stories continue to dominate the news and genuine happiness seems to become the exception, not the rule, it really is the perfect time to take control of our power and perception, learn to master optimism, and create happier, healthier lives. We can also reach out and connect with other women and help them find a way to take control of their lives and find happiness in the everyday too. We are all sisters; when we connect we not only become happier people, we truly can change the world!

Creating Beauty from the Inside Out

Glynis Ablon, MD F.A.A.D.

Glynis Ablon, MD F.A.A.D.

Board Certified Dermatologist, Glynis Ablon, MD, F.A.A.D., discovered for herself how extreme stress can literally freeze your body when her own got out of control. Dedicated to eating well, daily meditation and pursuing a healthy lifestyle, she was shocked when her own stress visibly showed on her face in what is called Bells Palsy.
She wrote the book, What’s Stressing Your Face: A Skin Doctor’s Guide to Healing Stress-Induced Facial Conditions, to tell her own story and the stories of the many people she had helped to overcome their own disorders. A combination of true stories documented with medical research, What’s Stressing Your Face? shows how important it is to nurture ourselves on the inside to maintain a healthy body and appearance.

Whats-Stressing-Your-Face-cHow to Be the Best Me

Dr. Ablon asks herself, “how can I be the best me?” The answer is that when she pursues a healthy, happy life, she looks every inch the part. She asserts that since we enjoy longer lives now, we should also maintain our vitality and look our best. That includes doing what you can for your skin. She identifies our loss of collagen after menopause as the first thing we should pay attention to and advises stimulating collagen as soon as possible. She also discusses studies that show photo rejuvenation actually makes your genes younger. These real treatments have nothing to do with the “look younger in 7 days” claims of advertisers. Dr. Ablon’s institute is noted for conducting research to help people with wide array of dermatological conditions.
She cautions however, that when someone comes into her clinic wanting a new and improved self, she may suggest a psychiatrist, not a dermatologist. The important thing is to create the best you. When you’re happy within yourself, you mesh the psychology with the physical body and people want to be around you, or as she tells 13-year-olds, “When you feel beautiful on the inside, you are even more beautiful on the outside.”

Take Time for Yourself

The key to most women’s stress is trying to make everyone else happy. Dr. Nancy talks about how one woman postponed her workouts until her children graduated from high school, but saw her error down the road. Dr. Ablon agrees and advises women to do anything that can relieve their stress: meditation (with the easy iPhone Harmony app), biofeedback, massage, acupressure, acupuncture and even float tanks. She mentions how studies have shown meditation helps with ADD and other disorders.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to breathe. The simplest easy thing you can do when you’re overwhelmed is to take a deep breath. Now that you’re breathing, check out Dr. Ablon’s website,, for more valuable information. Watch for her on “The Doctors Show” where she appears regularly as on-camera medical consultant. And listen to this conversation for many more important tips on how to create real beauty from the inside out.

Genie James Age Well – Feel Better Inside Out

Genie James, M.M.Sc.

Genie James, M.M.Sc.

Award-winning author and health advocate, Genie James says aging well and feeling better is an inside-out game. Her seventh book, THE FOUNTAIN OF TRUTH! Outsmart Hype, False Hope and Heredity to Recalibrate Your Age, focuses on keeping us healthy for life. Genie wonders why live 15 years longer if you’re fat, sad, sick and broke? She wrote this book for two reasons: First, a close friend who battled cancer for 25 years begged her to finish the book. Second, she saw a magazine cover showing three pubescent women under a headline, “The Future of Aging.” Her mission became focused on combating chronic disease, today’s byproduct of living longer, and the fiction promoted by our youth-obsessed culture that sets women up for shame and failure.
Genie had her own wake-up call when she landed in the hospital with transmittal angina, which is a stress-related heart attack. Her mother had died at 64 of a heart attack, so she understood her risk. She also understood how she had to field-test her most recent book and use the toolkit she wrote to survive and be well and healthy again.

 Fountain of Truth Tool Kit

Fountain-of-Truth-bookWhen Genie wrote the book, she was CEO of a 7.3 million dollar company with over 30 employees and running on a rabbit wheel. She thought she had it all together, but got lost trying to fix everyone else without paying attention to herself. So after she got released from the hospital, she dipped into her toolkit.
Tool #1: Faith in a higher power. There is incontrovertible evidence that people who have faith in something/someone more powerful than themselves, live longer, happier, healthier lives. Genie gets quiet a few times every day to pray or meditate and get in touch with her faith.
Tool #2: The Girlfriend Factor. Being with supportive, optimistic women in a social network of friends produces the oxytocin factor. This is a hormone that, for women, is released when you’re around other women and it’s sustained for a long period of time. When this hormone is released, we’re able to make better decisions about relationships, finances and goals.
Tool #3: Exercise. Genie likes to exercise outside, but recommends that we have a toy box of exercise options. An important point is that when our bodies get used to doing one kind of exercise, they start to conserve fat instead of working it off. So mix it up, join your girlfriends and have plenty of options to make it fun and rewarding.
Tool #4: The Money Factor. Women need to have their own money. Genie talks about how her mother had no choice. A man was her plan, but not for Genie. She wanted to make a difference. However, she didn’t bank on a nasty divorce liquidating her 7.93 million dollar net worth. She gave up everything to get out of her toxic marriage. Now she is starting over with her own money and she urges all women to protect their finances.

 Beauty and Youth Is Not An Age.

Women who came into Genie’s health center asked for help losing weight or looking younger, but what they really wanted was to be more comfortable with their lives. Throughout this interview, Genie stresses caring for yourself as the best treatment for healthy longevity. Listen to more great stories and advice in this podcast and check out Genie’s other books and her blog to learn about lifestyle choices that can help you stay healthy and age well from the inside out.

Celebrate The Confidence That Comes With Age

DNOFashionwebBeauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself – Coco Chanel
For decades we have been barraged with younger women dominating the runway and fashion magazines. Just recently though, a handful of fashion brands have decided to break the mold and are championing the older woman. Yves Saint Laurent has announced Joni Mitchell (71 years old) as its latest model, and Joan Didion (80 years old) was revealed as the face of Céline. Last fall, 69-year-old Helen Mirren was announced as the new face of L’Oreal, joining fellow Oscar winner Jane Fonda, 77, in representing the brand alongside notable women half — and even a third — of their ages.
Cindy Crawford recently made the news for a leaked, un-retouched image that showed her in all of her 48-year-old glory. Marie Claire doesn’t deny the authenticity of the photos, and said the images reveal, “a body that defies expectations — it is real, it is honest, and it is gorgeous.”
These women have one thing in common – confidence. Diane von Furstenberg, who has made a name for herself admittedly “selling confidence” through fashion. recently spoke at the fifth annual Women Entrepreneurs Festival. During her speech she said, “The most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself. If you have that, any other relationship is a plus and not a must.”
The older you get, the more comfortable you are in your skin. As women step into their 40s, 50s, and beyond, they begin, often for the first time, to build a relationship with self. With that relationship, a woman’s confidence and authenticity come into play that she might have been lacking in her teens and 20s.
Suzanne Boyd, editor-in-chief of Zoomer Magazine was recently quoted as saying, “There’s a lot of mystique being taken out of fashion, and what these women have is mystique. They have their own style. They’ve never followed fashion. They’ve just been who they are and there’s nothing more stylish or chic than that — and they’re not playing in the same sandbox. To the fashion eye, it’s not about beauty or glamour — it’s about true achievement and authenticity.”
Women are often embarrassed to speak about their fears, yet in my own research I found nearly half of 1,200 women I surveyed (47%) were afraid of getting older. This fear correlates with perceptions of the aging process, including health behaviors, emotional and cognitive responses to stimulus words, abdominal (immune) health, confidence in self-care ability, and more.
There’s nothing wrong with getting older. Who among us would choose not to live longer? Celebrate these women who are removing the cultural stigma of aging, and let their confidence bubble over into your own life. Use the wisdom and authenticity that comes with experience, and march confidently into the boardroom or down the runway!

Celebrating the Wisdom of Women

Fireworks 2In late 2014, NY Times Magazine shared a wealth of articles about seniors. Celebrating men and women who have changed the face of aging, the articles proved that the conventional thinking about seniors no longer applies.
PR for People found one particular article in the series, “Old Masters at the Top of Their Game” by Lewis H. Lapham clearly demonstrates that while we must change our thinking about seniors being useless and befuddled, conventional patterns regarding sexism are alive and well. While everyone profiled in Lapham’s article was indeed over 80, the men outnumbered the women two to one. Statistics aside, two giants among women leaders were missing from the list– Gloria Steinem (80 last March) and Barbara Walters (85).
By the numbers however, according to the last census, as men and women pass the threshold of eighty, there is a marked increase in the number of women. In fact at age 85 and older, there are more than twice as many women as men.
This piece points out the rampant disparity that still exists for women in media representation. The Women’s Media Center  reports that:

  • By a nearly 3 to 1 margin, male front-page bylines at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines in coverage of the 2012 presidential election. Men were also far more likely to be quoted than women in newspapers, television and public radio.
  • On Sunday TV talk shows, women comprised only 14 percent of those interviewed and 29 percent of roundtable guests.
  • Talk radio and sports talk radio hosts are overwhelmingly male.
  • As newspaper employment continues to tumble, so does the number of women in key jobs.
  • Newer, online-only news sites have fallen into the same rut as male bylines outnumbered female bylines at four of six sites reviewed.
  • The percentage of women who are television news directors edged up, reaching 30 percent for the first time. Overall employment of women in TV news, however, remains flat.

The need for parity in the media is vast, especially for the older women that have paved the way. One researcher recently found that a lifetime of learning leads people to make greater breakthroughs between ages 55-65. Data from the Kauffmann Foundation backs that up: people over 55 are almost twice as likely to found successful companies as people between 20 and 34.
We have a lot to learn from one another personally and professionally. An older woman has experiences, insights, and wisdom that can help younger generations break through barriers and step into an empowered life. We need to celebrate her wisdom and learn from these leading women in the media. The rewards and benefits of sharing will empower us all, and help make this a better world.

Is Healthy the New Skinny?


“Healthy is the new Skinny: Obsession with body perfection”

In a radio interview with Andrea Owen, I mentioned the term “Mommy makeover” and realized I may have offended some people by talking about this. This was not my intention, and I apologize if I may have offended anyone who has undergone a tummy tuck and/or breast augmentation after having a baby. My overall point is that after having a baby, many times a woman’s body is not the same as it was before. Fat is in places it wasn’t before, extra skin may be on the tummy and breasts sag.

Udders? What? Really?

One of my good friends has even told me her husband calls her breasts “udders”. Nice.

Accepting Our Body Changes

What I want to emphasize is that if we work on accepting these body changes for what they are: body changes and nothing else, we can learn to live with them instead of relying on plastic surgery to give us back what (we thought) we needed. Whose standards is it that we have to have a flat stomach and perky breasts? That’s what I’m asking. That when did it become so important that we all look like Barbie? I’m not ecstatic that my body doesn’t look like it did before I had kids, but I’m working on loving it for what it is instead of going under the knife. I’m not better than anyone who does get plastic surgery; I know many smart, beautiful, amazing women that have, but I want all women to know that you can have body peace and happiness without plastic surgery. It is possible.

Seven Women On How To Become Better Leaders With Age

DNONews1The news is in, and like red wine and cheese, innovation and women leaders get better with age!

Does Success Come with Age?

In a youth obsessed culture the advancements of people over the age of 40 are seldom recognized, much less celebrated. However, one researcher recently found that a lifetime of learning leads people to make greater breakthroughs between ages 55-65. Data from the Kauffmann Foundation backs that up: people over 55 are almost twice as likely to found successful companies as people between 20 and 34.

Advancements of Older Women

It’s even rarer to hear of the advancements made by older women. So we were delighted to learn about Forty Over 40. It’s an initiative that celebrates women who are reinventing, disrupting and making an impact in a variety of industries including the arts, law, retail, health care, and tech.

Read these fantastic interviews with seven of the women honored this year; each with a leadership style that proves mid-life means anything but the down side of over-the-hill at Fast Company.

Women’s Warning Signs of Heart Disease

Did you know that women experience different warning signs for heart attack than men do? Women have only recently been included in large-scale medical studies, and guess what – we are not the same as men! We have mostly heard about men’s symptoms –like the crushing pain of a heart attack—which may be why women wait longer before seeking help than men do.

Guide to the Pink Pill for Women

Little Pink Pills = Viagra(R) for Women?

Enough already. The beauty and fashion industries already have us feeling inadequate about our looks. Now the pill makers are piling on to make us feel inadequate about our sexuality.

Postmenopausal women who don’t much care about sex anymore are being told they should spice up their lives. Women have long been pushed to look and act a certain way, and now we’re supposed to be able to turn our sexual response on and off. In fact, we’re supposed to be hot all the time.

Seriously? Not only do we work and take care of the kids and build our communities and exercise to stay thin and athletic; now we should start taking a pill so we will always be ready to get it on with our man. Sheesh!

Does the Little Pink Pill Work?

Google “pink pill for women” and you’ll find a whole host of options for heating up your life. OK, so some are actually white pills, but all these came up when I Google’d pink pill, meaning their promoters are using that term somewhere on their websites.

There’s the female equivalent of Viagra®. Flibanserin failed as an antidepressant but women reported it gave them more good sex per month. The drug manufacturer has continued work, hoping to develop it as a non-hormonal treatment for hypoactive sexual disorder, a condition in which women are not interested in sex, don’t desire it and don’t fantasize about it. Study participants took a daily pill and kept a diary about their sexual thoughts and experiences. If you believe, as I do, that what you focus on increases, you might get most of the same benefit just by starting a sex diary!

The FDA has so far refused to approve it, saying it is an ineffective treatment. Women advocates who oppose it agree, saying further that this is a mostly manufactured disorder. More about that in the last paragraph.

Which Little Pink Pill for Women Is Best?

In 2013 the FDA approved Osphena, a treatment for dyspareunia, or painful intercourse. Estrogen-based medications, creams and rings have been available for this for a long time, but some women are still wary, even though research has shown they don’t raise systemic levels of hormones much and there’s no evidence of increased breast cancer risk. Osphena is related to cancer prevention drugs like Tamoxifene that have a positive estrogen-like effect in some tissues (in this case the vagina) and an anti-estrogen effect in other tissues (breast). Survivors of estrogen-sensitive cancers are wise to be cautious, but know that the FDA has said Osphena hasn’t been adequately studied in women with breast cancer so should not be taken by such women. It’s also shown to slightly increase blood clots and stroke.

Google will also serve up a host of wannabe pink pills that make extravagant claims from some astoundingly cheesy websites. One claims to increase desire, lubrication and orgasm, and to reduce fatigue and that “not in the mood” feeling. All for just $35 a month. Oh, and it’s offered on a weight-loss website so you can take care of another of your biggest life problems while you’re there. Since there’s no mention of the ingredients, this one is a flying leap of faith.

What About Herbal Pink Pills?

Then there’s a pink herbal pill called Lady Prelox containing pine bark extract touted as a female Viagra that will supposedly increase a woman’s sexual pleasure. This one, sold in the UK, costs around $64 a month. The manufacturer claims the pill “boosts libido and increases arousal in women”, because it “encourages blood flow to the reproductive organs as well as the brain.”

And a British drug maker is hard at work on a tablet called Orlibid that’s designed to boost women’s sex drive, and they’re saying it may also help curb appetite. Now that’s a marketing bonanza, right? This one is a synthetic melanin, which is a hormone usually associated with tanning. The promise of increased desire is based on tiny studies, done without control groups, and paid for by the manufacturer. Hmmm. The market for the male version currently tops $16 million a year. No price on this yet, but I’m betting this pill for women will be pink, too!

Or would you prefer the pink pill that contains Chinese and Brazilian herbs and will not only help your sexual function but will settle your nerves, improve digestion and cure exhaustion and Alzheimer’s (among other ailments). Just take one or two capsules an hour before you want to get it on. There’s no limit to these formulations, each with a different combo of herbal ingredients with many supposed benefits.

Why the Pink Pill Might Not Work

So pick your poison – um, I mean preparation. Or, you could remind yourself that a woman’s sexual response is complex and that decreased libido might actually indicate you need to work on your relationship. Maybe you (and/or your partner) are bored. Maybe you need to spend more time communicating what you like, or maybe you need to spend fewer hours at work, or get more rest. If sex hurts, by all means talk to your doctor about correcting that so you can enjoy the fun again. But if there’s another part of your life that is out of balance, a pill isn’t likely to help.

~Dr. Nancy

Have You Lost Your Sexy?

Have you lost your sexy?Staying sensual and sexy is what it is all about for women today. Have you lost your sexy? When was the last time you bought yourself some sexy underwear? Go and out find some and you will be surprised how sexy you look and feel.  Get out there and buy some now!!!!

Book on Sexual Adventures

In 2008, Timeless WomenSpeak Radio interviewed Dr. Pepper Swartz, a sex educator, professor at University of Washington in Seattle. Pepper is an author, relationship expert on and has appeared on The Today Show and Oprah. In her new book, Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love and the Sensual Years, Dr Swartz wrote about her own sexual adventures while she was young woman and into her later years (50 and beyond). Pepper is now 62 years young and sexy. Reaction to her book has been overwhelmingly positive, although one scornful male blogger called her a “skank and a slut” for writing this book.  I asked Pepper about her reaction and she laughed and said, “I really liked it especially since I am 61 years old.” I could not help but like her from that moment on.

Why Do Women Put Romance on the Shelf?

She took us on a journey in this interview to explain her reasons for the book and her great desire to empower women not to give up on relationships and not to lose their sensual, sexy selves. The book, she said, was a gift for her 10 best girlfriends, whom she said were all hanging up their hearts and their passion and had put romance on the shelf.  She said she wanted to show them and other women over 50 how to keep on living in the moment and to find newness in relationships and in places and keep adventures on the page of “things to do.”

Fear of Rejection is Biggest Barrier

I loved what she said about pineapple. For most women, the biggest barrier to seeking a relationship is fear of rejection. Women need to get over this. She doesn’t like pineapple, she said, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it. Most people really like pineapple. One rejection does not mean there’s anything wrong with you, so get out there and keep passion and sensuality alive.

You Feel Invisible?

I asked her about the problem so many women are telling us about: they feel “invisible.” She immediately enlightened me, saying (and I’ll add emphasis here) “IF YOU FEEL INVISIBLE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If you act invisible, you are invisible. Women can make themselves visible in their actions, their style and their wonderful personalities.”

I have never had such good advice.

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