Saturday, March 25, 2017

SMILE! 7 Reasons Why Smiling is Good

Editor's Note: Life moments are not always perfect. But why dwell on those moments of imperfection that bring grimacing to our faces? Be forward, and smile instead. The following is slightly edited for space content.

1. Smiling can make you happy (even when you're not).
... the simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you're happy. And when you're happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. This reaction has been studied since the 1980s and has been proven a number of times.

... the research goes both ways. When the people in the one study frowned, they felt less happy, and in a German study, people who held a pen in their protruding lips, imitating a pout, felt unhappy. So the next time you feel sad or upset, try smiling. It just might make your body—and therefore you—feel better.

2. Smiling can make others happy. 
"When you're smilin', the whole world smiles with you," ...a song, made famous by Louis Armstrong? ... Research shows that smiling is contagious. Ever been around someone who just had something fantastic happen to him or her? Isn't it almost impossible not to feel good, too? Studies show that something as simple as seeing a friend smile can activate the muscles in your face to make that same expression, without you even being aware that you are doing it. Crazy, right?

But remember that this, too, can be for better or for worse. You know the expression "misery loves company"? Frowns act just like smiles, just with a negative reaction, so choose to smile and watch the world smile back!

3. Smiling makes you more attractive. 
Ever wonder why are we always asked to smile in photos? Because people usually look their best—and happiest—when smiling. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 96 percent of American adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex. So the next time you are about to ask someone on a date, smile. It'll make them feel happier (see No. 2), and you'll already be more attractive in his or her eyes!

4. Smiling can help you de-stress. 
The next time you're stressed about work or realize that your favorite jeans feel a little snug, don't freak out. Take a few deep breaths and smile! Smiling may help to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety. When that smile signals to your brain that you're feeling happy (even though you're not really feeling happy...yet), your body will usually slow its breathing and heart rate.

Reducing stress is so important for health, too, as it can lower blood pressure, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar. Note that this works during workouts, too! If you're having a hard time getting through that last rep or getting those final 5 minutes in on the treadmill, smiling can do wonders!

5. Smiling can help you land a job. 
If you're about to go on a job interview, you may think that your appearance is just about wearing nice clothes. Wrong! You can't just wear that suit; you have to wear it with a smile. In a study published in the December 2009 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people looked at full-body photographs of 123 people they had never met. The people in the photos had one of two expressions: neutral (think your passport photo) or a smile. And guess what? When observers saw the photos of smiling people, they were more likely to think that the person in the photo was likeable, confident, conscientious and stable.

6. Smiling can lead to laughter. 
Have you ever laughed without smiling? It's pretty impossible to do. And it's funny how a smile here and a smile there with friends can turn into a whole fit of hysterical laughter. Numerous studies have been done on the health benefits of laughing, including how it acts like a mini workout that burns calories and works the abs. Laughter also helps blood flow, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces stress and improves sleep. It may also raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body, which helps boost your immune system. So the moral of this story is smile—and laugh—often!

7. Smiling just feels good. 
Have you ever found that smiling just feels good? Go ahead, smile now. Doesn't it feel natural? Make you feel happy to be alive? It sure does beat the heck out of a frown.

---Article created on:  8/3/2010 by Spark People

Friday, March 24, 2017

3 Ways to a More Productive Day

This is an excerpt from a post "3 Things To-Do to be More Productive Today." Imagine having more time to do something special and good today!

  1. Go to your email inbox. Delete or Archive any email that is over 40 days old. The person that sent that email has long forgotten about it and you’ve been dodging it for so long it’s become a cement hurdle in your productivity. If it’s important it will come back up and maybe at a level of urgency that you’ll act on it promptly. NOW EXIT EMAIL.
  2. Identify the thing you’ll say you did at dinner tonight. Take 3 deep inhales and exhales right now and imagine telling your family or your cat or Facebook about the thing you did while at work today. Sometimes, we don’t take action because we can’t imagine it being done. But once you trigger your brain to see it as done your brain finds many routes to get you to that destination. Quite literally: Begin the task with the end in mind.
  3. Set a timer, turn on Do Not Disturb, shut down messenger, skype, Facebook, Twitter, email notifications and do the work. Sometimes people hear this piece of advice and they get really anxious. How long do I have to put on the timer? What if something NEEDS me? But what about Facebook? Set the timer for 20 minutes and see what you can get done. Just try it out. Repeat your successes. At the end of the 20 minutes get out of your chair — reach to the sky, touch your toes — grab a glass of water and see if the mood strikes you to go on another 20 minute speed-date with your work.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

8 Tips to Make Good Deeds Day a Hit!

On April 2, Good Deeds Day 2017 can happen in any office, anywhere – all it needs is you! This year Points of Light is celebrating our 11th year doing good, and we’ve more than got you covered with ideas, tools, guides and resources to make your Good Deeds Day a golden one.

1. Have the desire to do good. We have a feeling you’re reading this right now because you’re a good person who aspires to be even better. Having the drive to do good is all that it takes to join in the largest celebration of the year devoted to good deeds.

2. Save the date. And this one is a special one as we are celebrating our 11 years doing good deeds worldwide. Last year, more than 1.5 million people took part, and hopefully many more will join this year. You, along with at least 1,499,999 other awesome humans, will unite as one philanthropic force on April 2, 2017, to do good and create large scale positive impact. Go you!

3. Get approval from above. It should be pretty easy if you share all the benefits you get, personally and professionally, from volunteering. From health benefits for employees to increased job satisfaction and productivity at work, this opportunity is a win-win-win for all parties involved. And just in case, send your HR head or manager this kit for companies to explain it all.

4. Decide how you can help. There are countless ways in which you could be of service in your community, especially if you’re bringing the whole office along! Browse our how to guides to doing good, brimming with various ideas and activities to suit everyone in your office. Reach out to your coworkers to vote, or see if someone has a special cause to rally around to build office rapport.

We’re also happy to work with you to brainstorm a volunteer program for your community, so get in touch!

5. Rally the team. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with your co-workers, do something fun, and create better bonds with the people you may not get the chance to chat with in your office. Get everyone on board by emailing them this fact sheet, sharing all the added value benefits for doing good.

6. Register your group. Fill in a short form and join close to two million people in over 75 countries in sharing your Good Deeds Day tales. Tell us about your project and ideas by registering. Want to match? Make sure to mention you want to order t-shirts with your logo!

7. Promote your event. Now that we know you’re doing good, you should share it with the rest of the world! Not only will this benefit your team, but it’s also good business. Use our ready-to-go media kit to handle any communications you need, and update your social media channels with our cover photo and sweet social media graphics.

8. Get excited! You should be proud of yourself, friend. You and your office are contributing to a global celebration of goodness! Good Deeds Day 2017 is a dedicated day which proves that millions of small changes can do a world of good. Thank you for joining in our efforts, for believing in good, and for helping to change the world – one good deed at a time!

You can get the complete tool kit on how to participate, scour worldwide projects you’re interested in, or sign up here!

---From Points of Light

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Archangels of the Ancient Trees

A Michigan based nonprofit is all about saving the trees.  It's called The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive.

The mission is to:

Muslim Immigrants Give $15 Million to University of Notre Dame

Rafat and Zoreen Ansari. UND photo

Rafat and Zoreen Ansari and their three grown children donated $15 million to create an institute at Notre Dame dedicated to the study of religions around the world.

Mr. and Ms. Ansari are medical doctors who were born in Pakistan and raised their family in South Bend, Ind., the home of the university. They are Muslim and said in a news release that they hope the new center will encourage partnerships among religions to solve problems like violence and poverty.

“The need for people of faith to focus on what unites us rather than on what divides us has never been more urgent,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “This extraordinary gift from an esteemed local Muslim family, longtime friends of Notre Dame, will allow us to bring together scholars of the first order to foster dialogue and deepen understanding. We are immensely grateful to the Ansaris for making this aspiration a reality.”

Notre Dame parents, Rafat and Zoreen Ansari moved in 1980 to South Bend, where they raised their three children – Sarah, Adam and Sonya. Their passion for the Ansari Institute is a reflection of their hope that it will help foster partnerships globally and locally, and that communities large and small – from South Bend to Jerusalem – can be brought together through a shared understanding of certain guiding principles inherent in all the world’s religions.

Faculty at the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement With Religion will study how religious teachings, traditions, history, practice, and thought inform today’s shifting patterns of global migration, conflict, peace building, political culture, and human development.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

7 Ways to Boost Your Mental Strength

C. Coimbra photo

Editor's note: The Daily Prism is well aware of the ongoing frustration by people from around the world with the changing conditions and circumstances to be faced most every day.  The following (edited for space concerns) piece was written for "the busy entrepreneur."  That seems exclusive. But, in fact, every individual is his or her own business (the business of living) and is the entrepreneur of his or her own well-being. 

From 7 Powerful Morning Routines That Will Make You Mentally Strong

... It all starts with waking up mentally tough. Skills can only take you so far without the grit, determination, and mental willpower to tackle anything life throws at you.

Thankfully, there are some pretty simple techniques that everyone from Navy SEALs to U.S.
Olympians use to stay mentally strong. Start adopting these powerful habits in the morning to become just as mentally resilient:

1. They practice positive self-talk

Studies estimate that we say 300 to 1,000 words to ourselves every single minute. That’s why none other than the U.S. Navy SEALs swear by positive self-talk as a way to take on a strenuous day.
When their oxygen flow is suddenly cut off underwater, SEALs are able to tough it out by telling themselves that everything is fine and thinking positively. So you can probably also use this tip to get through a day at the office.

To start, tell yourself how great your day is going to be as you’re riding the subway or driving down the freeway. If you start encountering a rough morning, go outside for a few minutes and repeat some more positive affirmations to yourself.

2. They visualize tackling tasks

Champion U.S. Olympians use visualization as an effective way to stay tough when they’re running a marathon or endlessly swimming.

Rather than just picturing themselves at the finish line, they visualize themselves going through the motions of the race. It’s a scientifically proven way to boost your mental willpower — whether you’re jumping over a hurdle or filing paperwork.

By visualizing how you’ll get through a task in the morning, you’ll not only give yourself the self-confidence to do it, you’ll also come up with unexpected solutions along the way.

3. They work on their hardest tasks first

... It’s been scientifically shown that motivation and willpower is a finite resource that dwindles throughout the day, so frying your biggest fish first ensures you’ll have the energy to complete the task at hand. Plus, everything that comes after that will feel like a piece of cake.

4. They don’t give up their power

How many times have you thought something along the lines of “my mother-in-law drives me crazy”?

... motivation expert Amy Morin says thinking like this “gives away your power.” Instead of thinking that your in-law is driving you mad (or that your workday is stressful), Morin recommends a powerful alternative: knowing “your world is what you make it.”

... start thinking about (the task at hand) as an opportunity to change your success and have an impact on the world. By believing you’re in control, you’ll start to be in control.

5. They avoid comparisons (and Twitter)

If your morning routine involves checking Facebook or scrolling through Instagram, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. Morin also spoke about how seeing her “perfect” friends on Facebook in the a.m. dragged down her whole day. Quite simply, you’re seeing someone’s highlight reel, not his or her life story, so it will do nothing but make you feel inferior if you feel the need to keep up.

6. They exercise and prioritize their health

It’s been scientifically proven that being physically strong is an integral part of being mentally strong. Doing aerobic exercises has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and have other amazing benefits. It’s no wonder that ultra-successful people channel that energy into exercise before they go to work in the morning.

7. They connect with loved ones before work

... the busiest people in the world know that a part of staying mentally strong means cultivating a meaningful life for yourself outside of work.

... Whether it’s a friend or family member, connecting with someone important to you at the start of your day helps maintain healthy relationships, and it can also give your day perspective, while keeping your spirits up while you work.

Friday, March 17, 2017

One Farm at a Time -- A Program in Africa

By Denver Frederick
Seventy per cent of the world’s poor are farmers, many of them concentrated in parts of eastern and southern Africa. In those regions, one in 10 farm-family children dies before the age of 5, with hunger as the primarily underlying cause, notes Matt Forti, managing director of the One Acre Fund. "Agriculture has become so much more productive everywhere else in the world over the past few decades," he says. "We said, ‘Why not Africa? What’s driving this? Can we do something about it?’ "

In ... the Business of Giving, Mr. Forti talks about the nonprofit social enterprise’s market-based model for attacking poverty and hunger in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi. Key to the effort is bringing advanced agricultural products and techniques to small rural farms and treating them as clients instead of beneficiaries. They receive loans, not donations, of "farm inputs" like hybrid seeds and fertilizer, as well as training in effective planting techniques.

The result is far greater crop yields, which enable farmers to repay the loans, which helps fund One Acre and keeps it growing. A decade after launching with 40 farmers, the organization now has 450,000 clients and aims to reach 1 million by 2020. The nonprofit is expanding in other ways, branching into crop insurance to protect farmers from calamities like drought and helping them switch from kerosene and candles to cleaner, safer solar energy.

One Acre’s model empowers farmers as well; they become investors in a viable enterprise, one they can pass on to their children and generations beyond. "We’re trying to alleviate hunger, but the long-term goal is intergenerationally," Mr. Forti says. "We’re trying to get families to be able to educate their children, and those children to be able to pull the whole family out of poverty."

Click this link to listen to the podcast, the Business of Giving.