Friday, May 6, 2016
|Photo from Harvard.edu|
Harvard University just launched a new Center for Health and Happiness, which was established by a $21 million initial gift. The center will focus on the study of psychological well-being and how it affects physical health.
“Would you rather live a long, happy, and healthy life, or a life that is merely without disease?” Laura Kubzansky, one of the center’s co-directors, said in a statement. “Medical and psychological practice and research have traditionally focused on the diseases and deficits that cause poor health. But there is real value in focusing on the positive side as well — the assets that keep us healthy or help us recover more quickly from disease and injury.”
The goal of the center is to advance scientific understanding of the link between a positive mindset and a positive social environment — things like close relationships with family and friends, a meaningful job, healthy exercise, enjoyable hobbies — with good physical health. Likewise, researchers hope to understand how negative social and mental circumstances — such as poverty and lack of relationships or meaningful employment — can impact health or longevity. Harvard scientists hope that the center's findings will eventually help influence health practice and policy.
In addition to new projects, the center will coordinate work among Harvard faculty, researchers and students in departments including health communications, psychology, medicine, nutrition, exercise physiology and more.
--Read more at Mother Nature Network
Thursday, May 5, 2016
My name is Sandra Gunn, Founder of LESLIE'S WEEK. This courageous woman, Leslie Twohig, is the inspiration for LESLIE’S WEEK and all women who are told, "You have Stage 4 Breast Cancer". Leslie M. Twohig passed away on April 2, 2011 after raging a war with Inflammatory Triple Negative Breast Cancer that metastasized to her bones.
LESLIE’S WEEK provides vacations for Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer women and their families. Our nonprofit began with a collection of donated vacation homes in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and has grown to include donated hotel stays and vacation homes nationwide. Our goal is to provide a place of peace and serenity where Stage 4 Breast Cancer women and their families create Memories that Outlast Cancer.
This program began in 2011 in coordination with Leslie’s nurse, Carol, at the Kimmel Cancer Center, who identified one family candidate in 2011 & 2012 for LESLIE’S WEEK. Our outreach extended and now includes nominations on our web site and families who are selected by third party Breast Cancer Centers throughout the country. The DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Cancer Center, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center are a few of our nominating partners. The mothers and their families are chosen regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, and age.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
--Excerpted and edited from The Chopra Center
… Charisma was first defined as a “gift of grace” … Essentially it boils down to cultivating more genuine, trusting relationships. By allowing ourselves to be more transparent to those around us, we are opening the door to deeper connections.
1. Go deep. It may feel more comfortable to keep conversation topics light when talking with someone you don’t know very well, but it’s difficult to know who they really are while discussing mundane subjects such as weather or traffic. By sharing personal information (within reason of course), you are able to show your true self, in turn making the other person feel comfortable enough to do the same.
2. Express your feelings. Charismatic people don’t hide from their feelings and they aren’t afraid to express them. By expressing how they feel, they’re acknowledging that they are imperfect, making them appear more authentic and real. But they don’t wallow in their emotions either.
3. Regulate your feelings. Emotions can have both a positive and negative effect on others, which is why charismatic people are careful in how they express and manage their own emotions. They don’t fly off the handle or have spontaneous outbursts. They understand the importance of appropriately and adequately expressing their emotions so as not to make others feel uncomfortable.
4. Listen to others (and show it)… by practicing active listening, you can make yourself and others feel better about the conversation. Active listening uses both body language and verbal cues to signal genuine interest and concern to the person speaking. Examples of active listening are:
- Sitting close to the speaker
- Leaning forward slightly
- Making eye contact
- Paraphrasing what the speaker said
- Validating the speaker’s thoughts and feelings
- Allowing comfortable silences
5. Call people by name. When you remember and repeat someone’s name in conversation, you are conveying to him or her that he or she is important.
6. Be interesting and interested. Charismatic people are excellent communicators and storytellers. They speak clearly, altering what they have to say and how they say it so as not to lose the interest of the other person…
Just as important (if not more so) is being interested in the other person. Asking questions and bringing up details from previous conversations shows genuine interest and curiosity.
7. Be present. Being present is key for cultivating charisma, which means putting away the cell phone and other distractions that pull you out of the moment.
|108,000 trees planted in homage. C. Coimbra photo|
Each household in Bhutan (all 82,000) planted a tree in homage, with a group of dedicated arborists adding on an additional 26,000 to hit the important figure of 108, which—in Buddhism—is the number of earthly desires blocking the path to enlightenment. Each tree planted removes one of the defilements along the path, as a kind of spiritual cleanse. It’s similar to each of the 108 bells that toll on New Year’s Eve in Japan, and why Buddhist monks make a point of bowing 108 times.
"We are now nurturing the plants as if we are nurturing the little prince,” a volunteer told the BBC, reflecting the Himalayan nation’s overwhelming commitment to both a sense of community and the environment.
Bhutan’s focus on the bigger, eco-friendly picture is largely connected to its Buddhist roots. More than 75 percent of the population practices the religion in which trees are honored and revered, and by law the country must be at least 60-percent covered by forests. “In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms. It symbolizes longevity, health, beauty, and even compassion,” Tenzin Lekphell, the planting organizer, explained.
Monday, May 2, 2016
|Photo from DIY website|
Plastic bags are one of the worst offenders of the wasteful products that are polluting the Earth's oceans and occupying the limited space of landfills. This isn't new information, yet Australians still dispose of approximately four billion recyclable plastic bags annually. Equivalently, 429,000 plastic bags are dumped into landfills each hour; or 7,150 are thrown away each minute.
So what can we do about it?
Opting to use green canvas bags for your grocery shopping is an effective option, but many people still have excess plastic bags lying about the place. Rather than throwing them out, you can reuse them by crocheting them into multi-purpose mats (known as 'plarn' – plastic yarn).
In particular plarn can be used as sleeping mats for people without access to shelter. As sleeping mats, they're more hygienic, water proof, easily transportable, and provide protection from the cold concrete. They're a welcome comfort to those living rough, while also keeping more plastic out of landfill and our marine systems!
Several charities across Australia have taken this initiative on board and have enthusiastically agreed to accept donations of plastic mats to be redistributed to the homeless. So get crochet crazy and improve the quality of life for those who need it most.
---From DIY, Crochet Plastic Bags into Sleeping Mats