Posts Tagged ‘health / wellbeing’
Sleep is one of the key ingredients for success. I have the perfect example to illustrate the point.
My son Tsoof is 18 years old. As his mother, I am slightly biased, but he is very smart and talented. He is in his third year of university and is excelling in everything. He is taking extra subjects, plays in three bands, he teaches two music classes and is simultaneously composing music and working on producing a show..
This week, I read an article that explained one of the reasons why Tsoof is so successful. He sleeps a lot.
Sounds funny, right? Keep reading to see what I mean.
The article I read talked about the damage of not getting enough sleep. Tsoof, from a very young age, was a good sleeper. When other kids in day care did not need to take an afternoon nap, he still slept in the afternoon. Later on, when he was in primary school and even in high school, no matter what movie was on or what he had to do for school, he slept an average of 10 hours a night. Our two daughters consider sleep to be a waste of time, but Tsoof never needed to be “encourage” to go to bed. Today, he is busier than ever before and he still averages over 9 hours a night.
Smoking is bad. Everyone knows that. Unfortunately not everyone understands it. Countless campaigns have tried and failed to encourage people to quit smoking but I think kids have the power to make a difference.
When I was growing up, my dad was a smoker. He was not one of those people who smoked a cigarette every once in a while. He smoked more than a packet a day. For my dad, smoking was a manly thing. While my mom never smoked, and my older sister fought with him about for years, he kept on smoking. Even at home, next to us. He had no intention of stopping. His excuse was, “I have been smoking for years. I can’t stop now”.
One day, he found out that my brother, who was about 16 years old, had smoked his cigarettes. He freaked out. I remember that day. He was furious. He ran around screaming like a crazy man. My sister, who was 17 years old at the time, said something to him that changed his perspective completely. She said, “How can you tell him smoking is bad for him if you smoke yourself?”.
These days, cancer seems to impact pretty much everyone. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer recently and Gal’s mom, who I loved very much, died from cancer about 8 years ago. For her, cancer was a long battle. She beat it over and over again for many years, until it beat her.
A very close aunt of mine died from cancer, and another aunt is fighting cancer for the third time now. Gal himself had cancer about 5 years ago.
And you know what? Life is not the same. Even if you are fortunate enough to recover, life is not the same anymore. It becomes divided between “before” and “after” the discovery.
For some people, cancer is a wake-up call that makes them embrace life and/or rearrange their priorities. Others drown themselves in self pity and completely let go of life.
Recently, I went to a networking breakfast. It was after some talk by the Australian Government about efficiency at work. They seem to have invested a lot of money in technology to improve efficiency. Unfortunately, they do not seem to feel there is a need to invest in people more than machines.
Let me tell you, this breakfast meeting made me stressed. Unemployment is stressful for people and creating machines to do the jobs of human beings is going to have some negative consequences. I realized that the hope that less and less people will need help managing their feelings though therapy and coaching is disappearing.
I do not know if you know this but in Australia, the number of people who take “sick leave” (or as they call it, a “sicky”) is quite extreme. I have to admit that this really surprised me because as yet, I have never in my life missed work because of sickness.
During a recent presentation, someone asked me to share some tips on how to feel good. In the first post of the series How to Feel Good, I shared the science of endorphins – the feel good hormones. In the second, I covered the science of smiling. In this post, I suggest another great way to feel good – taking time off.
Last year, I took time off from everything (home, work, kids and Gal) and went overseas to spend some time with my family. It was a wonderful reminder for me about why we have take time off to recharge out emotional batteries.
Taking time off from daily life can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. It helps us regenerate and start fresh. Sleep is the body’s natural way of giving us time off. It “forces” us to rest so we can function. Did you know that without sleep, we would die? If you want to torture someone, you do not need to hurt them. Just deprive them of sleep for 2-3 night. Just ask any mom!
In over 1,100 posts on this blog, I have covered a lot of topics that lead to happiness. Today, I want to talk a little bit about the flipside of happiness – depression, because depression is a big issue for many families these days.
There are many depressed couples, depressed parents and more and more depressed kids. The most concerning of these are parents who suffer from depression, because they often raise kids that cannot handle life very well.
Some say depression runs in families. That is not surprising because I think if you take a perfectly normal and healthy child and raise them in a house where one or both parents are depressed, they will definitely grow up to be troubled.
Depression is something people do not like talking about. I know many families in which the depressed parent is dragging the whole family down but no one says anything. It is very much like having a parent who is alcoholic or terminally ill. Everyone walks around on eggshells but tries not to say anything. Not always because they are afraid, but often because they have given up trying to speak up.
Media is one of the major contributors to the damaged body images we have in our society. Once, it was only girls, but now we have more and more boys suffering from low body image.
Movies and magazines show celebrities who look tall and slim, with smooth skin at every pose. It is no wonder people spend money on products to try to “fix” themselves. What they do not know is that the photos they see are heavily photo-shopped and that the person they see in the magazine never looked like that.
It seems fitting that we should use the media to fix the damage done by the media. That way, our daughters and sons can see it. Yes, the photo-shopped images are beautiful, but they are not normal.
The tip for today is a very simple way to feel good, instantly – smiling.
The good thing about smiling is that it a two way street – smiling creates a happy feeling, and feeling happy makes you smile. It does not matter where you start – the feeling or the smile. When we experience joy, the muscles in our brain contract and start a positive loop of feeling even more joy. This is not a new science. As early as the 1870s, Charles Darwin first suggested that facial expressions did not just express emotions, but could actually induce them.
Smiling has been studied for years. In 1989, psychologist Robert Zajonc compared the mood of participants asked to make the long “eee” sound (which involves the same muscles as smiling) and those who were asked to make a long “ooo” sound (which involves the same muscles as frowning). Zajonc found that the people who made the “eee” sound felt much better.
This week, at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked me to share some tips for feeling good during the question and answer section.
The request made me think of a few of things:
1. Be happy in life is all about feeling good.
2. I am a “feel good” coach. This is what I do for living – I teach people how to feel good.
3. I have thousands of tips to share. This blog alone has more than 1,000 posts so far and many of the posts contain more than one feel good tip.
This made me think that maybe presenting a topic in the form of tips might be easier for people to read and implement. So here goes. I am starting the Feel Good Tips series. I hope you can make good use of it.
Recently, I travelled overseas to visit my family. While there, I spent a fair bit of time with my parents who are both getting on in age. My father is 80+ and my mother recently turned 73. Surprisingly, my dad is the healthier of the two. My mom on the other hand, has been not healthy for as long as I can remember her. First it was high blood pressure, then diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, osteoporosis and the list goes on.
Even though my visit was only for a short time, my mother and her health issues were a drama once again. Thankfully, she is not what you would call “sick”. As in, she does not have a fatal illness or anything like that. She just always seems to be in pain, or complaining about her physical condition. She visits her doctor regularly and often ends up telling them exactly what she wants them to prescribe for her. If you ask how she is, she will immediately start telling you. My sister, who is a social worker, says this is simply part of getting old. That may be, but my dad is older than her and he is not like that. I have met other people the same age, and even older, that were not like that either. I find it hard to accept that this is part of getting old.