Close Ties With Grandparents Healthy

Sunday, September 8th is Grandparents Day!

Studies show when grandma and grandpa take an active role in their grandchildren’s lives, EVERYONE benefits.

According to Cleveland Clinic family medicine physician Neha Vyas, M.D., one big benefit grandparents can get comes from chasing after little ones.

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“We have noticed that grandparents who are involved in grandchildren’s, or surrogate grandchildren’s lives, are more active. They are entering their elderly years without as many aches and pains, because they have something that keeps them young and keeps them mobile.” – Neha Vyas, M.D.

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In addition to keeping grandma and grandpa on the move, research has shown that involved grandparents report having more meaning in their lives, as well as lower levels of stress and depressive mood.

Photo by Tristan Le on Pexels.com

When it comes to mom and dad, Dr. Vyas says having grandparents nearby can help ease the burden of child-caring, and overall stress.

And for grandchildren, research haws shown kids who get to spend a lot of time with grandma and grandpa tend to have fewer emotional and behavioral problems.

Kids soccer football – small children players exercising before match on soccer field

For families who are separated by geographical distance, Dr. Vyas said the technologically savvy can use videoconferencing apps to keep in touch.

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, Anthony Michael Hall, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Dana Barron, 1983

If not, calling on the phone and writing letters helps keep the lines of communication open too.

 

Dr. Vyas says it helps to be specific – tell grandparents your child’s teachers’ names and their friends’ names. This helps the grandparent and grandchild feel even more connected.

Kids gym class and excercise in gymnasium

If grandparents are very far away, and frequent visits are not possible, Dr. Vyas said it’s important for kids to be able to see what grandma and grandpa look like.

“It’s important to have lots of pictures – not just in the digital realm – but to print out those pictures and have them around your house, so that grandchildren can see what their grandparents look like, and to have that exposure on a day-to-day basis,” she says.

But, of course, Dr. Vyas admits nothing beats an in-person visit, so it’s good to try to plan a trip to grandma’s house whenever possible.

“There is some unconditional love between grandparents and grandchildren and when they go to grandma and grandpa’s house the rules may change, and that’s okay. As long as they’re temporary. Kids are good at compartmentalizing and realizing that there may be some rules that apply in one person’s house, and other rules that apply in their parents’ house.”  -Cleveland Clinic family medicine physician Neha Vyas, M.D.

HAPPY GRANDPARENT’S DAY!

Dedicated to my own beautiful grandparents who gave me the gift of health benefits.

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Nonna Angelina and Nonno Giuseppe

 

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Nonno Salvatore and Nonna Rosa
stayhealthy Blog contact: Maria.Dorfner@yahoo.com

7 Keys to Happiness

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Happiness and Health are like fraternal twins.

They are not identical, but they’re born at the same time.

They are interchangeable. If you feel healthy you feel happy.

If you feel happy, you’re more likely to feel healthy.

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So what’s the key to happiness?  I can tell you that if you think it’s a destination as in, “I will be happy when I retire and move to Florida” or “I’ll be happy when I’m on vacation next week” –you will not be happy.

KEY #1:  HAPPINESS IS WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW.  If you can be happy living in one room, you’ll be happy living in twenty.  If you’re not happy in one room, that will not change once the novelty of the twenty rooms wears off.

KEY #2:  FIND HUMOR IN TENSE SITUATIONS. Whenever you can’t control a situation, control how you react to it, which is essentially to not react to it. Respond with calmness, kindness, understanding, compassion or humor whenever you can.

KEY #3:  DON’T BE TENSE UNLESS YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE.   Even then, it’s the calm person more likely to get out safe.

KEY 4:  HAVE AT LEAST 1 FRIEND YOU TRUST 10o%.

This isn’t someone who lies, betrays, cheats, gossips or ignores. This is the non-judgmental son you can text: I tossed the garbage out in my robe and now I’m locked out at 3 a.m. friend who laughs first and then helps you figure out what to do next. Ok, maybe you need 3 friends like this.

KEY 5:  SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE.  Refer back to #4. These are people who know life is rarely a straight line. The journey is filled with hills and valleys. Positive people genuinely find the best in every situation and see the best in everyone. They are slow to judge others and they don’t gossip because the other person isn’t there to present their side, and if you’re over the age of nine you know there is another side.

KEY #6:  MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES.   Buy healthy, stock up on healthy food and water, walk daily, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and fresh air and you will feel better.  Replace bad comfort foods with healthier ones.  Remember perfect is the evil of good. Educate yourself on what is nutritious. There is a search button on this blog where you can type in nutrition or food to pull up prior blogs on that.

KEY7:   KNOW THAT NO ONE FEELS HAPPY ALL THE TIME.  Accept the ebb and flow as natural. You’re human and will feel different emotions each day.  You manage your state of mind by managing all the above, so that your dominant state is one of calmness and contentment.  Think of a pleasant thought right now.  Smile to yourself.  Hold that thought. Your brain just registered that you are happy.   You’re the only one who owns your Happiness keys.  Use all your senses to pick up on things to be happy and grateful for: birds chirping, quiet, music, time to be reading this blog, eyesight to be reading this.

Tony Robbins says, “Change your EXPECTATIONS for yourself or others to APPRECIATION.”      Love that.

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6 Things Happy People Never Do

by Guest Blogger,

Happiness is not something you postpone for future; it is something you design into present.

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Happiness, Heart & Health

Happy people do a lot of things.  They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.

But they NEVER…

1.  Mind other people’s business.

Forget about what others are doing.  Stop looking at where they are and what they have.  Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you.  YOU are walking your own path.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.  We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves.  So stop the comparisons!  Ignore the distractions.  Listen to your own inner voice.  Mind your own business.

Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day.  Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be.  Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU.  Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Seek validation of self-worth from others.

When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you.  And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.

How are you letting others define you?  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you.  People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life.  So forget what they think and say about you.  Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.

Those who accept you are your friends.  Those who don’t are your teachers.  If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true.  If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true.  Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem.  What other people call you is their problem…

What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.

3.  Rely on other people and external events for happiness.

Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need.  But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have.  We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy.  Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such.  Don’t let your happiness be held hostage.  It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.

As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be.  If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault.  Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier.  Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy.  Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.

The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation.  Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you.  A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)

4.  Hold on to resentment.

Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past.  What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.

We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.

Forgiveness is the remedy.  It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past.  To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you.  Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

5.  Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.

You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.  So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.

When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY.  When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.

Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself.  Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life.  You don’t need negative thoughts.  They are all lies.  They solve nothing.  All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.  (Read Buddha’s Brain.)

6.  Resist the truth.

It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth.  Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.  If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night.  You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular.  It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one.  It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live.  Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What’s something you should NOT do if you want to be happy?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

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About Guest Author, Marc Chernoff

Marc and Angel Hack Life

Marc and Angel Chernoff have been recognized by Forbes as having “one of the most popular personal development blogs.”  Through their blog, book, course and coaching, they’ve spent the past decade writing about and teaching proven strategies for finding lasting happiness, success, love and peace.

Marc and Angel both share a great passion for inspiring others to live to their fullest potential, and they honestly feel best when they are inspiring others to be their best.

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Check Out Their Wonderful Books and Blog at:  http://www.marcandangel.com/


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30% off my own books until midnight tonight!  Use code: OSCAR30 at  checkout.

Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/maria-dorfner/healthy-within/paperback/product-21813389.html

 

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30% off my own books until midnight tonight!  Use code: OSCAR30 at  checkout!
LINK:  http://www.lulu.com/shop/maria-dorfner/healthy-within/paperback/product-21813389.html

newsmd1   MARIA DORFNER, an award-winning health journalist, TV  writer and producer, including original health programming, is the founder of NewsMD Communications, LLC promoting best in class health startups, hospitals, non-profits, health books, physicians & health stories to national media & consumers. She is the founder of Healthy Within Network, a health content production, programming & distribution company.

This is her blog.

Contact:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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 “When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

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Experts Say Broken Heart Syndrome Is Real

 

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It might sound like a story line from a movie – a person suffering from a ‘broken heart.’

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While it’s not usually a fatal event, according to Steven Nissen, M.D., chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, there is such a thing as ‘Broken Heart Syndrome.’

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Broken Heart Syndrome is real.

 

Dr. Nissen said ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ is a type of cardiomyopathy and most often occurs after a person has suffered an extreme emotional experience.

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“When that happens, for reasons we don’t fully understand, there’s a surge of adrenaline in the body, and the result simulates a heart attack,” said Dr. Nissen.

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Cardiomyopathy vs. Heart Attack

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According to Dr. Nissen, during an episode of cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle actually stops contracting and as a result will look like a heart attack even when an electrocardiogram, or EKG, is performed.

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However, unlike a heart attack, there is no blockage present, just a contraction problem.

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Dr. Nissen said folks rarely die from ‘Broken Heart Syndrome,’ but they can become very sick.

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The good news is that people who experience this type of event can expect their heart muscle to return to normal after a few weeks.

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Gender differences

Dr. Nissen also said that for reasons not fully known, the condition effects more women than men.

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“More people that have this are women than men, probably at least four or five to one,” said Dr. Nissen.

“So it does occur more commonly in women, perhaps it’s because women experience emotions more strongly than men typically in our society.”

 

 

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Dr. Nissen stressed it’s very important to never assume that any chest pain or pressure is not a heart attack and that folks experiencing any type of heart-related symptoms should always call 9-1-1 first.

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VIDEO TRACK:

YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD IT IN THE MOVIES – A PERSON BECOMING SO SAD THAT THEY DIE OF A ‘BROKEN HEART.’

AND WHILE IT’S NOT USUALLY A FATAL EVENT, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS ‘BROKEN HEART SYNDROME.’

DOCTOR STEVEN NISSEN, A CARDIOLOGIST AT CLEVELAND CLINIC, SAYS ‘BROKEN HEART SYNDROME’ IS A TYPE OF CARDIOMYOPATHY (CAR-DEE-OH-MY-OP-ATHY), AND ITS SYMPTOMS MIMIC THOSE OF A HEART ATTACK.

HE SAYS BROKEN HEART SYNDROME MOST OFTEN OCCURS AFTER A PERSON HAS SUFFERED AN EXTREME EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE.

CG: Dr. Steven Nissen/Cleveland Clinic

When that happens, for reasons we don’t fully understand, there’s a surge of adrenaline in the body, and the result simulates a heart attack.” :10

VO (B-roll: heart monitors, EKG, echo, people in the emergency department)

DOCTOR NISSEN SAYS THAT DURING AN EPISODE OF BROKEN HEART SYNDROME, THE HEART MUSCLE ACTUALLY STOPS CONTRACTING AND AS A RESULT WILL LOOK LIKE A HEART ATTACK EVEN WHEN AN E-K-G IS PERFORMED.

HOWEVER, UNLIKE A HEART ATTACK, THERE IS NO BLOCKAGE PRESENT, JUST A CONTRACTION PROBLEM.

DOCTOR NISSEN SAYS FOLKS RARELY DIE FROM BROKEN HEART SYNDROME, BUT THEY CAN BECOME VERY SICK.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE THIS TYPE OF EVENT CAN EXPECT THEIR HEART MUSCLE TO RETURN TO NORMAL AFTER A FEW WEEKS.

DOCTOR NISSEN ALSO SAYS THAT FOR REASONS UNKNOWN, THE CONDITION AFFECTS MORE WOMEN THAN MEN.

CG: Dr. Steven Nissen/Cleveland Clinic

“More people that have this are women than men, probably at least four or five to one.”

So it does occur more commonly in women, perhaps it’s because women experience emotions more strongly than men typically in our society” :13

IT’S IMPORTANT TO NEVER ASSUME THAT ANY CHEST PAIN OR PRESSURE IS NOT A HEART ATTACK AND YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CALL 9-1-1 FIRST WHEN EXPERIENCING ANY TYPE OF HEART-RELATED SYMPTOM.
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NATIONAL MEDIA VIDEO FEED INFO:

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Stay healthy!

headshot     MARIA DORFNER is the founder of MEDCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network. She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Healthy Father’s Day! by Maria Dorfner

Dad finds a Bocce court in Napa Valley and proceeds to give the boys from Pittsburgh a few tips.
Dad finds a Bocce court in Napa Valley and proceeds to give the boys from Pittsburgh a few tips.

 

Prior to Father’s Day, I like to reflect back to what my Dad was doing at my age. I am so grateful he was and still is involved in my life. Involved Dads make for smarter, happier kids.  I was definitely a happy kid.  I don’t know about smart.  I was a straight B+ student at Saint Ephrem’s. I only ever got an A in English, but I  wanted straight A’s like Grace, the smartest girl in class.  College had me getting a 4.0 only in English, Psych and Marketing.  Reminds me of the hilarious song in the Off-Broadway play Avenue Q called, “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?”

Meantime, while I was busy trying but failing to get straight A’s, my Dad worked a bazillion hours, yet still managed to find time to spend with us.  Dad could have been the Tim Ferriss of Fathers and written “The 4-Hour Dad Week” because he was creative in terms of maximizing the minimum amount of time he had to spend with us.  He found time, even if it was a tad early.

I can still hear him yelling, “If you girls are ready at 3 a.m. I will drive you to college!!!  If you’re not ready, the car leaves without you!!!”  You girls were myself and my best friend, Rosemarie. We lived in Brooklyn and were starting Pace University in NYC, where our Dads worked in construction.  We still laugh at how we aced early bird Marketing because we had hours to kill studying.

Our Dads drove us each morning for four years, and even opened and closed the doors for us.  Chivalry was alive and well. Being earlybirds had benefits. We got to read the newspapers first and knew what was going on in the world before the rest of the world. Plus, no trains.

I’d been riding the subway since I was a kid.  I actually loved it, especially when the Big Apple came into view.  That faded when I had to learn to read people’s faces quickly or end up robbed or who knows what.  I grew up feeling safe until the infamous Son of Sam (David Berkowitz) terrorized our neighborhood by going on a brunette killing spree. The New York Post released a sketch of the suspect and it looked like everybody I knew.  Everybody.

So Dad, where were YOU last night at 0600 hours? Huh?

So, riding the subway suddenly meant sizing someone up quickly.  Roger Ailes who wrote my favorite book on Communication called, “You Are the Message” says you make your first impression within the first 5 seconds of meeting someone. Five seconds. 1…2…3…4…BAM. I got your number.  Our Dads already had this skill, and shared lots of stories while driving over the Brooklyn Bridge.

No need to talk first. In fact, Roger and my former agent who sadly passed away, Alfred Geller turn off the volume when they watch someone on-camera. Geller did that with my tape and exclaimed I belong in the #1 market before turning up the volume on the TV monitor in his seminar.  You see someone before you hear them. It’s not about what someone looks like –it’s about their energy. Ralph Waldo Emerson said who you are speaks louder than anything you say. Same on NYC subway. Back then, it assaulted all sense of sight, smell, touch and hearing. Taste too because if you ate anything, you’d feel nauseous.

So, Rosemarie and I were OVERJOYED to plan our entire college schedules around getting a luxury, stress-free, safe ride to school.

More importantly, it was quality time with the Dads. We never knew what they would ask us, and they took an interest in our classes. They’re both funny too.  After my Dad’s construction job he returned home, removed his dirty boots outside, showered and ran out to run a restaurant.  By this time, I’d be taking a train at City Hall to head over to my job as a sales associate at Sak’s Fifth Avenue or Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue.

When my entrepreneurial Dad wasn’t working two jobs, he did not go to the gym for fitness. He didn’t run. He did not play golf. My Dad loved a TV show called, “Bowling for Dollars.” It must have inspired him to take up the sport. He excelled at it. Strikes every time.

Recently, I notice three fingers on his right hand are dented as if he is still holding a bowling ball. It’s hilarious. I ask him about it and he says it’s from all those years bowling. I’ve never seen anything like that.  He had an amazing dance and spin he did like Fred Flinstone’s twinkle toes, only on steroids.  The ball spinned soooooo incredibly fast. I loved watching that.

STRIKE!!!

He also played Bocce. Funny, it just hit me that’s bowling too. It’s bowling without pins. Dad’s favorite Bocce court was at Dyker Heights Golf Course. Lots of running from one side of the bocce court to the other, so that was his outdoor gym. After school, my cousin Josephine and I rode our bikes there to see our Dads play. If they were winning they gave us a dollar or two.

We loved Biking for Dollars. The apples do not fall far from the tree.

Our Dads always greeted us warmly. “Aaaay look who it is!!!” It was like the opening theme song to the TV Show “Cheers.” “…sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name…and they’re always glad you came…”

Subsequently, a study of Chinese parents finds warmth matters. It’s a father’s warmth toward his child that is the ultimate factor in predicting the child’s future academic success. Imagine that.

In fact, involving fathers from the start in children’s lives has a significant positive impact on their development, including the greater economic security of having more than one parent. They call it the “father effect.” Involved fathers are present, even when they can’t physically be there. Mothers play a role in letting kids know what their Dads are doing and when they can spend time together.

Moms can also be The Mole at times. If my Dad asked a question, I knew that he knew that I knew The Mole already told him the answer. The words, “Wait until your father gets home” were serious business. But discipline meant he was involved. And as mentioned previously, studies say “involved dads” make for smarter, happier kids.

Sunday dinners with Dad after church was when we each were excited (or scared!) to fill him in on what we were doing. It was also when he did his Rain Man thing of asking, “Quick! How much is 345 + 7890 – 4498 + 8768 – 2?”

I didn’t know he was preparing me to be a researcher on The McLaughlin Show. The host of the politically-oriented talk show, John McLaughlin would yell out, “Gut this encyclopedia and do it in two seconds!” By the time I was director of research for Roger Ailes, I was like a human Google search engine.

Turns out, I have Dad to thank for that because him being present during those dinners was healthy for my brain. Numerous studies find children growing up in a household with a father present show superior outcomes in intelligence tests. Although, I wonder if he cancelled that out with the beatings when we got home late. Ha!

Back to the IQ advantage. It’s attributed to the way fathers interact with their children. Outdoor activities and playing with kids outweigh language-based ones. So Dad showing me how to play bocce and then yelling at me to get off the court expanded my brain more than the Italian Savant quizzing me during Sunday dinners. Interesting.

According to HappyChild.com.au a recent Canadian study from Concordia University finds girls whose fathers lived with them when they were age 6 to 10 demonstrate less anxiety when they are age 9 to 13. Being present is vital to having a positive impact and raising healthy kids.

Thank you to my Dad and to all the Dads out there who are and were present.  You’re loved and appreciated more than you know.

Healthy Father’s Day! I love you, Dad.

Love: What the World Needs Now by Maria Dorfner

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Today, I talk to Paul J. Zak about health, love and morality.

Zak has done extensive research into discovering what chemical in our brain ultimately prompts us to love.

So much so, that this son of a prior Catholic nun has a new nickname.

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Paul J. Zak is a scientist, prolific author, and public speaker. His book The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity was published in 2012 and was a finalist for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize.

He is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Zak also serves as Professor of Neurology at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard.

He is credited with the first published use of the term “neuroeconomics.” He organized and administers the first doctoral program in neuroeconomics. Dr. Zak’s lab discovered in 2004 that the brain chemical oxytocin allows us to determine who to trust.

His current research has shown that oxytocin is responsible for virtuous behaviors, working as the brain’s “moral molecule.”

This knowledge is being used to understand the basis for civilization and modern economies, improve negotiations, and treat patients with neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Zak’s work on relationships earned him the nickname “Dr. Love.”

Q & A with Paul J. Zak
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1.  First, what prompted you to write The Moral Molecule:  The Source of Love and Prosperity and what’s love got to do with it?

I think the oldest debate humans have had since we have been having debates is on whether our human nature is good or evil.  Think Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, etc.  We are really curious about this!

Of course, most of us can be incredibly kind and sometimes nasty.  I wanted to see if I could find a “switch” in the brain from naughty to nice and figure out what turns this switch on and off.  And, my mother, before she was my mother, was a Catholic nun.  So, growing up I was given a very black and white view of morality.

But, my observation was that morality was more situational.  So, I basically spent 10 years of research so I could argue better with my mother (!).  Based on research done on rodents, I hypothesized that the mammalian neurochemical oxytocin might be the moral molecule. My experiments (and replications and extensions by many others) have shown a key role for oxytocin in motivating positive social behaviors.  Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love molecule” as it sustains romantic bonds and motivates care for offspring.

So, love makes us moral.  I think my mom would agree with this!

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2.  Absolutely.  How does positive touch and psychological support promote health?

Oxytocin motivates moral behaviors–even among strangers–by making us feel empathy where we share the emotions of others.

It promotes human interactions by reducing stress responses and thereby improving the immune systems.  Perhaps surprisingly, it is other people who keep us healthy (and, we’ve shown, happy).

We need connections, our brains and bodies crave it. We have shown that touch releases oxytocin.  So, I recommend 8 hugs a day.  Hug a stranger–its good for them and for you.

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3.  I’m Italian, so hugs come naturally. What if someone is alone?  Can they raise oxytocin levels?

Loneliness is stressful for social creatures like humans.  But, people who are alone can “hack” the oxytocin/connection system in several says.First of all, get a pet.  Our experiments have shown that dogs are better oxytocin promoters than are cats, but any pet is probably good.Second, use social media.  We have shown in experiments that social media of all types cause oxytocin release.  Third, massage is very healthful and causes oxytocin release (or start hugging people).

Lastly, nearly any activity that people do together can cause oxytocin release, including singing, dancing, going to movies, riding a roller coaster and especially helping others.

All these behaviors can “train the brain” to be better at connecting to people by increasing our oxytocin release.

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4.  Great tips.  All in moderation.  In your book you say love is also the source to prosperity. Let’s talk about that.  I read 90% of well-educated men who have graduated from college are ready for marriage between the ages of twenty-six to thirty-three-years-old.  These are the high commitment years.  Studies show a never married man at age forty-two becomes a confirmed bachelor.  Is oxytocin higher during the high commitment years making them able to trust and bond, as  older men get jaded?

High testosterone, our experiments have shown, is a powerful oxytocin inhibitor.  Testosterone falls in men after age 30 or so.  It also falls when men are in committed relationships and when they have children.  So, younger men may need a romantic partner to “tame” them so they can better attach to others.

Like any other brain system (or the French you took in 5th grade), the brain reduces the energy spent to maintain brain pathways that are little used.  Low attachment opportunities may make it harder in the future to find a mate.  A dog, though, is a good place to start.  Dogs also make being approached by strangers easier.  Go dogs!

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5.  Pets are amazing.  How about studies that consistently find a significant correlation between length of marriage and wealth accumulation?  Most millionaires are and stay married.  According to Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, author of “The Millionaire Mind” millionaires and those who will probably attain this status have a unique ability to select mates with a certain set of qualities:  Honest, Responsible, Loving, Capable & Supportive.  Does love keep you healthy AND wealthy?  If so, how?
 

Married men work harder, make more money, are happier, and live healthier and longer.  This is likely due to the anxiolytic effects of oxytocin.

High wealth men tend to have higher testosterone, so both marriage partners need to make love/romance a committment to keep the flame of oxytocin alive.

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6. I’ve also read certain foods release oxytocin naturally.  Namely, pasta with garlic and tomato sauce,  (happy to hear as an Italian!) plums, apples, turkey, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, cottage cheese, chick peas, oregano and another favorite, chocolate!  Have I left anything out?
Actually, oxytocin is such a primitive molecule we never run out of its building blocks.  Foods rich in phytoestrogens can make us more sensitive to oxytocin (perhaps by increasing oxytocin receptors though this has not been shown in humans yet).  These foods include soy, broccoli, tea, wine.
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7.  What are some more natural ways of releasing this love hormone to stay healthy? (i.e. pets, warm bath, soothing music)
Besides those listed above, moderately stressful events like travel or riding a roller coaster will raise oxytocin.  The best way to spike one’s
oxytocin is sex in a committed relationship.  Cuddling, holding hands, kissing will all do it.  Warm temperature helps, as does sharing a meal.
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8.  Nice.  Why hasn’t everyone been prescribed oxytocin in the nasal spray form to boost their well-being?
The spray inhibits the brain’s ability to control the release of oxytocin.  The brain’s oxytocin system is finely tuned so that oxytocin is released when we have a positive social interaction and then release is shut off.  You don’t want to leave the trust switch turned “on” at all times, this could be dangerous.  There is also evidence in animals that long-term oxytocin treatment can damage oxytocin receptors so the trust-empathy system could, over time, begin to fail.
9.  Interesting. Recently, there have been studies linking oxytocin with having a healthier body image. What are your thoughts on it being used as a treatment for anorexia, body dysmorphia or any other number of body image disorders?
My lab has done many studies of oxytocin replacement therapy.  For short to moderate periods of time, in combination with counselling, this is an appropriate approach for some patients with body imaging disorders.  The first line treatment would be with SSRIs like Prozac or Paxil and it turns out that this class of drugs moderately increases oxytocin in the brain.
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10.  Prescription drugs can have serious side effects so I’d like to focus on natural ways to release oxytocin. If someone were to begin doing all the natural things you mention, how long would it take them to begin feeling better and healthier?

Almost immediately!  Oxytocin is released in about 1 second after a positive contact.  If you follow Dr. Love’s (my nickname) prescription of 8 hugs a day, then you are training the brain to release oxytocin more easily.

That’s the key to being happier and healthier (and exercise and eat well wouldn’t hurt, either).

THAT ENDS OUR INTERVIEW. THANK YOU DR. ZAK FOR JOINING US.  THANK YOU FOR READING. -Maria
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If you’d like to learn more about Paul J. Zak’s amazing work visit http://www.pauljzak.com or watch his Global TED Talk at link below.
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Healthy Love Is Like Healthy Water by Maria Dorfner

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Healthy love is like healthy water. Transparent. You can see to the bottom of the pool or ocean.
 
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5 C‘s are crystal clear: caring, communicating, compassion, connecting and commitment. 

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When water is mysteriously murky, withholding and uncommunicative –creepy things may pop up.

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You end up mentally, emotionally, financially or physically dead.

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Healthy love is about respect & honesty.   Relaxing being together or apart.  It feels safe. 

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Healthy love lifts you up like an awesome wave.  It screams You are SPECIAL in a crowded world.  
 
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It says, I can be with anyone, but I choose you. I choose you because I love you.
 
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Healthy love:  Caring, Communicating, Compassion, Connecting, Commitment.   🙂
 
 
 
 
 
#healthy #trust #heart #love

5 Ways To Help Teens & Kids Cope Post Trauma

Today’s teens and kids are exposed to unpredictable adult-like stressors. 

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I spoke with Kate E. Eshleman, Psy.D., | Pediatric Psychologist| Pediatric Behavioral Health| Children’s Hospital, at Cleveland Clinic and contributing expert to MEDCRUNCH.

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She offers advice on how to help children and teens cope post trauma. 

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1. How can parents help children and teens after a traumatic event  , albeit a natural disaster or death?

There are many ways parents can help their children and teens cope. It is important for parents to make themselves available to their children, such that the kids can approach their parents if they are having any difficulties. It is appropriate for parents to check in and ask how their children are doing, but it is also important to be aware that not all children will want to talk or ask questions, and parents can take cues from their kids.

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If parents are observing that their children seem upset but are not wanting to discuss, they can try and engage them in distracting activities such as a family movie night, going on an outing (i.e., dinner or a fun activity), or every day errands such as to the grocery, anything to assist in getting the children’s minds off of what is bothering them.

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2. Does maintaining daily routines help, such as sitting down to dinner nightly?

Maintaining a routine is definitely important, as it assists in keeping some normalcy, even if things do not seem “normal.” Continuing to have the same expectation of the children’s behavior and activity is important, though if there are significant things going on, it may be okay to have a little more flexibility around those routines. Nightly, or at least regular, dinners are always important. This is a great opportunity to ask your children questions and/ or allow them to discuss their day. This will also be a good time for parents to observe/ assess for any changes in their children’s mood or behavior.

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3. What questions should parents ask children who seem withdrawn or anxious?

There are not necessarily specific questions that should be asked, but rather very general questions such as “how was your day?” or “anything on your mind?” More important than the specific question, is parents’ inquiring into how the child is doing, showing that they care and are interested in what the child is thinking/ feeling, and providing the opportunity for the child to discuss if (s)he is interested.

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 4. What healthy habits help? Should anything be increased/decreased during highly stressful times?

Healthy habits include eating well, getting rest, and being physically active. While these are relatively simple concepts, they are not always easy to implement, and can often be the first to go when times become busy and stressful. It may be helpful to prioritize what needs to be done and by when, and making sure to schedule in the healthy activities (i.e., finding a time to go to the grocery so there is food in the house, avoiding the need to stop and grab fast food on the way home, or planning to start a homework project on the weekend, so a child is not up late the night(s) before it is due). It is also important to maintain fun and enjoyable activities during stressful time, to provide a break from the stressors and an opportunity to relax and enjoy one’s self.

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5. Should parents share their own fears with kids or not?

 This one probably depends on several things. As a general rule of thumb, children should not have to worry about adult issues, as they are plenty busy worrying about kids’ issues. If it can be avoided, it is recommended that parents not openly discuss their concerns with or in front of the children. It is also important to note that children, beginning from an early age, take their cues from their parents, so even if parents are not verbalizing their thoughts and concerns, the children may be aware of what is going on, thus it is important for parents to monitor their own behavior and reactions. This being said, it is important for parents to tell their children the truth in a developmentally appropriate way, so if there is something happening that is directly affecting the children, it will be important for children to have some awareness of those things.

 

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Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones in Oklahoma.

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Stay healthy & safe, everyone.

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Cleveland Clinic is ranked one of the top hospitals in America by U.S.News & World Report (2012). Visit them online at http://www.clevelandclinic.org for a complete listing of services, staff and locations.

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How to Raise a Happy Baby and Child

How to raise a happy baby and child (birth to 12 mo.)

by Jill Storey
How to calm a crying baby
 
What makes children happy may surprise you. Child development experts who study the subject say that happiness isn’t something you can give a child like a prettily wrapped present.

In fact, says Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, over-indulged children — whether showered with toys or shielded from emotional discomfort — are more likely to grow into teenagers who are bored, cynical, and joyless.

“The best predictors of happiness are internal, not external,” says Hallowell, who stresses the importance of helping kids develop a set of inner tools they can rely on throughout life.

True for adults too.  My health TV series, “Healthy Within” is based on this simple concept.

The good news is you don’t have to be an expert in child psychology to impart the inner strength and wisdom it takes to weather life’s ups and downs. With patience and flexibility, any parent can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of happiness.

Learn to read the signs

As your child matures from a newborn to a more interactive baby by the age of 6 months, he’ll become a master at showing you when something makes him content or upset.

His face lights up in a heart-melting smile when you enter the room, or he wails when someone takes away his favorite toy. And you’ve probably noticed that he flips between smiling and crying faster than you can pop a pacifier in his mouth.

According to Lise Eliot, a pediatric neuroscientist and author of What’s Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, a baby is so mercurial in his emotions because his cerebral cortex, which controls automatic responses, is barely turned on yet.  

As the cerebral cortex develops over the coming years, your child will be able to better control his behavior and moods.

If it seems your baby spends more time wailing than giggling, that’s because babies actually experience distress earlier than happiness.

Crying and distressed facial expressions are there for a reason, explains Eliot. They serve as an SOS to motivate the caregiver to fix whatever’s wrong.

But if your baby is crying, how do you know if he’s in pain, hungry, or just bored? “A sensitive mother can pick up on different kinds of cries and facial expressions,” says Paul C. Holinger, professor of psychiatry at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago.

“The eyebrows, the mouth, and vocalizations are all signaling systems for the baby.”

For example, a baby in physical distress will cry with the corners of his mouth turned down and his eyebrows arched in the middle.

With anger, your baby’s face becomes flushed, his eyebrows turn down, his jaw clenches, and he lets out a roar.  Most parents recognize that a fearful, easily upset baby isn’t a happy camper, but Holinger finds that many parents don’t recognize that anger is simply excessive distress.

“If there’s a loud noise or bright light,” he says, “the child will show signs of distress. If that noise or light continues to increase, the feeling turns to anger.”

Carrie Masia-Warner, a child psychologist and associate director of the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Institute at the New York University School of Medicine, warns that you shouldn’t read too much into your baby’s moods.

“I wouldn’t call babies happy or unhappy,” she says. “They’re content or not content based on something in their immediate environment.”

While the youngest infants don’t really feel happy when they look happy, the good news is they’re not emotionally aware when they’re screaming, either.

Eliot explains that the “cortical emotion centers” of your baby’s brain don’t begin to function until he’s 6 to 8 months old, when he starts to feel the emotions that seem so vivid on his face.

Your baby probably has his own ways of showing you when he’s not content. Some babies may cry, while others become clingy.

As you get to know your own child’s temperament, you’ll become better at learning the signs that something’s not right in his world. For more insights into your child’s natural temperament, check out the article, “Are children born happy?”.

Make room for fun

Although a colorful crib mobile and her first taste of applesauce may bring a smile to your baby’s face, what makes your baby happiest is much simpler: you.  And that’s the first key to creating a happy child says Hallowell.

“Connect with your baby, play with her,” he advises. “If you’re having fun with your baby, she’s having fun. If you create what I call a ‘connected childhood,’ that is by far the best step to guarantee your child will be happy.”

Play creates joy, but play is also how your child will develop skills essential to future happiness.

As she gets older, unstructured play will allow her to discover what she loves to do — build villages with blocks, make “potions” out of kitchen ingredients, paint elaborate watercolors — which can point her toward a career that will seem like a lifetime of play.

Play doesn’t mean music class, organized sports, and other structured, “enriching” activities. Play is when children invent, create, and daydream.

Help them develop their talents

Hallowell’s prescription for creating lifelong happiness includes a surprising twist: Happy people are often those who have mastered a skill.

For example, when your baby figures out how to get the spoon into his mouth or takes those first shaky steps by himself, he learns from his mistakes, he learns persistence and discipline, and then he experiences the joy of succeeding due to his own efforts.

He also reaps the reward of gaining recognition from others for his accomplishment. Most important, he discovers he has some control over his life: If he tries to do something, he can eventually do it.

Hallowell says that this feeling of control through mastery is an important factor in determining adult happiness.

Hallowell warns that children, like adults, need to follow their own interests, or there’ll be no joy in their successes.

Healthy bodies, happy children

Again, the following can be said of adults too. Healthy bodies, happy adults!

Lots of sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet are important to everyone’s well-being, especially children’s.

Giving your baby plenty of space to release her energy, whether that means kicking her legs in the air, crawling toward a beloved ball, or going back and forth — over and over and over — in the infant swing at the park, will help put her in a good mood.

And pay attention to your baby’s need for structure: While some babies are very easygoing, most thrive and feel more settled with a set schedule.

You might also want to pay attention to any connection between your baby’s mood and particular foods; some parents find that while sugar can give their child an energy boost, it can also lead to fussiness.

Food allergies and sensitivities may also play a role in your child’s behavior and mood. If you’re nursing, you may find that your baby becomes fussy after you eat certain foods. Talk to your child’s doctor if you suspect that your baby’s formula or diet is linked to signs of distress.

Let them struggle with problems

In the first six months of a baby’s life, it’s important for parents to respond to their infant’s needs. “You can’t spoil a baby,” says Masia-Warner.

But after about six months, if you run over at every little hiccup, you’re taking away an important learning opportunity. Masia-Warner says it’s good to let babies cry a little as long as you’re giving them lots of positive affection and attention the rest of the time.

But, you say, I’m supposed to be creating a happy child! Shouldn’t I swoop down and make everything better? In fact, Masia-Warner sees this as a big mistake many loving, well-meaning parents make.

“Parents try to make it better for their children all the time, to make them happy all the time. That’s not realistic.

Don’t always jump in and try to fix it,” says Masia-Warner. “Children need to learn to tolerate some distress, some unhappiness. Let them struggle, figure out things on their own, because it allows them to learn how to cope.”

In your baby’s first year, he’s learning so many things: to sit up, crawl, grasp objects, walk, and talk. Each accomplishment brings him confidence and satisfaction in his achievement.

So don’t hurry to pick up the rattle he just dropped or the teddy bear he’s struggling to reach: Give him some time and encouragement to pick it up himself.

Hallowell agrees that allowing children a range of experiences, even the difficult or frustrating ones, helps build the reservoir of inner strength that leads to happiness.

Whether a child’s 7 months old and trying to crawl or 7 years old and struggling with subtraction, Hallowell tells parents, he’ll get better at dealing with adversity simply by grappling with it successfully again and again.

Allow them to be sad or mad

When your baby gets older, you can encourage her to label her feelings and express them verbally. Even before she can talk, you can show her pictures of faces and ask her which one is feeling the same way she is.

Young children will pick up very quickly on “affect” words such as “happy” or “angry.” When they can put words to their emotions, they gain a whole new capacity to recognize and regulate their feelings.

However, Masia-Warner warns, you shouldn’t overreact to your child’s negative feelings. “It’s normal for kids to become oversensitive or clingy or nervous at times because of something in their environment, but it’s not unhappiness.”

You’ll find this is especially important as your child grows. When your child pouts in a corner during a birthday party, your natural reaction may be to push her to join in the fun.

But it’s important to allow her to be unhappy. Hallowell is concerned that “some parents worry any time their children suffer a little rejection, they don’t get invited to the birthday party, or they cry because they didn’t get what they wanted.”

Children need to know that it’s okay to be unhappy sometimes — it’s simply part of life. And if we try to squelch any unhappiness, we may be sending the message that it’s wrong to feel sad. We need to let them experience their feelings, including sadness.

Be a role model

According to Dora Wang, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and mother of 3-year-old Zoe, research shows that you can pass on your temperament to your children — not necessarily through your genes — but through your own behavior and childrearing style.

For better or worse, children pick up on their parents’ moods. Even young babies imitate their parents’ emotional style, which actually activates specific neural pathways.

In other words, when you smile, your baby smiles and his brain becomes “wired” for smiling. Similarly, if you have a colicky baby who cries for hours, the best thing you can do is to stay calm, because babies pick up on their caregivers’ stress.

With a new baby, it’s normal to feel tired and overwhelmed, but if you find yourself constantly stressed out or depressed, it’s important to seek help.

“Parents who tend to be depressed are often not good at being consistent with their discipline and providing structure, or at providing consistent praise and having fun with their children. All of this can contribute to emotional problems,” says Masia-Warner.

Teach them to do meaningful things

As your baby matures, she can be taught — with even the smallest day-to-day lessons — how satisfying it is to help others. Research shows that people who have meaning in their lives feel less depressed.

Even as early as 10 months, you can teach your child the satisfaction of give and take. If you give her a bite of banana, let her do the same by feeding you a piece.

Show her how happy her gesture of generosity made you feel. If you brush her hair, give her a chance to brush yours. These small moments can nourish a sensibility toward sharing and caring for others.

As your baby grows into a toddler, simple household chores, such as putting her dirty clothes in the hamper or setting the table, can help a young child feel that she’s making a contribution.

Sound Off
Do you worry about whether your child is happy? Take our poll and tell us.

The BabyCenter Seven: Ways to turn your child’s frown upside down

What do you do when your child’s in a slump? We asked BabyCenter parents, who shared their favorite tried-and-true tips to chase away the blues and bring a smile to their child’s face.

Read all seven tips for cheering up your child.

I love The BabyCenter. Make sure you visit them at www.babycenter.com.   Check out the wonderful Free Apps below if you’re expecting. ~Maria

 
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Hope you learned something.  Stay healthy!  🙂 

Healthy Leadership: Commitment Ignites Action

For as long as I can remember my Dad always said,  “You’re either IN or you’re OUT. Make up your mind.”  When I was a kid, I watched him play Baci (Italian bowling on dirt outdoors) and I heard him yell this out when teams were being created.  You’re either IN or you’re OUT.  The tone was get out of the way if you’re out.

He would also say it if he was going somewhere and wanted to know who was joining him or if anyone in the family, including myself, was undecided about anything in life.  Dad does not suffer fools and to him anyone who is wishy-washy or ambiguous as we say after college — is a fool.   The way he sees it if you have one leg in the car and one leg out, you’re going to get crippled.  Either put both legs in the car or get out of the car all together.  He will not ignite the engine of the car until you make up your mind.

Later, I learned NBA Legends on Management and my Dad think alike.  Pat Riley said, “You’re either IN or you’re OUT.  There is no such thing as life in-between.”   Dad could probably play Pat Riley in a film.  Since Dad’s not an actor, they got someone who reminds me of Dad — Al Pacino.   Pacino will star as Pat Riley in the tentatively titled Showtime.”

What my Dad and Riley are really talking about is COMMITMENTGoethe agrees with them too.

Goethe said, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Michael Jordon knows about commitment.  He said, “I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat…I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.”

We can rewind to 1835 to find John Anster saying,  “Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed.”

On pages 214-30 in Faust, there is a passage that reads:

“When indecision brings its own delays, And days are lost lamenting over lost days.  Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Why so much hulabaloo about COMMITMENT?

According to Prism, Ltd., the most important single factor in individual success is COMMITMENT. Commitment ignites action. Turns out, Dad and Pat Riley know what they’re talking about.

To commit is to pledge yourself to a certain purpose or line of conduct. It also means practicing your beliefs consistently. There are, therefore, two fundamental conditions for commitment. The first is having a sound set of beliefs. There is an old saying that goes, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” The second is faithful adherence to those beliefs with your behavior. Possibly the best description of commitment is “persistence with a purpose”.

Many successful business people are hailed as visionary leaders. On careful inspection they are found to be individuals who hold firmly to a simple set of commitments, usually grounded in beliefs such as “the best product money can buy”, or the highest possible customer service“. It is the strength of these commitments, religiously followed, that led to their business success.

WHERE TO PRACTICE COMMITMENT

It appears that effective leaders hold dearly to a half dozen commitments. The first, and most basic, of these is a commitment to a set of values, principles or beliefs. These underlying principles define both the organization’s uniqueness and the fundamental direction in which it wants to head. This first commitment leads to a common vision and purpose within the organization.

The second commitment is to oneself, to how one acts as a leader. An effective leader possesses a strong sense of personal integrity and self confidence. This leads to a willingness to share the credit for success. Another side to this commitment is a deliberate emphasis on continual self-improvement.

The combination of a strong, positive commitment to self and to a set of principles serve as a foundation to effectively maintain the remaining four commitments. These commitments are to: customers, results, employees, and the organization.

Everyone has a customer and is a customer to someone else. Customers are usually thought of as external to the organization who needs your product or service. A question worth asking is, “How much are others willing to pay for my work?” The price your customers are willing to pay measures its values in their eyes.

Besides serving customers, all organizations target specific results. Given the large number of demands placed on all of us, it is important to concentrate on achieving the most important goals and objectives. Commitment to results is largely determined by how clear priorities are, what actions get rewarded, and what risks are being taken to improve intended results.

The next commitment is to the people. The quality of the organization’s commitment to customers and results is largely based upon the quality of its commitment to people. The simple reason for this is that it is these people who serve the customer and achieve results. How are people treated in the organization? Commitment to people is largely the product of treating people with respect, challenging them, and giving them effective feedback on how they are doing.

The final leadership commitment is to the larger organization. Other departments, higher management, the organization’s overall strategy & mission are important. Communication is the key with this commitment. How people talk to, and about, each other greatly affects the quality of cooperation. How open are the channels of communication up, down, and across? Can management be challenged? Will people support management decisions and changes?

Balancing all six commitments is the key to well directed leadership. When management supports its employees, they will be able and willing to achieve intended results, When these results support customer needs and expectations, customers will support the organization with their business. A strong and healthy organization can then continue to show commitment to its people. The glue that holds this process together is the values and leaders in the organization.

HOW TO PRACTICE COMMITMENT

Effectively demonstrating commitment to others, to the organization’s basic principles, and to oneself is never easy. The truth is, demonstrating commitment is hard work. Wavering commitment is usually seen as no commitment at all. The only way to achieve a reputation for commitment is through determination and persistence. Genuine commitment stands the test of time.

Day to day, commitment is demonstrated by a combination of two actions. The first action is called supporting. Genuine support develops a commitment in the minds and hearts of others. This is accomplished by focusing on what is important and leading by example. It is not uncommon for people to be either confused as to what is important, or lose sight of it over time. Supporting means concentrating on what adds value, spotlighting what’s working, and rewarding others who are focusing on what is important and leading by example. A crucial aspect of true support is standing up to those who would undermine commitment, those whose words or actions show disrespect.

The second action underlying commitment is called improving. Improving stretches our commitment to an even higher level. Commitment means a willingness to look for a better way and learn from the process. It focuses on eliminating complacency, confronting what is not working, and providing incentives for improvement. The spirit of improving is rooted in challenging current expectation and ultimately taking the risk to make changes. These changes are based more on an optimism in the future than dissatisfaction in the past. It is embodied in the reply of car maker Professor Porsche, who, when asked which was his favorite model in the long line of Porsche automobiles replied: “I haven’t built it yet!”

It is the combination of both supporting and improving behaviors that makes up the practice of commitment. Separately neither action is capable of sustaining commitment. Promoting alone can come across as a shallow and pollyannish. Continuous improvement can be seen as “good is never good enough”. Together they provide a needed balance. Both are essential to commitment.

WHEN COMMITMENT IS MOST IMPORTANT

Commitment is most difficult and most readily proven during tough times. How someone weathers the storms most clearly demonstrates their basic beliefs. In antiquity, Epicurus stated: “…a captain earns his reputation during the storms.” When your competition scores big against you, when the money dries up, or when the glamour of success wears off, this is when it is easiest to compromise your commitments. The real test comes when you can hold the line against the easy route of compromise.

Fortunately, paying the price that commitment commands has payoffs worth the cost – a reputation for integrity and, even more important, the commitment of others in return. Commitment is a two-way street. You only get it if you are willing to give it.

Source: Prism, LTD

The above can be applied to other areas of your life.  Commitment ignites action.  Think about that. You commit first.  Then, you do.  Where does that begin? Your mind.  Thought. It’s one of the reasons good things take time. Bad things happen fast.  It’s because we “think” about good things before taking action.  It’s not uncommon for people to get asked, “What were you thinking?” when something bad happens. The response is usually, “I wasn’t.”  Take some time to think about what you are committed to and what steps (action) you need to take to ignite that goal.  This can be applied to Business, Health, Fitness, Sports, Relationships, and Finances.

“There is a difference between interest and commitment.  When you’re interested you do it only when circumstances permit.  When you’re committed, you accept no excuses, only results.”

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’ ~Goethe

“Commitment doesn’t mean you never fail.  It means you commit to a specific outcome, so you continue to take actions  until you get desired results. The actions you take may change, but your commitment to the result never wavers.” ~Maria Dorfner

English: From the left: Shaquille O'Neal, Pat ...
Image via Wikipedia

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