Kill ‘Em With Kindness
What is it with road rage? I get a big kick out of people who aggressively tailgate (the gals) and cut me off (the guys). Well, I get a kick out of it to the extent that I can while attempting to make it to the store in one piece. And I have to admit, I do get immense personal satisfaction out of not getting too riled up over these nitwits who feel a few inches of steel turns them into invincible tank lords (uh…hi, I can still see through your windows, genius).
Nothing kills ‘em quite like kindness.
And laughing it off – or at least letting it roll off if you can’t quite summon a smile – seems to have a ripple effect on everyone you come across. This is my own personal study, of course, but I believe it works. When I start my morning right – not just when things are going well but especially when things are not – the rest of the day manages to work out a lot better.
Dry cleaner stained your clothes? Bank line taking forever? Waiter messed up your order? Try laughing, smiling and making a joke of it. It’s amazing what happens: the first thing you’ll notice is the incredible relief flooding the other person’s face. They’ll bend over backwards to fix it (and if not, well, you tried). The next time you stop in, you’ll be treated like royalty.
It’s so easy to get frustrated – we’re in a rush, we’re stressed, we need it now! And it’s tempting to vent and make demands, especially with service staff, because frankly, we can get away with it. After all, we have a right to be pissed off. But no one – most importantly, not even you – walks away happy.
It’s not news, but it’s a good reminder every now and again.
Just watch out for the 16-year-old in his mama’s Escalade. Sometimes there’s no helping that one.
Here’s your challenge:
Develop one really healthy habit this week. It doesn’t take long to form a habit, good or bad. Here are a few suggestions: floss, exercise, drink less alcohol, double your vegetables, eat a daily salad, lift weights, practice gratitude, be generous to someone. Report back, Apples!
(Carlo Winkelmann photo)
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Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
News to click before you sneak out of the office for the weekend.
Funny, we remember it was only a year ago that the government was emphatically denying any mad cow problems in the U.S. Then, the Alberta beef contamination scare hit. (And about a million conspiracy theories.) Next, we witnessed a spate of food poisoning incidents in everything from spinach to peanut butter. Surely something is going on, because now this protocol is scheduled to begin. Dare we say…progress?
Burger suppliers are in a twist because they don’t want inspectors dropping by unannounced – they like the current system of self-policing and occasional inspector
wink-winks check-ins. Well, yeah, who wouldn’t? Strangely, even consumer advocacy groups are taking issue with this new risk-based protocol (they say it’s all happening too fast). We’re starting to think it’s not the cows who are mad.
We’ve been bringing you news on trans fat for several months now, Apples, and here’s the latest from the fryer:
NYC, Philly, and L.A., plus an entire state – Massachusetts – are working to ban trans fats. Fabulous. (Well, actually, Los Angeles is merely reminding everyone they never ate trans fat to begin with.) But we digress.
There’s a growing problem with the trans fat furor, and it highlights a problematic issue with Americans and our health efforts. We tend to gravitate to “super” foods, “miracle”nutrients and “perfect” new diets, rather than following a generally healthy diet of moderation. By the same token, we ridicule, ban and boycott newly-discovered unhealthy foods and ingredients with a level of collective loathing only outdone by our feelings about garden slugs.
To wit: we’re now banning trans fats, but eating the same old garbage. It’s taken about three seconds for restaurants and food companies to create reasonable fat substitutes for trans fat. Notice, no one is getting rid of the French fries, potato chips and pastries; we’re just using a different fat. Trans fat may be going the way of skinny jeans, but the same old fattening, sugary junk is still lining shelves and spilling out of drive-through windows everywhere.
“Trans fat-free chips” may sound great, because we know trans fat is bad, but that doesn’t make the chips any healthier to eat.
Women and Depression
Though recent studies have confirmed that just as many men suffer from depression as women (they’re just less likely to seek help), depression manifests in different ways depending on gender. One possibility: depressed women may self-medicate with alcohol more intensely than men. It’s difficult for scientists to pinpoint, because it’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Does depression cause alcoholism or does alcoholism cause depression? Or are they simply manifestations of a single root health issue?
(Christy Thompson photo)
A completely unscientific observation from Sara and Jen: it does appear that women’s television shows are featuring heavy drinking more frequently than ever. Sex in the City was well-known for its endless cocktails – hey, it made Cosmopolitans famous. But shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Men in Trees and others feature stressed-out young women pounding shots whenever they’re upset (didn’t it used to be ice cream?). Scientists do say that when it comes to drinking, women are “keeping up” with men in increasing numbers.
What do you think, Apples?
Web it out:
Vegan Lunch Box turned us on to this great article about the difference between soda and fruit juice (the answer: not much). The article isn’t brand-spanking-new, but since the unethical bloodsuckers over at Capri Sun and Sunny D are still raking in the cash, it could use a little clickativity. Spread the word, Apples.
The Tuesday 10:
Smoking. You know you need to quit. Not exactly easy when Big Puff keeps increasing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes – how do these people sleep at night?
We’ll spare you the terrible health facts – if you’re here, if you want to quit, you probably already know them all. And you know that quitting will take major effort. Cigarettes are monstrously addictive, but you can quit smoking, if for no other reason than this: your mind is the most powerful computer on earth. Harness that power correctly and you can accomplish your goals. Accomplishment does take really hard work (and then even more really hard work). And it takes commitment. And investigation. But we bet you’ve got all that in spades. You’re here, aren’t you?
Here’s a collection of the ten best places to start if you are going to quit smoking. From helpful tips to group support to new information, you’re in the right place!
10. 70 Tips Ought to Get You Started
As always, Ririan has great practical tips for improving your life. This post covers 70 different ways to quit smoking and is adapted from…
9. Why Not?
Why Quit is one of the oldest resources on the web for those who want to quit smoking. It’s also one of the best.
8. Don’t Be a Quitter Quitter
There are thousands of bloggers who are working on the very same goal you are, right now, and it can help to remember you’re not alone. Get to know them.
7. More Reasons to Quit Now
6. Shocking Facts
Some amazing things you might not know.
5. Can You Afford It?
Cigarettes cost an additional $7 bucks per pack on top of the purchase price. Here’s the report – smoking costs the average smoker about four grand a year. Can you afford to smoke?
4. Why We Smoke
Smoking just feels good. It may even serve an antidepressant role in the brain (so far only rat studies have confirmed this, but it’s pretty convincing). It gives us control. It’s soothing.
Although we “want” to quit, we also really want to keep smoking. That’s not to make you feel bad, guilty or give up hope. It’s to shed some light on the situation so you can understand what you’re up against.
The brain has two pleasure mechanisms, which is why addiction is such a mammoth to deal with. We can “want” and “like” simultaneously, but these functions are separate in the brain (thanks, brain). Over time, we can still “want” a substance (or person) even if we don’t like it – even if we totally fall-to-the-floor hate it.
Pick up the March edition of Elle Magazine (yes, the one with Barbie…er, Jessica Simpson on the cover) to read Maia Szalavitz’s mind-bending and encouraging article on this want-versus-like brain dilemma. Maia overcame cocaine and heroin addiction and is now one of the best investigative journalists in the world, working to expose crooked politicians and prevent child abuse (you can catch her writings over at the Huffington Post). See how much we are capable of? You can do this!
3. Stay on Track
Keep updated on the latest information, research and clinical trials with this comprehensive daily report.
Here’s one of the best cessation forums around. Join, talk, repeat.
1. Gently Now…
Here’s a very encouraging, informative, friendly guide to quitting. It will help you understand the psychology of smoking and you’ll get help in finding tactics to work with your brain, not be tricked by it on those tough days!
Let us know how you’re doing, Apples, and feel free to ask for support!
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We all know we’re supposed to “forgive and forget” in order to move on from past hurts and get the most out of life. But of course, that’s often easier said than done, and it can even be confusing. Does forgiving mean being a doormat and letting people hurt us? Does forgetting mean we don’t get wiser with experience? Why forgive?
Navigating hurt isn’t easy. But it can be helpful to remind ourselves that forgiving isn’t really for the person who has hurt you – it’s for you. By no means should you “forget” the experience, because that’s just foolish. But forgiveness is empowering because it allows you to move on and not let the person who hurt you continue to have a hold over your thoughts and feelings – after all, that experience is in the past and no longer exists. That’s the forgetting part – you learn from your mistake (or theirs), but you forget the anger or sadness or whatever other negative emotion is associated with that experience. Life is hard; it is unfair; it is uncertain. Loving yourself enough to forgive, forget and move on is a healthy thing, because it’s an indication that you are embracing the present moment as it actually exists, rather than dwelling on things that no longer have any bearing on who you are at this moment.
This doesn’t mean we stick around for more abuse or act like doormats. It’s smart, and necessary, to move on from people and situations that have caused you harm. But you shouldn’t beat yourself up about these things, either, by continuing to think about them. Many of us are trapped by “ghosts” of the past. Sometimes letting go can feel like a loss of control or power. Letting go and moving on can even feel like insult added to the injury – as if to diminish or deny the validity and intensity of your own feelings (“if I let it go, were my feelings about it worth nothing?”). It can become a vicious loop.
I believe there’s a very simple way out of that cycle of hurt:
Love your past, but don’t live it.
Love your mistakes, your bad judgment calls, your feelings, your thoughts – all of it. Accept that it was all necessary to get you to this point. And then forgive yourself. You can love the “old you” who experienced that painful situation without continuing to live it. Moving on doesn’t mean that experience was invalid or you were necessarily wrong to act or feel the way you did. It’s who you were and what you were capable of at that time. But now you’re different – now you’re in this moment. So cut yourself some slack – love yourself for screwing up, feeling what you felt, and so on.
That was then, this is now – love your past, but don’t relive it. You have new, better memories (and mistakes) to make, so get to it!
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