Celebrating National Nurses Day and the Heart of Wellness Culture

May 6, 2018 by

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Happy National Nurses Day! First I want to personally say thank you to all the nurses out there. I value you as a person and I value your profession.

At World Wise Beauty I spend a lot of time exploring wellness culture and specifically in the area of Lifestyle as Medicine. At WWB, we look at prevention, self-care and how to manifest wellness in all aspects of our lives. Often, we don’t think of Nurses and the people working in the healing professions until we get sick. Nursing is a profession truly undervalued and most certainly taken for granted. They are there when you are giving birth, and they are there when a loved one is sick and dying. They will be there for you when you are dying. They are with you in your most vulnerable of moments, whether you are preparing for a colonoscopy or throwing up all over yourself in the middle of a painful biopsy.

All I could think of when cared for by a nurse is “God it must be so challenging to keep cool, take care of medical details in a crisis moment, and provide me comfort as they are doing it”. Yes, I was thinking of them, right in the middle of my own discomfort. I was grateful for them. They are there by your side, focused on the medical state of your body at any given moment, but also the personal comfort of your body and spirit. And they often take care of your family when they’re visiting. This in itself is a feat! Nurses are there to take care of you, a role with duties only your mother and father might have and this is a mighty important role. Maybe I need to spell it out. The vital need that matters to all of us, when all is said and done, is receiving care with compassion. Ultimately this is LOVE. How do we miss this?

Now I wouldn’t be honest, if I didn’t recognize that some nurses ( like some doctors) don’t have a ‘bedside manner’. I personally have been fortunate to have experienced more angels, than individuals who are not meant for nursing.  I also know many healing professions have been compromised by the current medical system we have had in place the last 40 years.  Enduring long shifts and assigned too many patients can rattle the best nurse. This can go for the teaching profession too by the way. I am speaking of a culture, very specifically a profit driven culture that has permeated our healthcare system for far too long. Culture matters, and our nurses are the closest thing you get to angels, considering the pressure they are under and the culture they work in. This doesn’t have to be, if we change how we look at ‘healthcare and wellness’ and RAISE our expectations. Not by demanding more of nurses, but by demanding more of our institutions, organizations and culture.

We are the culture and what we focus on is what we value. If you stop and think about this, you would not conjure a pretty picture of us as a society right now. What is sad is there is so much wellness wisdom around the world, which we can learn from and apply to our own culture. We can’t do this if our only end goal is to make a profit. This is not what healthcare is, and yet it is a ‘market’ that we follow like any other ‘industry’. Pay attention to this language because we are defining what we call health care.

Wellness has to be an individual commitment, but we cannot have true personal wellness without a healthy culture to work and live in. There are many books out there today written by doctors who are now talking about the futility of working in a culture called ‘healthcare’ that’s truly not dedicated to healing patients. I will be talking with one soon in my WWB Q&A section. It’s a subject we must talk about if we are to strive for wellness culture. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t good medical professionals out there. There are many, but they are working in a system designed first for a ‘ profitable business’ and this compromises healing outcomes. Can we do both? I think we can, but we have to start with the ‘values’ at the heart of the health organization. Most importantly the wellness values at the center of our culture and hearts.

Nurses are on the front lines of heathcare and will be there for you. Let’s make their work culture a healthy place for them to work in, so they can take good care of us. It is all interdependent. They are human beings, who also need to be healthy. I myself would feel better knowing my nurse got a good night’s sleep and had a healthy breakfast to start her day. I would hope she took much needed breaks when working double shifts, and she had time to feed her soul when she clocked out of her work day. She is a human being, a very special human being, who deserves to be well too. The next time you see a nurse, think of her day, and let her know how much you appreciate her dedication and vocation. This grateful ‘mindset’ is one of the important pillars of wellness culture, and your nurse is the heart of wellness culture. Let’s live life well…

P.S I invite you to follow WWB for Q&A’s with experts, authors and visionaries dedicated to true wellness culture, and your individual well-being. New website is coming in June, and you will be able to explore ideals for wellness culture and self-care in a newly updated platform designed to help you cultivate your own healthy lifestyle!

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How to Live Life Well in 2018…WWB Features 4 Inspiring Books Filled with Inspiration, Wisdom & Tips

Dec 31, 2017 by

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It’s New Year’s Eve, and baby it’s cold outside here on the East Coast of the United States! It seems like the perfect day to recommend 4 wise books that will be sure to warm you from the inside out and inspire your New Year. Here are a few points of interest about the books selected for you.

  • Three of the books have been selected as World Wise Beauty ‘Book Wise’ Picks in 2017 and you can find links to the Q&A with Authors below.
  • One of the books ‘The Little Book Of ‘Lykke’ was just released this week and the author also wrote the International Best Seller ‘The Little Book of Hygge’. Don’t know these fun Danish terms? Learn more via my book highlights below…
  • All of the books focus on wellness lifestyle and culture and inspire us to cultivate a healthy positive mindset while providing us with real tips on adopting their approach to happiness, personal fulfillment and well-being.
  • One of the books is about a Japanese approach to longevity and happiness. The authors are not natives of Japan but one of them has lived there for over 10 years and has really embraced the ‘Ikigai’ mindset. We can too!

Enjoy the overview below and order these books as soon as you can, so you can relax by the fire, or under a warm throw on a comfy chair, with a good book full of wellness wisdom and inspiration. While each book is short in length, they are filled with meaningful ideas and tips you will want to apply in 2018. Happy New year and may it be full of Ikigai, Lagom, Lykke and Hygge! Live Life Well…

 

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The title of the book Ikigai is a Japanese word whose meaning translates roughly to a reason for being, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being.  Recently the book was selected as WWB’s Fall Book Wise pick. You can find the Q&A with author of the book here and learn more how he has embraced the ‘Ikigai’ mindset living in Japan.

WWB’s Fav Section: Finding Flow in Everything You Do–How to turn work and free time into spaces for growth. In a world that has us crazy with multi-tasking, we can learn a lot about focus and becoming completely absorbed with one task. Don’t you love that wonderful feeling when you have lost track of time and you are completely committed to where you are and what you are doing. Let’s go with the flow in 2018…

 

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The title of this book Lagom, is a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount”. The Lexin Swedish-English dictionary defines lagom as “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right”. Lagom is also widely translated as “in moderation”, “in balance”, “perfect-simple”, and “suitable” (in matter of amounts). I think this mindset maybe the most challenging for Americans as we tend to strive for ‘more’ and this is strongly embedded in our psyche! With the environmental crisis we are facing world wide, hopefully we will embrace a Lagom state of mind sooner than later. What if enough was enough? Good questions to ponder in the New Year. Of note there are several books with LAgom in the title, but this particular book I found to be the most insightful and grounded. The author is not Swedish but she’s a travel writer and photographer, and enjoys exploring various cultures through food, tradition, and lifestyle. Of note, she’s an award-winning writer, speaker, and photographer represented by National Geographic Creative. You can find her award winning photographs throughout the book! My Q&A featuring her book is here to learn more about her worldly perspective and love of Swedish lifestyle.

WWB Fav Section: Nature and Sustainability! We Americans could use MORE of this wisdom! Don’t you think? What I love about the Swedish approach to home and living is the art of bringing nature indoors but also their appreciation for nature all around them. The Swedish interdependent mindset’ is one we can all aspire to.

 

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The title of this book is based on a Danish word ‘Hygge’ meaning a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture). I like how the author simply says it’s ‘cocoa by candlelight.’ Love it! Don’t you want more “Hygge’ in your life? That hot cocoa metaphor is easy to conjure and can be experienced in your real life easily. Especially this week in New Jersey! You can find my feature on the book here and also learn more about the author’s research at the Happiness Research Institute.

WWB Fav Section: What’s Love Got to Do With it? Oxytocin! That’s what. Also called the ‘cuddle hormone’  oxytocin is a natural neurohormone produced by our bodies when we experience a feeling of love, warmth and security. It requires a hug, cuddling or just general physical closeness. The amazing thing is you can release Oxytocin just by petting and cuddling with your pet!  However we achieve some cuddling, we all need more of it flowing through our bodies for our health and wellness!

 

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Hot off the press! Last but not least, this book was just released here in the United States this week. Lykke is a Danish word for happiness and what better way to explore the concept of happiness than with the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (the capital of Happiness!) Here’s the thing, the really really good thing, Meik Wiking believes we all have the ability to achieve happiness. His research allows him to talk to people from all over the world and he believes WE HUMANS have a lot in common no matter where we are from. He has found the common denominator of happiness and whether we are in New Jersey, Copenhagen or India, we get happy about very similar things. Reading this book you will arm chair travel with the CEO of Happiness around the world and discover what truly makes us happy!

There are so many good tips sprinkled throughout this book, like simply start doing little random acts of kindness. I just did this today. My neighbor is away, and I brushed all the snow off her car and pulled her wipers up! I worried by the the time she got home, with the deep freeze we are facing this week, she might not be able to get into her car. I was doing my car, so why not do hers? Random Acts of Kindness starts right in your own neighborhood! Shhh don’t tell her. It was random!

WWB Fav Section: Decouple Well-Being and Wealth. Need I say more? Okay I will. Money does not buy happiness. Especially in Denmark! What seems to work well in Denmark,  is enjoying a good quality of life does not have to cost a lot of money. In fact the Danes are not alone, there are other cultures he highlights in the book who know how to be happy without being wealthy. Here is another cultural mindset example. In America we are told we will be happier if we make more money and buy more new things.  But what the author’s world wide research finds is happiness is linked with experiences not things. You will find so much wisdom in this ‘Little Book of Lykke’. A very world wise and worthwhile read sure to inspire your resolution to truly be happy in 2018!

 

 

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A World of Thanks: A Special Thanksgiving Tribute to the Passioneers In the Business of Compassion…

Nov 23, 2016 by

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It is Thanksgiving week and it is a time to think about what you are grateful for. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank some special organizations who are helping the truly helpless–animals. For them I am deeply grateful. I love the opening quote from Mr. Rogers which are words from his mother he found comforting and reassuring. She essentially said “When things are scary, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

For me, there is something very special about people dedicating their lives to saving and rescuing animals. The fact that there are so many new animal sanctuaries launching around the country tells you that goodness is rising.  More importantly, compassion and empathy are rising. If we can have empathy for another species different from us (yet most are sentient beings just like us) we are on our way to a more evolved and kind world.

I follow a few of these special animal sanctuaries on social channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and I thought I would encourage you to do the same. You will find links below…

Please have a look–what is the worst thing that could happen? You end up giving up turkey on Thanksgiving?  Once you begin to follow, you will see farm animals as the real sentient beings they are, and your heart may break open. It will hurt at first, because you will now be aware of the great suffering the animals have endured before they were rescued. After you allow yourself to feel, you will become elated. Yes elated– because you will realize there are wonderful passioneers dedicating their lives to helping these helpless animals and also creating safe sanctuaries for them.  After the elation, you then will feel pure joy, because you will discover that these animals are not only forgiving of humans but truly show great love and affection for their caretakers who rescued them. All of this will remind you that OUR SPECIES, can be incredibly kind, good and compassionate, and the animals we share this beautiful planet with are equally awesome.

So when things look scary in the world, look for the helpers and take a look at these sanctuary organizations. Then look into these animals eyes, and you will soon feel heartened that goodness and kindness is all around you. I’m not here to tell you to not eat the turkey, only you can make that value driven decision.  But I am here to remind you, that there are truly wonderful compassionate people out there, saving turkeys, pigs, horses, cows, goats, and yes, cats and dogs. One animal at a time, they make up for all the ugliness in the world, and remind us of our better human nature. For this I am truly grateful, and I extend a world of thanks to these special people on behalf of my fellow humans. Have a look and follow their social pages. I promise all that anxiety you worked up in 2016 will melt away and the animals will capture your very fine compassionate human heart.  Wait until you learn how the planet, your environment, and your health benefits from protecting farm animals. The news just gets better and better…

 

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P.S. A special honorable mention to my favorite cartoonist  Patrick McDonnel  ( a fellow NJ citizen) creator of ‘Mutts’ and a tireless champion for all animals, not just cats and dogs. We have grown to love Mooch and Earl, who are really wonderful ambassadors for the animal kingdom. His fun and inspiring work can be found here…http://www.mutts.com/meet-the-cast 

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Compassionate Passioneers

Below are a few of my favorites and you can also find an animal sanctuary in your area via this great organization CFEI http://www.compassionatefarming.org/sanctuaries.html

Gentle Barn Sanctuary: Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs. Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories.

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WOODSTOCK SANCTUARY 

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Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is driven by the simple philosophy that kindness and respect to animals is our duty and that all the creatures that share this earth are here with us and not for us. Farm animals are feeling individuals who deserve to be treated with compassion.

We are a place where visitors can come face to face with the animals they may only know as dinner and learn about the devastating effects of modern-day agribusiness on the animals, the environment and human health. Here you can frolic with goats in a large open pasture, sit down with a pig who wants nothing more than a belly rub, cuddle with chickens who seek out your attention or get nuzzled by some very friendly sheep!

At the heart of our mission is the hands-on work of rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for farmed animal refugees — as well as educating the public about the typically horrific treatment of animals who are raised for food.

 

FARM SANCTUARY:

The Someone Project:
Farm Animal Behavior, Emotion, and Intelligence

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 “Farm animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear, and pain. They are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined…they are individuals in their own right.” — Jane Goodall

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 when Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur rescued Hilda from a stockyard dead pile. Since that time, we’ve met, loved, and provided refuge for thousands of animals. Many people see two classes of animals: The animals with whom we share our homes, and everyone else. But other animals are not different in any way that matters morally from the dogs and cats with whom so many of us share our lives. At Farm Sanctuary, we share our lives with farm animals — chickens, turkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, geese, and cattle. And we can tell you from personal experience that farm animals have the same range of personalities and interests as cats and dogs.

 

 

BARN SANCTUARY

 

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We’re a hands-on animal sanctuary dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for animal refugees. We educate the general public about the horrific treatment of animals raised for food, and the positive impact that a plant-based diet can have on the environment and our health.

 

 

 

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Visit a Farm Sanctuary in Your Area

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What is a Farm Sanctuary?
A Farm Sanctuary is a place where animals who have been abused, neglected or abandoned in commercial farming institutions can live out their lives in a peaceful environment, where they are cherished and properly cared for. Animals in factory farms often collapse under the pressure of their failing health and agonizing living conditions. They do not receive medical attention because it is cheaper to let them slowly die. Those fortunate enough to enter a sanctuary can leave this nightmare behind. CFEI has unwavering gratitude towards these sanctuaries and the kind hearts that keep them operational and thriving. If you operate a sanctuary or know of one that is not listed here, please contact us to include yours in our directory. Thank you! Ever thought about starting a sactuary? Learn

 

 

 

 

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WWB Passioneer Library: Q&A With Author of: Life On Purpose–How Living For What Matters Most Changes Everything

Aug 26, 2016 by

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The World Wise Beauty ‘Passioneer Series’

Excited to welcome back  one of my favorite experts, Dr. Vic Strecher.  He came to visit World Wise Beauty in 2015 to talk about his book ‘On Purpose’, which is a graphic novel telling a beautiful, fantasy-fueled, story of self-discovery and personal growth. His new book while not a graphic novel, covers the important topics of ‘purpose and meaning’ in more depth, and shows us how ‘purpose’ not only leads to self-fulfillment but to a better society. Not only is Dr. Stecher a professor and author, but he is also an inspiring entrepreneur who has taken his passion for health and well-being, and created new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology. See his very impressive bio below and join me for a stimulating Q&A about his new book Life on Purpose, How Living For What Matters Most, Changes Everything.

Vic Strecher PhD MPH is a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. For over two decades Vic Strecher has been a leader and visionary in the fields of health and well-being, creating new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology. A noted researcher and successful entrepreneur, Vic has cultivated a passion for connecting academic research to practical applications. In 1998, Vic created Health Media pioneering Web-based “digital health coaching.” The company set a new benchmark for scalable, lifestyle and condition management program delivery. Health Media was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2008. In late 2014, Vic founded JOOL Health Inc. as a major paradigm shift in how individuals engage in the pursuit of well-being while offering organizations a more insightful means to support positive, healthy change. Vic and his work have recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, WIRED, the Chicago Tribute, and at TEDMED and TEDX events. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Jeri.

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Dr. Vic Strecher

 

 

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Lauroly Q-Welcome back Vic! Let’s dig in. Just recently I had a conversation with someone who was feeling very depressed about the world in general. She was feeling disillusioned with not only politics but humanity in general. Giving her time and energy to many causes, she felt like giving up. Rather than lecture people, I always have a book up my sleeve to recommend. Guess what it was Vic? It was ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl. That was a book I never forgot reading as a psychology major in college and always reminds me of mankind’s greatest gift which is the ability to choose and select our own meaning. You mention his work a lot and of course it makes sense because your passion is purpose. I love how you took your passion for philosophy and extracted amazing wisdom for us to think about.  I hope more people discover ‘works of philosophy’ who never studied it in college, through your book. Why do you think going back to the great philosophers is so important when it comes to finding our purpose? You admit in the book, that you didn’t have much interest in it as a young man.

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: True, I never felt an affinity with ancient philosophers until I needed them. Then, it felt like they were writing personal letters to me. If you want to read something thoroughly modern and useful, you might start with Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, or better yet, Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things. Then read a few of Seneca’s letters and essays. See if you don’t get hooked on these 2,000 year old philosophers as well! These writings were amazing for two reasons: (1) they were written by people who grew up in such different circumstances, yet had such relevant things to say about my own modern life, and (2) they push you to more carefully consider your existence, to not just run on automatic.

Lauroly Q-Thank you for sharing your great book recommendations. I love adding to my wisdom reading list! While you take us on this wonderful tour of philosophy, you also balance things with real world stories and examples of inspiring people finding their purpose. The most important one I feel is your own story. In sharing your touching and personal story, it makes me feel that you have truly connected the dots. Your wisdom was gained not just by research or study but by ‘getting through’ your own challenges and pain, and coming out of it with your own passionate purpose. My favorite quote is from Robert Frost “The Best Way Out is Always Through’. Can you share how you got through losing your nineteen year old daughter to life-long illness?

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: A few months after my daughter died I finally realized that, if I was going to survive, I’d need to think differently. It’s hard to think differently (at least for me) but two books really helped me: Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Elizabeth Lesser’s Broken Open. These two books shoved me into a rabbit hole of new words and ideas. Words like, “ego,” “transcendence,” and “purpose.” But being a skeptical scientist, I’m always wondering whether these words and ideas have actually been tested. I was happily surprised to find that these ancient concepts have recently been studied by really good researchers. Over time, they’ve become subjects of my own research.

Lauroly Q- You discuss ‘personal agency’ in Chapter 2, and it’s a very important aspect of ‘finding and living your purpose’. Yet essentially the takeaway in your book is, we are all ultimately fulfilled from being ‘other focused’. I believe that’s why Viktor Frankl’s ideas and creation of ‘logo therapy’ is so profound. In this world, there are a lot of people worldwide experiencing strife and they don’t seem to have a sense of ‘personal agency’. They may find it quite difficult to find their purpose in a way that many self-help practitioners might suggest. Do you think like Maslow suggests, that we must first get past survival modes before we can be altruistic? I can answer my own question when I think of Jesus, Buddha, and Mother Teresa. It’s a great topic to explore with you, because there are many stories and examples of transcendence in your book I loved. Feel free to pick one…

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: I’m particularly drawn to the story of James Arinaitwe, who, as a boy in Uganda, lost his mother and father to AIDS by the time he was ten. He and his mother walked over 300 miles to the residential home of the President of Uganda to ask for an education. He’s now the co-founder and director of Teach for Uganda. He laughed when I suggested what many Westerners believe — that purpose is only a higher-order need. He said that “Families that break down are the ones who have no purpose or vision for the family. Purpose goes hand in hand with hope. In the West, people may not relate to this, but this is how we think. Purpose sustains poor people.”

 

Lauroly Q- I loved that story in your book. While purpose is your focus you really make the connection that wellness is key to our personal development. There are 5 wellness practices and rituals you explore in your book. Sleep, Presence, Activity, Creativity and Eating. How did creativity get on your top 5 list? I might add you really expand on the meaning and expression of creativity in your book.

 

Dr. Vic Strecher: Thank you for noticing! Creativity is one of my favorite subjects. It’s consistently ignored or at least de-emphasized in our schools and in our society as a whole, yet creativity is what will ultimately be needed to maintain our competitive edge in the world. I spent quite a bit of time understanding the way people conceptualize creativity. My favorite view is put forth by the psychologist Rollo May — that creativity requires courage — the courage to say that the status quo isn’t good enough and that there’s a better way. By the way, in our research, creativity and presence are the two leading predictors of energy and willpower, exceeding the impact of more traditional behaviors such as physical activity, eating behavior, or sleep.

Lauroly Closing: I could go on forever chatting with you about the ideas in your book, but this is a blog and most people will be better served reading your fantastic book for themselves. So this is my gift to the person I was recently talking to about hope and purpose. Your book is one I will no doubt recommend to anyone struggling with meaning, purpose and direction. Thank you for writing it Vic, and keep them coming. Your gift for communicating and emotionally connecting has so much to offer, especially in wellness culture.

Dr. Vic Strecher Closing: Thank you, Laura. I’ve so enjoyed your blog and your perspective and greatly appreciate your interest in this work!

 

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WWB Passioneer: Meet Dr. Tim Lomas Who Created a ‘Positive Lexicography’ Because Happiness Speaks Many Languages…

Jun 15, 2016 by

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Dr. Tim Lomas Positive Psychology

Dr. Tim Lomas
Positive Psychology

Tim Lomas, Ph.D., is a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London, where he is also the co-program leader for the Masters of Science in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. He is the author of numerous papers and books related to positive psychology, gender, mindfulness, and Buddhism. His latest book,The Darkness and the Dawn: The Value of Sadness and other Negative Emotions will be published by Piatkus in Fall 2016.

Recently launched the Positive Lexicography Project, an online glossary of untranslatable words that describe positive traits, feelings, experiences, and states of being that had no direct counterparts in English.

You can search the glossary by alphabet or by language.  See below for examples…

 

Lauroly Welcome-  Welcome Tim. I discovered your work from an article in the New Yorker and I just had to reach out and share your inspiring global project. Let’s start with the basics for our readers. Why do you think having a catalog of foreign terms that represent concepts of joy and wellness will help us reshape our own sense of well-being? Can we process experiences differently and can we escape our own culture’s conditioning?

Tim Lomas: Thanks Lauroly! I’m so pleased that you like the project! Yes, I do believe that learning new positive words has the potential to alter our experiences for the better. We only tend to really take note of phenomena that have been flagged up in our attention by being named in a word. Of course, we can perceive and feel things for which we don’t have a name. However, our senses are continually registering so much information that we have to filter it somehow, to prioritise certain aspects; and the way our brain does that is partly through language. And so, whatever words we happen to have acquired to delineate and represent the world will influence the types of feelings we can enjoy. If we lack a word for a particular positive emotion, we’re far less likely to experience it; and even if we do, we’ll be unable to perceive it with much clarity, think about it with much understanding, talk about it with much insight, or remember it with much vividness. As such, I do think that, whenever we learn a new word, it can draw our attention to new aspects of life, or at least bring new clarity and awareness to feelings we may only be vaguely experiencing.

 

                          BALINESE Ramé (n.): something at once chaotic and joyful.

 

Lauroly Q- The Positive Psychology movement is a great influence on wellness culture, but isn’t happiness, or our pursuit of it, experienced and manifested based on the culture we live in? Which countries around the world are actively embracing positive psychology besides the U.S ?

Tim Lomas: Yes, positive psychology has had such a huge impact since it emerged nearly 20 years ago. However, I think you’re right in suggesting that it’s been influenced by the cultural context in which it first emerged (mainly North America). As such, to some extent, its concepts relating to happiness have perhaps been shaped by ideas relating to happiness that are prominent in ‘the West’ (such as the importance of self-determination and individual freedom). That said, the field is evolving and developing as researchers from around the world are joining the field, and in doing so are bringing in insights and concepts that are prominent in their own cultures. For instance, there has been much interest in positive psychology from countries such as China and India, who have established journals and conferences relating to positive psychology.

 

DANISH: Hygge (n) : a deep sense of of place, warmth, friendship and contentment

 

Lauroly Q- I can see how language affects our mindsets for sure. For example the words ‘stressed out’ had to be created here in America and is probably best understood by our people. Yet we have come up with  new terms such as ‘Chillax’, that captures a sense of rest and relaxation. America is a melting pot of ethnic cultures, but how do homogeneous cultures embrace other languages to describe their feelings? When I was researching trends in wellness culture for the spa sector, there was a trend called ‘Cultural-Cocktailing’ which described people’s interest and willingness to blend wellness practices from other cultures with their own. Do you think now that we are more mobile in this world, we can do this with language and emotional states?

Tim Lomas: Yes, I would definitely agree – in this era of globalisation there is such dynamic inter-transmission of ideas and practices. Many people in more affluent countries are able to travel abroad extensively, and learn new things from the places they visit, and even people that cannot travel much can find out about other cultures through the internet. Moreover, at a cultural level there is a really interesting ‘cross-fertilization’ of ideas, from ‘Western’ ideas and cultural products been consumed in Non-Western countries, to Non-Western practices such as mindfulness and yoga becoming embraced and adapted in the West. The term ‘cultural-cocktailing is an interesting one. There is a similar concept in the sociology of religion of a ‘spiritual supermarket’; however, while many sociologists seem to use the term somewhat disparagingly, I feel it can actually be a positive and liberating phenomenon (e.g., people in the West finding an affinity and connection with non-Western traditions such as Buddhism).

 

GREEK: Kefi (n.): joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, frenzy.

 

Lauroly Q- Charlemagne the King of Franks who united Western Europe during the Middle Ages, proclaimed “to have have a second language is to have a second soul.” Connecting with this idea, I should mention WWB’s book club is reading ‘In Other Words’ by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is an autobiographical account of her love for the Italian language and her desire to write an entire book in Italian, which was a third language for her after Indian and English. She explores identity outside of geographic frontiers and linguistic boundaries, which I found really interesting. Do you think if we learn new languages, we inadvertently change the way we view the world and each other?

Tim Lomas: Yes, I do think that’s the case. I feel that encountering new cultural ideas in general, and learning new words/concepts in particular, does have the power to change how we see the world. For instance, when I was 19, I went to teach English in China. The whole trip was incredible, really eye-opening and character-shaping, and I really loved it there. I tried to learn some of the language, and in doing so I encountered some concepts (mainly relating to Buddhism) that were completely new to me, and which did alter how I see things.

 

 SPANISH: Simpatía (n.): accord and harmony within relationships and/or society.

 

Lauroly Closing: Thank you so much for sharing your research and your wisdom with us Tim. I think there is so much potential for your research project and you are certainly sharing one big cultural cocktail with us! Looking forward to seeing where the Positive Lexicography project takes you! I enjoyed reading your language list and the comments from people around the world are very insightful. I encourage our readers to check it out and discover a whole world of language and psychology that may expand your emotional vocabulary and broaden your experience for living well.

Tim Lomas: Thank you so much for inviting me to answer your questions. I’m so pleased that you like the project! I would also add that I see this as very much a work-in-progress, and also hopefully a collaborative one. So far, I’ve really just attempted to track down words that might be relevant, and to offer a rudimentary definition of these. However, I’m very aware that there are likely to be many other interesting words that deserve to be on the list, and also that the definitions I have for the words could be developed and enriched. So, I hope that people might be able to make suggestions for how to improve the list!

 

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WWB Passioneer: Meet ‘The Peregrine Dame’ Who Travels the World Solo But Never is Truly Alone…

Mar 17, 2016 by

Passion Flower/World Wise Beauty Passioneer

 

 The World Wise Beauty ‘Passioneer Series’

 I am so thrilled to feature my next WWB Passioneer Rachel Parsons, who is founder and executive Producer of ‘The Peregrine Dame’. Have you caught her travel series on Public Television yet? You can find it on most PBS member-stations and Create TV. Hopefully we’ll see more of her nation-wide soon. If ever there was a woman who embodied the title of Passioneer, it is most definitely Rachel. When a friend brought her to my attention the first thing I thought is “oh she is a female Anthony Bourdain without the food focus’! I mean this to be a great complement, as I think Anthony is a fine journalist and an engaging storyteller. What makes him special to me, is his focus on culture, and willingness to understand the complexity of the cultures he explores. Food is just the conduit for him to learn more about cultures and people different from him. Okay well enough about Anthony, this is also what I find outstanding about Rachel Parsons too! In fact to illustrate my statement, I will share a blog post of hers entitled “Why Travel Will Save Our Species (if we do it right) so you can get a sense of her ‘beautiful mind’ before you watch her engaging persona in her series. I think you should follow Rachel, because even if you are not planning on globe-trotting any time soon, you will be inspired by her sense of adventure,competence, intelligence and courage. So let’s get to know our exciting Passioneer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauroly Q-  Welcome Rachel! How did you decide you would take your passion for travel and create your own travel show? More specifically, was it a passion for travel, or a passion for culture that inspired your enterprise?  I think there are two different kinds of travelers. There are your traditional tourists and then there are your wanderers in search of meaning and connection. But wait before you answer that, I wanted to share the meaning of your brand name ‘The Peregrine Dame’ for our readers because ‘Peregrine’ has different meanings but the more recent meaning sheds light on your inner spirit!

 

PEREGRINE: The current meaning of “peregrine” has wandered a bit from its earlier meanings. The word originally meant “foreign,” as did its Latin predecessor peregrinus. But even before “peregrine” appeared on its own in English, it was part of the name of that well-known bird of prey, the peregrine falcon. The bird’s appellation derives from “falco peregrinus” – literally, “pilgrim falcon” in Medieval Latin. Peregrine falcons typically nest in high places, such as on cliff ledges or, in modern times, city skyscrapers. Because of the nests’ inaccessibility, medieval falconers who wanted young peregrine falcons to train had capture them on their first flights or migratory “pilgrimages.” That practice led to a new sense of “peregrine” (“engaged in or traveling on a pilgrimage”), which was later broadened to “wandering.”

 

Rachel Parsons: Neither. It was my intense interest in fighting the ignorance and xenophobia I encountered here in the United States. When I came home from my first trip abroad alone, before the show was an idea, I told people what I’d done and I had a lot of responses along the lines of “That sounds dangerous, weren’t you afraid?” Interestingly, I got more of that kind of response from men than women. I suppose then that it was my passion for changing my own culture that was part of the impetus. The other factor was that I worked in scripted television and film for many years in different capacities, and I got tired of telling fictional stories and stories I didn’t care about. I wanted to work in documentary-style television but had no contacts in that area of the business, so I made my own project. It became important to me to show a wider American audience that the world is not nearly as scary as mainstream media would have us believe. That it’s all right to go out alone, your experience will be richer for it.

Lauroly Q-  You just made me think of another broad minded Passioneer, Eleanor Roosevelt. Her quote ‘to reach out eagerly without fear for newer richer experience’ speaks to your passionate project. Here is another ‘passioneer’ trait you have. I read in one of your Facebook posts that you only pick places to travel you genuinely like and have a real curiosity about. What attracts you to certain places and cultures? Did you start out with a bucket list or has it unfolded a little more serendipitously?

Rachel Parsons: I’ve never had a bucket list. For the purposes of filming a series, sometimes locations come down to what’s efficient for the shooting schedule. But broadly, I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to many different cultures in the U.S., and certain things certainly draw me to certain places. I only wanted to go film in Buenos Aires, in the first season, because I’d been studying Argentine tango at home, and I was very interested in Eva Peron’s life. I wanted to go dance. Some news stories definitely affected my desire to go to at least two of the locations for the second season which was filmed in Southeast Asia. I wanted to see the rebuilding efforts in Tacloban, Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction, with my own eyes. I also wanted to know what people in Myanmar were anticipating in the run-up to their first (mostly) fair general election in the past 25 years. My personal interests always spur the overall plan. When you’re new to travel, particularly solo travel, you have to go to places that really excite you. Otherwise, you’ll lose enthusiasm early on and that’s a killer. The thing is the more you go, more places you never even thought of start to become attractive.

 

Lauroly Q- When you travel and immerse yourself into a culture, do you feel changed by your experiences? I  would imagine as a journalist you maintain a certain amount of objectivity, but what makes the world traveler different from a tourist?

Rachel Parsons: I have definitely been changed by my experiences. I am a less cynical, more accepting human than I was. And I began life as a very cynical human. Being on the other side of the world alone has made me realize that I have to extend trust to total strangers. I was fortunate to be a self-reliant sort already, but traveling has made me rely on people I don’t know in a way that has elevated my opinion of humanity. Travelers generally reach out to and trust others more. We’re not naïve, or gullible, I think we’re the opposite, actually, but for me, it’s been transforming. Unless you’re reporting on the business of travel, there is no objectivity in travel journalism. It’s all subjective. I’ve studied journalism and anthropology, both disciplines that train objectivity into people.

So yes, I look at aspects of some cultures in a more objective way and try to really understand the root cause. Like being in a massively overpopulated country where people cut in lines all the time. My knee-jerk American POV is that it’s rude and I get irritated. But seeing overpopulation firsthand makes me understand that it’s not rude in that society, it’s a survival mechanism. No one would get anything done in any reasonable amount of time if everyone let everyone else go first. That’s a gross simplification, but it illustrates the cultural perception issue. And yes, it’s the tourist who will piss and moan about being cut in front of, and the seasoned traveler that will understand the behavior in its context. Still doesn’t mean I love it, but I get it and it’s the understanding that develops tolerance and that’s the point of travel, for me.

 

LaurolyQ- What world culture has made the biggest impression on you? Is there one culture that has imparted wisdom meaningful to you?

 

Rachel Parsons: The thing that has made the biggest impression on me has been the deep similarities between all the cultures I’ve experienced. They’ve all given me something, but the striking thing I’ve taken away from going around the world a couple times now is that we are all much more alike than we are different. And people will say, “Yeah, right,” but it’s true. Most of the time, people in vastly different cultures want the same basic things: if they have family, it’s to be able to take care of themselves and their loved ones; to live in safety; to be able to do something fulfilling with their time; to be healthy. We focus so much on the differences, but they are negligible compared to what ordinary people actually want. I guess the short answer then is that THE world culture has made the biggest impression.

 

Lauroly Q– What a great answer! I feel my own international travel definitely contributed to a wider world view and a less ‘myopic’ perspective as well. In some sense our experiences and the people we meet along the way do shape us don’t they?

 

Rachel Parsons: Yes. I think in most senses our experience and the people we meet shape us. Even trivial interaction. If someone is rude to us for two seconds in the morning getting on the subway, for many of us, half our day is spent agitated and angry. That’s the negative influence shaping our mood, our outlook. On the positive side, I’ve been incredibly lucky to be touched by overwhelmingly positive experiences and people in every aspect of my life, but especially traveling. I know bad things can happen, but I’ve had a wonderful run with people all over the world being kind and open and welcoming and curious. It has challenged and shaped my world view, for sure. For the better, in my case.

 

Lauroly Q- So true and wise Rachel. Our daily interactions do add up and matter. That’s why I think manners and civility matters so much. Okay now for a more practical question. For the many women who may be thinking of traveling solo, what are your top 3 best tips for them to take seriously before they embark on a trip?

 

Rachel Parsons: Trust instinct, not imagination. Instinct is instant and accurate, imagination is that monster that will convince you that all the terrible things out there will get you. That’s what creates the fear that prevents people from doing what they want to do. I studied a street-based mixed martial art for many years. If it’s something that will make you feel more secure, go take some self-defense classes. My rule of thumb is that I am no more nor less aware of my surroundings when traveling than when I am at home. I live in L.A., so a higher level of awareness is appropriate when I’m home.

Listen to locals when you get to a city, not to the Americans that have only heard that a place is dangerous but never been there. Lastly, remember that for most of us, we live in the most dangerous country we will ever visit. Unless a person is really keen to visit a war zone, there is a higher rate of violent crime in most of our American cities than in many of the places I’ve traveled. I say this with respect for people who have had bad experiences and I know I have a higher tolerance for risk than some, but the best tip is to use your common sense.

 

Lauroly Closing-Thank you so much for wandering over to World Wise Beauty Rachel! You are a true World Wise Beauty and I hope you come back and visit often! I will be looking out for your public television series and I hope others with a passion for travel and culture follow The Peregrine Dame. I know there are wonderful outtakes and extras to catch right now on your site. Your work is worldly, wise and very PASSIONATE!

Rachel Parsons: Thank you! I’m happy to be a part of the community, it’s been a kick! The second season of The Peregrine Dame will come to public television stations nationwide later this year. Follow me on Facebook for updates!

 

 

 

 

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