Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Celebrate Thanksgiving with a few more brain proverbs. After all, if you choose to have a happy thanksgiving or a lousy thanksgiving you’re right—because everything starts in the brain and it will only do what it thinks it can do. How does it know what to do? You tell it what to do through your mindset and thoughts.

- A brain is worth little without a tongue.
 Long on hair, short on brains.
 If your brain is made of butter, don’t be a baker

- If the brain sows not corn, it plants thistles.
- Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain.
-   An idle brain is the devil's workshop.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Could Be Better? 2

I remember thinking that my little piano student had a lot of talent. I expected her to excel and at the same time tried to make lessons ‘fun.’ After all, you can be very skilled at an activity and still have fun doing it. Doing well and having fun are not anathema to each other—although you’d think they were the way some approach life. I discovered that after I’d moved away, she had continued with her music lessons, winning every piano competition she entered. Music had changed my life for the better so I could understand her comments about the way in which music had helped her to navigate the maze of growing up and meet challenges that tested her metal. Bottom line: she perceived that those few years we spent together—with the ‘piano’ as the common denominator—made a lasting and positive impact on her life. Driving home I asked myself: What could be better? On this Thanksgiving eve I am grateful for all those who have made a positive impact on my life—and I am delighted when I can ‘pay back’ by ‘paying forward.’ Catching up with my little piano student of yore certainly made a positive difference in my ‘Thanksgiving’ this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Could Be Better?

Do you ever wonder if what you do really makes any difference in the lives of others? Traveling in Southern California recently I had a wonderful experience when I reconnected with a girl (okay, she’s definitely a woman, now!) that I had known in Canada eons ago. (The last century feels like that!) Her mother had been trying to teach her to play the piano—and it wasn’t going well, to put it mildly. Turns out the old-world ‘do it right ethic’ hadn’t clicked in with the ‘have fun while doing it right ethic’ and the girl hated playing the piano. Sensing this, I had offered to give her piano lessons (to lessen the load on her mother, of course) and so we began. Several years later I moved with my family to the United States and lost track of her in the process. So imagine my surprise when we happened to connect at a luncheon meeting. I loved it! We chatted between and around the program items and it was so interesting to hear how this ‘little girl’ had perceived me, a ‘growing-up teenager’ only a decade or so older than she was. More tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Horrible Holiday Headaches!

The end of the year is filled with a mixture of activities, some healthy and some not so healthy: visiting family, seeing friends, celebrating, eating, drinking, traveling, shopping, and you name it--but maybe not so much living in balance and getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, regular meals, and a positive mindset. Some individuals report an increase in headaches and migraine headaches as the holiday season approaches. According to Harvard Medical School, headaches, in many ways, are a reflection of the lives people are leading. For tension headaches, they report that stress is the most common precipitating factor, followed by missed meals, lack of sleep, and fatigue. Migraines have been found to have many of the same triggers. For some individuals, a specific food or additive or even a specific odor can prompt a migraine attack. Think ahead. Make end-of-year activities healthy ones. Keep your life in balance. You just might avoid some of those headaches!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Spine Shrinkage and Back Pain, 2

Researchers wanted to evaluate whether or not work stress make you shorter. A 1-point decrease on a 5-point scale of perceived job control (the degree to which an employee feels free to set his or her pace or change the sequence of tasks) is associated with an additional 1 millimeter of daily spine shrinkage, a phenomenon linked to lower-back pain, According to the abstract, they found that after adjustment for sex, age, body weight, smoking status, biomechanical work strain, and time spent on physical and low-effort activities during the day, lower levels of daily job control significantly predicted increased spinal shrinkage. So, if you perceive your job is stressful, it might be helpful to ‘reframe’ the stress part.

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol 18(4), Oct 2013, 469-480.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spine Shrinkage and Back Pain

Does work stress make you shorter? On average, normal spinal shrinkage causes people to lose about 14 millimeters, or 1% of their stature over the course of a day.  This is due to fluid loss from the intervertebral disk. With adequate sleep, they tend to recover their height. Researcher Ivana Igic and two colleagues from the University of Bern in Switzerland, performed an ambulatory field study of daily work stressors, job control, and spinal shrinkage among Swiss office workers to assess daily spine shrinkage, a phenomenon linked to lower-back pain. They wanted to investigate whether spinal shrinkage was greater during workdays compared with nonwork days, if daily work stressors were positively related to spinal shrinkage, and whether or not job control was negatively related to spinal shrinkage. The study involved 2 consecutive weeks with 512 days of observation of 39 office employees. Results tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Heteronym or Heterophone

I enjoy heteronyms. A heteronym or a heterophone, as you probably already know, is a word that is written identically to another word but which has a different pronunciation and meaning. Here are a few of my favorites:
·         The weather was beginning to affect her affect.
·         He was an advocate for hiring someone to advocate for them.
·         A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
·         They were too close to the door to close it.
·         Please do not desert me here in the desert!
·         Do you know what a buck does to does?
·         The dove dove into the bushes when it was startled.
·         How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
·         The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

·         I’m sure he could lead if he would just get the lead out.