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Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Tips to help you achieve your New Year Resolutions

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Yes, the Holidays, means  family, the flu season and New years resolution. This post will focus on New Year’s Resolution and how you can make 2014 the year that you etch them in stone forever. fulfill

You will notice that I highlighted year and this is because I feel that a lot of people fail to see their commitments as a year long obstacles. Because the fact is change is not easy. I believe that few people can consciously change their habits, ideals, outlook, et cetre. This was made evident to me last year. Of course I knew change was hard, even ‘good’ change but it definitely was set in stone for me last year. In fact last year was the first time I ran across the term passive-aggressive. And boy is it a cruel thing. You never know what people are really thinking. The worst part is that I believe that it is contagious. Anyways back to the subject at hand.

I copied and pasted an article by Jessica Stillman, called,”Why January 1st is the Worst Day to Make Resolutions.”

Basically what Ms, Stillman is suggesting is to breakdown your commitments and designate a commitment to each month of the year. Which is a good idea overall because it forces you to organize but it is also helpful because the commitments do not seem so overwhelming. This would definitely benefit you if you have exactly 12 commitments or should  I say 11 commitments. So what you do is adopt one of your resolutions on the 1st of February and make sure that by the end of February it is not a resolution but a habit, imbedded in your daily routine. And then on March 1st you adopt another resolution and so on. This also works if you have less resolutions for example three. You can dedicate four months of the year to one resolution. If this is the case I believe you will have a better chance of committing. I do recommend that you keep record of your progress as well.

You will find the article below:

Why January 1st Is the Worst Day to Make

Resolutions

Looking for a simple trick to make your New Year’s commitment more sticky? Here’s an easy adjustment endorsed by psychologists.

If you’re looking for excuses not to bother with a New Year’s Resolution this year, the internet has you covered. A quick google search will give you post after post after post explaining why most resolutions are doomed from the start due to various quirks of human nature. Depending on which study you reference, nearly nine-out-of-ten resolutions end up quickly falling by the wayside, according to this pessimistic pile up of articles.

But what if this year you’re determined to beat those odds and make permanent positive changes to your life or business? Tips abound, but some like going into psychoanalysis, make the medicine seem worse than the condition, while others, like choosing happy resolutions, defeat the purpose if your true desire is to break a bad habit.

Are there no simple, actionable tricks you can use to make your commitment more sticky? Yup, one is easy as pie and recommended by the experts. What is it? Wisebread recently explained:

Instead of starting resolutions on January 1st — after a hectic month when most people have been knocked off of their usual routines because of the holidays — start on February 1st, and shoot for a date every month to check progress, [clinical psychologist Ramani] Durvasula says.

“I think January 1st is the worst possible day to make New Year’s resolutions because everybody is doing it and out of their routine,” she adds.

Trying to add something to your daily routine, such as exercising, can be difficult on January 1st because for the previous two weeks or so, most people are out of their normal routine anyway, and adding something else to it can lead to quick failure, Durvasula notes.

OK, we admit this technique may defeat the purpose if you’re trying to beat procrastination in 2014, but for everyone else moving the start date of your new habit forward a month could be worth a try. Most of us let ourselves go a bit in December, so trying to get strict with ourselves immediately afterwards can cause a backlash, other psychologists agree.

“Because we place so few demands on ourselves to be disciplined during December, there is no immediate threat of deprivation,” explains Pauline W. Wallin, Ph.D. “When New Year’s Day arrives, we tend to expect that self-discipline will magically take over, and it does, sometimes for several days; but then, more often than not, we are soon overcome by a feeling of being deprived. We begin to resent the rules we imposed upon ourselves, and start to rebel in small ways. Pretty soon, the rationalization takes over completely.”

“January 1 is not necessarily the best time to commit to lifestyle changes,” she concludes.

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Hope that this was helpful.

Peace.

Reference:

Stillman, Jessica. (2013, Dec 30).Why January 1st is the Worst Day to Make Resolutions . http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/do-not-start-your-new-years-resolution-on-january-1st.html

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During the flu season you have to be on the defense

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It’s that time again. When everyone around seems to be getting sick. Which means that it is flu season. Which can be a good thing because you can choose to take up habits during the flu season that can benefit you for the rest of the year. Such as washing your hands regularly or abstinence from smoking. Below are some simple tips or suggestions that I have found helpful.

I believe that it is important to recognize, difference between the common cold and the flu. For example the type of viruses that get you sick are different for the flu versus the common cold. The flu is caused by either Influenza A or B,  in comparison to the common cold which can be caused by over 200 different varieties of the rhinovirus. They also differ in the symptoms, the WebMD website, found here does a good job of going more into detail. Nonetheless, the symptoms can be be found below.

Common Cold:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Children can get a fever
  • Lasts about one week

Flu:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever in children and adults
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • How long symptoms lasts vary

It is also important to add that people who have cold like symptoms that do not go away within a week,  should check with their doctor to see if the have an allergy or sinusitis. On that note I would like to make it clear that I am not a registered physician or nurse and that the information given here should be used under your own judgment.

Before we get into what you can do as a preventative measure and or if  you do get sick. I would like to point out a couple of bad habits that should not be done while one is sick:

  • You should not smoke, if you are a smoker.
  • You should not exercise, this is because exercise puts stress(usually a good thing) on the body and your body needs all the energy it can get when you are sick.
  • You should not consume a lot of alcohol(if any at all).
  • According to certified nutritional consultant, Phyllis Balch, (2012), “do not give aspirin to a child who shows symptoms of a viral  infection.” This because giving aspirin can result in the child developing Reye’s syndrome, which could be serious.
  • Phyllis Balch, (2012), also recommends not to take antibiotics since they are useless against viruses. This is because antibiotics fight bacteria and not viruses. So be careful if you doctor prescribes antibiotics.

With that said, I would like to focus on what one can do if they get the common cold or the flu.  These habits and remedies are ones that focus on the bodies own ability to fight the virus in the body. So they can be used while you are sick as well as prevent you from getting sick.

One of the most important things that you can do is wash your hands regularly and try to avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. This does not mean using hand sanitizers, which is becoming very common. There is controversy around the use of hand sanitizers, for various reasons, such as how it can lead to skin problems,  Lisa A. Garner, MD, stated:

“Everyone’s afraid of germs, but our skin can’t tolerate [hand sanitizer] as much as some people are using it,”

What Dr. Garner is saying is that the over use of hand sanitizers is causing an increase in skin problems. Dr. garner is a dermatologist(doctor who specializes in skin and its diseases), who has seen a rapid increase in skin problems due to use of hand sanitizers among other things. The complete article can be found here.

This is not to say that you should not use hand sanitizers when convenient or appropriate. I believe that hand sanitizers do have a place in our lives. For example in the work place, if you are someone who works in a hospital, school, or any job that requires you to use tools that other people use, then hand sanitizers come in handy. This is because you can wipe down the equipment, table, whatever it may be with the hand sanitizer. I would also recommend carrying a small bottle of lotion in your bag or purse.

Now to the good stuff! We cannot talk about natural remedies without talking about teas. Teas are very beneficial in reducing the length of a cold or preventing you from getting the flu.  Phyllis Balch (2012), states,” that drinking 2-5 cups of green tea a day during the flu season can prevent you from getting the flu.” I personally recommend two things, the first: get your hands on white tea, if you can find it. This is because it has more antioxidants then green tea. The second: no disrespect to Dr. Balch but drink as much tea as you can (2-5 cups? you can do better). Another important tea to drink is enchinacea(highly recommended). To increase the effects of the teas, I would recommend adding cayenne pepper to the tea, as well as slices of fresh ginger(powder if it is all that you have), as well as boiling the water with lemon peels in the water(my Aunt’s recommendation). Regarding the Green and white tea, it is important to buy Fairtrade tea, and anything you can for that matter. You can purchase Fairtrade tea in you local organic store or online here and here.

One remedy that I highly recommend is the consumption of raw garlic cloves. This is one that some people shy from because of the stigma around the way garlic can make you smell, but in comparison to the health benefits I believe it is worth it. Dr Andrew Weil, (2005), recommends to finely chop the garlic cloves and eat them raw. This is because when they are cooked the beneficial qualities of the garlic are reduced. Garlic has very strong anti-bacterial and ant-viral properties. One thing that has to be said, is if you do decide to consume garlic in the raw or cooked form, I recommend that you let the garlic sit for at least fifteen minutes, before eating or cooking it. This is has to do with what happens to the garlic when it is exposed to the air. If you want more information on this click here.

For relief from congestion, allergic symptoms, and the cold,  it might be beneficial to use a neti pot. A neti pot is a device that allows you to rinse your nasal passage ways with luke warm water and a non-iodized salt. You can purchase a neti pot or make one yourself. I have provided links to two videos on Youtube here and here(make sure the water is not hot!!! When you use it).

I hope that you find this information useful. Please let me know if you have questions, concerns, and or ideas.

Peace.

References:

Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Herbal Healing. 2nd ed. revised. Stacy Bell. New York. Avery. 2012. print.

Kam Katherine. “Surprising Household Irritants.” WebMD. WebMD, LLC, 13 Sept. 2011.

Weil, Andrew. Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimal Health. 1995. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.print.

Happy New Year! 2014 is already looking up for some

Happy New Year. Hope that the holidays were kind to you.

I briefly went on the National Geographic website not really looking for anything when I came across an article about Intel’s “promise” to ban “conflict minerals.” This is a HUGE first step to improving the lives of thousands of people, maybe millions. Because this can set the example for other companies that profit from  violence and instability. This announcement came from Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, who has only been on the job for six months. Is well informed about the supply chain from the mining field to the production factories, since he was in charge of all of Intel’s supply chain.

This announcement made by Mr. Krzanich represents a step in the right direction following SEC’s adoption of a rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which now requires U.S. companies to disclose the use of conflict minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries.

I was glad to see that Mr. Krzanich’s initial reaction was to completely stop using minerals from the DRC and other surrounding areas. Which would have resulted in Intel only using minerals from conflict-free areas. But this idea was immediately disregarded by the supply chain team, do to the notion that this decision would eliminate a key source of income for local residents. So in 2012 Intel decided to only use minerals taken conflict-free areas by 2013.

The minerals that are required for the microprocessors include tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin. Tantalum being the most important in this situation. Intel is the worlds number one commercial consumer of tantalum, so it is no surprise that it has the most power to change the market.

It took two years for Intel to follow the supply chain, from an actual electronic product to the smelters. And it can now proudly say that all the minerals in their microprocessors are conflict-free.

When writing this post I ran across Enough Project, which is an organization dedicated in fighting genocide and crimes against humanity. The have a list that was finalized in 2012 that lists all the major companies that provide us with electronics and how they rank against each other, regarding the use of conflict minerals. Intel takes the top spot on their list; you can find the list here.

Intel claims that all the conflict-free areas have been looked over by a third party. “You’re really going like a plumber into the depths of these smelters,” explains Sasha Lezhnev, policy director at the Enough Project, which works with Intel on its conflict-free sourcing. “These are highly secretive industries. They’re just not used to public scrutiny. This is just an organizational and cultural change that they in some senses have to react to.”

And just in case you were worried about the price electric gadgets increasing due to this great new step; that will not happen. Mr. Krzanich confirmed that the company decision will not affect prices of gadgets, the only results are pricey airfare and more manpower. So why did this take so long?

Below is a video put together by Intel about the Democratic Republic of Congo, the people there, minerals and much more relating to the matter.  It is a good starting point.

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Below you will find a copy of the article from the National Geographic.

Photo of miners eating lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province, Congo.

Miners eating lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province.

Photograph by Marcus Bleasdale, National Geographic

Tom O’Neill

National Geographic

Published January 9, 2014

Intel’s announcement that every microprocessor that it ships will be made without conflict minerals from Africa hit both a personal and professional nerve for photographer Marcus Bleasdale.

Bleasdale has spent the past decade photographing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to bring the issue to the world’s eyes: workers, including children, toiling in brutal conditions in mines overseen by militias in eastern Congo. In October National Geographic magazine published “The Price of Precious,” which featured Bleasdale’s powerful photos dramatizing the suffering of people caught in the middle of the violent, illegal grab for minerals like tin, tungsten, and gold. They’re referred to as “conflict minerals” because of the ongoing strife between army commanders and militia chiefs over control of the mines.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company’s action is the culmination of years of effort to track down the smelters, more than 60 in all, that provide the company with minerals such as tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin and then auditing them for where the minerals came from. The result is that, now, all the smelters that Intel contracts with use minerals from mines not involved in the DRC conflict.

National Geographic spoke with Bleasdale in Washington, D.C.

What was your reaction to the Intel announcement?

It was: “Wow!” I have been working closely with the Enough Project to find ways to engage companies on the issue of using conflict minerals, but I didn’t expect such a significant action. Intel is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of microprocessors. What they did is huge. It gives the effort momentum. Almost one-fourth of the smelters used by electronic companies have been audited as conflict-free. Plus, more and bigger mines in the DRC are coming on tap as certified conflict-free.

There are so many players in this; it is so complex. Conflict minerals are not like diamonds that are relatively easy to source. We need a tracking system.

It must be gratifying to know that your photography has played a role in creating public pressure for such an action.

Let me say that an individual photograph can have a powerful impact. But the real power is what you do with it and whom you partner with. By working with Human Rights Watch, beginning in 2004, my work hit a nerve and was instrumental, for instance, in making a Swiss company stop buying Congolese gold.

What has the response been to your photos in our October issue?

The response has been massive. I have been surprised by how many people were not aware of where the minerals in their cell phones and computers and other electronics came from. I know the article will also engage industries, and there are hundreds of them that use these minerals.

I have also been amazed by the reaction to “The Moment,” a page in the back of the magazine with a photograph of a child’s funeral at the St. Kizito orphanage in the Congo. As a result of that picture, tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the orphanage have come in, from donors ranging from a media company in L.A. to a law firm in Oslo where I recently spoke. Every cent donated has been spent by the orphanage for the children.

Why do photographs have this potency?

With every conflict it is very difficult to show the enormity of the suffering. You have all these statistics, 4.5 million people killed, 30,000 women raped. To get through to people you have to show individuals touched by the conflict. That’s how you engage people, how you shock them to maybe change their behavior. I want to repeat, though: It’s difficult for photographs to do this work on their own. You need an advocacy group to partner with who can knock on the doors of Congress and corporations. This advocacy work is as satisfying to me as taking a photograph. (Related: “Marcus Bleasedale on Shock and Change.”)

It sounds like a personal brand of photojournalism.

Objectivity is important to me. But when you face such horrific suffering and you know that it’s fueled in great part by [the] conflict minerals industry, you want it to stop; you are human and say it has to stop.

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For those who hope for a better world. This should be a sort feel like a step in the right direction.

Again Happy New Year

Peace

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