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links for 2009-02-19

19 Feb

links for 2009-02-17

17 Feb

Mindfulness Can Make You Healthier and Live Longer

2 Jan

Happy New Year — is it resolution time for you? Alex Williams asked the question in today’s New York Times. Research shows that many people who try to make major lifestyle changes, like losing weight, don’t succeed. Why? They are “hard-wired not to change quickly,” said Dr. Marion Kramer Jacobs. On the other hand, Alan Deutschman, the author of “Change or Die,” says some strategies are more likely than others to bring positive results. Here are Deutschman’s four steps to success:

  1. Start with big changes, not small ones.
  2. Act like the person you are trying to become.
  3. “Reframe” the situation.
  4. Don’t do it alone.

  
Dr. Dean Ornish of UCSF  is more optimistic. He believes that by changing your lifestyle you can change your gene expression. In fact, his studies have shown that people who are motivated to make and maintain bigger, healthier changes in lifestyle also achieve better clinical outcomes and even larger cost savings for the healthcare system.

In his recent interview with Edge-The Third Culture, Ornish says  that if stress reduces telomerase (an enzyme that repairs and lengthens damaged telomeres, which are the ends of our chromosomes that control how long we live) and makes telomeres shorter, then stress management techniques, exercise and good nutrition should be able to increase these. 

Ornish later says that “the more inwardly-defined you are, the more you can quiet down your mind and body and experience more of an inner sense of peace and well being, the more empowered you are… people only have power over you if they have something that you think you need. The more inwardly-defined you are, the less you need, so the more powerful you become”. And healthier too!

For more, check out this video from last year’s TED Conference:

Simplify, Live Healthier, Empower Others, Give of Yourself

27 Dec

Om Malik’s recent post in GigaOm includes important lessons that can be applied to your personal or business life:

Lesson #1: Set simple goals
Lesson#2: Binary choices help make better decisions
Lesson #3: Simplification through elimination
Lesson#4: In your team you should trust

He concludes the article with an appeal to help his favorite charity – UCSF.

Read my take on Om’s life lessons here.

The New Era of Personal Charity

27 Dec

In the  post-Madoff  meltdown, is the face of philanthropy changing? Lucette Lagnado's thinks maybe so according to her  article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal"When the Big Spenders Fail, Who Will Save Jewish Charity?" Ms Lagnado points out that over the past two decades, Jewish charities were receiving more money, but from fewer donors. But today she says,  this trend might reverse itself– funding may go from the hands of the few to the power of many –what she calls "communal philanthropy" — and if that's the case, she doesn't think that's so bad. 

Here's my favorite quote from the article: 

"…in our post-Madoff universe I find myself longing for tzedakah,  or personal charity, that took place before the rise of the uber-Jewish foundations and zillionaire philanthropists…It would be lovely to see the return of little checks — the donations everyone could afford to give and often did…"

Are we moving to a Web 2.0 model of giving? I immediately thought of Facebook's "Groups" and "Causes" enabling millions of members around the world — of all types of financial means — to join and contribute to causes and charities they care most about.   The Defeat Dementia Facebook Group,   for example, connects caregivers, family, friends, and others who support one another in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, CJD and FTD.   The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care Group  helps support the underserved ill in NYC through chaplaincy work and training, contemplative care educational retreats, and outreach programs. Both are notable groups — please join.


Hoping that each one of us gives back in some way big or small in the New Year ahead.


Life Lessons From Om Malik

27 Dec

Live as if you would die tomorrow, learn as if you would live forever - Gandhi 


Om Malik today shared some insightful lessons today in GigaOM. Simplify, empower others, live healthier and give of yourself are among his major themes. I encourage you to read the article. 


A year ago today Om suffered a heart attack that changed his life. He was treated at my employer, UCSF.  Since then, Om has become more mindful, is living healthier and has simplified his approach to living and working. 


Om's  article includes important lessons that can be applied to your personal or business life:


Lesson #1: Set simple goals
Lesson#2: Binary choices help make better decisions
Lesson #3: Simplification through elimination
Lesson#4: In your team you should trust 


He concludes the article with an appeal to help his favorite charity – UCSF. 


Last month, Om  gave me some advice on how we could help his readers learn how to become heart healthier via the web. So my Public Affairs team at UCSF (with help from the UCSF Medical Center web team) created a   heart attack prevention tips  page to support Om in his effort to raise awareness of (and  funding  for) UCSF. In today's article Om encourages readers to visit the page and "take a moment to check it out and see if you need to visit the doctor. Prevention, is much better than the cure."

I am thrilled to see the outpouring of positive feedback to Om's story. In fact, readers and influencers alike  (thanks,  Steve Rubel ) are now spreading his message through  Twitter postings.  


Happy holidays and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!


The Big Business of Happiness

28 Nov

I always believed that the practice of neuroscience and spirituality were on a path towards convergence. My belief was further reinforced by an article which appeared in today's New York Times. Patricia Leigh Brown wrote about the first ever American "Happiness and Its Causes" conference held recently in San Francisco. According to Brown the conference is part of a burgeoning happiness industry boom; the conference brought together various topics from neuroplasticity and mindfulness-based stress reduction to positive psychology and "being in the moment."  The new field of behavioral neurogenetics was highlighted in the article, revealing that behavior and emotions  are impacted not only by genes but also in part by environment. To read more click here: