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Maybe it’s Time to March for ROOT CAUSE instead of Band-Aids

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I believe this Henny Youngman joke can be applied to tremendously improve the current way we address and “fix” issues in our society. 

Stick with me and I’ll explain.

It seems we are conditioned to a apply a band-aid approach to “improve” any situation or concern instead of looking for the root cause – the real reason – to stop an undesirable outcome from happening in the first place.  “It hurts when I do this – then don’t do that”.  Think about it.  It’s pretty much the key to solving the issues we face every day.

To improve life, I believe we have to take a quality improvement approach where look towards the ROOT CAUSE to determine where a problem or situation starts in the first place – and to find ways to stop the problem that produces the negative or undesirable outcomes from starting – not waiting for the negative and then try to “fix” it.

This is actually the goal of the Time to Play Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® program – to provide tools and skills PRE vs. the use of therapy and counseling (the REinvention and REcovery).

The other day I posted a short video with a #FightFor hash tag (www.timetoplay.com/fightfor).   Instead of continuing to fighting against things like drugs, guns, poverty, homelessness, inequality, etc., which,  in my opinion, divides our people and where we don’t seem to come to solutions, but where issue(s) perpetuate and create frustrated and angry people, what if we started to #FightFor.

How about if we stop fighting against and start to fight FOR a solution, quality of life and life enjoyment that will create a better life for ourselves, our children, and our communities.  Because, in the end, isn’t that what we really want – to enjoy life?

However, it seems, now-a-days, we just continue to apply band aids or interim solutions without addressing and shifting the real issue(s) in the first place.

The following article has a few of my thoughts about some band-aids we have in our society we seem to get applied for us through policy  and/or legislation.

As you read, please consider  if you think these “solutions” provide positive outcomes.

I apologize for the length of the article, but felt I needed to provide some examples so you can see the current way we seem to address situations and that, maybe, there may be a better way of approaching situations or concerns.

Additionally, please keep in mind that I am not a scientist or an expert in everything.  These are my observations where it is evident to me, at some point, that if it’s not working, maybe it’s time to shift how we approach things.

Let’s start with something that’s ALWAYS in the news – Climate ControlIn my opinion, we don’t really address true causes.  We only hear about easy targets where we focus blame – for example, the oil and coal used to generate our energy.  Again, I’m not a scientist.  Do I believe these things pollute?  Absolutely.

Do I believe there are there options for the energy needs of the 347 million people who live here in the United States?  Possibly.

But, have we looked at the overall root cause of what is truly hurting our planet and our fellow life creatures who live in – for example – the ocean?

The other day my daughter told me about the amount of seemingly harmless STRAWS we use.

Did you know that 500 million straws are used and discarded EACH DAY in the U.S. alone and consistently make the top ten list of items found in our oceans?

Did you know that our fish are eating plastic and, in turn, you are eating plastic when you eat fish???   Just follow the link to the photo on the home page of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.  It’s very telling, but something I do not think the majority of people know or maybe they just choose to ignore.  I think things are hidden from the general public in the interest to fulfill an agenda that is bigger than the individual human who lives here.  Visit http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org for more information about straws and plastics.

Before I do move on from plastic, I feel compelled to discuss the Plastic Bag Ban recently instituted (January 2018) in Suffolk County, NY.  This ban was on plastic bags used to pack our shopping at checkout, but it really isn’t a ban.  The legislation now requires stores to charge 5 cents a bag if you don’t bring a bag with you.

Not kidding.

Do I believe these bags are a huge problem in the scheme of garbage?  I personally, absolutely do.  However, in my opinion, this ban is a fake band-aid intervention.

ALL plastic bags add to our huge garbage crisis.

Did you EVER look at how much garbage you and/or your family generates each week?  Personally, my family recycles everything we can.  I am proud that our recycle pile is now larger than our garbage pile that goes out each week.  We even bring home recycle from our office to put out each week.  Unfortunately, many communities and businesses don’t recycle at all.  By the way – once I found food stores that collect plastic bags, I started to recycle all clean plastic bags that we use in our home — every plastic bag that I can – including the HUGE ones the paper towels or toilet tissue come in at Sam’s club or BJs or Cosco.

I’ve been recycling plastic bags in our household for many months already, but the reason was reinforced a few days ago when we visited the Holtsville Ecology Center for a Spring home show.  I had been at the Ecology Center many times in the past, but for some reason was drawn to a display of garbage that apparently had been there in the case since the 1980’s.

The display was of garbage that had been in the landfill for 17 years before they dug it up and put it into the case.

The items that made the greatest impression on me were a can, a bread bag, a newspaper, and a beer bottle.  The items pretty much looked like they were brand new.

The bread bag made the greatest impression on me.  It looked like it was just purchased and brand new.  How many bread bags do you use at your home?  How many plastic bags do you come in contact with every day?

SO MANY THINGS we bring into our home are wrapped in plastic, pretty much – for example, frozen veggies, every package from Amazon, the bags we wrap our kids lunch in every day, the plastic wrap we use… just take a minute to stop and think about every plastic bag you touch every single day.

For info, here’s a list published in 2013 of the length of time common items take to biodegrade.  You can read more here: https://www.down2earthmaterials.ie/2013/02/14/decompose

  • Plastic bottles: 70-450 years
  • Plastic bag: 500-1000 years
  • Tin can: around 50 years
  • Leather shoes: 25-40 years
  • Thread: 3-4 months
  • Cotton: 1-5 months
  • Rope: 3-14 months
  • Cigarette: 1-12 years
  • Milk packet (tetra) covers and drink packets: 5 years
  • Nylon clothes: 30-40 years
  • Sanitary napkins & children diapers: 500-800 years
  • Glass bottles: 1,000,000 years
  • Hairspray bottle: 200-500 years
  • Fishing line: 600 years.
  • Glass bottle; 1-2 million years
  • Aluminum can: 200 years

So, how much will the plastic bag legislation really help?  In my opinion, it’s a start, but I don’t think it’s going to make a tremendous impact.

Remember that the bags didn’t go away but now just cost 5 cents a bag.  It makes me question why such a regulation would be put in place in the first place.  Think about how much money it cost the taxpayers to have our elected officials make this happen between the hearings and debates and legislation, and, when we look at the “whole”, this isn’t really going to make much difference.

We are not getting to a root cause.

And then there’s the drug crisis – I’m not going to go into a big discussion here, as this is a very powerful topic with a lot of emotion that, unfortunately, affects thousands and thousands of people.  The drug crisis is not the reason I started writing this article today, but feel it is something I need to mention.  This is a huge society issue where, in my opinion, we truly keep applying band-aids without really, really going into root cause to help people choose not to use drugs in the first place.

We keep blaming everything we can in this horrific and incredible societal situation without starting from the root cause of helping people to be happy as themselves or looking at the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) that are estimated to affect 64% of our population.  Did you know a person with an ACE has a 700% increased likelihood of becoming alcoholic, or attempting suicide by 1200%, or using IV drugs by 4600%?????

I believe we’ve been going in the wrong direction since President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1972.  Did you know that we have spent over $1 trillion fighting the “war”?  I believe we are certainly losing.

A few days ago I watched President Trump’s speech where he announced that stricter penalties will be applied to persecute drug dealers.  He had a mom and dad who lost their son in their 20’s at the podium to speak about their loss.  I am a parent of 3 children, and I felt so saddened that they did lose their child, something not one parent should ever have to experience.  They told the story of how their son had so much promise and then, one day, decided to use (key words) the opiates they had in their medicine cabinet.  The pain killers were not prescribed to him.

Was the loss of this poor baby the fault of the drug company or a prescribing doctor?  Of course, I don’t know the whole story – I only know what the parents said in their few minutes telling their story – but, perhaps we should look at the WHY.  It is evident that the choice was his choice, for whatever reason.  Perhaps he had a physical or mental pain that he chose to start the self-medication, which, in turn, led to the addiction that killed him.  Without seeming cruel, I’m going to throw this out there – drug dealers are providing a service, like going to the car wash or nail salon.  If people didn’t want to buy the drugs, there would be no reason for a drug dealer to sell them.  No demand, no need for the supply.

I believe we have gotten away from the real root causes of why things start and are “fighting against” so many issues when, instead, we can have much better outcomes from finding a root cause and looking at how we can change the why it starts instead of the band-aids we apply to the aftermath.

We have tons of crisis hotlines for things like suicide prevention instead of helping people enjoy life.  We have insulin to give to the millions of people with type 2 diabetes, many times, a lifestyle disease; or the knowledge that lung cancer starts many through smoking or now vaping, but keep selling cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia; or the fact we need to keep filling food banks.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t have food banks.  Of course we need to make sure people eat.  But, it’s not solving the root cause of why the people don’t have food in the first place.

The Bible says that if you give a man a fish, he will eat today, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever.  The Bible has been around for over 2,000 years.  We just don’t seem to listen.

In our society I believe we just keep taking up causes to fight against everything and the endless ways we put blame elsewhere and apply band-aids or interim solutions.

Maybe it is time for us to really stop and think of how these band-aids that we keep applying are not working, but hurting our families, hurting our children and keep an unhealthy cycle perpetuating.

So after this whole article, here’s the reason I started writing in the first place.

I felt I needed to showcase how we perpetuate and band-aid issues instead of solving the issues via root cause.

The hot topic of the day is gun control.

I watched the news reports of the thousands of people who marched “for life” yesterday for gun control.

I am certainly an absolute advocate of doing background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness, depression or other health concerns that would question the judgment of the person who is purchasing a weapon of ANY type.  For example, look at OJ who “hypothetically” stabbed poor Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman to death.  I only mention this as a 2006 interview never before aired was just broadcast on national television in March 2018.

I believe we are missing a lot of issues here when we are just protesting for gun control.  Certainly, with the internet, there’s an endless array of items a person can “Google” to purchase if they truly want to do harm to others.

We are not looking at the ROOT CAUSE of gun safety.  It is evident guns don’t kill and that people do.  I think I’ve heard that phrase before.

But, for some reason, our society focuses on the band-aid or agenda of others instead of the root cause of the WHY a person would go and shoot up a store or a movie theater or a school.

A normal-thinking person who has or uses guns does not shoot people in the normal course of their lives.

If you Google you will find that the first modern gun was invented in 1364. That’s a long time to show that we’ve had guns available.  I felt I needed to put things in perspective and personally wonder what the real agenda may be.

If all we are addressing is the gun, we may be forgetting to look at the big picture.  It is not just the gun.

We certainly need to look at an individual’s reason behind the shootings.  We need to look at the thoughts of the individual(s) who carry out these unspeakable acts, their perception, and the sinister and premeditated motivation to carry forth such acts.

It does not stop there.  After we identify the motivation behind these acts, we then need to then apply a quality improvement initiative to turn lives around to one where people would value their lives and the lives of others, which would potentially prevent the hatred behind a person’s desire to conduct a mass shooting in the first place.

Again, I think there is a better way to stop negative outcomes if we #FightFor solutions.

I’m proposing a March for Root Cause.  A #FightFor our quality of life.

After all, I truly believe it is time to us to enjoy life, and the only way we can is to find the resources to give us the skills of personal empowerment, starting with the knowledge that it is possible to enjoy our life, to stop feelings of being hopeless or overwhelmed, to start looking for solutions and the need to look for ways to stop negative life experiences from starting in the first place.

It is through the power of the people that this can be accomplished.  It is time for us to come together and find opportunities to change our individuals and communities through root cause awareness and finding REAL solutions of prevention.  The solutions of the people by the people.

Just imagine the possibilities.

It is Time to Enjoy Life.  Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:  Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

The Foundation offers an unconventional approach in a non-threatening manner to provide solutions for the life situations that people may encounter.  Working in healthcare since 1987, and with her background in quality improvement, she has followed statistics showing our society’s current evolution to be more “sick and sad”.   She developed the Time to Play Philosophy:  you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance for quality of life and believes everyone has the ability to enjoy life.

Photo credit:  http://2peasrefugees.boards.net/thread/48704/push-on-places-hurt?page=2

How Can You Reduce Your 1 in 3 Cancer Risk Part 3, What Do Antioxidants Do by Melissa Stockman

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community
How can you reduce your 1 in 3 cancer risk? 
Part 3:  What do antioxidants do?
By Melissa Stockman RN, BC-ANP, PNP                                                                                                            Medical Director of TimeToPlay ,                                                                                                                       Board Certified Nurse Practitioner & RN                                                                                            Email: rejuvn8melissa@aol.com
According to the NCI (National Cancer Institute), “At high concentrations, ….free radicals can be hazardous to your body, including the DNA…The damage to cells caused by free radicals…play a role in cancer & other health conditions”.   Diets rich in antioxidants defend against oxidation of LDL (lipids) & plaque formations that clog arteries & cause CAD.   As per Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center “In small clinical trials, reishi (Reishi is derived from specific mushrooms)…enhanced immune responses in cancer patients.  In another study, …reishi…appeared to suppress development of colorectal adenomas.  Remission of hepatocellular carcinoma was reported in a few cases in a single study.  Another case study suggests benefits of gastrointestinal cancer patients….further research is needed.”  “Reishi …stop the growth & prevent the spread of cancer cells in laboratory & animal studies”, says K. Simon Young, manager of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s “About Herbs” website.  “The mushrooms can also play a role in cancer prevention, says Daniel Silva, Senior Investigator of Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital’s Cancer Research Laboratory in Indianapolis.  I personally take herbal supplementations derived from mushrooms.      
 Antioxidants interact with & neutralize the free radicals to stop that chain reaction of free radicals damaging more nearby atoms or molecules.  Antioxidants donate an electron (-) to end the stealing of electrons which then ends the chain reaction.  Thus, each antioxidant can prevent many many many many free radicals from forming.  The body makes some antioxidants but not enough to keep up with the demand of free radical chain reactions.   Remember, free radical damage accumulates with age.  I believe that since antioxidants stop & slow down free radical formations & their chain reactions, they promote health, slow down oxidation aka aging, promote weight loss, reduce your risk of cancers & other diseases.  Patients of mine who have raised their antioxidant levels seemed to lose their excess weight quicker too.  When we starve ourselves of calories, our bodies compensates by burning the calories slower to conserve energy.  I believe the same thing happens when we don’t get enough nutrients.   
Learn more about preventing free radical damage by reading future parts of this article, joining our “Reduce your 1 in 3 Cancer Risk” 
*Join Melissa for her monthly “Be Healthy Program” at the Time to Play Office located at 1075 Rte 112 Port Jefferson Station starting on Tuesday, February  21st and every 3rd Tuesday of each month. Call 631-331-2675 for details or email Melissa at  rejuvn8melissa@aol.com  Hope to see you there!
 

What do our people need?  A Sense of Community and Belonging

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communityA few days ago I was privileged to attend a conference that focused on our veterans, the issues they faced after discharge from service, their expectations, their feelings of social isolation, and how, together, we could provide resources and opportunities to improve their quality of life.

I came to a conclusion after just the first speaker at the event:  The discussion presented described not only to the experience faced by our veterans, but could be applied to every member of our society, no matter what state or city they live.

As you read on, I am confident that you will agree that the Enjoy Life Community® program developed by the Time to Play Foundation provides a valid solution to address many of the issues being faced today, not only by our veterans, but by a majority of our youth and our people.

Perhaps it is time for the people within our communities to stop just “existing” and “surviving” and to start “living”.

The first speaker at the event was a Vietnam Veteran and a chaplain.  For the purposes of this article, we will call him Mr. O.

He presented how a soldier is trained and embraced into duty and described what becomes missing in their lives upon return to civilian life after discharge.

#1:  A sense of purpose:  Mr. O explained that, when a soldier is in active service, they have a “job”.  He explained how the soldier is important in that job, how the members of service “liked” them in that job, and how the armed forces wanted the soldier to succeed in that job.

#2:  A sense of community / belonging:  Mr. O discussed the soldier’s sense of community and belonging while on active duty and how the soldier knew who they were and where they stood with the others in their command (community).

#3:  A sense of Intimacy:  Mr. O described the sense of intimacy felt by the soldier in their command.  He explained how soldiers not only knew the members of their command (community), but how they stood by each other and supported each other.

Mr. O noted that, after the soldier left active service, they no longer felt this sense of community, of belonging, of purpose, or of importance; that, upon discharge from service, they no longer felt the sense of intimacy or sense of value.

Mr. O noted that there is no system to integrate the soldier back into their home community, and that, without their military unit’s support, they cannot “get home”.

Mr. O said that this is when the dilemma of “where do you belong when you no longer belong” sets in, which is when, he noted, that many soldiers turn to drugs or alcohol to find a sense of comfort.  He described his experience talking to incarcerated veterans who feel more comfortable in jail because they are around people who understand them.

Mr. O said that the feeling experienced by veterans becomes most disturbing when no one understands them, when no one understands who they are, and when they no longer have a voice.  He described how these become the feelings that breed the feelings of hopelessness.  He described how the soldier feels lost without the sense of values given to them and lost because what they believe is not what others believe.

It is, at that time, when the soldier feels very lonely and isolated.

After hearing Mr. O speak, it becomes evident how every person would benefit from being embraced by the community in which they live in the manner the armed forces embraces their soldiers.

Further, Mr. O noted that, years ago in our civilian communities, there were clubs and organizations and a sense of belonging in a community; that people socialized together.  Now, he noted, people are increasingly socially isolated and not embracing of others.

As I imply that there are similarities in the feelings experienced by people who are not veterans, I am in no way minimizing the experience of those who have served.  Thankfully, the general population has not seen the circumstances of war that many of our returning veterans have experienced, and I do acknowledge that our veterans may need support services and programs to face the resulting trauma.

But, think about it. . .

What community member is really integrated into our communities throughout their lives starting with our youth? What programs are available that help the general population feel “at home” or help them develop a sense of belonging or a sense of support?  A sense of not being alone even if facing a negative life situation?

How many articles or events do we need to read about where those who feel “different”, not supported, socially isolated or bullied adopt negative coping techniques including the utilization of drugs or alcohol or cause harm to themselves or others in their communities through violent acts?

I believe the need for self worth and the effects of social isolation are the same for every one of us.

I believe that, no matter where we live, WE ALL NEED a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of importance, a sense of intimacy and a sense of being of value.

We all need a sense of community.  We all need to belong.

The Enjoy Life Community® model presents a solution to all who live in any community.  It will not only help our veterans re-integrate and feel welcome and at home, but the intention of an Enjoy Life Community® is to:  Bring together all organizations and individuals in a community, encourage proactive community collaboration, utilize the community organizations to trickle information throughout a community, showcase the good work of community organizations to encourage participation by community members, identify areas where community participation is available to increase community involvement with the intention to decrease social isolation, and to utilize the strength and experience of community members in a community.

The Enjoy Life Community® model is a low cost social intervention that is a visible, non-threatening approach to create quality of life for those in a community.

The Enjoy Life Community® model provides a positive reminder and reinforcement to enjoy life by offering visible cues, establishing pride in a community, and encourages a focus on the positive and the possibilities.

It is a SOLUTION.

It is also important for me to mention here the fact many people do not proactively seek assistance when they are experiencing a negative life situation.  The Enjoy Life Community®, due to its visibility of resources in the community, also offers an opportunity for a more proactive approach to solve this issue.  Additionally, I believe the current system that provides individual counseling may perpetuate (continue) the individual’s experience and current belief system.  Even with outreach or counseling or support programs, the individual may remain isolated and continue to feel “unwelcomed” or segregated from their communities.  That would potentially change in an Enjoy Life Community®.

The Enjoy Life Community® utilizes the resources and people in a community to make it stronger to enhance the quality of life for all.

The Enjoy Life Community® model can be applied to any community, including a school community, college campus or corporate environment to create the feeling that people are important and belong.

If you are interested in learning more about this easy to implement solution, please contact us at 631-331-2675 or email: doreen@timetoplay.com.

Just imagine the possibilities if people in their communities felt supported, not alone, and lived in a place where they were able to share or develop their talents.

Just imagine…

After all, I believe every moment of every day should feel like “play”.  It is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

 

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:  Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

Photo credit:  http://thedinoffschool.com/about-us/community

Rational vs. Irrational

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rational vs irrational

Today’s reflection stems from my thoughts regarding this past week’s emotional roller coaster.

With people getting attacked for their views, I believe it really emphasizes the idea behind the science of social and emotional intelligence education.

Personally, I have to admit that this past week was hard for me.  Even with all the training I have had in life coaching and emotional intelligence coaching, I unfortunately allowed the whole negative energy to get “in” and affect me in a negative manner.  I can’t remember being so exhausted.

That being said, each experience does broaden our own personal awareness in order for us to use the experience to make future changes to enhance our quality of life.

Based on my conversations with many people, very few seem to have awareness about social and emotional intelligence. I find it worthwhile for this article to focus on what it is and what it can do for individuals and corporate organizations going forward.

Social and Emotional Intelligence is a learned behavior which I believe is the root of individual behavior and our quality of life.

Social and Emotional Intelligence has been defined as:  The ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships.

I believe that having an individual strong Social and Emotional Intelligence is so important.

I also believe there is an appropriate level of behavior that people need to exhibit when reacting to any situation, whether personal or in a workplace.  I believe that reactions need to be one of rational expression where we need to consider the whole situation and that we need to consider the ramifications of our own personal behavior.  I believe our behavior and reactions positively or negatively impact our lives and our relationships.

For example, think about explosive behavior in a workplace.  If you have a boss that does not consider all sides to a situation, but just reacts in an explosive manner, how does that make you feel?

This can be applied to any circumstance or relationship including that between yourself and your spouse, your parent, your child, your coworker, a checkout clerk, or that of a person driving a car next to you.

Our reactions are truly important to consider, which brings me back to why I wrote this article which discusses the potential different perceptions of people regarding rational vs. irrational behavior.  I believe we need to become aware of, and have a need for, broad social and emotional intelligence coaching.

In today’s society, I personally do not think we have the filters we used to have for our behaviors.  I also believe we have, as a society, have come to accept less controlled reactions from others.  It has become commonplace for bullying, riots, road rage and mass shootings, and we seem to have become desensitized and have come to expect these occurrences.  Personally, as we are not a barbaric society, I believe that this is step in the wrong direction.

While I do believe self expression is important, I also believe it is necessary to consider the “whole” and that it is the responsibility for each of us to control our reactions to not impede the rights, health, or to negatively impact the lives of others.  Ever hear the idiom “it is a two-way street”?  It may be necessary to consider that compromise is a necessary consideration in our interactions with others.  The problem with this is that we have to recognize how our behaviors and reactions relate to compromise and finding solutions to situations in a manner that is best for all.

I believe a strong social and emotional intelligence is necessary to have a quality of life for not only an individual, but the whole.

The following is an excerpt from the book, Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman in 1995:   “The emotional lessons we learn as children at home and at school shape the emotional circuits, making us more adept – or inept – at the basics of emotional intelligence.  This means that childhood and adolescence are critical windows of opportunity for setting down the essential emotional habits that govern our lives”.  He noted that hazards await those who, in growing to maturity, fail to master the emotional realm.  He further noted that deficiencies in emotional intelligence heighten a spectrum of risks from depression or a life of violence to eating disorders and drug abuse, and how teaching children the emotional and social skills they need can keep their lives on track.  Mr. Goleman reported that a survey of parents and teachers showed a worldwide trend for the present generation of children to be more troubled emotionally than the last:  more lonely and depressed, more angry and unruly, more nervous and prone to worry, more impulsive and aggressive.

Again, acknowledging that social and emotional intelligence is learned behavior, I advocate for the need for us to learn these necessary skills. Emotional Intelligence is an important component of the Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® program.

During my Social and Emotional Intelligence coaching education, I learned there were 26 competencies that affect our reactions and behaviors that include: Emotional self-awareness, accurate self-awareness, personal power, behavioral self-control, integrity, innovation and creativity, initiative and bias for action, achievement drive, realistic optimism, resilience, stress management, personal agility, intentionality, empathy, situational awareness, service orientation, communication, interpersonal effectiveness, powerful influencing skills, conflict management, inspirational leadership, catalyzing change, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration, coaching and mentoring others and building trust.

I believe that you can build on your emotional intelligence strengths and that, if you have vulnerability in any particular area, it will negatively impact your quality of life and the quality of life of those with whom you interact.

Please feel free to contact me at 631-331-2675 if you have questions regarding social and emotional intelligence.  I would be most willing to discuss your personal situation.

With the knowledge that we are only able to control ourselves, our behavior, our feelings and our actions, I believe it is necessary to start with ourselves to insure a better future.  I believe it is time for us to each be personally responsible for our ability to achieve quality of life.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:

Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

The Foundation offers an unconventional approach in a non-threatening manner to provide solutions for the life situations that people may encounter.  Working in healthcare since 1987, and with her background in quality improvement, she has followed statistics showing our society’s current evolution to be more “sick and sad”.   She developed the Time to Play Philosophy:  you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance for quality of life and believes everyone has the ability to enjoy life.

Photo credit:  https://sophistics.wordpress.com

 

“First” vs. “Best”

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Best

There has been a lot of talk about “Firsts” lately.  What does “First” really mean?

So, I got to thinking…

As far as achievement, I believe “First” is a milestone.  For example, “first” steps, “first” car, “first” words.

Merriam – Webster dictionary defined the adjective of “First” as: coming before all others in time, order, or importance (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/first)

“Firsts” can, also, perhaps, encourage others and provide examples to others on how they can move forward and achieve, too.  I believe motivating others and encouraging others is truly important.  I believe it’s our personal responsibility to strive and grow and to help others do the same.

“Firsts” are definitely important, but are they the MOST important?  “Firsts” can provide people a vision to build upon and then to achieve beyond what was “first”.

Throughout the development of the concepts behind the Time to Play Foundation, I have come to realize and believe that everyone has something to offer that can help someone else.  I say all the time that we are all not going to be “Oprah” – Oprah is Oprah and we are ourselves — but imagine if we each contributed a tiny bit… if we each used a little of our gifts, expertise and personal power to move things forward, to make our communities better, to reach out and help another.  Imagine the impact this could make.  If all of the “regular” people really worked together…

I believe moving forward and making things happen is incredibly important, and do not believe that we, as a whole, have an ability to stay stagnant.  People have incredible imaginations.  At this point in my life I do not believe that anything anyone can come up with is impossible.  I think that if you dream it, you can do it.  Look at the 3-D printer – who can even believe such a thing is possible?  Look at how far technology and modern conveniences have come in just the recent past.  Our grandparents would not even believe it.

This brings me back towards achievement, motivation and “Firsts”.

Personally, I believe “Bests” are even more important.

Think about it.  If you put an ad in the local newspaper to watch your children or your dog, would you hire the “First” person that answers the ad or the “Best” to be able to take care of your prized possession?

Would you put your money in the “First” bank you drive to or the “Best” and most responsible?

Would you have an operation with the “First” doctor you visited or the “Best” to perform the surgery?

These are a few things just to get you thinking.  We have to be careful and responsible with our personal choices.  We have to research and we have to trust that we make the right decisions for all things that affect our lives and the lives of our children.

“First” or “Best” can make a dramatic difference.  “Firsts” give us a starting point that provides us with the fuel to create “Bests”.

Today, look at what you are and what you have achieved… then look at what is your passion.

We have all accomplished “firsts”.  Let’s continue to strive and grow.  We can have the “BEST” life ever.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified social and emotional intelligence coach, certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see https://timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Image credit a2ua.com/best.html

“I’m Not Good At That”

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I Can Do It“I’m Not Good At That”

How many times have you said this, or have heard someone else say this statement?

It’s really easy to say, and it’s very easy to disqualify something that you may want to do or try because “you’re not good at” it or are scared to try it.

Let’s step back and really look at skills and becoming “good” at something.

Did you ever realize how most things – or I should say everything – in life is a learned behavior – even the simplest tasks?   If you have kids, do you remember teaching them how to do something as “simple” as using a fork to eat or how to use the potty?  Remember learning how to drive?  Remember learning the alphabet?

It’s pretty easy to say you can’t do something because you’re not good at it.   For many things in life, not being “good at” something may be fine.  Maybe it’s not that important to you to implement into your life.  However, sometimes not being “good at” something can hold you back from a position at work or from participating in an activity you could or would enjoy.

There’s nothing more important than taking the first step to learn “how to”.  So, let’s get started and set a plan to become “good at” it.

  • First, with the wonder of Google, get the Google on and learn what you need to do to accomplish whatever the “not good at” is.
  • Then, make a sheet with a list of what you need to do to become “good at” it. Do you need lessons?  Do you need to read things? Do you need a class?
  • Make sure to put the list on PAPER so you can see what you need to do, as well as put a due DATE to accomplish each part of the list so you stay on track and actually do it.

It’s easy to say you’re finally going to do something.  Most times we’ll just never “get to” it, but getting started and using a system like the above will help with the commitment to actually get started.

It also may help with scheduling the learning, tasks, lessons, etc. into your calendar to keep you going and accomplishing your goals.  Accountability is the key here.

And, when you get discouraged or decide there’s no time, remember the commitment behind accomplishing this “thing”. For example, remember the Olympic athletes.  While they make things look “easy”, think of the hours and the sacrifice and the commitment they made to achieve their accomplishments.  Nothing worth having is achieved in one day. Things take time, commitment, and mostly practice, practice, practice.

From personal experience, I know I can achieve anything I set my mind to accomplish.  It’s our own personal decision to make the choice (always the word choice for everything in our day and our lives) to move forward to learn a skill. And, the results are always rewarding.

Everything we do is a learned behavior and a choice… even something we think should be simple, like how to have a nice day.

Like Walt Disney said, “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It”.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see https://timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Photo Credit:  https://uptitude.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/i-can-do-it/

Honesty and Integrity

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Honesty is the best policyWith this “race for the white house” upon us, I cannot help but think about these two words.

Honesty and Integrity.

I will not be getting political here.  I believe it is up to each of us to have our own beliefs and opinions and our own freedom to choose.

However, as I watch a race where I believe a particular candidate will do or say anything to be elected, I cannot help but think of the power behind these words: honesty and integrity.  I cannot help but wonder when our elected officials stopped being the government by the people for the people as designed by our founding fathers.  Did you ever stop to think how, in just 240 short years since our American revolution, we could screw so much up?  I also cannot help but wonder when becoming President of the United States become such a prize that it no longer represents all people in this great Country.

In the life of my personal family, I taught my children the value of honesty and integrity.  I believe our current political races teach our youth that it is OK to lie to personal advantage.  The whole situation makes me quite sad for the future of our Country.

As for myself, I will NEVER tell someone I am going to do something and not complete the task.  I taught my children not to lie to anyone and that, if you do, in the end, the truth will come out.  I learned these lessons by personal observation when I was young.  I saw the affects of my own relative hurting others by not being truthful (you can read more in my book www.ifIknewthenbook.com to learn more).

I believe it is so important to live in truth.  I believe that truth gives you freedom.

Think about that for a moment….

When someone does not personally tell you the truth, whether it is a spouse, a coworker, a sibling, or your child – how does that make you feel?

Personally, if someone does not act truthful or complete what they say I do feel betrayed and am more cautious in dealing with that person the next time.  However, please note: I learned some years ago to let these feelings go, to forgive the person and move forward.  I learned that the only person hurt while staying in a negative and hurtful situation is myself.  One thing that is most important to consider here is how the memory of the betrayal affects our current and future opinions and actions about that person or a specific situation.  As I personally have stated many times, my goal is to have a nice day, every day, so I can enjoy life.  It’s important to assess and recognize our feelings.  If our feelings are of hate or retaliation, we need to take a moment to stop, reassess, and determine the best way to move forward to insure a positive life experience.

So…. back to our topic.  In reference to honesty and integrity, take a moment to evaluate this:

  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you expect for the future and what will you accept in your life?
  • How do you treat others?

These are questions you can use to start to live in your own truth and integrity.

Starting with ourselves to make ourselves better will insure a better future.  We are only able to control ourselves, our behavior, our feelings and our actions.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

Photo credit:  https://www.askideas.com/honesty-is-the-best-policy

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see https://timetoplay.com/ for more information.

I Believe We Can All Find Something to Be Grateful For

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I am grateful for; gratitude; gratefulThis article was sparked by a recent experience, and I felt I should share.

My husband and I just got back from a 5-day cruise.  The cruise activities director spent the whole cruise saying “How Are You Feeling?” and expecting a response of “GREAT!”

The last night he explained why.

He read some statistics which I will share in a moment.  It was about the statistical breakdown if the world had 100 people and how many would fall into different categories.  He noted that, after he read the statistics, he no longer answered that he was feeling “good”, a general response many of us give many times if we are asked that question in a general greeting.

He said he now answers “Great” or “Amazing” if someone asks how he is doing, because he realized that he had so much to be thankful for in his own life.

Here are the statistics broken down as of 2006.  The original statistics were provided by Donella Meadows from the Peace Corps in 1990 and can be viewed here.   Source for the below:  http://www.100people.org/statistics_100stats.php

If the World were 100 PEOPLE:
  • 50 would be female | 50 would be male
  • 26 would be children:  There would be 74 adults, 8 of whom would be 65 and older
  • There would be: 60 Asians, 15 Africans, 14 people from the Americas, 11 Europeans
  • 33 Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 Buddhists, 12 people who practice other religions, 12 people who would not be aligned with a religion
  • 12 would speak Chinese, 5 would speak Spanish, 5 would speak English, 3 would speak Arabic, 3 would speak Hindi, 3 would speak Bengali, 3 would speak Portuguese, 2 would speak Russian, 2 would speak Japanese, 62 would speak other languages, 83 would be able to read and write; 17 would not
  • 7 would have a college degree
  • 22 would own or share a computer
  • 77 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 23 would not
  • 1 would be dying of starvation
  • 15 would be undernourished
  • 21 would be overweight
  • 87 would have access to safe drinking water | 13 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

Personally, I am most grateful for my life.  I have a home and food to eat.  I probably own 10 computers (not sure if that is a blessing?), I have a car. I have love and a wonderful family.  I have freedom.

I agree and believe that responding to a “How are you doing” in a “GREAT!” manner is healthy, and I adopted saying “Excellent” a few years ago if I am asked.  When I respond “Excellent”, I feel much more positive.

There is a lot of research that shows counting our own personal blessings, of being in a state of gratitude, looking for the bright side, and focusing on something positive, is healthy for us.

I know that it is hard to do many times, and I know it is not something I had learned to do when I was younger.  During my childhood I had learned envy, jealousy and to focus on lack – not to focus on what I had and to be grateful for my life, but to focus on what I didn’t have.  I wrote about this in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now“, which brought the awareness to spur the proactive approach of our foundation.  Through my life learning and awareness, and through a lot of reading, education and research, it has become my life purpose to provide the education, tips and tools for you and others to learn how to PREinvent YOUR Life®.  What does that mean?  To bring awareness, life and coping skills to others sooner than later so people have the opportunity to have their best life longer.

I believe the current system in our society is reinvention and recovery, which causes us to unlearn our way of thinking and to RE-learn how to enjoy life.  But, how about if we started out with the right skills at the onset so we can enjoy life the whole time?  There’s a lot more to this concept which I’ve shared and will continue to share and present.

In our current society, many of us are taught to focus on the negative.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch the news.  We seem to revel in disaster or sadness.  There are so many things that we can focus on, instead.  There are so many people and organizations doing amazing things — so many people out there that, if we band together, can make every community the most amazing place to live for all people.

In reference to gratitude, I have been reading Dr. Martin Seligman’s book Flourish.  He discussed the affects of positive emotions and health benefits of those who found something to be grateful for and how the focus on something positive that happened to them, “people who habitually acknowledge and express gratitude” see benefits in their health, sleep, relationships and perform better in their life.  Dr. Seligman had people reflect on one thing that happened the day before that was a “blessing” or something they were grateful for.  This shift in finding one thing that we are grateful for can shift our whole perspective so we can enjoy life.

Here’s some information on another study on gratitude.  There are tons of studies out there, so just Google “gratitude and happiness” if you want to learn more.  In this study, two groups of people were asked to keep journals.  One group kept track of five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, and the other group kept track of daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them.  They reported that, 10 weeks later, the people in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole, were a full 25 percent happier, and reported fewer health complaints.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html

I believe this to be true.  Personally, if I focus on how tough my week is, how horrible something is, how _________________ (fill in the blank), I feel tired, achy, or miserable.

Take a moment and reflect on yourself:  How do you feel when you focus on how you hate your job, or how you are angry at someone, or how you have a lack in your life?

Imagine the shift that could be possible if you focused on the positive things — the shift in your attitude, the shift in your personality.

I’m not saying everything in life is perfect.  Not everything is 1000% perfect in my life all the time, either.

BUT, I personally know that if I dwell on the negative, I feel worse.

After years of working on the Time to Play project, I have realized that the “KEY” is to recognize what I’m feeling and to dig a little — to recognize what my focus is and to figure out why I feel a specific way, especially if I am not feeling good.  Once I know the “why” (the root cause), I know I can move away from the situation and shift my focus and my thinking.

In the end, I know that it is always up to me to have the best day I can — no matter what the circumstances.

I know that I can only control me to have an enjoyable day, which is my goal everyday.  I cannot control anyone else’s behavior.  I do thank Rebecca L. Norrington, our Time to Play Foundation’s happiness expert, for sparking this awareness in me many years ago.  This awareness is definitely necessary to appropriately reach to life situations in a better manner to create a better life.

Start easy — just focus on something, one thing, to be grateful for – whether you do it at night before you go to sleep or when you wake up to start your day — or, maybe, do both!

You will notice a tremendous difference in how you feel.  I guarantee it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life.  It is Time to Play.

Love,

Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see www.timetoplay.com for more information

 

Benefits of a Diet Change

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Benefits of Diet ChangeThe Time to Play Philosophy is that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance.

As far as health, as a person who has worked in healthcare over these last almost 30 years observing the increase of “sick and sad” in our society, I think the “healthy” part is most important.  If you are not feeling 100%, it’s hard to enjoy life.  If something is not 100%, I believe it is so important to be your own best advocate to find a solution that works for you.

Over my lifetime, I’ve become a detective of sorts.  For so many years I have lived with crampiness and bloating which impacted many areas of my life.  Again and again I learn about food reactions and our body’s “rejection” of what we are eating and “reacting” in ways that do not benefit us.  But, this is not top of mind for many healthcare practitioners – again, it is important to be your own best advocate to get to a root cause of what ails you.

My husband and I recently modified our diet significantly by implementing “the blood sugar solution” through Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10-Day Diet Detox.  OK…  so, “Detox” is historically a bad word.  I agree.  So many “detox” programs out there are super strict or are yucky shakes or expensive programs.  This lifestyle change is not that.  It’s more of a paleo lifestyle, but modified a little more to exclude foods that can convert to sugar and spike insulin.

So, through research and trial and error, I have eliminated foods that we eat that may spike insulin after consuming.  The primary reason we started was to help my husband decrease his risk for conversion to type 2 diabetes.  When we started our lifestyle modification, his A1c was a 7.  The results since our lifestyle change have been astounding.  Within one month his A1c went down to a 6.5 and his triglycerides went down 170 points.  Now, approximately 47 days later, he’s down almost 40 pounds.  Today he put on a size XL shirt for the first time in years.  It’s been pretty impressive and a great experience overall!

Change is hard.  Throughout my career, I have observed people with lung disease continue to smoke, people with diabetes continue to eat fried foods and sweets, people with potentially reversible health issues triggered by gluten allergies continue to eat the gluten, and more…

I am not judging.

I am not preaching.

I totally get it.

It’s not easy to make a life change.  My husband had been struggling with his weight over the last 33 years I’ve known him, and we tried so many things that did not work.  It gets discouraging.

I know in the scheme of things, we need to weigh the “benefits of” continuing to do what we do or adopting something that can make a shift to a place where we can better enjoy life.  We need to keep trying even when we feel we can’t try anymore.  It’s up to us to become detectives in our lives – to find the right path so we can become more happy, more healthy, have more money and have a work life balance. It’s up to us to learn what we need to know and weigh if the “benefits of” something outweigh what we are doing in our lives.

Personally, at 50 years old, I’m game to try anything that can make my life as good as it can be for as long as it can be.

As I wrote in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, I wish I knew what I know now so many years ago.  I truly believe my quality of life would have been improved by implementing our current diet.  I spent many, many days feeling poorly.

The benefits of my lifestyle eating program change definitely outweigh the way I lived for almost 50 years.  Becoming a detective to determine the food that was making me feel poorly instead of just popping pills to counter my stomach issues is definitely a benefit that I cannot dispute.  As an extra bonus, the way I look and the way I feel has also dramatically improved.

Easy?

Nope.

A lot of work to plan, food shop and prepare our own meals?

Yup.

But, I’ll take the “benefits of” the extra work to prepare our meals over feeling poorly any day.

Sometimes it’s necessary for us to stop and reevaluate what we are doing to make a shift that can give us significant benefits so we can enjoy our life:  whether it is a relationship issue, a job issue, a health issue or a quality of life issue.

It’s always our choice.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see https://timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Photo Credit: www.prosperhomecare.com/healthy-food-plan/

Free radicals – What do they do?

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free radical

Note:  This is the 2nd part of a 7 article series on reducing your cancer risk.

Goals for this article:  To give you information on Free Radicals – What do they do?  What can free radical damage cause?  Name free radical  generators.

Free radicals have an unstable bond or unpaired electrons in their outer shell.  They are unstable because their outermost shell is not full of electrons.  Thus, they want to gain (or lose or share) electrons to become full of electrons in its outermost shell, also known as stable.

These free radicals tend to attach the nearest molecule to steal an electron (-).  Then that recently stable molecule, who now just lost an electron, is now also an unstable free radical.  Then that free radical will look for a nearby molecule to steal an electron to become more stable.  Now a chain reaction has occurred.  It’s important to stop the free radicals because they will cause more free radicals, or unstable molecules.  Free radicals cause oxidative stress/damage to cells & DNA which causes mutations.  These mutations may create disease i.e. cancers, CVD, alzheimer’s,  parkinson’s, diabetes, rheumatoid…. Free radical generators include, but definitely not limited to, pollution, radiation, smoke i.e. tobacco, pesticides, insecticides, sun, alcohol, asbestos…Free radicals accumulate with age.    Thus, it’s important to become proactive NOW!

If you cut an apple in half, oxidation will cause it to brown.  But if you poured lemon juice (vitamin C-an antioxidant) on half of the apple, it would greatly slow down the oxidation process which causes the browning.  When iron comes in contact with oxidants (ie oxygen & water), oxidation & rust occurs.  If free radicals overwhelm the body, it causes oxidative stress.  Many studies have shown that free radicals age us quicker, are linked to weight gain & cancers.  For example, I’ve seen pictures of identical older twins.  Even though they have identical genes, the one that was overweight & smoked appeared several years older.  Genetics play an important role & we can’t change our genes.  Yet, environmental factors also play an important role & we do have the power/choice to make a positive change ie quit smoking, eating more veggies…

This is especially important if you have cancer in your family.

 

Image credit: https://kathryn8422.wordpress.com