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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

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

 

Positive Thinking

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Ghandi, Positive Thinking, Ghandi Positive Thinking QuoteI woke up this morning thinking about the affects our thinking has on our lives, whether positive or negative.

Mike Pastore, one of the Time to Play Foundation’s amazing Board members and I had been speaking to a man this past week.  He wanted nothing to do with making his life change or thinking he can make it change.

He had a horrible childhood and he had a horrible life so far.  I actually believe that he had did not have to experience some of his life experiences, but that circumstances actually happened because of his mindset.  Now, at over 60 years old, with all of the negativity and hard life experiences that he has had so far, he has no desire to shift his thinking to change.

I understand things take time and a shift of thinking takes time.  But, I also understand that the average life expectancy is 78 years old.  I believe it is up to us when we decide we have had enough, and that it is up to us when we decide we want something different.  It’s the founding idea behind the PREinvent YOUR Life® program of the Foundation, and my absolute mission, vision and passion – to encourage others to have the best life they can for the longest period of time possible.

Think it’s not possible for you to change the circumstances in your life?

Think you were dealt “a bad hand” and things are as they are and that you can’t change the future?

I disagree.

At this point, I believe every second of every day is a “do over” if you want it to be.  We each have the ability to start fresh, and I believe that our thinking and our choices make it possible to start to do so.

It is an underlying belief of the Time to Play Foundation that positive thinking goes a long way.  I believe that you can make lemonade out of lemons.

I say this all the time now, “I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now”.  That statement became evident a few years ago when I finally wrote the book – but, at 50 years old, I do wish I knew then what I know now when I was much younger.

Even though I know I can’t change things in my past, I now know how every day could have been filled with much more sunshine if I realized how much I am the one in control of my emotions, my reactions, and my destiny.

So, ask yourself:  The “stuff” that happened in your past – can you change it?

The answer is no.

Ask yourself – are you happy with how your life is going right now?

If you are, keep on going the way you are.  If not, take a moment to evaluate what’s happening and what you can do to make one small change to make the next second, or next hour, or the next day different.

Can positive thoughts everyday make a difference in the outcome of a person’s life?

There is much research to prove that it can and how much it affects everything in a person’s life.  The quote by Ghandi shows this knowledge  is not new.  It’s just not something many of us have been taught early on.  But, even though we can’t change our past, we can still PREinvent™ our next day and our next day.

Please join and share our public group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/timetoplaynews.  Wake up every day to a positive thought and some positive energy.  We’re not trying to sugar coat things here – people have tough days.  I do, too!  But, I believe now that it is all in the way we handle things and our outlook, in general, that can create our experience.

We encourage everyone to share positive thoughts and motivation and stories in our Facebook group so we can empower each other.  That is the underlying founding principle of the Time to Play Foundation – People Helping People and Collaboration = Success.

I believe everyone has something to offer that can help someone else.

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

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC has worked in the healthcare field since 1987.  She 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.

Source of image: http://positive-motive.blogspot.com

PREinvent YOUR Life® Survey Findings can put the Self-Help Industry Out of Business

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preinvent your lifeThere are many statistics and studies that show the effects of reactive education, counseling and treatment for those who experience a negative life experience, including those who participate in self destructive behaviors and/or who are suffering from depression.  Additionally, in light of the fact that the average life expectancy in the United States is currently 78.8 years, it seems imperative to address quality of life issues early in life in order to facilitate the longest possible quality of life experience.

An article published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Depression, A Global Public Health Concern”,  confirms the work of the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization that encourages everyone to enjoy life.  In the WHO report, it was noted that over 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, which, at its worst, could lead to suicide.  The article noted that almost 1 million lives are lost to suicide yearly, which equates to approximately 3,000 deaths by suicide per day.

It is our position that treatment, provided reactively after development of the symptoms of depression, is less effective than a proactive approach.

Further, the WHO article did emphasize that that the prevention of depression is an area that deserves attention.

In our society it is common knowledge that those in their mid to late life experience the proverbial “mid-life crisis” to search for their life purpose, quality of life and life enjoyment; but, today, it is evident that many of our youth are plagued with self-destructive behaviors, depression and /or suicidal ideation, translating to a painful and displeasing life experience.  In response to these, the self-help industry has exploded to an over $11 billion a year industry that preys on those experiencing a negative life experience.  For so many there is a need for counseling, encouragement, and education to assist them in recovery of their mental health status.

The Time to Play Foundation’s intention is to encourage people to enjoy life in a proactive manner, and believes in a proactive approach and the concept of PREinvention® vs. REcovery.

It is evident in our society today that the focus is more reactive than proactive and utilizes the practices of REinvention and REcovery vs. the concept of PREvention and PREinvention®.  In 1855 Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.  While the background behind this statement was not solely in reference to creating a mentally healthy and stable population, it can be utilized to emphasize this proactive idea of PREinvention® that could be easily implemented into our population today.

Therefore, it may be emphasized that an enjoyable life experience starts with a healthy thought process and healthy self-perception.  In the reactive recovery process we utilize today through our current self-help industry, we hear over and again how people cannot let go of their past and see how self-destructive behaviors are developed in response to lack of life skills and coping skills. This thought process is what feeds our self-help industry, where we try to unravel past damage and unhealthy thoughts that cause the underlying motives behind self-destructive behaviors.

With this more proactive approach it seems to be possible to eliminate so many who spend much of their lives without life enjoyment and that we can facilitate a better life experience for a longer period of time.

The Time to Play Foundation’s team acknowledged the importance to look for a root cause that may provide insight as to why people are not enjoying or not able to enjoy life.  In April, 2015 the Foundation conducted a survey entitled PREinvent YOUR Life® to high school students in grades 9 – 12 at the Comsewogue High School in New York.  There were 727 voluntary, anonymous respondents out of 1131 students present, a statistically significant survey that represented the whole.  The findings were mind-blowing and provided valuable PREventive insight, as well as a “key” concept that may not only eliminate self destructive behaviors, but provide an opportunity for us to implement an easy strategy while raising our children that will provide them a lifetime of success and life enjoyment.

The findings showed that 90.65% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “how to be happy as myself” was the most important “how to” in order to have an enjoyable life experience.

The survey was developed by Doreen Guma, an expert in quality improvement and the Founder of the Time to Play Foundation, who researched many reactive processes and experts in the self-help industry and compiled data for the survey over a 2 ½ year period.  The survey was developed by a team selected by Mrs. Guma to create a streamlined inquiry.

Following the survey, the insight gleaned was validated through discussion with students and young adults.  There was agreement supporting the idea that, if the students had learned preventive, positive coping skills, they may have chosen a different way with dealing with life situations they had encountered thus far in their lives.  It stands to reason that these positive skills, learned early, would have impact on overall life satisfaction throughout an entire lifetime.

The study findings were most telling, and potentially provide a KEY to quality of life.  Considering the implications behind the skill of “how to be happy as myself”, it is may be safe to summarize that, if a person is happy as themselves, and loves themselves, there is potential to eliminate self-destructive behaviors adopted to fill a void and/or hide some type of personal pain; for example, self-harm, suicide, or alcoholism.  Further, it could be deduced that if a person is happy as themselves, they may not adopt these types of hurtful actions.  It may be safe to go a little further to note that, if a person loved themselves, they will protect themselves.

Therefore, if we can encourage and educate our children in a proactive manner how to “be happy as myself”, we have the potential to create a population of persons with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth.

Based on the findings of the survey, Dr. John Salvarodos, a member of the Time to Play Foundation’s Business Advisory Board with 30 years experience as a school psychologist, educator, mental health therapist and crisis intervention counselor, noted that, “Creating programs that educate new parents and community workers to find common language that supports the development of critical reasoning and decision-making skills benefits all children.”  Further, he summarized that, “Efforts that promote healthy outcomes are fundamental in understanding ways that we can reduce the quantity and effects of adverse childhood experiences.”

In summary, based on the preliminary findings of the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, it can be suggested that early intervention programs for ALL children, beginning with parents, support the possibility of the prevention of the development of depression, self-destructive behaviors and an adverse life experience.

The Time to Play Foundation is in final stages of development of the proactive PREinvent YOUR Life® programs for expectant parents and early childhood intervention programs and educators, spurring further research on the effectiveness of this approach.

Dr. Salvarodos’ essay overview of the findings from the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, incorporating his years of direct observance of students entitled Developmentally Making the Right Choices, is available at Developmentally Making the Right Choices.  Dr. Salvarodos is also a founding member of the Gardner Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Task Force created in response to the per-capita rate of suicide in his area.  He is a strong supporter of the PREinvent YOUR Life™ concept.

The PREinvent YOUR Life® survey is available for your review in its entirety at https://timetoplay.com/preinvent-your-life-survey

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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.

 

References:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/who_paper_depression_wfmh_2012.pdf 

http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/15/self-help-industry-ent-sales-cx_ml_0115selfhelp.html