Stay Classy has named Michelle (see below) as a finalist in the individual fundraising category in Chicago and….she MADE IT to the national round and it’s ALL DOWN TO VOTES. Right now, she’s in third place to win $10K to help offset Lauren’s medical bills and we’d LOVE your support in getting the word out. http://ow.ly/316lZ She is in the “Best Individual Fundraiser” category, “Running 26 Miles To Help LC Beat Cancer.” If you would be so kind to vote and post for others – it literally takes five seconds to vote and would mean the world to us!
I’m running the Chicago Marathon in honor of Lauren Cohen’s road to recovery!
In December, my work colleague and friend, Lauren, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. To support her, I am training to run this year’s Chicago Marathon in her name. More importantly, in order to help Lauren be able to focus on kicking cancer and getting better, I am raising funds to help support her medical bills for her treatment and recovery.
Lauren is someone I am so happy to have the chance to work and be friends with at Weber Shandwick. As our own little Tinkerbell, she is a force to be reckoned with because of her amazing attitude and strength, I am wishing her all the best in her recovery!
…. Research on the link between relationships and physical health has established that people with rich personal networks — who are married, have close family and friends, are active in social and religious groups — recover more quickly from disease and live longer. But now the emerging field of social neuroscience, the study of how people’s brains entrain as they interact, adds a missing piece to that data.
The most significant finding was the discovery of “mirror neurons,” a widely dispersed class of brain cells that operate like neural WiFi. Mirror neurons track the emotional flow, movement and even intentions of the person we are with, and replicate this sensed state in our own brain by stirring in our brain the same areas active in the other person.
Mirror neurons offer a neural mechanism that explains emotional contagion, the tendency of one person to catch the feelings of another, particularly if strongly expressed. This brain-to-brain link may also account for feelings of rapport, which research finds depend in part on extremely rapid synchronization of people’s posture, vocal pacing and movements as they interact. In short, these brain cells seem to allow the interpersonal orchestration of shifts in physiology.
Such coordination of emotions, cardiovascular reactions or brain states between two people has been studied in mothers with their infants, marital partners arguing and even among people in meetings. Reviewing decades of such data, Lisa M. Diamond and Lisa G. Aspinwall, psychologists at the University of Utah, offer the infelicitous term “a mutually regulating psychobiological unit” to describe the merging of two discrete physiologies into a connected circuit. To the degree that this occurs, Dr. Diamond and Dr. Aspinwall argue, emotional closeness allows the biology of one person to influence that of the other.
John T. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, makes a parallel proposal: the emotional status of our main relationships has a significant impact on our overall pattern of cardiovascular and neuroendocrine activity. This radically expands the scope of biology and neuroscience from focusing on a single body or brain to looking at the interplay between two at a time. In short, my hostility bumps up your blood pressure, your nurturing love lowers mine. Potentially, we are each other’s biological enemies or allies.
You can’t beat yourself up over stuff you can’t control
“I’m not saying I never felt sorry for myself, but once you accept that you’ve been dealt a bad hand, whatever that may be, you can focus on playing it the best way you can.”
Obsessing about your body is a giant waste of time
“It took a serious dose of life-is-short reality to start living a little more. So here’s a wake-up call from me to you: indulge. Quit worrying about the jiggle. Get out there and start carpe-ing the diem! You shouldn’t need a life-threatening event to do this stuff.”
Helping others really does help you
“Sure, my life revolves around cancer, but it’s cancer on my terms. It’s about my charity work and other patients and survivors I’ve met who’ve enriched my life in ways I didn’t even know it needed enriching.”
It’s OK to sweat the small stuff
“Sure, it would be great if we could all roam the earth with a Zen-like peace about us. But that’s just not realistic for me. Besides, sweating the small stuff every once in a while keeps us from sweating the big stuff, the stuff we can’t always control.”
Don’t keep it to yourself
“What I’ve learned: People want to listen and help; they just need a green light.”
Smile at the grouchy Starbucks barista
“I generally try to be kind; even a little friendliness can matter when you’re down and out. Some days, if a stranger simply holds the elevator for me, I feel just a bit better about my situation.”
There’s a huge and powerful difference between positive thinking and taking positive action. My mentor and teacher pointed out the distinction with the following notion: some people will sit in their room, creating positive images and affirmations about wanting a new car. However, they never leave their room. If you sit in your room and create all those positive images about the new car, about the only way it can show up is to come crashing through the walls.
If you want the positive improvement, or in this case the new car, you may have to do a whole heck of a lot more than sit around and think positive thoughts about it showing up. As my mentor would say, you may have to get up off your duff and do something about it. You know, like get actively involved.
The self-empowerment game is one of those “get actively involved games.” However, while there are any number of things I might be able to do to improve my lot in life, many will require cooperation or support from others.
So, how do you generate the kind of cooperation or support that may be necessary to bring about meaningful change in your own set of circumstances?
I stay positive by simply going outside. Over the course of my life I have realized that if I can just convince myself to put down my work, life, tv, book or car and force myself to wander into the outdoors I will be completely present and the worries of everyday life seem to fade. I attribute so much of this to the fact that nature doesn’t care about my troubles, my work or my challenges. She treats me the same as everyone and everything else that comes along. There is something very rewarding about that. Because of this I have spent the better part of my life fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking, skiing, hunting or just simply sitting outside. When I’m there, I’m present and when I’m present, troubles are not.
It is for these reasons that I started First Descents. I wanted to create an outlet to share the positivity the outdoors brought to my life with others whose troubles were probably far greater than mine and their access to being outside might not be as available as mine. I figured that if nature treated everyone the same and that treatment could provide a place free of troubles then maybe young adults with cancer could really benefit from being out there together.
At the end of the day it’s not always the easiest thing to do- force yourself to leave life as you know it and go outside, but I can say that I have never regretted my decision to go and always come back a happier, healthier, fuller and more present version of myself that I was before I left.
Young adult? Got cancer? Get outside! First Descents has free spots available on a variety of outdoor adventures. Check out www.firstdescents.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!