Social Interactions and Our Health

How others affect our health

Jo Bibby, reporting for the UK’s Our Health, asked “How do our family, friends and community influence our health?”

“Going beyond the simple premise that human interactions are good for us and necessary to our wellbeing, this infographic shows how these relationships provide the foundations necessary for a healthy life.”

* “Feeling supported by others – and how this makes us feel about ourselves, our sense of agency and what we believe is possible – is evidently essential for our wellbeing. And it isn’t simply about having people who care for us. Just as important for our self-esteem is our own opportunity to care for and support others.”

* “Beyond our immediate relationships, our connections within and across the communities we are part of – where we live, where we learn, where we work – are all critical to feeling included and valued. Studies have shown that feelings of belonging and trust in others were the strongest predictor of mental wellbeing after controlling for physical health problems.

* “Acting on these feelings of inclusion – coming together with others in our communities to volunteer or participate in collective activities – enhances our sense of purpose and shared identity. It also improves our coping ability during times of stress.”

* “From community participation comes community empowerment. A flourishing society requires people to feel a sense of control and collective voice that can enable them to influence positive change. Community empowerment is increasingly being shown to be a route to addressing health inequalities.”

Social Interactions and Our Health
 

Please Be Careful in the Cold

Here are two weather-related infographics.

The current cold wave can have a dramatic effect on our health. PLEASE be smart. And best wishes to those dealing with sub-zero temperatures today.

In this post, we present two infographics: one for handling the current cold wave and the other for being prepared for a future cold weather event.

From BabaMail: “As the cold weather begins to set in, our bodies must prepare themselves for the harsh winter ahead. Here are a few of the reasons that we are more prone to illness during the colder months, and tips on how to protect our bodies in lieu of these changes. Read on to find out how to keep your immune system strong against the winter chill.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

From VNA Health Group: “Every year, winter weather takes its toll on our homes, puts people’s lives at risk, and causes delays in travel. Getting ready for winter will ensure that you’re one step ahead of Old Man Winter’s fury. Prepare yourself and your loved ones by sharing these winter safety tips with your friends and family.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

 

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

Retiring well is the plan.

With the beginning of 2019, I have embarked on the next stage of life. For me, that means retirement from my full-time profession. For 44 years, I was a professor (the last thirty, a distinguished professor). But I am not retiring from life. And there are several things I plan to do in the future.

While at the Zarb Business School of Hofstra University for all of those 44 years, I had a very rewarding career. I was extremely involved in the three pillars of academe: teaching undergraduate and graduate classes; engaging in scholarly research; and providing service to my department, my school, and to the university overall. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to also co-author two leading textbooks that were used worldwide and that went through many new editions. And I was lucky enough to be recognized with a teacher of the year award and four dean’s awards for service to the business school.

But, I realize that at this point that I want to move onto the next phase of my life. As this blog has noted before, I do not intend to “throw away” any days. And I want to live life every day. This is a time for reflection — both keeping my positive memories as well as striving to build new ones.

It was essential for me to retire while healthy enough to enjoy my next series of adventures. I will NEVER forget how lucky I am to be a pancreatic cancer survivor who celebrates four years post-surgery next month.

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

So, where am I going in this next chapter? 🙂

These are my priorities, with more to come:

  • To give back to my fellow cancer victims and their families through blog posts, other social media, and related efforts.
  • To continue to publicize my FREE book on Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. I want to reach as many people as I can with my inspirational message.

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

  • To make further personal appearances and do more radio interviews on surviving cancer.
  • To expand my “giving back” scope to volunteer work with seniors, the poor, and others.
  • To write a sequel to Surviving Cancer on my experiences since the first book was published.
  • To do two vacation trips each year with the LOML (love of my life) Linda.
  • To see if I have it in me to write a novel, something I’ve never done before.
  • To keep on posting through my Evans on Marketing blog.
  • To teach one graduate course per year, during the fall semester.
  • To spend more time with my communities.
  • To continue to write about personal and professional self-branding — building on this brief FREE book: Self-Branding for Professional Success.

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

And more to come!!

 

Best U.S. States in Which to Live

The quality of resident livability varies greatly by state.

Even so, we tend to live where we feel most comfortable. 🙂

As recently reported by Cheyenne Buckingham and Grant Suneson for 24/7 Wall St.:

“Each state has advantages and shortcomings. Often, Americans live in the state they grew up in because it is familiar and feels like home. Other personal factors are often behind why people live in a certain state. However, there are more objective factors that drive people to — or away from — a certain state, and can be used to help assess just how livable a state is.”

“These factors include an area’s economy, job market, crime rate, health care, and more. Sometimes the best way of measuring these factors is to look at an outcome that best reflects the combined effects of living in a state. For example, differences in life expectancy between states can be caused by everything from differences in the regional quality of health care to the differences in state education systems and economies, which also can make a difference in health outcomes.”

“To identify America’s best states to live in, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on an index of three factors — life expectancy at birth, the bachelor’s degree attainment rate among adults, and the poverty rate. While there are many different measures, these three collectively are an effective way to sum up quality of life in a state in terms of health and prosperity.”

These are the top ten states in which to live. Click here to read about all 50 states.

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Connecticut
  4. Colorado
  5. Minnesota
  6. New Jersey
  7. Hawaii
  8. Maryland
  9. Vermont
  10. Utah

Interesting which states are in not in the 10 top!!! California, Florida, New York, and Texas

Why is Massachusetts number one?

“Adults are the best educated in the country, as 43.4% hold at least a bachelor’s degree. This sets these residents up for higher paying positions in their career. Massachusetts has the fourth highest median household income, at $77,385 a year. The state’s poverty rate of 10.5% is well below the U.S. rate. Massachusetts also has some of the best health outcomes in the country, possibly because residents are the most likely to have health insurance.”

Best U.S. States in Which to Live
Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

 

An Innovation for Disabled Rail Travelers

Treating the disabled traveler better.

Although this blog focuses on cancer-related topics, we also track good news for those dealing any health issues. So, today’s post relates to an emerging innovation that will aid disabled rail travelers.

As reported by TrendWatching:

“September 2018 saw four UK rail companies trial Passenger Assist by Transreport: an app designed to make rail journeys for disabled users easier. The app will allow disabled users to share their exact location with station staff in real-time. Currently, disabled passengers who book assistance have their scheduled arrivals and locations provided to station staff on paper at the start of the day.”

“Yes, we were shocked to learn that in 2018 — when geolocation is so commonplace that even the sheep in the Faroe Islands are on Google Maps — disabled passengers often have to wait for assistance and face the risk of being trapped on board. Clearly we have some way to go before we have our priorities with technology fully straight, but this innovation is at least a small step in the right direction.”

Click the image to read more.

An Innovation for Disabled Rail Travelers

We Are NOT Alone — Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday’s excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

In the U.S. alone, people share their lives with 70 million dogs (in 43 million households) and 74 million cats (in 36 million households) – as reported by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. We love our pets; and they love us in return.

Before getting to my personal pet story, let’s consider how vital pets are to our psychological and physical health. Over the past several years, we have witnessed the growth in companion pets. Although some individuals may stretch the rules in getting their “companion” pets onto planes and into other venues, the basic premise is sound: Pets can be soothing and calming.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

Studies show that the bond between people and pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some health benefits of having a pet include: Decreased blood pressure. Decreased cholesterol. Decreased triglycerides. Decreased feelings of loneliness. Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities. Increased opportunities for socialization.

A great example of the value of pets involves military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after returning home. There are several non-profits that help to enrich the lives of those veterans, including Companions for Heroes, Pets for Veterans, and America’s Vets Dogs. The dogs are well-trained and help vets to reduce stress.

Linda and I are cat lovers and have shared our home with many cats over the years. Yes, cats can be affectionate and intuitive. One cat, Tucker, will sit in my lap all day in my home office and lie on me for hours when I’m on the couch in the den.

When I returned home after my surgery, our cats KNEW I was sick. They lay in bed with me 24/7 and often cuddled next to me. They constantly nuzzled my hand. Their attention required no effort on my part and was crucial early in my recovery.

 

We Are NOT Alone — Part 1

This is another excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

It may be hard for you to believe that I am a very private individual when it comes to all aspects of my personal life. After all, here I am opening myself up in a way I never would have dreamed of before. But my community helped to show me how cathartic it could be for me to share my getting pancreatic cancer with other people outside of the community. I’d like to think that in this intense situation I finally realized the true value of communication and sharing. It is only by letting others in that they may help us in our journey.

I also learned much more about how not to be so judgmental of others (and myself, too). We all approach good times and bad, adrenaline rushes, fear, thoughts of our own mortality, etc. in much different ways. It took me a while, but I finally got it that some of my friends did not want to think about the “C” word, and therefore avoided me.

This gave me greater thankfulness for those who were there with me through the toughest parts of my journey. It must have been hard for them to see me looking like a skeleton (due to my weight loss) with limited mobility and a variety of post-surgery side effects. They never turned away. They were my knights (of both genders) in shining armor.

These are vital socialization observations from “Life After Cancer Treatment: Social and Work Relationships” by Journeyforward.org. Keep them in mind when interacting with others – regardless of your role (survivor, caregiver, etc.):

Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It’s normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day. And the way they relate to you. When treatment ends, families are often not prepared for the fact that recovery takes time. In general, your recovery will take much longer than your treatment did. Survivors often say that they didn’t realize the time it took to recover. This can cause disappointment, worry, and frustration for everyone. Families also may not realize that the way their family works may have changed permanently as a result of cancer. They may need help to deal with the changes and keep the “new” family strong.

Most cancer survivors who are physically able to work do go back to their jobs. This can help them feel they are getting back to the life they had before being diagnosed with cancer. Whether returning to their old jobs or beginning new ones, some survivors are treated unfairly when they return to the workplace. Employers and employees may have doubts about cancer survivors’ ability to work.

Some friends, coworkers, and others may be a huge source of support, while others may be a source of anger or frustration. Some people mean well, but do not know what to say. Maybe they don’t know how to offer support. Others don’t want to deal with your cancer. If friends and coworkers seem unsupportive, it could be because they are anxious for you or for themselves. Your cancer experience may threaten them because it reminds them that cancer can happen to anyone. Try to understand their fears and be patient as you try to regain a good relationship.