Friendship versus Career? Don’t Neglect Your Friendships!

Too many Americans are chasing career success, making sacrifices for some professional or financial goal. Too often those sacrifices include less time with their families and less time with their friends. That is a massive mistake – a mistake that lowers their happiness and reduces their health. Surprise. Our survival depends more on our friendships than our work.

 

That importance of friendship has been demonstrated in numerous studies throughout the animal kingdom. Monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, horses, hyenas, elephants, and dolphins create lifelong friendships; and that is only the beginning of the lengthy list. For almost all species, the greater the quality of the friendships, the better the health and the longer the longevity for the animal.

 

Rhesus monkeys with close friendships show reduced levels of stress hormones and improved health. Horses, when they are grooming each other, show slower heart rates. Baboons with close friendships are four times more likely to live to an older age. And those positive effects are noticed in most species – even dogs and cats with their owners.

 

With humans, friendship appears to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and improve the immune system. How […]

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Millennials: Rising Above Economic Inequity

I want to address the economic disparity between the millennials and the other generations in the United States. The millennials should receive a higher level of understanding of their financial straits, and the millennials deserve a much higher level of respect for how they are taking ownership of their lives, prioritizing their values in a far better fashion than most of us.

 

Everyone is aware of the economic inequity in our current world. There are the 1%, who are wealthy and living well, and then there are the other 99%, who are struggling with no improvement in their finances for decades. A recent article confirmed how the combined financial worth of the world’s 8 richest individuals is now equal to the total financial worth of half of the 7 billion people on this planet.  Yes, 8 individuals in our world have more money that half of humanity.

 

Hashtag Millennials appearing behind torn brown paper. Millennials also known as Generation Y are the demographic cohort following Generation X.

The impact of that financial disparity may be hardest on the millennials. The median household income for millennials is just $40,581. That is […]

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The Kids Are Not All Right

Normally, I want to present my own original material. However, in the recent Time Magazine, there was a very informative article, titled “The Kids Are Not All Right”, written by Susanna Schrobsdorff. Every teenager and parent should read the article. But since many people do not have access to Time Magazine, I am going to highlight the key points in this blog.

 

young sad woman in pain sitting alone and depressed at urban subway tunnel ground looking worried and frustrated suffering depression in female loneliness concept ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

In the past several years there has been an explosion of increased anxiety, increased depression, and the act of self-cutting in our teenage population. Research shows that there are around 3 million teens who have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Further research reveals that there are over 6 million teens with anxiety disorder. In addition, for self-cutting, just the hashtag admissions of self-harm behavior have jumped to 2.4 million in the past year. Those statistics equate to a sizeable number of teenagers who are emotionally in turmoil.

 

In 90% of […]

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Here’s Your Best Advice to Yourself

When I attended my daughters’ college graduations, I listened to the speeches and then retired promptly to my own computer to type my imaginary commencement address, highlighting what I would have recommended for their lives. After attending my own recent reunion (see blog at boomerhealthinstitute.com), I realized something. What people recommend for others is usually what they are secretly recommending for themselves.

 

So, let me ask you. What are you recommending for your children as they progress through life? Does it differ much different from what you are recommending for your own life? Take a look at my two imaginary college commencement speeches. Do you agree with the suggestions? Are they striking a familiar theme that you offer to your own children? Give me some feedback. I would love to see how we vary in our approaches to a happy, successful, rewarding life. I think you will discover that your advice to others is your best advice to yourself.

 

Dear Skyler,

At your two graduation speeches, your classmates were told you were brilliant and should now turn that brilliance into action. The various speakers were good, but if I had addressed your class, I would have offered a far different message. Typical for […]

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Here’s The Best Parent – Child Gift

What’s the best parent-child gift? Actually, I think there are two pillars that make the best gift to any child: love and time. In today’s world, love is a lot easier to give than time. Too many parents are caught up in the onslaught of work and bills. Too many parents come home from the office, too tired to pay sufficient attention to their children. Consequently, we are depriving ourselves and our children of much of our happiness.

 

friends hug each other deep relationship & bonding - vector icon. This also represents reunion sharing love emotions human touch friendly embrace support care kindness empathy compassion

In my recent blog on the Time Magazine article on “Ordinary Parents: Extraordinary Children”, the article highlighted the importance of maintaining a conflict free home. The world is chaotic enough; let the household (and especially the relationships within the household) be a safe haven from the surrounding chaos. But in that safe haven, you need time together. That’s 1:1 time with each person. That’s not the occasional “hello, how are you doing?” exchange.

 

I have highlighted the statistics in prior blogs, but let me repeat. […]

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Time Magazine: Raising Extraordinary Kids

Usually, I like to highlight my own ideas in these blogs. However, for this post, I wanted to encourage readers to review Time Magazine’s September 5, 2016 lead article on “Ordinary Families – Extraordinary Kids,” Since some of you might not have access to this Time magazine issue, I am going to summarize the article’s key findings. Because I think they are crucial for any parent.

 

Passion for Success Concept. Modern Illustration. Multicolor Passion for Success Drawn on Dark Brick Wall. Doodle Icons. Doodle Style of Passion for Success Concept. Passion for Success on Wall.

In this Time magazine article, the author examined ordinary families that produced extraordinary kids. Success of those kids was defined by their leadership, service, or achievement; it was not defined by fame or money. The author highlighted how these families were different in so many ways (ethnicity, wealth, areas of interests, etc.), but the author tried to uncover what was common (and necessary) for producing such successful kids. The article discovered 6 key features for raising extraordinary children.

 

First, each family seemed able to instill a sense of drive in those kids, coupled to a […]

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Even Better Advice for Your College Student

In the prior blog I highlighted the importance of focusing on your friendships in college as opposed to focusing just on your grades. However, I wanted to expand the umbrella of that recommendation. Parents should encourage their kids, in the college years, to focus on things that truly matter. Too often in life the things that matter are at the mercy of the things that do not matter. Since college habits often become life habits, it is important to establish the right priorities and the right habits during those early adult years. To illustrate that point, here is a letter to my daughter, Skyler, in her freshman year of college.

 

Dear Skyler,

We received the following bit (below) from a friend and we thought you might enjoy it.

         A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups ­porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite – telling them to help themselves. After all the students had a cup […]

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The Best Advice for Your College Student

What is the best advice for your college student? It may seem counter cultural, but I strongly encourage parents to encourage their kids, as college students, to shift their focus away from grades. Today’s college student faces enormous challenges. Besides the daily cultural chaos across the world, the current political rancor of our election, and the repeated headline of disasters (terrorist attacks, fires, floods, earthquakes, etc.), they are facing an increasingly competitive world with greater barriers to financial success. The solution is to help them focus on finding real happiness, not superficial acclaim. Happiness doesn’t come through higher grades; it comes through following your passions and establishing friendships. In this world, your kids are going to need those friendships to battle through life and its many challenges. Here is how I addressed the issue with my daughter, Skyler, when she was a college freshman …

Dear Skyler,

It was fun to hear the account of your Halloween activities and Halloween choices.  Should you go to the New York Halloween parade or stay in your dorm room and write your essay? And the next morning, after you had enjoyed the Halloween parade and gone to bed without writing your essay, should you skip your […]

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Sometimes it helps to look back to move forward…

My wife (Cyndy) and I just celebrated our anniversary this past weekend. We took a couple days off to sit in the sun and relax. While there Cyndy was going thru Bill’s book. She commented that in many ways she feels that she has realized the goals of the book – to live, to love, to make a difference. For her, some of those goals were rooted in our past: the travelling we have done, and the years she worked as a first grade teacher. However, she continues to appreciate what we have and strives to find new ways to make a difference. She reminded me about the importance of perspective. Of the risks of getting locked in to your own world view. Too often I focus on the challenges I face now and forget about past joys and successes. greener_grassI let the negative parts of my life today overshadow the good stuff. Then I fall too deeply into “the grass is always greener” thinking. As a result, when I consider redesigning my life, I feel overwhelmed – as if I have to recreate everything! But that’s not true. […]

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Don’t Forget The Human Connection

Over the past few weeks Randy and I have been discussing the importance of time away from work and the value of re-energizing yourself and your life. For each of us, a lack of balance clogs the soul. On-AirRecently, I have been participating in a number of radio interviews, trying to promote my book and our website.   The Mary Jones Show. The Barbara Dooley Show. The Dan Kesterson Show. The Bulldog and The Rude Awakening Show. The Alex Hinojosa Show (listen here!)  The Roy Richards Show.

In many of these shows I have been discussing the material in the past several blogs, including the importance of going barefoot (or grounding/ earthing). However, on the radio, I have also been discussing solo aging and loneliness. Lonely girl on a chairSo today I want to re-emphasize that we need much more than increased contact with the earth; we need increased contact with each other. Friendship is crucial to survival throughout the animal kingdom from chimpanzees to baboons to dolphins to horses. […]

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