Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Health Benefits and Power of Laughter

A video about the powerful health benefits of laughing and sharing laughter with others.

'Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.' Victor Hugo

'Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.' Mark Twain

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Bitchy women: crescendo in catty culture

Near where I live there’s a very nice organic, home-made, yoga lifestyle sort of café. In essence it should be the kind of place I’d be naturally drawn to and want to frequent. 
However, I don’t. 
In fact when I pass it, as I do almost daily, I scuttle by and try to ignore its siren call. Why? Is the coffee awful? Or are the owners rude? Is it dirty/smelly/noisy? No. 
The issue isn’t with the café itself it’s with the people who choose to eat and drink there. It’s a yummy-mummy hangout which is fine in itself but the problem is that all these women seem to talk about is how, "Mrs F looked rough this morning", "Miss B is having trouble with the boyfriend" or that, "Mr and Mrs T are struggling financially". You can’t escape the conversations, however hard you try not to hear them. 

The first time I visited the café I very nearly walked over to the circle of gossiping women to point out that maybe their ‘friend’ was having so much trouble because, instead of trying to be there for her, they were choosing to spend their time ripping her life to pieces instead. The phrase “With friends like these, who needs enemies” hits the nail on the head.

I have stood on tube platforms, been in a queue or looked up from chatting with friends and received one of those up-and-down looks from another woman where you’re made to feel about as small and welcome as a cockroach. The American’s call it giving someone the ‘stink eye.’ This sums it up nicely. It’s hugely rude, disrespectful and hurtful to be judged purely on the way you look or just because you happen to be a fellow woman who might be competition.
However, it’s not just us as individuals who seem to enjoy bitching and sniping about other women; the media adds fuel to the already blazing fire by publishing articles that pit one woman against another. 
Did so-and-so wear it better? Is what’s-her-face the new ‘it’ girl? Ms X dethrones Ms Z as the new princess of pop/queen of our hearts/fashionista/media darling. 
It’s a human version of cock fighting. 
Yet instead of realising how barbaric, demeaning and destructive this trend for setting women against each other is we, as a society and a sex, are in the thick of the crowd egging the fight on!

I’m not asking that all women should link arms and walk off into the sunset together; that’s not realistic. We will have our differences and disagreements - that’s part of being individuals. All I ask is that we stop perpetuating a hate and vitriol-filled society where we seem to take pleasure from other people’s pain. Where we revel and crow over our neighbour’s failings and misfortunes. 

My wish is that we can accept other, respect choices, support our friends in rough times and not judge a book by its cover. My wish is that we can enjoy each others successes, not view people as a threat, or someone to 'take down' and that we can be confident enough in ourselves to build up and boost those around us.

Someone once said “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself”. 

Do you feel the same way (as a man or as a woman)? Have you been on the receiving end of one of those 'stink eyes'? Do you feel that the media pit women against each other one minute and then berate the women who do "compete"?