Month: March 2014

Get Happy Yourself

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Sometimes in the midst of the whirlwind of having a child around it is easy to forget about yourself. You become the parent, the nurse, the teacher, the caretaker, but you forget that you’re also you, the person. A friend of mine once brought up the discussion of how some people in our parents’ generation lost touch with their closest friends once they got married and had children. Which was all good and fine until those children grew up, flew out of the nest, and a vacuum formed, because their closest friends were no longer around to provide the support system they needed. Interesting enough in one of the anecdotes provided in the discussion, someone said that they wished their parents had kept in touch with their friends because now they were stressing her out and blaming her for not always being there.

So it got me thinking about how people in our generation seem to be walking down the same path. The moment they get married (sometimes the moment they get engaged) they disappear from social circles and no longer respond to any communications. Which nobody would blame you if you have a child who is younger than five. But when the children are in school, or when there are no children, what is their excuse?

Having some me-time is important. Remembering you’re an individual is important. And sometimes the individual in you needs a friend to counter the stress that children can bring about, and those friends don’t need to be your friends from uni. They could be other mothers from your children’s school or they could be neighbors. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. You’ll find people to connect with the moment you learn to reach out. And if you think you’re being selfish about having ‘me-time’ with your friends then think about it this way, studies have shown that how happy you are dramatically improves the psychological well-being of your children. In other words, happiness is contagious, and yeah…

they’re watching you.

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Cherish the Empty Space

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Empty space can be so symbolic. While a lot of people might think of the empty space as a symbol of failure, a gap that needs to be filled, it doesn’t have to be that way. Take the writer staring at an empty page, or the artist with every part of his studio filled except for one tiny portion. Our first instinct is to fill that page and paint that portrait to hang on the wall. Our first instinct is to fill that space.

But why can’t we let it be?

Just appreciate the emptiness. Let it symbolically represent all the boundless opportunities that could have been and that could be. Because the moment that space is filled, it’s easy to feel a sense of achievement. It’s easy to get too comfortable and glue yourself to that new comfort zone. Let that empty space be motivational. Let it lure you into taking that one more step to whatever it is you seek. In other words, just let it be.


Are you left-brained or right brained?

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The other day a friend of mine pointed out that a study came out announcing that the whole “logical-analytical-people-are-left-brained-creative-people-are-right-brained” was a myth.

It turns out that the myth originated from Roger Sperry’s 1960 research, which involved studying epilepsy patients who were treated surgically by cutting the brain along the corpus callosum. The consequence of that was the left and right hemispheres could no longer communicate so “Split Brain” experiments were done to determine which parts of the brain were involved in different functions.

All good and well.

Until popular culture decided to spread the idea that people in the science field tend to be more left-brained while creative artists tend to rely on their right brains more.

Then the fMRI entered the scene and helped debunk this myth due to its ability to map neural activity. In a study published in PLOS One journal [1], scientists studied the scans of patients and concluded that the patients were inclined to rely on one half of the brain more than the other.

So now if someone asks you if you were left-brained or right brained, you can confidently answer, “whole-brained” though how others might understand it is a totally different issue.

[1] An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging