Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Health

Selfies leading to lice

HealthEdward KiledjianComment
Image by     mollybob  under Creative Commons License

Image by  mollybob under Creative Commons License

Selfies are so popular, Apple built an entire app collection in the AppStore for it. Selfies are a way to preserve memories when your having a good time with friends but selfies can be dangerous for your health.

A California lice expert, Marcy McQuillan, told the SFist (link) "I've seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year," . "Typically it's younger children I treat, because they're at higher risk for head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics."

Daydreaming - the untold secret to success

HealthEdward KiledjianComment

When  I was in elementary school, teacher actively discouraged daydreaming. They refereed to it as a "lack of attention" and a "waste of time". As we got older, we kept these negative beliefs about daydreaming which may adversely impact our intelligence and overall mental well-being.

Thinkers from the past have often defined daydreaming as a gateway to unconscious processing. It is a way to engage your subconscious mind (or other than conscious mind) to tackle all kinds of problem through improved creativity. T.S. Eliot called it  "idea incubation" while Lewis Caroll called it "mental mastication".

Then in the 50's, Jerome L Singer, a Yale psychologist,  put daydreaming through the scientific ringer and published his findings in 1975 in a book entitled "The Inner World of Daydreaming". Singer defined 3 categories of daydreaming:

  1. Positive Constructive Daydreaming - this is a positive constraint free model in which you experience playful, vivid imagery that encourages creative thought
  2. Guilty Dysphoric Daydreaming - This is a type veterans with PTSD sometimes experience which is driven by ambition, anguish and pain. It allows the dreamer to experience heroism, pain or relive a past trauma.
  3. Poor Attentional Control Daydreaming - Typically this is driven by distraction when people have difficulty concentrating. Sometime this is caused by Attention Deficit Disorder or identified as such.

Rebecca McMillan and Scott Kaufman wrote a paper entitled "Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming" (link) which talks about the benefits of the first style of daydreaming. They explain how it is not only beneficial but essential to making people happy, creative and empowered.

An interesting excerpt from the paper says

"Future planning which is increased by a period of self-reflection and attenuated by an unhappy mood; creativity, especially creative incubation and problem solving; attentional cycling which allows individuals to rotate through different information streams to advance personally meaningful and external goals; and dishabituation which enhances learning by providing short breaks from external tasks, thereby achieving distributed rather than massed practice"

They continue in the same thought direction

"These mental activities are, in fact, central to the task of meaning making, of developing and maintaining an understanding of oneself in the world"

Another study published in Psychological Science (link) from researcher from the University of Wisconsin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science posits that daydreaming (or sometime called mind wandering) " correlates with higher degrees of what is referred to as working memory". This is the type of memory with the ability to retain and recall information when actively distracted.

Daydreaming isn't free because it requires time and it requires that you give yourself permission to daydream (which isn't as easy as it sounds). You have to be able to daydream without feeling guilty for wasting time. Once you are able to daydream freely, you will start seeing huge benefits. It may be as simple as a mental vacation during a stressful day, daydreaming about an upcoming presentation you have (aka mental preparation), to dynamically work through complicated unrelated information or a freestyle session which bolsters memory and creativity.

"Encourage your kids to daydream. Encourage your employees to take time out of their day to daydream. Encourage yourself to daydream." -Edward N Kiledjian

The secret to living healthy to 100 years old

HealthEdward KiledjianComment

Sure there are lots of 50 year old "gurus" peddling all kinds of exercises, products and cremes but there's no one more reliable for this type of information than an actual 100 year old person. 

100year_old_lady.jpg

Meet Dorothy Howe, a 100 year old lady who shared her 2 secrets to having a long and healthy life. Long because she made it to 100 and healthy because "'I’m still alive and I can lift my elbows - it’s great."

The secret?

  • smoke cigarettes 
  • drink whiskey

So now you know. Read the rest of the article here.

A fitness wristband that automatically tracks your food

HealthEdward Kiledjian2 Comments
airo1.png

The quantified self via wearable tech is the next frontier and everyone wants a piece of the action. Typically the trinity is the tracking of exercise, sleep and pule (for exertion estimates and stress). For nutrition (aka calorie count), you typically have to enter the information into the devices smartphone app which means you will forget or just give-up after the first week.

Now a new entrant promises to track your calorie intake automatically. YES AUTOMATICALLY, as in without you having to do anything. How is this black magic accomplished you ask? The company describes it like this

"Nutrition is monitored using different wavelengths of light to look into the blood stream and detect metabolites as they are released while and after you eat. This allows AIRO to measure caloric intake and even the quality of meals consumed, providing recommendations on ways to improve nutrition."

So the wristband is supposed to know the nutritional breakdown of what you ate (protein, fat, carb) and then monitors what it does to your body. The company admits it cant differentiate between simple and complex carbs (we all know they are different) but they are conducting additional experiments in the hope that they will be able to fine tune their detection algorithms.

I have been using an iPhone app called Stress Doctor (from Azumio) that uses the timing and intensity of my pulse to detect stress levels (low, medium, high) and it seems Airo does the same except automatically. If it detects elevated stress levels, it will vibrate to encourage you to relax and provides recommended breathing exercises in the app to guide you. 

It also combines all of the sensors to measure the intensity of your workouts (similar to what the Amiigo is supposed to do).  My constantly monitoring you vitals, the app is also supposed to recommend rest days if it feels you are over-exercising.

The Airo is supposed to use your physiological indicators to measure quantity and quality of sleep. It will vibrate to wake you up at the best possible time (since it knows your sleep cycle).

An interesting distinction with this product is that it not only turns your life into a measurement game but also provides a game plan in response to what it is detecting. You no longer have to play doctor.

You can pre-order AIRO today and it is expected to ship fall 2014 (but remember these types of devices are notoriously bad at meeting their shipping dates. Amiigo is almost 6 months late thus far). The device pre-order costs $US149 but will cost $199 in stores when it hits retails.

You can pre-order the device here.

Related Articles

It's time to relax and meditate with Calm.com

HealthEdward KiledjianComment

Meditation and relaxation have many health benefits including reducing stress, reducing pain and making a bad day a little more bearable. Calm.com offers guided mediations (in 2,5,10,15 and 20 minute lengths.)

calm_com_1.png

The first icon is (mediating man) is where you set the length of the guided meditation. 

The second icon is (alarm clock) a timer. 

The third icon is a link to their free IOS app (level 1 free, other levels at $5 and up) 

I found the video and music combination very soothing. It great to use these with headphones and let yourself be taken on a mini vacation. 

As soon as you visit the site, a new background is displayed and a soundtrack played. 

In the guided mediation, there is a narrator gently providing the required instructions 

  • close your eyes
  • relax ...
  • focus on ...
  • notice ...
  • etc

This isn't the ultimate meditation resource but is a great way to relax and relieve life shortening stress.

Om Shanti is a Hindu saying that means peace for all human kind, peace for all living and non living beings, peace for the uniserse, peace for each and every thing in this cosmic manifestation. So I say to you : Om Shanti

Calm.com