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Archive for the ‘Self-Awareness’ Category

Letters to the editor: July 2, 2020 – Austin American-Statesman

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Schools unfairly get

blame for discipline

Re: June 28 article, "Austin schools suspend Black students nearly 5 times as often as white students."

I read with sadness the article regarding minority students being suspended at higher rates than white students from public schools in Austin and the nation.

The proactive steps being taken by school districts include professional development on cultural proficiency, inclusivity, and implicit bias and use of restorative justice. As a retired teacher, I can attest to the fact that most teachers use positive reinforcement, redirection, student conferences, and parent phone calls and conferences before they write a discipline referral.

The article focuses on the numbers, implying that disproportionate numbers mean that minority students are unfairly targeted and not engaging in disruptive behavior warranting suspension. The article implies that school staff are to blame rather than the students' behavior. It is disheartening to read yet another article blaming the school for what is really a breakdown in the family and lack of respect for authority in society.

Cathy Medina, Austin

City incentive was like

tossing money away

Re: June 24 article, "Round Rock City Council OKs $125K in incentives for lighting manufacturer."

The Round Rock City Council just can't get enough of wasting the taxpayers' money on corporate welfare.

Does the council really think that if it didn't provide a lousy $125,000 from the taxpayers to Hubbell Lighting that the company would not have moved its facility from Austin to Round Rock?

If the city has so much money that it can throw 125 grand away like that, then I certainly don't want to hear any whining from the council at budget time about reducing services because revenues have declined.

Bill Lewis, Round Rock

Bush ignores Trumps

offensive language

Hopefully, the chuckling has just begun in answer to the brave editorial by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. Bush took exception to the executive director of Empower Texans pretending to be shocked by the "profane, obscene and offensive language" some members of the organization used to attack Gov. Abbott and the lies directed solely at fellow Republicans.

He then goes on about how Joe Biden is "the wrong choice for the country." Without one bit of self-awareness, he selectively ignores all of the profane, obscene, offensive language and lying displayed on a daily basis by President Donald J. Trump, the very same man who insulted and denigrated every member of Bush's family.

I do not care that Commissioner Bush can pathetically ignore the obvious parallels between Empower Texans and President Trump. I do care that he believes the rest of us are too stupid to notice.

Zeph McKee, Austin

This is about equality

regardless of color

We live in a time more divided then ever. You would think that the unlawful killing of George Floyd and the revolution that it started would bring society closer together to mourn over a fellow humans wrongful death. Sadly, that was not the outcome. People are fighting against police reform and the cultural wave of equality.

I am a strong believer in listening and talking to others opinions and complaints. Even if you fundamentally disagree, strive to understand. Somehow Georges death made this country even more divided. I did not predict that response because this revolution is about equality and how we are all citizens of this planet, no matter the color of our skin, political agenda or where we are from.

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally. Police should protect and enforce those rights, not defy them.

Ryan York, Austin

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Letters to the editor: July 2, 2020 - Austin American-Statesman

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How much can you save by staying in-state for medical school? – American Medical Association

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While tuition cost shouldnt necessarily be a deterrent from a career as a physician, the reality that the majority of medical students anticipate they will graduate with upwards of $150,000 in student-loan debtaccording to an AMA Insurance surveyis a daunting one.

Many students look for ways to lessen the tuition burden. Though not as widely available as they are for undergraduate study, medical school scholarships are available. It also can help save to stay in your state of residence for medical school and attend a public institution.

Paying public school tuitioneven for students who are not residents, in some casesis going to yield significant savings when compared with tuition costs at a private medical school.

A 2017 study based on tuition data gathered between 2006-16 found that the median cost of attendance for students paying in-state tuitionacross all statesover four years was $232,800. That figure compares favorably to the $306,200 four-year median cost of attendance for medical students attending private institutions over that time frame. Students attending public schools paying in-state tuition saved $73,400, according to the data.

That study also found that students paying in-state tuition had medical school debt loads that were about $20,000 lower than those attending private schools.

In-state tuition costs are always lower for residents, but the amount will vary. Based on data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the most affordable medical school in the nation is Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. For in-state medical students the current cost of tuition, student fees and health insurance is about $19,000 per year. For out-of-state students that number is around $32,000. That 40% tuition increase for out-of-state attendees is a fair baseline for how most states charge studentsthough there are some very notable exceptions.

That math was a factor for Avani Patel, MD, when she decided to attend the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson. Im someone who doesnt like the idea of debt, said Dr. Patel who will begin her residency training in the psychiatry program at Mississippi in July. If youre getting a very similar education, why would you pay more unless you want to pay more for the name or prestige?

Selecting a medical school requires a student to have some idea of what they envision their training experience to be. Dr. Patel valued hands-on clinical experience above other factors such as research opportunities, which made Mississippi a fit.

When I was researching medical schools, I knew affordability was important, so was being close to family and also feeling Id be very clinically strong, she said. I didnt want to go somewhere where I wouldnt have a ton of hands-on experience. Sometimes that doesnt happen at larger more prestigious institutions because they have to work down the hierarchy ladder [of other trainees]. They have fellows and residents to factor in, so you are going to be the last one to get any hands-on experience.

As far as factoring tuition cost into your decision, Dr. Patel views it as a something that is personal.

I always say self-awareness is key, Dr. Patel said. This is a choice that you have to make when youre very young but try to understand when youre researching [medical schools] what you are taking in terms of potential debt.

If youre interested in primary care and know you most likely [will] pursue primary care in your career it might make sense to go for a more affordable option. Its going to be less of a debt load, and youre going to get a great education. If youre looking to be the top neurosurgeon in the country and you need the top-notch research, for you it might be worth taking on a much higher debt load if it means going to an institution with the prestige and the resources that might be able to provide the opportunities you are looking for.

Medicine can be a career that is both challenging and highly rewarding, but figuring out a medical schools prerequisites and navigating the application process can be a challenge into itself. TheAMA premed glossary guidehas the answers to frequently asked questions about medical school, the application process, the MCAT and more.

Have peace of mind andget everything you need to start med school off strongwith the AMA.

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How much can you save by staying in-state for medical school? - American Medical Association

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The Truth is okay, but it wont set you free – The Spool

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NOW STREAMING:

The Truth is not a subtle film. Lets just get that out of the way first.

And no, subtlety need not be a requirement. Its simply a matter what shaped peg goes into what shaped hole. Lack of subtlety invites more self-awareness to fill the gap, a decided lack of self-awareness invites a more distant or peripheral approach to the material, and so forth. Such is how much ofThe Truth operates. Its hall-of-mirrors approach both heightens and downplays its drama in a breezy, engaging perspective. Or, at least, it does for a while.

We open with Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve), a famed actor in the midst of promoting her new book,The Truth (orLa Vrit). Her answers are forthright while her emotions hide behind a smokescreen of nicotine, not the least is being put to the test by the upcoming visit of her daughter, Lumir (Juliette Binoche). Lumir is a screenwriter, resentful of Fabiennes standoffish parenting. And she seems to have learned from it tooat least enough to save her own daughter, Charlotte (Clmentine Grenier), from a similar fate. And as for Lumirs recently teetotal husband, Hank (Ethan Hawke)? Well, hes just happy to be here.

Its when the trio arrives at Fabiennes houseor castle, as Charlotte puts itthat the dynamics begin to unfold. Its pretty basic stuff, at least in a sort of scaled-down Brechtian sense. And thats what makesThe Truth so curious for something that doesnt stick the landing: character interactions are lived-in and intimate, but its meta devices are so overt in their functions that the reflective detachment diminishes with time. Theres a film within a film here, but there still isnt enough to grasp on to.

Yes, one of the largest motifs inThe Truth is a sci-fi picture Fabienne is starring in. Its largely an excuse to give its central characters fictionalized equals by placing them in a closed proscenium, but it works at points. There are some sharp, quiet moments between Fabienne and younger star Manon (Manon Clavel) that help blur the line between the formers work and her insecurities, and Hirokazu Kore-eda writes and directs these scenes matter-of-factly. His usual bouts of soft comedy are here, but at the films best moments, theyre stern enough to point to something deeper.

Alas, that never fully comes to fruition.The Truth is an admittedly minor work in the grand scheme of things, and while thats fine, it works far better on a scene-by-scene basis than as a whole. Its supporting characters function as barometers to gauge how well rounded the script is.

[C]haracter interactions are lived-in and intimate, but its meta devices are so overt in their functions that the reflective detachment diminishes with time.

Take Hank, for example. He exists almost exclusively on the peripheries as Lumirs husband and, as a second-rate TV actor and recovering alcoholic, alludes to a larger disconnect. Not just in the arts world, mind you, but in this family specifically: how the family bobs farther from Fabiennes prima donna lifestyle with passing generations. The elements are here. Kore-eda, unfortunately, neglects these shadings, redirectingThe Truth into its more affluent clichs. His tender sense of humor gives a humanity to what could have otherwise been alien to most viewers, but the missed opportunities are hard to shake.

And thats generally what the final product feels like. Kore-edas film understands the difference between truth and fact, between subjective and objective. It also marks a seamless cultural shift for his first picture outside of his native Japan. He and DP Eric Gautier also do some nice work, using blocking and the occasional handheld shot to tease a visual synchronicity between characters and surroundings. But ultimately, its a harmlessand resultantly unremarkabletour through a gallery of personal issues.

The Truth opens in select theaters and on VOD this Friday, July 3.

Writer and film critic for hire who has worked with WGN Radio, Bright Wall/Dark Room, RogerEbert.com, The Film Stage, and more. Firmly believes that ".gif" is pronounced "jiff."

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The Truth is okay, but it wont set you free - The Spool

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Column: Why Americans are having an emotional reaction to masks – The Columbus Dispatch

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While Americans still have not adopted mask-wearing as a general norm, were wearing masks more than ever before. Mask-wearing is mandated in California, and in many counties masks are near-universal in public spaces. So I have started wondering: Does wearing a mask change our social behavior and our emotional inclinations? And if mask-wearing does indeed change the fabric of our interactions, is that one reason why the masks are not more popular in the U.S.?

When no one can see our countenances, we may behave differently. One study found that children wearing Halloween masks were more likely to break the rules and take more candy. The anonymity conferred by masks might be making it easier for protesters to knock down so many statues.

And indeed, people have long used masks to achieve a kind of plausible deniability. At Carnival festivities around the world people wear masks, and this seems to encourage greater revelry, drunkenness and lewd behavior, traits also associated with masked balls. The mask creates another persona. You can act a little more outrageously, knowing that your town or village, a few days later, will regard that as "a different you."

If we look to popular culture, mask-wearing is again associated with a kind of transgression. Batman, Robin and the Lone Ranger wear masks, not just to keep their true identities a secret, but to enable their "ordinary selves" to step into these larger-than-life roles.

But if we examine mask-wearing in the context of COVID-19, a different picture emerges. The mask is now a symbol of a particular kind of conformity, and a ritual of collective responsibility and discipline against the virus. The masks themselves might encourage this norm adherence by boosting the sense of group membership among the wearers.

The public health benefits of mask-wearing far exceed the social costs, but still if we want mask-wearing to be a stable norm we may need to protect against or at least recognize some of its secondary consequences. Because mask-wearing norms seem weakest in many of the most open societies, such as the United States and United Kingdom, perhaps it is time to come to terms how masks rewrite how we react and respond to each other.

If nothing else, our smiles cannot be seen under our masks, and that makes social interactions feel more hostile and alienating, and it might lower immediate levels of trust in casual interactions. There are plenty of negative, hostile claims about masks circulating, to the point of seeming crazy, but rather than just mocking them perhaps we need to recognize what has long been called "the paranoid style in American politics."

Just ask yourself a simple question: If someone tells you there is a new movie or TV show out, and everyone in the drama is wearing masks, do you tend to think thats a feel-good romantic comedy or a scary movie? In essence, we are asking Americans to live in that scenario, but not quite giving them the psychological armor to do so successfully.

On the brighter side, I wonder if mask-wearing might diminish some expressions of intolerance. People who might feel that others are "looking at them funny" might find themselves with less to be offended by as masks obscure those micro-reactions. Common mask-wearing is already reportedly easing the public judgment experienced by Muslim women who wear face coverings in Western society; some Muslim women who wear the niqab report that they are no longer being given dirty looks, if only because they no longer stick out so much.

Women who cover their faces for religious reasons might now be ahead of the rest of us when it comes to effective communication because they cannot rely as much their faces to convey emotion in public conversations, they report relying on more visible body language like waving and gesturing.

The tension of current mask policy is that it reflects a desire for a more obedient, ordered society, for public health purposes above all, but at the same time it creates incentives and inclinations for nonconformity. As a society, our public mask-wearing is thus at war with its own emotional leanings, because it is packaging together a message based on both discipline and deviance.

What can we do to convince people that a mask-laden society, while it will feel weird and indeed be weird, can be made stable and beneficial through our own self-awareness? While there is no simple answer to that question, mask advocates should recognize that they have been treading into unusual cultural territory, and should not be surprised by unusual public responses.

Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and a professor of economics at George Mason University. tcowen@gmu.edu

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Column: Why Americans are having an emotional reaction to masks - The Columbus Dispatch

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Using the Pomodoro technique to become your own boss – TechRepublic

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The method helps people structure daily workflows in a more efficient, personalized way. So what is the '80s technique and how does it work?

IMAGE: iStock/GaudiLab

In the era of big data and omnipresent metrics, a time management technique made in the 1980s is trending.

Time management methods are designed to give people an edge in their daily routines by incorporating structured approaches and philosophies into standard workflows. Over time, these various strategies provide people with a greater understanding of their executive functions to help maximize productivity and more.

Across industries, the Pomodoro method is one of the more popular time management techniques and for good reason. The Pomodoro technique leverages a beautifully simplistic framework, which means there's no need for lengthy how-to tutorials or prerequisite knowledge before jumping in. So what is the Pomodoro technique exactly?

Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro method in the 1980s. The word "Pomodoro" is Italian for "tomato" and the name itself is a nod to the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used while developing this method. The Pomodoro method itself involves a recurrent framework of balanced work and rest cycles.

As part of the method, people divide their workday into 25-minute intervals; each known as an individual Pomodoro. After each Pomodoro, people then take a short break of approximately five minutes. After completing four Pomodoro work intervals, individuals take a longer break of approximately 25 minutes.

At the core of the philosophy, time management techniques like Pomodoro encourage people to gain a better understanding of their mental processes and procedures surrounding planning, multitasking, and the art of self-regulation.

"When I'm working with students, whether it's a sixth-grader or a Fortune 50 executive, I often say that working on these skills, these executive functions entails really learning how to become your own CEO," said Rebecca Mannis, learning specialist and founder of Ivy Prep.

Effective scheduling is one of the core components of the Pomodoro technique. Rather than approaching a task as one colossal undertaking, the method encourages people to step back and assess the individual components of the larger project.

"People naturally tend to focus on completing tasks, as in "I've got to finish this report by Monday!" But tasks can often be formidably difficult and time-consuminglike staring up at Mount Everest and being intimidated by the sheer size of the thing. But all that really matters is that you put in the time, bit by bit, to complete the task.

Break the climb up Mount Everest into step-by-step walks and climbs, and it's doable," said Barb Oakley, a professor at Oakland University.

As part of the overall approach, people often create a list of the individual tasks required to complete the larger project. This creates a chronological workflow of the processes necessary to complete a particular endeavor. This enhances a person's knowledge of the amount of time it will take them to accomplish their goals in a more realistic way.

"When you see it, it enables you to then think through the sequence, both the sequence of what needs to come first, second, or third, as well as we know that being able to anticipate the amount of time to do something also taps into that same visual part of the cortex, of the thinking part of the brain," Mannis said.

Overall, the system asks individuals to become more attuned to their own processes and to adjust the approach as needed. In the long run, the Pomodoro technique allows people to look back and reassess workflows in hindsight. The lessons learned retrospectively can then be applied proactively to future projects.

"It's one thing to set aside time to do something, it's another thing to be able to step back and evaluate what about the use of that time worked well? How could a person continue doing that? Why my certain tasks or situations lends themself better to approaching the task differently?" said Mannis. "So Pomodoro is one method of helping us try to use the best of what we have that makes us unique as humans, that metacognitive awareness, that self-awareness."

SEE:Budget planning tool (TechRepublic Premium)

Over the course of a workday, there's always potential for stress to arise. People are routinely managing tight deadlines and last-minute projects alongside the rigors present outside of the workplace. While not all stressful situations are avoidable, the Pomodoro method attempts to help people eliminate undue stress by first assessing the project, understanding their limited time and energy before jumping headlong into a project.

"When a person or an animal is overwhelmed that starts tapping into what we call the subcortical system, the more basic part sometimes called the reptilian brain, probably because reptiles have them too, that's how they survive and what happens then is that there's an increase in cortisol, the hormone connected to stress response. And very often people or animals will go into what we call fight or flight. That we either run away and withdraw and think about what procrastination is, or they'll lash out to keep away the danger," Mannis said.

Procrastination is another productivity quagmire altogether. If a person is feeling overwhelmed with a project they may be more inclined to hesitate or delay. Dithering may also appeal to individuals who have hit a snag with an ongoing task and may need to start from scratch. In this way, stress and procrastination can effectively compound each other in a self-perpetuating cycle. Interestingly, there's an underlying physiology to the human art of deliberate procrastination.

"When you even just think about something you don't want to do, it activates the pain centers of the brain. But when you switch your attention to something more entertaining (Facebook! Instagram!), the pain goes away instantly. You've also just procrastinated." Oakley said.

The Pomodoro method effectively implements short stints of structured procrastination into the daily workflow. Rather than distracting yourself from a new or overwhelming task, the Pomodoro method rewards people with small breaks peppered in following small periods of work. It's in essence a self-implemented Pavlovian approach to efficiency and task sequencing.

Although the Pomodoro technique was created decades ago, the basic philosophy is particularly timely in 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations have been forced to quickly transition from the traditional office to the digital workplace. Needless to say, this transformation hasn't gone swimmingly for everyone. An already challenging situation is only compounded by the outside stress many employees are feeling as the pandemic continues to take its toll on communities around the globe.

"Nowadays we've got so much going on in our lives and we need to juggle so much that people can understandably feel quite overwhelmed by needing to juggle those two realities and so that can contribute to people either not doing as comprehensive or complete a job that they know they must meet or they feel they must meet," said Mannis.

The Pomodoro technique allows people to add structures to new tasks that can be physiological stressful in a particularly chaotic and stressful time. Situationally, this time management technique acts as an instrument of personal empowerment, enabling people to better assess the storage and use of their limited time and finite energies.

"It gives them the tool to both manage those resources with an eye toward being effective and efficient. It also serves as what educational psychologists or neuropsychologists might call a scaffold, right? It's an instrument. It's a tool in which you can engage in some of that self-assessment," Mannis said.

SEE:Video teleconferencing do's and don'ts (free PDF)(TechRepublic)

Overall, the Pomodoro technique is an adaptable time management method. This encourages individuals to tweak the instrument to better fit their learning style and nuanced approach to new tasks. The underlying philosophy is focused on understanding your cognitive functions and creating healthy strategies based on this knowledge.

"It doesn't matter if it's a Pomodoro or a Post-it, what's important is that you've got a tool. You've got an instrument. And the trick is to use that instrument and practice it to make it your own, and to develop that heightened awareness, metacognitive awareness," said Mannis.

In general, the Pomodoro technique is a tool; an enabler of an end result. The same tool can be leveraged in innumerable ways. This particular tool allows people to harness their time and energy in a more focused deliberate way. What this tool allows someone to create is wholly up to them. Mannis likens the method and the possibilities to other instruments.

"You can take a Stratocaster guitar, the Kinks could play a song or Keith Urban could play a song. The beauty is in their mastering the basics and then making it their own," Mannis said.

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Using the Pomodoro technique to become your own boss - TechRepublic

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Birdland Insier: The Power of Mindfulness – MLB.com

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Long before the COVID-19 pandemic heightened anxieties and accelerated the fear of the uncertainty, the Orioles coaching staff has focused on developing a culture where players, coaches, and staff are more in-tune and aware of these common emotions and feelings.

The Orioles welcomed Kathryn Rowe to the player development staff as the club's Mental Skills Coordinator prior to the start of the 2020 Spring Training. Rowe, a former high-level soccer player who played collegiately in her hometown at the University of Rochester, brought a new outlook to the Orioles training, combining her own experience as an athlete, her master's degree in counseling, and her work in mental health counseling and sports psychology.

While playing soccer, Rowe benefitted greatly from a sports psychologist who she encouraged her college team to utilize while she was on Rochester's women's soccer team.

"In my time there, I really started to see the benefits of mindfulness," shared Rowe. "My professors especially in the sports psychology world really were advocates for mindfulness, especially with athletes."

Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

During meetings prior to the start of Spring Training, Rowe was introduced to the rest of the Orioles coaching staff, including another newbie to the organization, Tim DeJohn, Development Coach for the GCL Orioles. DeJohn immediately knew Rowe was someone he could benefit from.

During the few months prior, DeJohn had been battling anxiety and depression after a few life changes.

DeJohn spent the 2019 season as an Assistant Coach with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the Independent American Association. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach at the University of Memphis, where he had moved with his fiance at the time. They had a beautiful house and two wonderful dogs until they ended their engagement in November of 2019.

"I resigned from Memphis. I didn't have a job in the future in a sense, and my relationship was over. It was a mixture of the worst things at the worst time," explained DeJohn. "I was in a really bad place for about a month and a half."

He began therapy to work on himself and address some of the issues that had been pushed to the side for most of his life, which he realized took a toll on his relationship. When he was brought on to the Orioles staff, he was feeling better.

During Spring Training, and with the encouragement of Matt Blood the Director of Player Development and a big proponent of mindfulness Rowe started "Mindful Mondays" with the coaches. After successful buy in from them, Rowe began to incorporate player participation.

"Especially in sports, mindfulness is so important because there are so many different distractions that come about during the game, in practice, and in everyday life," Rowe said. "The biggest thing for mindfulness is just being in the present moment because it's all we can control. We can't control things that have happened in the past, we can't control things that will happen in the future, we can only control things that we have right here, right now."

After the COVID-19 pandemic suspended Spring Training and the start of the season, Rowe continued "Mindfulness Mondays" by offering players, coaches, and staff the opportunity to participate and meditate together a few times a week. Something that DeJohn finds has been very beneficial during this time away from baseball.

After relocating from Sarasota to Connecticut to live with a friend, the uncertainty of the season and the state of the world combined with the dreary weather of an early spring in New England didn't bode well for his mental health. He decided to dive fully into meditation and mindfulness, spending the downtime on working on himself and his mental health, which would benefit not only himself, but also his players, friends, and family.

"I've hit all of these things with depression and anxiety, but I've always thought, 'how am I going to be a 'man' and lead others and coach others when I can't get my own stuff together?'" shared DeJohn.

It was in Rowe's mindfulness and meditation virtual meetings where DeJohn could continue to share his "story" and be open about the struggles he's faced and continues to face, leading the way for other players and coaches to be open. He knew that in order to be the best version of himself not only as a person but as a coach, he had to be open and honest.

"People are supportive. I feel like I'm almost a better coach because I come out and say things that normally people wouldn't say because they're scared to put themselves out there. But in doing that it's made me more relatable and more of an approachable person in a sense," voiced DeJohn. "I am not afraid to tell anybody anything now because I've learned that everybody is going through something. If somebody is going to judge me for making myself a better person, then I really don't want to align myself with them anyway."

Outside of Rowe's virtual meetings, DeJohn has been practicing meditation each day for over two months straight. With the suggestion of Blood, DeJohn has been using the app Ten Percent Happier, and has found that it is his mental saving grace during this time of uncertainty.

"You're controlling your breathing. You're controlling your thought process. You're in control of it, instead of your thoughts controlling you," explained DeJohn. "It's so simple, and it's such a beautiful thing."

Both DeJohn and Rowe say that mindfulness and meditation are something that can positively impact not only personal lives, but also professional lives, especially when it comes to sports. Mistakes on the field, in relationships, and in personal choices happen, but it's how you react that matters.

DeJohn said, "I just think it's the acknowledgment of the emotion; the acknowledgment of the distraction; the acknowledgment of the whatever it may be in your life instead of the no I'm not going to play into that; I'm not going to get mad; I'm not going to fall in love; I'm not going to cry; I'm not going to laugh. If you feel it, do it. Control it afterwards. Move on, and then that's it."

Rowe shares that, "the biggest thing we're trying to teach here is self-awareness. What behaviors and thought patterns, do you have that aren't helpful and that are inhibiting you? With this self-awareness being an acknowledgment in that moment, hopefully you'll be able to shift yourself back to the present moment, and not respond in certain ways, or not overreact."

Both DeJohn and Rowe have seen firsthand the impact of mindfulness and meditation from their own personal lives. By sharing their insight, their story, and their love of this idea, they have both been able to reach people that may not have ever thought to address this in their own lives, or be so open and honest about it with other people.

Fan, player, coach, and staff members alike can benefit from mindfulness and meditation. No matter the struggles or problems, it's something that everyone can do and feel the positive impact from, especially in this time period.

"Practicing meditation could maybe even prevent [those problems]. It's just as much a preventative measure as it is a prescription to something that you do struggle with.

If you are interested in kickstarting your meditation and mindfulness practice, here are some ways to start:

Tips & Tricks from Tim DeJohn and Kathryn Rowe:

"First off learn what it is. Especially nowadays we can be ignorant to so many different things. I was one of those people. People fear what they don't understand. Learn about it first." DeJohn

"Your mind will be wandering a ton, and that's what it's supposed to do. So don't get mad at yourself and instead recognize that's part of the process. The whole point of meditating is to notice when it does wander and to bring yourself back." Rowe

"To start, do like 2-3-minute meditations. I think people sometimes start with 10 minutes, and it's very difficult. Starting with shorter meditations can be easier getting the grasp of it." Rowe

"It's called practicing meditation you have to practice at it. There's different techniques. Try it and don't give up on it. Once you start seeing the effects of it, it becomes like addictive. You almost feel like you couldn't function normally, like you need it." DeJohn

Helpful References: There are several smartphone apps that can help with your journey. Most come with a free trial to get started, and then require payment to use the full spectrum of their services. Rowe suggests trying some of these out and taking advantage of the free elements before committing to a full payment. The voice of each meditation is different, and plays a huge factor in your reception to it. Find what's right for you!

Ten Percent Happier | Calm | Headspace | Insight Timer

Online Videos: Searching online for different videos is another great way to get started and to find which type of meditation works for you. YouTube can help you try out different styles, different voices, and different lengths of time. Below are some specific videos that Rowe has done with O's coaches and minor leaguers during their weekly virtual sessions:

Apps and videos are great ways to practice meditation, but you don't just have to meditate to be mindful:

"You can go on a mindfulness walk, where you essentially are walking through nature and using all of your senses to recognize what's around you, and being in the present moment," shares Rowe. "Even doing the dishes, or any type of chore, can be done mindfully," she continues. "Everyone thinks of mindfulness as meditating, and yes that's a big part of it, but you can do other things mindfully."

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Birdland Insier: The Power of Mindfulness - MLB.com

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July 2nd, 2020 at 7:52 pm

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Police self-care is part of the solution | News, Sports, Jobs – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

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Columns

Jul 1, 2020

After Ferguson six years ago, police departments all over the country implemented several reforms to make officers more aware of their implicit biases and to embrace conflict deescalation as one of their duties. But in light of George Floyds brazen daylight murder by four Minneapolis police officers, those reforms, although moving in the right direction, have been insufficient.

I think what is urgently needed is better self-care for police officers. This proposal may be controversial, but I truly believe that this has to be part of the solution. Officers should have quality and free health care, access to free therapy and regular counseling. The stigmas around mental health and policing should be confronted and eliminated from the top down. Furthermore, I believe all officers should be provided increased paid time off and encouraged by their superiors to rest and recharge outside of work. They should also be supported to take up non-police-related hobbies where they can integrate themselves into the communities they serve. Mindfulness courses should also be offered free of charge, and meditation or centering time should be made available while at work.

Speaking as a domestic violence counselor working in a mid-level city with a very diverse population, the adverse effects of stress on police officers is painfully obvious to me. For example, in racially charged situations involving verbal if not violent confrontation, high levels of work-related stress can bring to the surface biases, prejudices and even outright racist attitudes, creating a toxic recipe for abuse. Even when there is not overt violence or the expressed intent of violence, these factors can create interactions that leave my clients feeling unheard, disrespected, shamed and ultimately more traumatized.

Clients of color have told me how police will not respond if called to the same house more than once. Survivors of color have told me how they were denied crime reports or never told about victims assistance programs, and how they would never call the police even if they were under attack by their abuser. And I have heard gut-wrenching stories about how the police made fun of them, accused them of lying or simply judged them. Tragically, some survivors have even been arrested due to an officers negligence or lack of training on how to identify a primary aggressor.

Yet I also have worked with police officers who would give their lives for a survivor. Some have called the hotline weeks after an incident to check on someone who they dropped off at the shelter. Some officers have even stepped up to take on the power establishment within their department. I have heard about officers calling out corruption, acts of discrimination and even the abusive behavior of their colleagues.

In the words of Audre Lorde, Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

If the objective is to have police officers stop killing unarmed black citizens, self-care for police is not an act of self-indulgence. Nor is it a bleeding-heart liberal response to crime and punishment. Self-care is an essential component of public safety. It is about police being more equipped to handle the pressures of the job.

Surely, critics will argue that my proposal is just another form of cultural sensitivity training. Thats not true. Mindfulness training, trauma-informed counseling, paid time off to unplug and reconnect with friends and family, and incentivization to pick up healthy leisure activities is not the same as unpacking individual prejudice or noticing the signs of white privilege. Those skills are necessary but ultimately useless if the police officers are so run down by stress and lack of self-care that they do not have the mental and physical bandwidth to put them into practice.

Other critics will argue that what I am proposing does not deal with racism head-on and evades the discussion we all need to be having about structural forms of injustice in our society. If the system is racist, it does not matter if police officers are in a good headspace or not. I hear and respect that criticism. But the way to change systems is by changing minds and hearts. The best way to do that is by meeting a persons psychological, physical and perhaps spiritual needs. What I want to talk about is a reform that is robust, sustainable and self-replicating.

Are there racist cops? Absolutely. Is there structural injustice? No question. But there are far more cops who are overstimulated, over-stressed and just too high-strung to be effective. They face everything from car accidents to gang warfare to child abuse to abused animals to drug addiction to homelessness to intimate partner abuse and much more. They need self-care, or they will inevitably crack. When that happens, we all pay the price.

That said, rather than redirect the conversation about police brutality and racial injustice, what I want to see is more accountability and better police officers. I want to see police officers who have the confidence and skills to handle any situation the right way. And I want the police to possess a level of self-awareness and emotional resilience that places them in a position to best serve the public interest. That police officer will be a change agent.

At this point, I think the only realistic alternative to implementing a comprehensive (and federally subsidized) self-care plan for all law enforcement is to dissolve police departments altogether. The status quo is broken, and one way or another, change is coming.

George Cassidy Payne is a social worker, freelance writer and adjunct professor of philosophy. He lives and works in Rochester.

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I begin this commentary stating three facts: Black lives matter; systemic racism is real and deeply woven into ...

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Police self-care is part of the solution | News, Sports, Jobs - The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

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July 2nd, 2020 at 7:52 pm

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Baltimore Ravens Zoom backgrounds: Which players, coaches had the best home interview setups? – PennLive

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Like the rest of the world, Baltimore Ravens players and coaches have adjusted to new realities in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Theyve worked out at home, undergone meetings over video chat and considered the challenging safety guidelines that would shroud any return to work later this summer.

Theyve held different kinds of news conferences with reporters, too. During this funky offseason, the Ravens have replaced in-person media sessions with virtual calls using Zoom, in which media members can ask questions over video chat.

Instead of standing behind a podium and in front of a photographic backdrop wall emblazoned with a Ravens logo, players and coaches have needed to find space in their own homes for the interviews.

And because were somewhat of a dead period for NFL news, why not rank some of the best Ravens Zoom backgrounds from the past few weeks?

8) Running back Gus Edwards

Theres no need to knock the large group of Ravens who set up in front of a blank white wall for their video calls with the media. Many players rent homes in short spurts, and the pandemic hasnt left much time to shop for decorations. I will, though, give props to Edwards for trying something to spruce up the shot in this case, a print of a photo that shows him running in front of quarterback Lamar Jackson.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

7) Coach John Harbaugh

Harbaugh fielded questions from reporters in several different locations this season, but his post-draft background at his home was the best. The 13th-year head coach has said hes a family man and a reader, and his bookshelf full of harbacks and photos reflects that.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

6) Quarterback Lamar Jackson

The NFLs reigning MVP said he was staying in an AirBnB in Florida when he hopped onto Zoom in April to talk with local reporters for the only time this offseason. It seemed like a nice place, too, with sleek chairs and bright white walls and a plant that drew the eye (when Jackson wasnt positioned directly in front of it).

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

5) Running back Mark Ingram

There wasnt anything super special about Ingrams background except that he left the door to the room open, which allowed his young daughter to peek in on his media session. You can catch a glimpse of her over Ingrams left shoulder in the screenshot below.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

4) Offensive coordinator Greg Roman

What I admire about Romans background is the self-awareness it exudes. While the Ravens play caller deserves credit for designing a record-breaking offense last season, he owes much of his reinvigorated career to Jackson, a signal-caller with a unique skill set that lends itself to creative schemes. Romans large photo of Jackson doesnt make for the flashiest backdrop, but it was an appropriate ode to the QB.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

3) Defensive end Derek Wolfe

The top three names on this list separated themselves. These are the guys who appeared to put legitimate forethought into their backgrounds. Wolfes is fun, not just because hes hanging out it in what looks like a sweet basement or because its interesting to see which jerseys he mounted on his wall, but also because the presence of Von Millers name hints at Wolfes value. For seven seasons with the Broncos, Wolfe provided interior push and attracted the attention of blockers, which helped Miller become one of his generations most productive edge rushers. Ravens fans can use their imagination to think about how Wolfe might complement Calais Campbell and Matthew Judon in Baltimore.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

2) Defensive coordinator Don Wink Martindale

Martindales backdrop was pleasant to look at, and from the photo of Ray Lewis to various game balls, it gave a sense of the pride he takes in his coaching career. A former truck driver and a favorite of his players with a knack for cracking one-liners, Martindale doesnt present himself as a reader the way Harbaugh does. But the defensive coordinator comes off in interviews, pretty simply, as cool and confident. Like Harbaugh, his background mirrors his public personality.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

1) Outside linebacker Matthew Judon

Talk about flexing. In his first interview after signing a franchise tag that will pay him north of $16.8 million in 2020 (after making less than $1 million per year over his first four NFL seasons), Judon appeared on camera during a sunny day with a pool and a multi-story house behind him. He sealed the top spot on this ranking when a reporter asked where he was staying. Judon replied, My own zone, U.S.A.

(Screenshot from video provided by the Ravens)

Thanks for visiting PennLive. Quality local journalism has never been more important. We need your support. Not a subscriber yet? Please consider supporting our work.

Aaron Kasinitz covers the Baltimore Ravens for PennLive and can be reached at akasinitz@pennlive.com or on Twitter @AaronKazreports. Follow PennLives Ravens coverage on Facebook and Youtube.

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Baltimore Ravens Zoom backgrounds: Which players, coaches had the best home interview setups? - PennLive

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July 2nd, 2020 at 7:52 pm

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Book engages the mind into progressive thought while stimulating it with various styles of artistic creation – GlobeNewswire

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July 02, 2020 00:00 ET | Source: Trafford Publishing

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CONWAY, S.C., July 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As a therapist and instructor, it is clear that Page Currys younger self was in search of answers. She believes that everyone goes through a process of self-realization that lifts a veil and Life as a Lobster (published by Trafford Publishing in September 2006) became an inspiration for her to unearth creative treasure and think outside of her shell.

Set for a new marketing campaign, this book caters to children of all ages, allowing them to consider what that may be like. Twenty-two artists from nine states and six countries illustrate each of the 24 pages offering their own unique interpretation of Life as a Lobster. Readers are encouraged to draw their own version of what they imagine life as a lobster would be like. Using advanced vocabulary and life lessons, the book engages the mind into progressive thought while stimulating it with various styles of artistic creation.

The quest for knowledge, for self-awareness and the existential angst inherent in the books themes are surely timeless issues in society, as well are resolution of isolation and loneliness. The book addresses an absolute truth in society, that most are willing to accept the norm, while a certain few will sacrifice having a normal existence in order to reach for greatness, Curry says.

Life as a Lobster aims to encourage readers to search for lifes deeper meaning and find their greater purpose. Curry hopes the book will inspire children and artists of all ages to think outside of their shell just as she guides her students and clients to do so in her HypnoYoga teachings. For more details about the book, please visit https://www.amazon.com/Life-as-Lobster-Page-Curry/dp/1412093686.

Life as a Lobster

By Page Curry; Ronit Berkovitz

Softcover | 8.5 x 11in | 26 pages | ISBN 9781412093682

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

As a writer, Page Curry has founded a multi-lingual literary magazine, Polyphony, at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. She has published hundreds of online articles on fitness and environmentalism, including USAtoday.com. As a thinker, she is a certified hypnotherapist, yoga and meditation instructor and communication studies and Spanish language scholar. She is the founder of multiple companies in virtual reality therapeutic content and HypnoYogaOnline.com. As an environmentalist, she grew up in South Carolina surfing, sailing and later volunteering around the world with Burners Without Borders and the Coral Reef Alliance.

Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, LLC, author services imprint, was the first publisher in the world to offer an on-demand publishing service, and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. Trafford was also one of the earliest publishers to utilize the Internet for selling books. More than 10,000 authors from over 120 countries have utilized Traffords experience for self publishing their books. For more information about Trafford Publishing, or to publish your book today, call 1-888-232-4444 or visit trafford.com.

Bloomington, Indiana, UNITED STATES

https://www.trafford.com

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Book engages the mind into progressive thought while stimulating it with various styles of artistic creation - GlobeNewswire

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Commentary: Why Americans are having an emotional reaction to masks – The Daily World

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David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

By Tyler Cowen

Bloomberg Opinion

While Americans still have not adopted mask-wearing as a general norm, were wearing masks more than ever before. Mask-wearing is mandated in California and Washington state, and in many counties masks are near-universal in public spaces. So I have started wondering: Does wearing a mask change our social behavior and our emotional inclinations? And if mask-wearing does indeed change the fabric of our interactions, is that one reason why the masks are not more popular in the U.S.?

When no one can see our countenances, we may behave differently. One study found that children wearing Halloween masks were more likely to break the rules and take more candy. The anonymity conferred by masks may be making it easier for protestors to knock down so many statues.

And indeed, people have long used masks to achieve a kind of plausible deniability. At Carnival festivities around the world people wear masks, and this seems to encourage greater revelry, drunkenness, and lewd behavior, traits also associated with masked balls. The mask creates another persona. You can act a little more outrageously, knowing that your town or village, a few days later, will regard that as a different you.

If we look to popular culture, mask-wearing is again associated with a kind of transgression. Batman, Robin and the Lone Ranger wear masks, not just to keep their true identities a secret, but to enable their ordinary selves to step into these larger-than-life roles.

But if we examine mask-wearing in the context of Covid-19, a different picture emerges. The mask is now a symbol of a particular kind of conformity, and a ritual of collective responsibility and discipline against the virus. The masks themselves might encourage this norm adherence by boosting the sense of group membership among the wearers.

The public health benefits of mask-wearing far exceed the social costs, but still if we want mask-wearing to be a stable norm we may need to protect against or at least recognize some of its secondary consequences, including the disorientations that masks can produce. Because mask-wearing norms seem weakest in many of the most open societies, such as the United States and United Kingdom, perhaps it is time to come to terms how masks rewrite how we react and respond to each other.

If nothing else, our smiles cannot be seen under our masks, and that makes social interactions feel more hostile and alienating, and it may lower immediate levels of trust in casual interactions. There are plenty of negative, hostile claims about masks circulating, to the point of seeming crazy, but rather than just mocking them perhaps we need to recognize what has long been called the paranoid style in American politics. If we admit that mask-wearing has a psychologically strange side, we might do better than simply to lecture the miscreants about their failings.

Just ask yourself a simple question: If someone tells you there is a new movie or TV show out, and everyone in the drama is wearing masks, do you tend to think thats a feel-good romantic comedy, or a scary movie? In essence, we are asking Americans to live in that scenario, but not quite giving them the psychological armor to do so successfully.

On the brighter side, I wonder if mask-wearing might diminish some expressions of intolerance. People who might feel that others are looking at them funny might find themselves with less to be offended by as masks obscure those micro-reactions. Common mask-wearing is already reportedly easing the public judgment experienced by Muslim women who wear face coverings in Western society; some Muslim women who wear the niqab report that they are no longer being given dirty looks, if only because they no longer stick out so much.

Women who cover their faces for religious reasons may now be ahead of the rest of us when it comes to effective communication because they cannot rely as much their faces to convey emotion in public conversations, they report relying on more visible body language like waving and gesturing.

The tension of current mask policy is that it reflects a desire for a more obedient, ordered society, for public health purposes above all, but at the same time it creates incentives and inclinations for non-conformity. That is true at least within the context of American culture, admittedly an outlier, both for its paranoia and for its infatuation with popular culture. As a society, our public mask-wearing is thus at war with its own emotional leanings, because it is packaging together a message based on both discipline and deviance.

What can we do to convince people that a mask-laden society, while it will feel weird and indeed be weird, can be made stable and beneficial through our own self-awareness? While there is no simple answer to that question, mask advocates should recognize that they have been treading into unusual cultural territory, and should not be surprised by unusual public responses.

Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero.

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