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4 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Be Healthier

Kevin Wells

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Whether you’re a dog owner or volunteering your time to take care of orphaned dogs, hanging out with these four-legged friends can do a lot for your health and your well-being. Here are five ways your dog can help you be healthier.

1. Keep you fit and active. When you have a dog, you are encouraged to put on some sneakers and hit the pavement on a daily basis. Dogs need to go outside to complete their business, and it’s also a chance for them to experience the world around them. For humans, you will be receiving regular exercise. Health experts recommend that adults get anywhere between 2 and 3 hours of moderate exercise per week. Taking your dog on regular excursions can help fulfill that.

2. Weekend hikes. Dogs evolved from wild animals into the domesticated friends that we have today. You can take your dog on long hikes that will keep you and your pup happy, help you burn extra calories, as well as improve your heart health.

3. Sharing food. While your dog’s diet should mainly consist of the appropriate dog food, there is some human food that you can share. You can make some of your pet’s favorite food at home using healthy ingredients that include meats, whole grains, and certain nut butters. Buy some for yourself and you have something in hand to prepare a meal for you and your dog.

4. Mental health matters too. Most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their everyday lives with a dog companion. However, you might be unaware of the mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of having a furry friend. Pets, especially dogs, have evolved to become acutely attuned to our behaviors and emotions. Dogs may not be able to understand the words you are saying, but they can interpret your tone of voice, gestures, and body language. Dogs can help reduce anxiety, stress, and ease loneliness. As mentioned, dogs help us exercise, stay playful, and interact with the outdoors during long walks and excursions. Caring for a dog can help children grow up to be more mindful of the responsibilities and feeling more secure about themselves.

Studies have shown that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression, will experience lower blood pressure, and playing with your dog can elevate levels of dopamine and serotonin.

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Culture

The World Needs More Social Impact Heroes

Kevin Wells

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A person who is a real success is one who makes a positive difference in someone else’s life. Many people believe that they can’t make a difference, or they just don’t know how to make a difference. But in fact anyone can make a difference, and make the world a better place. That is why it is so important to know the stories of these women who have made such a difference in their communities.

L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth is a program that recognizes women who have made a difference in their communities. Anyone can be nominated, as long as they live in the U.S., are at least 18 years of age, and consent to the nomination. The focus is on women who have volunteered in their own communities, and the volunteer work should be ongoing for at least 6 months before the nomination.

Here are just a few of the women who have been nominated for the program:

Shandra Woworuntu is a 2017 honoree who received a $25,000 grant for her chosen organization, Mentari. A survivor herself, Shandra formed the nonprofit organization to help other survivors of human trafficking at no cost, providing much-needed support to an often overlooked group.

Cassandra Lin was only 19 years old when she started Project Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF). TGIF is still run by students and allows businesses and individuals to recycle their cooking oil and turn it into biodiesel so that it can be used to heat the homes of people in need. Not only does the project recycle materials that would not otherwise be used, it brings awareness to issues of global warming and sustainability.

Valerie Weisler started The Validation Project after she experienced bullying herself. The Validation Project is currently working with 6,000 students in over 100 countries to give them support after they have experienced bullying. Not only that, the project helps its members engage in social justice projects so they can learn the power they have to help.

Deborah Jiang-Stein started the unPrison Project to help women who have been incarcerated so they can be successful after release. Too often, women are set up to fail, and the relationships with their children are destroyed. 2.7 million children under the age of 18 have a parent in prison, so it is important for them to find support before they end up in a vicious cycle.

More recently, Brittany Schiavone was honored for starting Brittany’s Baskets of Hope. She has Down’s Syndrome herself, and her organization helps provide much-needed support and resources for other parents who are welcoming a Down’s child into their families.

Judy Winter started Ricstar’s Camp because she noticed how much music helped her son with cerebral palsy. She helped her son deal with many challenges, and he got to attend music therapy classes before passing away at the tender age of 12. Ricstar’s Camp provides life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities to focus instead on their abilities.

Social activism is empowering women and giving them their own place in the community. Instead of living up to societal expectations, women are now finding their own passions and dealing with issues like homelessness, social injustice, and poverty on their own time. They are an inspiration for others now and for generations to come.

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Culture

IMPROVING YOUR SELF WORTH THROUGH COMPASSION

Kelly Taylor

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We are born in a competitive world. Long before we can take our first steps, we are encouraged to challenge our limits by comparing ourselves with others in order to perform better. While this may prove to be excellent in the short term, this may weigh heavily on our ideals as there will always be people better than us and whom we may never outdo.

Being healthy should be the primary focus of every individual. Though this may be the case, we live in a society that is constantly focused on body shaming based on standards that are not achievable for all. However, it is possible to achieve a healthy body image by changing our mindset towards those we feel are better than us. Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that women who showed compassion rather than comparison were able to achieve a better body image and had less disordered eating habits! By showing empathy, we appreciate the fact that those we deem perfect have their own challenges and that we, too, need compassion for our own problems.

Women who deliberately exercise compassion towards females they compare themselves to, were more satisfied and had a lower tendency to diet others. This is according to release, which was published in the journal body image, which further found that, by showing compassion, comparison focused women had a reduced tendency to compare themselves with those around them. Comparing yourself to others is an indication of low self-esteem and should assess how they feel about themselves and how much self-confidence they have.

In a study of 120 females of diverse ethnicities, three strategies were used to determine the best self-help strategy that would boost their self-esteem. These had a competitive mindset, caregiving, and distraction mindset omen who showed compassion to the women who they perceived to be better than them, achieved a significant reduction in their unfavorable body comparisons. It was, therefore, concluded that by trying to cultivate compassion for others and wishing them to be happy and free from suffering, has a positive effect on one’s body image and eating habits.

Comparing ourselves to others has a negative impact on our wellbeing as it allows others to drive our behaviors. This is by allowing them to set standards as to what should be ideal while ignoring the fact that none of us is indeed perfect! Comparison is mainly done against the best features of our opponents as compared to our average ones. This becomes illogical as it would be comparing the left hand and the right hand, both have their unique capabilities. Our unconscious realization that we cannot be better than everyone often becomes destructive. At worst, when we compare ourselves to others, we focus our energy on bringing them down rather than raising ourselves. Our primary goal should be better people than we were yesterday.

The essential things in life are measured internally. By focusing on showing compassion, we improve the inner scorecard that allows us to be happier in our relationships and live a more fulfilled life.

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Culture

The World’s First Female African American Airline Pilots Make History

Kevin Wells

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The friendly skies just got friendlier as the world’s first black female pilot team took a plane full of passengers from San Francisco, California to Portland, Oregon on a history making a flight that had all of the passengers cheering.

On setting the plane down in Portland, the two tweeted out the following message which went viral.

“History has been made for Alaska Airlines this morning! First Officer Mallory Cave and I serve became the first 100% female African-American crew on Alaska Flt #362, San Francisco to Portland, OR.”

Everything seemed to be run of the mill and ordinary that morning when the 32 passengers boarded their seemingly routine flight. The pilots didn’t want to announce their history making trip until the wheels came down safely in Oregon. It wasn’t that they were unsure about their ability to fly the plane safely. After all, they had each logged several hundred hours in simulators and in practical training.

But when the plane came to a stop, the two emerged from the pilot’s cabin to announce to the passengers that they had just participated in the world’s first flight conducted by an all-woman, African American crew. Then, Captain Tara Dillon made the following announcement.

“Finally, we’re pleased to announce that you’re sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines history this morning. You have been piloted by two female African-American pilots for the first time in history.”

At this, the passengers unanimously exploded into uproarious applause and cheers. The First Officer made a video of the event which went super-viral on Twitter and YouTube, taking in several thousand views in the first hour.

The event proved that not only are black women able to complete a task that has long been the sole purview of white men, and proved that they too had the ability to perform a highly technical, and inherently risky endeavor- taking several dozen human beings through the air on a high-powered multi-million dollar aircraft.

Today, white male airline pilots still make up very nearly 98% of this professional demographic.

It’s worth pointing out that no one doubted the ability of the two to complete their first unsupervised flight. After all, their teachers and trainers had invested hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars training them. The scholarship they were able to obtain to earn their pilots’ licenses stand as evidence that an entire institution had every confidence in their ability to fulfill the role of major commercial airline pilot.

But, it’s still nice to see that at the end of the day, no one stood in the way of these two in their successful efforts to realize their dream of becoming full-fledged airline pilots.

Finally, earning the privilege of flying a large passenger plane is nothing to be sneezed at. It is among the most prestigious of all the accomplishments of licensed pilots. This is because managing the controls of such a large and powerful aircraft is widely recognized as a significant technical achievement.

So, this truly is a moment worth celebrating both for its historical significance, and in order to congratulate these two young pilots on their first major commercial flight. May their careers be long and distinguished.

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Why women make capable firefighters

Renee Yates

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It’s unfortunate that the idea persists in society that women are not capable of working as firefighters. As women have become increasingly prominent in other industries that have been traditionally dominated by males such as construction and logging, their numbers on the ranks of firefighting squads continue to remain low. 

Take the Fire Department of New York as an example. In 2018, five women succeeded in graduating from New York City’s Fire Academy. While some progress has been made for women in the FDNY since the fire department lost a gender discrimination lawsuit back in 1982, there are still fewer than one percent of firefighters for the department who are female. While fire departments in cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis, and Miami have more women, the average for fire departments across the nation is only about five percent female. 

Historically, women have long been successfully putting out fires in this country. Back in 1815, Molly Williams volunteered to serve at the firehouse fo New York City’s Oceanus Engine Company No. 11. Williams was a female slave working with a company that was not only all male, but all white as well. Williams was offered a job after she single-handedly handled a call when every man in the company was unable to handle the call because of being infected by the flu. 

Another early female firefighter in the US was Emma Vernell. She was 50 years old when she became the first woman to work as a firefighter in the state of New Jersey. 

Some people continue to wonder if women are really capable of working as firefighters. One needs only look at statistics to find an answer to this quandary. Consider statistics from the national Candidate Physical Abilities Test that firefighters need to pass. In 2008, 70 percent of all women who took the exam passed. This figure is not significantly far behind the percentage of men who passed the exam. In the same year, 75 percent of men passed. This shows that women are not statistically far behind men in taking the exam and passing or failing is more a matter of individual capabilities than a question of gender. 

It’s likely that women remain underrepresented in the firefighting profession because of traditionally perceived gender roles. Fire departments all over the country have been found to have testing and qualification procedures that not only discriminate against women, but also against minorities as well. Available equipment is often designed to fit men rather than women. Also, harassment toward women is rampant in some departments. 

Nevertheless, women succeed in careers as firefighters. In fact, hundreds of women have attained the rank of captain or lieutenant in their careers as firefighters. In fact, the city of San Francisco fire department was led by a woman, Chief JoAnne Hayes-White, as of 2004. 

It’s important that people realize that females are perfectly capable of serving as firefighters because, as a female Wisconsin firefighter once remarked, “No one cares if you’re a woman when their house is on fire”. 

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Culture

How feminine beauty helped boost morale during WWII

Kelly Taylor

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Wartime may have a reputation for depriving the population of luxuries like makeup. However, in reality a woman’s ability and desire to make herself look good was actually especially important in the United States as WWII was raging over in Europe. 

While WWII was going on, it was difficult for Americans at home across the Atlantic to keep their spirits up. After all, it seemed that the world was falling apart as the influence of fascism worldwide seemed to be growing daily. American soldiers had to go overseas to fight in deadly battles, and many of them would not come home. This significantly changed day-to-day existence, and many Americans struggled to perceive some normalcy during these tumultuous times. 

Those left at home had to make up for the work shortage that was caused by so many men being shipped overseas to fight for the Allies. It was imperative that United States firms continued to manufacture arms, supply the population with food, and carry out other essential work tasks despite the fact that so many men were gone. The absence of men meant that women had to step up and take over their work tasks.

It was difficult for women and society in general to adjust to the idea of  women taking on work that had traditionally been reserved for men. However, society quickly accepted the changes by trying to minimize the societal shift and allow women to hang on to traditional notions of femininity and beauty through the continued use of makeup. In fact, in some ways continued use of makeup was even seen as a necessity for keeping morale up and minimizing the impact and shock caused by changing societal roles as women went to work. 

Women who had to go to work during the war effort were devoted to maintaining their appearances despite having to carry out what was traditionally seen as ungraceful work for the female sex. That women continued to maintain their beauty by applying makeup showed that society continued to be healthy and normal despite the disruptions of the international conflicts going on overseas. 

Women’s continued use of makeup showed that America hadn’t yet lost everything and was still hanging on to its everyday way of life. It also reminded soldiers coming home from fighting of the beauty in their everyday lives at home that they were fighting for. 

Any sign of fatigue or despair in the nation’s women could create an image that the war effort was floundering and the nation was losing the war. Producers of war propaganda latched on to the idea of encouraging women to put effort into their looks by using makeup and continuing to smile and beautify themselves. This in turn helped improve the attitudes of soldiers and the general populace as well. Morale is essential to winning a war, and makeup went a long way in improving morale in men and women alike. 

The beauty and fashion industries continued to thrive as WWII raged despite the economic deprivations many had to suffer as a result of the war effort. At the same time, some women who couldn’t afford to buy makeup had to creatively make their own by using things like vegetable dye to color their hair and beetroot for a natural lipstick source. 

Propaganda posters showing Rosie the Riveter, for example, show a woman with makeup. Rosie the Riveter always looks tough as nails while also displaying beauty and femininity at the same time. 

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