Keep Going

“If you are going through hell, keep going” -Winston S. Churchill

Life is often full of well-known responsibilities and unexpected circumstances, creating a very complicated schedule for every individual. Whether it is college or work, we all can have tough schedules at time, making us feel stressed and overwhelmed. No matter what you have going on in your life, we have to keep going.

Although there are moments in our life where we feel overwhelmed and want to give up, we must take into account a few things. We are in a better position now than we would have been fifty years ago. We have the opportunities available to us because of our parents’ hard work and dedication. Giving up would not only disappoint those who worked so hard to get us here, but it would make their hard work be for nothing. Before you decide whether you will carry on or not, take into account all the work that you took or others took to get you to where you are today.

Another thing that we must take into account is that our lives could be much different. In many countries, people must walk miles everyday simply to get water whereas we are able to go to the store and buy water. In some more developed countries, individuals only make around 30$ per month which is drastically less than most people in developed countries. So, rather than giving up due to the things in our life, we should be thankful for what we have and push ourselves to not settle for anything less than our full potential because other’s don’t have that opportunity.

Overall, we should push ourselves to do our best and never settle for less. By pushing ourselves to reach our greatest potential, we can do more than we ever imagined. If you ever lose hope in yourself, know that I believe in you and so do many other people in your life. We can push through whatever struggles together and reach the other side, but we must keep going.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

Advertisements

Perceptions of Police

“It is the common people’s duty to police the police.” -Steven Magee

It is a well-known fact that people do not necessarily like police officers, especially minority groups. However, with all of the complaining about how police officers are, we should look for a solution.

Two studies conducted by Nadal et al. (2017) found that African Americans held less favorable perceptions of police officers than any other minority group. Researchers assumed this may be due to stereotypes about African Americans leading to more violent discrimination and microaggressions than other minority groups. However, African Americans would not be to only ones affected by these instances of discrimination. According to a study by McNeeley & Grothoff (2016), people who perceive their neighborhoods as having racial tension also have less favorable perception of the police. This means that racial tension affects the perception of police from all groups. With all of this in mind, how can we as a society improve perceptions of the police?

After talking to various professors and students about the issue, I have heard a few common answers. Many professors believe that if police officers were more involved in their communities when it doesn’t relate to crime, that could improve the community’s perception of their local police force. However, many students believe that police officers should be trained better to avoid conflicts that could be seen as racially driven. The only problem that I see with this solution is that police officers would begin treating minorities better than Caucasians simply because of their ethnicity. This would obviously lead to backlash from the white community. I think that having police officers more involved in their communities when it does not involve crime would be the simplest way of opening the eyes of the public. However, I am sure that there are many other solutions out there. Either way, these perceptions of the police need to be improved if we are to reduce crime rates and violence across the country. Improving perceptions would be the first step.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

McNeeley, S., & Grothoff, G. (2016). A multilevel examination of the relationship between racial tension and attitudes toward the police. American Journal of Criminal Justice : The Journal of the Southern Criminal Justice Association,41(3), 383-401. doi:10.1007/s12103-015-9318-2

Nadal, K., Davidoff, K., Allicock, N., Serpe, C., & Erazo, T. (2017). Perceptions of police, racial profiling, and psychological outcomes: A mixed methodological study. Journal of Social Issues,73(4), 808-830. doi:10.1111/josi.12249

Schafer, J. A., Huebner, B. M., & Bynum, T. S. (2003). Citizen perceptions of police services: Race, neighborhood context, and community policing. Police quarterly, 6(4), 440-468.

Unexpected Benefits to Exercise

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Whether training for a marathon or trying to shape that summer body, working out has a lot more benefits than expected. Although it is obviously physically beneficial, there are many psychological benefits to exercise as well.

According to a study by Deslandes et al. (2009), there are various studies that support the claim that exercise increases quality of life. This means that we feel a better sense of accomplishment when we work out. There are also studies done on the necessary duration of exercise in order to experience these effects.

According to a meta-analysis by Petruzello et al. (1991), there is a variety of evidence showing that exercising for at least 20 minutes per day reduces anxiety. This makes exercise especially important as college students like myself grow closer to finals week. Additionally, Hillman et al. (2008) found that physical activity improves cognition and academic performance in students.

Lastly, according to a study conducted by Taylor et al. (1985), physical activity is shown to decrease symptoms of depression, increase self-confidence, and benefit mood. These benefits, as well as those mentioned earlier, prove that if you exercise regularly, you can strengthen your body while strengthening your mind.

Regardless of one’s reasoning for exercising, there are a plethora of benefits that make working out a fair investment of time. Whether you put in 20 minutes a day or 2 hours a day, exercising will make you feel better, be stronger, and be smarter. Get that summer body ready and you’ll also be getting that fall semester brain ready.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

Deslandes, A., Moraes, H., Ferreira, C., Veiga, H., Silveira, H., Mouta, R., … & Laks, J. (2009). Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move. Neuropsychobiology, 59(4), 191-198.

Hillman, C. H., Erickson, K. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience, 9(1), 58.

Petruzzello, S. J., Landers, D. M., Hatfield, B. D., Kubitz, K. A., & Salazar, W. (1991). A meta-analysis on the anxiety-reducing effects of acute and chronic exercise. Sports medicine, 11(3), 143-182.

Taylor, C. B., Sallis, J. F., & Needle, R. (1985). The relation of physical activity and exercise to mental health. Public health reports, 100(2), 195.

At what cost?

“Earth Day should encourage us to reflect on what we are doing to make our planet a more sustainable and livable place.” -Scott Peters

Although Earth Day was yesterday, I find it necessary to acknowledge the importance of our planet on every day of the year. As it is commonly debated how old our home is, I find it crucial to determine how much longer it can live.

Over the years, our constant innovation and upgrading has made the world a much more convenient place for human beings. However, what is the cost of all of this convenience? With each new factory, our carbon footprint grows larger, shortening the lifespan of the earth. Can decreasing the lifespan of our home be justified by the inventions that were made? I do not think so, yet I allow these inventors to plead ignorance, depending on when these inventions arose.

It was recently brought to my attention that since the Notre Dame had burned down, various wealthy people have given over one billion dollars to help rebuild the historic structure. Although this is a fine deed of them to do, that amount of money is more than enough to clean the oceans of the garbage that we have put in there. Although I do not have any sources to back that claim, the latter would have been a much more valuable investment. To this, I wonder at what cost would prolonging the life of our planet seem reasonable?

Although we have millions of people working to reverse the effects of global warming, those who possess more resources have the most say in whether we prolong the life of the Earth or cut it shorter and shorter. To this, I wonder what the wealth in the world wish for. They obviously possess absurd amounts of money, yet they grow hungrier for more. I may be wrong, but I believe that the much more worthwhile investment would be to leave a legacy, such as saving the Earth.

If the rich do not assist in extending our planet’s life, than the more important thing to focus on would be for the common people to address what their actions do to the environment. If each person reduced their carbon footprint as much as possible and had more plants inside or outside their home, we could easily begin to slow down the process, allowing for more time to find a solution. Anyways, I’ll cut this one short because I am beginning to rant, but if you have thoughts, please share them.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

Race?

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Throughout our entire lives, we have been taught about the history of our nation, including the parts about racism, segregation and prejudice. We learned about race and the differences between different races. We also learned that we should take pride in the race that we belong to, encouraging positive stereotypes and avoiding negative ones. However, instead of embracing our ‘race,’ why don’t we embrace our ethnicity or our nationality?

After completing a semester in an introductory sociology course, I would not consider myself an expert on the topic, but I learned much information concerning inequality and differences between peoples. One major section of the class was that race is a social construct. In other words, it is a concept that society created to organize people into categories. This is similar to religion or marriage. It is a way of differentiating between peoples, but this way of identifying people became much different after slavery occurred, making certain races stereotyped as superior and others as inferior.

I strongly believe that it is important to know your history, regardless of how bad it was. However, instead of teaching children to embrace their race, which is completely determined by the color of their skin, why can’t we embrace our ethnicity? By knowing which specific country we come from, we can embrace those cultures and not think of ourselves as superior or inferior to other people. Instead, we can understand that different people have different traditions and come from different cultures. However, if one does not know where their family came from or they are such a mix of things that it is hard to determine, embracing America would not necessarily be a bad thing either. I think that by embracing your roots or embracing the country you live in, we could limit the amount of racism in the country, but something has to change.

The color of our skin should not determine what traditions we follow or define our personality. Everyone is different and has different traditions. The concept of race and the history that accompanies it has only led to discrimination from all ends and hurtful interactions between all groups. By not encouraging the concept of race, we can turn race from a reality to a page in a history textbook.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

Start Now

“You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose” -Arnold Bennett

It is currently the time of the year where New Year’s Resolutions begin to fade as the intricacies of everyday life pull our attention away from the personal goals that we set for ourselves at the start of the new year. I am here to tell you that it is never too early, nor too late to begin a change.

Many people wait until New Year’s to commit themselves to a change that will effect the rest of their life. This common misconception has fooled many since the conception of New Year’s Resolutions. However, since there is no better time then the present, it is important to understand that any change you would like to make in your everyday life, whether it be for your physical, psychological, or spiritual health, the most beneficial time to introduce that change would be immediately.

Throughout the year, there are many new things that begin their journey in the world. For example, in spring, many plants begin their life outside of the soil. In the summer, many new relationships arise as people venture outside their comfort zones to avoid summertime boredom. In the fall, an entirely new array of colors appear throughout nature, providing a proper change in perspective. In the winter, all of those Christmas decorations that people dread emerge, spreading holiday cheer and holiday dread. It is for all these reasons that anytime is the perfect time to begin something new, even if you aren’t quite sure what exactly you want to start.

If you enjoy to write, you can start a blog (like I did). If you enjoy painting, grab a paintbrush. If you need to lose weight, research a diet. If you are not content with any part of your life, make that change. The human being does not live forever, meaning that we must embrace our curiosity, follow our dreams, venture as far as you wish because if you do, your life will feel much more fulfilled than if you didn’t. Take that step. Take that leap. Take that plunge into the unknown and discover more about yourself and about the world around you than any textbook or teacher could ever explain.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

Go Outside

“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” -Gustav Mahler

Spring is here! As the sunshine begins to cover our planet, it is important that we take the time to enjoy it. Sunshine on the body has been shown to have many effects on the body, making time outside a highly recommended form of spending your free time.

According to a 2013 study by Guéguen and Lamy, sunshine has been shown to improve social relationships, mood, and helping behavior in individuals. So, going outside can lead to more helpful neighbors, improved relationship with your friends, and make you happier overall. Studies have also shown that sunshine can increase the amount of money that people tip at restaurants for all the waiters and waitresses out there. More studies also show that sunshine can also increase the amount of flirtatious comments that one makes. With all these benefits, why not go outside?

Since sunshine is so powerful on our behavior, spending time outside should be a daily activity that you participate in. If you are feeling down or have a crush that you aren’t sure if they like you or not, go outside. You will feel happier and your crush may be more likely to begin flirting if they like you. The sun is more helpful than you think.

Those are my Thoughts for Food.

Guéguen, N., & Lamy, L. (2013). Weather and helping: additional evidence of the effect of the sunshine Samaritan. The Journal of social psychology, 153(2), 123-126.

Guéguen, N. (2013). Weather and courtship behavior: A quasi-experiment with the flirty sunshine. Social Influence, 8(4), 312-319.

Rind, B. (1996). Effect of beliefs about weather conditions on tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26(2), 137-147.