Tradition dictates that funeral readings are positive and uplifting affairs; the poems and proses shared online almost inevitably speak of a loved one that contributed in positive ways, that engaged with the world through inspiring actions, and that spread joy, laughter, and hope.
So, how do you farewell someone who wasn’t all sparkles and sunshine, without turning to inauthentic and inappropriate platitudes? What can you say about someone who was withdrawn, difficult and/or hard to love?
Below is a reading I recently wrote for a more difficult loved one. I share it in hopes that others may find it valuable…
Simple ways to enhance your well-being without leaving your home
With the COVID-19 pandemic precipitating an unprecedented and unexpected lockdown, billions of individuals, all around the world, are dealing with amplified feelings of fear, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, overwhelm and uncertainty. Concerningly, most people are discovering that their usual well-being practices are inaccessible … just when they are needed most.
What happens to our well-being when everything ‘external’ is out of bounds? The answer is simple: we enhance our well-being from the inside, out.
Many of us are accustomed to well-being that flows from the outside, in. Full of anger or…
Fear is a very useful emotion when we are in grave danger and we need to take action. However, prolonged periods of heightened panic are detrimental to our emotional and physical health, increasing the likelihood of stress-related illness and lowering our immune system. In addition, studies show that heightened anxiety undermines our ability to make healthy decisions, leaving us floundering in poor choices precisely when we need to be at our most rational and wise.
I live in Singapore and, during the 2002/03 SARS outbreak, I came to appreciate the incredible efficiency and no-nonsense approach the government employs when it…
How to maintain a sense of well-being and agency in an era of ‘bad news’
Ho, boy! Those news headlines can look pretty glum, can’t they!
History shows that humanity’s greatest leaps forward have always come in times of challenge and upheaval. As we wander into the 2020s, it certainly seems that humans are doing what we often do … creating the crises that will propel us toward evolutionary change.
Even if things look particularly grim, there are things we can each do — as individuals or as part of a larger community — to accept the vital lessons inherent…
Is it time to start valuing ourselves and others more effectively?
Once upon a time — in an epoch before social media followers, annual salaries, KPIs and student grades — personal success was a matter of meaningful action and invaluable participation: a young hunter with extraordinary agility and prowess; an old crone with an uncanny knack for healing; a stoic leader with the strength of character to hold a community together through great challenge.
Through these early human millennia, success was intrinsically linked with contribution — and the value you added to your community, your family, or your tribe.
Nobody expects you to have a positive outlook all the time — we are all human and it is healthiest for us to openly acknowledge when life is unpleasant. However, it’s vital to know that, when it comes to happiness and positivity, we have factors (inside and out) that are working against us.
For instance, science shows that our brain is wired to notice and respond to negative stimuli far more effectively than it does to anything positive. We literally notice the bad, more than the good.
Of course, the media plays on this psychological disposition by flooding us with…
In September last year, Jacinda Ardern, the young and dynamic Prime Minister of New Zealand, stood before an almost-empty United Nations General Assembly hall and called for a new kind of leadership. Specifically, one centred on kindness.
Last month, in the wake of the tragic Christchurch mosque shootings, Ms Ardern made headlines around the world for personifying the kind and empathetic leadership she had publicly touted. …
I live in a zoo. Not a literal zoo, but I do have many, many pets of varying species. So when I meet a new neighbour, (in the middle of ultra-urban, city-state Singapore), I explain that I live in “the zoo” at the top of the hill.
Ah, yes. The nodding head. The glint of recognition. That house, they say.
Despite the fact that we ourselves are natural creatures, the animal-human relationship is a complicated one. For the last few millennia, many have regarded themselves as — shall we say — the highest form of life on Earth. Some have…
After 15 years in business, I’m going through my first branding process. A dear friend, and marketing guru, is talking me through the steps.
“You have to understand what you stand for”, she’ll say. “And make sure that all your messaging links back to who you are.”
The overarching principle, I’m learning, is that you want your brand to become synonymous with … well … whatever you deem to be most important. Your values. Your capabilities. Your vision for yourself and others.
And it has got me wondering how our daily lives would look if we were all…
The first time I heard it, I was not surprised. “Research shows that having strong social bonds is closely related to increased happiness”, Dacher Keltner, founder of the Greater Good Science Center, told me in a podcast interview.
One week later, the same concept was being mentioned again — this time by Australian resilience expert, Stuart Taylor. “The most resilient people have a strong social connection”, he remarked.
Within weeks, and to my surprise, social connection was back on the table again — this time being suggested by researchers as one of the main components of longevity.
So, what is…