Exhale. No children were harmed in the making of this family photo.
Mom and dad wanted something candid to compliment shots they’d already posed for — and hoped to raise their kids’ spirits by swinging them through the air. Only mom wound up just a little too hard and baby did a back flip. Dad explained the whole story on Reddit. Luckily, he said, the boy landed on his back, in the soft sand, and wasn’t hurt.
Maybe we keep everyone’s feet on the ground next time though?
However despite this instability, our self-esteem tends to have a baseline — a general set level to which it returns absent any “breaking self-esteem news.” Having good self-esteem is important because it does far more than merely lend us a feeling of greater confidence. When our self-esteem is high we are stronger emotionally and more resilient to stresses from our environment. For example, studies found that when our self-esteem is low, we experience rejection as more viscerally painful than we do when our self-esteem is high, and we withdraw further from others as a result.
When our self-esteem is poor we are also likely to experience greater drops in motivation after a failure, and to demonstrate less persistence toward the task at hand. Lower self-esteem even makes us more vulnerable to anxiety and stress. Studies found that when our self-esteem is low we release more cortisol into our bloodstream when we experience stress and it circulates in our systems for longer compared to people whose self-esteem is high.
Taken together, these findings indicate that our self-esteem functions much like an emotional immune system. When our self-esteem is higher we are more resilient to common psychological injuries such as rejection, failure, anxiety and stress. Therefore, boosting our self-esteem when it is low can have an immediate impact on our emotional strength and resilience.
To illustrate the impact boosting our self-esteem could have, scientists examined how people dealt with the anticipation of receiving a mild electrical shock. Half the participants in the study received an intervention to boost their self-esteem and half did not. Those whose self-esteem was boosted displayed significantly less anxiety those who did not receive a self-esteem boost. Rest assured, no electrical shock was then administered — but the participants did believe they were about to get zapped.
So, if boosting our self-esteem can improve our emotional immune systems, how can we give ourselves this extra fortification when our self-esteem is at a low?
One of the most effective self-esteem boosters is self-affirmations. In contrast to positive affirmations (which are general positive statements such as, “I am worthy of great love and success!” and which we might or might not actually believe), self-affirmation reflect personal qualities we know we possess. When you want to give your self-esteem a boost, make a list of at least five qualities or attributes you know you have and you believe are valuable, and write a brief essay (usually a paragraph or two) about why the quality is important and how you tend to express it.
For example, if you wish to boost your self-esteem in the dating sphere, write about qualities such as being loyal, considerate, emotionally available, supportive, or nurturing. Describe why the attribute is meaningful to you and why it would be meaningful to a potential mate, how you expressed it in the past, and how you might express it in a future relationship. Write at least one such essay a day, in the morning if possible.
Self-affirmation exercises are an effective way to boost our self-esteem and by doing so, increase our emotional resilience and become better protected against the various psychological injuries we encounter in daily life.
For more by Guy Winch, Ph.D., click here.
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The IPCC can say a lot about the ocean this time around because of scientific advances, not least the 3,000-strong flotilla of Argo floats now patrolling the globe that are programmed to record and send back basic information on parameters such as ocean temperature, salinity and alkalinity. Before Argo deployment began in 2000, there was no methodical tool for monitoring ocean conditions across the world. Now, thanks largely to the program’s successes — for which American institutions such as Woods Hole and Scripps must take huge credit — this IPCC report is able to tell us that fully 93 percent of the extra heat that greenhouse gases are trapping in the Earth system is being stored in the ocean. The share for the atmosphere, where we’ve tended to concentrate our attention, is just 1 percent. This explains the “slowdown” in atmospheric temperatures that climate deniers interpret as “global warming has stopped.” A tiny increase in heat absorption by the ocean means a significant drop in the rate of atmospheric warming. But equally a tiny decrease would mean atmospheric temperatures soaring again.
In addition to heat, the ocean is soaking up our carbon dioxide emissions. About a quarter of the CO2 emitted today by factories, power stations and automobiles will end up in the ocean, cheek by jowl with sharks, whales and turtles.
The IPCC will also detail impacts of this heat and CO2 storage. Increasing acidity (a consequence of CO2 absorption), changes in salinity, changes in currents, and a decrease in oxygen concentrations are among the profound transformations that will be outlined in dry scientific prose.
For what this protection of life on land is costing the ocean, we open the IPSO file. Research assessed inside will show that species from coral and krill at one end of the scale to polar bears and tuna at the other are already feeling the impacts of a “deadly trio” — warming, acidification and de-oxygenation of seawater.
Together with Trevor Manuel, the very influential Minister of Planning and former Finance Minister of South Africa, and David Miliband, newly arrived on U.S. shores as CEO of the International Rescue Committee and former UK Foreign Secretary, we launched earlier this year the Global Ocean Commission — a new initiative aiming to plot a path to ocean sustainability in the interests of nature, sound business and future generations. In our deliberations so far we have debated all kinds of issues, from marine reserves and fishing subsidies to security on the high seas. But clearly, neither we, nor any other body aiming to secure ocean health in the long-term, can ignore the present and future impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.
There are two major takeaways from the IPCC and IPSO assessments. One is that all the marine protection measures that can be taken (and that have been taken under both Republican and Democrat administrations) are absolutely valuable. Curbing land-based pollution, restoring depleted fish stocks, barring invasive species, opening marine reserves — all of these improve resilience to climate change, acidification and hypoxia. The current U.S. Administration and its peers around the world must redouble their efforts in these areas in the face of climate change.
The second takeaway is that in the long run, you cannot have a meaningful ocean policy without a meaningful climate change policy. As one of its final acts, the second administration of George W. Bush established marine protected areas around 195,274 square miles (505,757 square kilometers) of U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean. It remains one of the largest single acts of marine protection by any government at any time. However, water inside the protected zones is warming and acidifying just as fast as that outside — and this trend continues in large part due to President Bush’s intransigence on climate change.
In the last two decades, we have tended to put all the factors affecting the ocean in separate silos. Over here is climate change; over there is fishing, and over there is chemical pollution. The distinctions are maintained through the structures of governments, in multilateral institutions, and even in civil society. The reality, which the IPCC and IPSO reports will demonstrate powerfully in the coming weeks, is that all of these issues are intimately related. There is, in truth, just one profound question we have to answer: Do we want a sick ocean, or a healthy one? And if our answer is “healthy”, we cannot pretend that we can achieve it without urgent action on climate change.
According to the IEC website, the annual Environmental Leadership Awards recognize “legislators, individuals, organizations, or businesses that have made a significant achievement in the past year towards addressing the environmental community’s most significant issues.”
Sounds good. But, on the heels of honoring Big Coal state Rep. John Bradley with a 100 percent environmental rating last month, despite his efforts to stop a fracking moratorium bill and his success in ramming through an overlooked but nasty strip-mining bill, the biggest honor tonight goes to state Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign), who led the state’s admittedly flawed fracking regulatory bill, in his words, “so that we can start the process of bringing the hydraulic fracturing jobs to Illinois.”
Frerichs’ own line bears repeating at the IL Environmental Council tonight: “So that we can start the process of bringing the hydraulic fracturing jobs to Illinois.”
The IEC will also honor two Chicago-area state legislators for their bills on green stormwater infrastructure and municipal aggregation and the restoration of recreation liability protections to private landowners.
While he admirably speaks against climate change these days, Frerichs’ commitment to dirty energy jobs, in the name of “environmental regulations,” is well-known in Illinois: As one of the biggest boosters of the FutureGen “clean coal” boondoggle, Frerichs joined disgraced Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich years ago as part of the state’s coal revival program and made the same claim for regulating “clean coal” and destructive coal mining as he does now fracking regulations:
“Governor Blagojevich and I understand that we must continue to invest in clean coal technologies. These grants allow the coal industry to focus on higher environmental and safety standards, while creating more jobs throughout the region and across the state.”
Farmers in Frerichs’ own Vermilion and Champaign Counties are now desperately fighting new coal mining permits.
Here are a few real “environmental leaders,” among many in southern Illinois, where virtually all of the future fracking and largest coal mining operations take place:
1: The County Commissions from Pope, Union, Hardin, Johnson, and Jackson Counties That Voted for a Fracking Moratorium in Southern Illinois
Despite the fact the Frerichs’ state fracking regulatory bill was negotiated with the gas industry behind closed doors with inexperienced environmental representatives and without a single citizens group participating from impacted communities in southern Illinois, county commissioners in five key southern Illinois areas courageously stood up to the gas industry and state official pressure.
Steve Hudson, a Pope County commissioner, introduced the fracking moratorium, and made a statement to the Chicago Tribune that should have won accolades throughout the state:
“Money’s not everything in life,” Steve Hudson, a Pope County commissioner, said of landowners who have sold mineral rights to oil and gas companies. “Sometimes we need to protect what we got. We’re just keepers of this land.”
Pope County has only 4,300 residents, not a single traffic light, and the highest concentration of national forest in the state. “This county’s based pretty much on tourism, and I just can’t see this becoming a wasteland,” Hudson said.
2: The City of DuQuoin and Its Breakthrough Solar Park in Coal Country
By investing their own city dollars and amassing grants and stimulus funds, the city leaders of DuQuoin lit up a small but groundbreaking solar park in the heart of southern Illinois’ coal country last year. Using union labor, unlike virtually all of the state’s main coal mines, the solar park “is a way to provide reduced electrical cost to our industrial park occupants, this makes operations for these folks at our industrial park more profitable and more productive,” according to the town finance commissioner Rex Duncan.
DuQuoin’s uniqueness is a reminder that in a recent report on clean energy and green jobs in Illinois, not a single project was located below the central Illinois capital of Springfield, with most green jobs going to Chicago:
3: The Carbondale City Council, the Home of “Clean Coal” Research, Voted for a 100 Percent Renewable Energy Plan
In one of the most under-reported stories this year, the town council of Carbondale — where Southern Illinois University boasts of its “clean coal” research program, where the coal export industry was launched nearby 200 years ago, and where huge corporations from New York listed ads 150 years ago to invest in the future of Mt. Carbon — voted to approve a 100 percent renewable energy electrical contract in January. According to City manager Kevin Baity, Carbondale was the energy consortium’s “only city to choose the fully renewable energy option.”
4: With Oil/Gas Drilling Injunction Lifted, Local Heroes Like the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Community, Friends of Bell Smith Springs, and the Regional Association of Concerned Environmentalist Are Defending the State’s Vital Shawnee National Forest
Home of the state’s defining and famed Garden of the Gods, the Shawnee National Forest and several federally protected wilderness sites, the last forests of southern Illinois are now game to Frerichs’ fracking bill, after a 17-year injunction on drilling was lifted in March.
Thanks to long-time defenders like Sam Stearns, with the Friends of Bell Smith Springs, Barney Bush and the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Community, and Mark Donham and many others with the Regional Association of Concerned Environmentalist, the state’s most unique environmental destination will stave off attempts by out-of-state fracking operators.
5: Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment Leaders Like Liz Patula, Tabitha Tripp, Dayna Conner, Brent Ritzel, Annette McMichael and Legions More
Unlike many environmental lobbyists and leaders who operate out of their offices, far from the impacted areas of the extraction industries, the grassroots volunteers with SAFE — Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment — have taken the lead on the frontlines in southern Illinois to speak on behalf affected communities, to hold legislators accountable to their constituencies instead of outside corporate lobbyists, and to educate rural and unincorporated communities on the realities of fracking, water and air protection, and the flaws in Frerichs’ fracking law.
While left out of the negotiations on the state’s fracking law, SAFE and its many environmental leaders deserve to be in the front row of any future negotiations — not to mention any statewide “environmental leadership dinner.”
— RT (@RT_com) September 19, 2013
The Weather Channel also reports the 5.8-magnitude quake struck at 1:25 EDT:
At 1:25pm EDT US time a 5.8 #earthquake struck near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. Strong shaking reported there.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 19, 2013
However, according to the news service, there is no threat of a tsunami.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 19, 2013
The Japan Meteorological Society issued a report on the quake at 1:29 EDT, noting a magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 12.4 miles (20 km).
The United States Geological Survey, however, puts the magnitude at 5.3, according to RT. The Russian news site also cited local media as reporting operations at the nuclear plant were being monitored and that so far no irregularities had been discovered.
More from the Associated Press:
DENVER — A 5.3-magnitude earthquake has hit the Japanese prefecture that is home to the nuclear power plant crippled in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck early Friday at a depth of about 13 miles (22 kilometers) under Fukushima Prefecture and about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.
The Japanese news agency Kyodo News reported that the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., observed no abnormality in radiation or equipment after the quake.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday ordered TEPCO to scrap all six reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and concentrate on tackling pressing issues like leaks of radioactive water.
The 2011 disaster caused three reactors to melt and damaged a fuel cooling pool at another. Officials have acknowledged that radiation-contaminated groundwater has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean since soon after the meltdowns.
The region lies on the “Ring of Fire” – an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim. About 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur in the region.
This is breaking news. Check back for more updates.
Alongside releasing its controversial findings on fugitive methane emissions caused by hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on September 16, University of Texas-Austin also unveiled an industry-stacked Steering Committee roster for the study it conducted in concert with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Stacked with former and current oil industry lobbyists, policy professionals and business executives, the Steering Committee is proof positive of the conflicts of interest evident in the roster of people and funding behind the "frackademia" study.
Only two out of the 11 members of the Steering Committee besides lead author and UT-Austin Professor David Allen have a science background relevant to onshore fracking.
That study found fugitive methane emissions at the well pad to be 2%-4% lower than discovered by the non-industry funded groundbreaking April 2011 Cornell University study co-authored by Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth.
The Cornell study concluded fracking is worse for the climate than coal combustion when measured over its entire lifecycle.
Webster's Dictionary defines a Steering Committee as "a committee, especially of a deliberative or legislative body, that prepares the agenda of a session."
In the case of the EDF study — based on the oddly rosy findings — it seems plausible the industry-stacked Committee drove the report in a direction beneficial to oil industry profits rather than science.
Steering Committee: PR Pros, Lobbyists, Policy Wonks
The following is a list of Steering Committee members working for Big Oil.
1.) Ted Wurfel, Health, Safety, Environment and Operational Integrity Manager for Talisman Energy: Wurfel is one of two Steering Committee members besides lead author Allen with a science degree relevant to onshore drilling, with an engineering academic background, according to LinkedIn.
Ted Wurfel; Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Lobbying Disclosure website
2.) Paul Krishna, Manager of Environmental, Health & Safety Issues at ExxonMobil/XTO Energy: Krishna is the other Steering Committee member with a science degree relevant to onshore drilling, with an undergraduate degree in geology and a masters in geosciences.
3.) David McBride, Vice President of Environmental and Human Services at Anadarko Petroleum: McBride earned a degree in Marine Biology before going to law school and pursuing his career in the oil industry.
Photo Credit: LinkedIn
4.) Jeffrey Kupfer works as a non-registered lobbyist for Chevron — officially titled a "Senior Advisor for Government Affairs." Kupfer sits on the Executive Board of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the industry's lobbying arm in Pennsylvania.
Jeffrey Kupfer; Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy
He sits on Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's industry-stacked Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission alongside one of the industry's first "frackademics," Terry Engelder of Penn State University.
Kupfer also sits on Maryland's Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission.
Prior to working for Chevron, Kupfer passed through the government-industry revolving door and worked as Deputy U.S. Secretary of State for President George W. Bush from 2006-2009 under former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also spent time as the State Department's Chief Operating Officer under Rice.
Chevron is one of the dues-paying members of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development — described as the "Big Green Fracking Machine" by Public Accountability Initiative — alongside EDF.
5.) Dick Francis serves as Manager of Regulatory Policy for Shell Oil, another dues-paying member of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development.
6.) James Bolander serves as Senior Vice President Resource Development for Southwestern Energy.
7.) Susan Spratlen serves as head of Communications at Pioneer Resources and has an accounting undergraduate academic background.
8.) David Keane is BG Group's Vice President of Policy and Corporate Affairs and has a business school academic background.
Keane testified on behalf of the Alaska Gas Pipeline (now known as the South Central LNG project) – co-owned by Transcanada, ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips – in front of the Alaska state legislature in February 2008.
9.) Jill Cooper serves as Group Lead for the US Division of the Environment for Encana. Her academic background is in environmental law and she also has a masters in business.
Steering Off the Climate Cliff?
EDF's study has already won praise from the American Petroleum Institute, Energy in Depth, industry-funded propaganda film "FrackNation," and the right-wing news website founded by Glenn Beck, The Blaze.
Greenpeace USA Executive Director Phil Radford's worst case scenario has come true.
"At worst, [the study] will be used as PR by the natural gas industry to promote their pollution," Radford wrote soon after the study's release.
"In fact, methane is 105 times more powerful than carbon pollution as a global warming pollutant [during its first 20 years in the atmosphere], so figuring out its real climate impacts has very real consequences for us going forward."
This raises the key question: could the Steering Committee's agenda steer us all off the climate cliff?
It all started when my jaw began hurting. I thought maybe I had a mild case of TMJ. Days passed and I noticed a foul odor in my mouth when I was brushing my teeth.
I was disgusted and embarrassed.
I went to the dentist; turned out I had a tooth that needed to be pulled. Unfortunately, because of my bone disorder, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, my jaw can’t withstand procedures to salvage or replace my molars. This specific tooth was one of my last chewing surfaces. Much to my dismay the tooth had to be pulled. As if that wasn’t upsetting enough, a week later the exact same experience occurred. This time with the final molar that allowed me to chew!
As I returned to the dentist for the second time in two weeks, I couldn’t believe it. It felt like the movie Groundhog Day. Unfortunately, the second tooth was much more difficult to remove. It had a root that was curved in and near several nerves.
I was in the dentist’s chair huffing nitrous-oxide before the extraction when my dentist called it off. He wasn’t comfortable removing the tooth with all those nerves that would be exposed. He sent me in for emergency surgery from an oral surgeon nearby. Thank God there was a mix-up in the paperwork: the oral surgeon’s office took me in immediately because they thought I was already in their system. They later learned that a “Sean Stevens” (with the same birthdate) had visited them, not “Sean Stephenson.” Had it not been for this mix-up, I would have had to come back another day. Miracle.
The surgeon gave me six shots of Novocain, but every time he touched the tooth it caused me to whimper in agony. Mind you, I’ve had over 200 bone fractures in my life. This was bad. My wife, Mindie Kniss, stayed by my side the entire time.
The surgeon tried to get the tooth out; each time I cried out for him to stop. It was beyond awful; it felt like torture. The poor guy looked miserable doing what he knew must be done. I clenched my fists, gave him a nod of approval and he commenced with the procedure giving one horrific last tug. I heard crunching and felt an electric shock run from my jaw to my brain stem. It shot down to my toes and cycled through my entire nervous system this way for a good (more like bad) 12 seconds.
When it was over I wept. I was so overcome by emotion. I couldn’t believe what I had experienced.
Have you ever had a day when you hated being you? I rarely do so I was unfamiliar with the experience. I hadn’t felt that kind of pain since I was in grade school and a steel rod was pulled from my right femur with no anesthetic.
For the most part, I rarely talk or think about my disability. It’s something I’ve felt has been more of a footnote in my life. Yet, these past few weeks it felt like the title.
Most of us have something in our lives that will be with us, whether we like it or not, until the end. Something that never goes way. For each of us, it’s totally different. We can kick and scream, bark and bite, but there it is.
What must we do with lifelong challenges that we cannot shake?
Bow to them; they are our teachers.
We must respect them. When we fight them, we lose. They will always be one step ahead of us.
We must stop fighting and start learning, gathering the lessons of patience, compassion, trust, drive, focus, etc..
Obviously, easier said than done.
I’ve been riddled with pain most of my life. Kidney stones, surgeries, broken bones and the list goes on. However, I want you to hear this…
My life is amazing!
Why? Because I declare it so.
The sh*t we all face in life waits for us to label it. Pain sucks. Heartache sucks. Loss sucks. However, life doesn’t have to suck. As soon as you label that life sucks, you’re hosed. None of us want to go through difficulties, yet it’s a part of life. It makes the sweet times even sweeter.
I lost more than two teeth. I lost the ability to chew. My culinary future has been relegated to soups, juices, smoothies and, yes, even baby food. Could I feel sorry for myself? Sure. Most people would say I certainly would be justified. But honestly, what good would that do?
I’d rather bow to my teachers and gain their wisdom.
You can read more from Sean Stephenson on seanstephenson.com.
Recently many stars have gone through major weight transformations, be it for a role or otherwise, and when placed next to their former selves, they’re nearly unrecognizable.
Check out our slideshow below of stars whose weight loss both shocked and impressed us.
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