May is Mental Health Awareness month and the theme for 2023 is “More Than Enough.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness states this is an opportunity for all of us to come together and remember the… More
May is the Month to Make Our Recommitments
May is the third and last month of the spring season in the northern hemisphere. In the United Kingdom, it’s known as the “smile month.” May is named after the Greek goddess of fertility, Maia, and the Romans called her Bona Dea. In the 1400s, the word designating the fifth month of the year changed from Maius to May.
In North America, May is known as National Recommitment Month! Its significance is as a time to reevaluate the meaningful areas of our lives and to see if we’re on the right path. Have we honored the commitments we made earlier in the year? How are we progressing with our goals for 2023? Are our relationships with family and friends where they should be?
Throughout our lives, we make goals and commitments, and before the middle of the year approaches, May is a good month to step back and assess how we are doing. No matter what the commitment—largely encompassed by any of the 5 Pillars of Wellness—healthy mind, body, family, society or finances—it’s time to take a look at where we stand.
Some practical ways to recommit are to examine our goals and see which ones are on track and which need more work or to be eliminated. If the original plan was too complicated to execute, then it’s time to simplify. If there were too many goals, it’s time to reset priorities and stick to the critical ones—our chances of success are higher when goals are realistic.
Focus. Multi-tasking is often presented as a desired skill when in reality, focusing on one goal at a time tends to produce a higher success rate. When we work on many things at once, chances are none of them will get done in a timely way. In other words, we don’t need to spread ourselves too thin. This holds true not only for work goals but also relationship goals.
Be mindful. Mindfulness is a means to an end. It helps ensure commitments are honored by decluttering the brain. Mindfulness requires our full intention as well as freedom from self-imposed anxiety, pressure, negativity and fear. Meditation is a form of mindfulness, but even without an actual meditation practice, we can take a few minutes every day to be quiet internally and renew our commitments and intentions. Meditation and being silent helps us consciously repel self-demeaning thoughts and emotions by emptying the mind. Mindfulness is positive self-talk and an essential component of self-care.
Prioritize. This is a no-brainer, but too often, we forget to do it. Since change is constant, we need to prioritize every day. That actually is what recommitment is founded on—as priorities change, our commitments change. What is most important to do today? And then, for the week?
Be flexible. Depending on each person’s personality, flexibility may come naturally or be a goal in and of itself. Just because we have made certain commitments and want to fulfill them doesn’t mean it’s always do-able or even practical. Sometimes we just have to go with the flow and adjust accordingly. On the other hand, sometimes we do have to stick to our plans even if they go against the general consensus. Exercising good judgment in that way is also part of recommitment.
What are you recommitting to this month? Are you hydrating and making sure you are breathing in fresh air? Are you exercising daily? Have you connected with your elder family members? Did you walk the dog today? Whatever your priorities are, remember to be kind to yourself.
As you recommit to prioritizing your health, be sure to take advantage of the 20% off filters promotion that Nikken is running now through June 30, 2023. It’s a great savings and the perfect time to purchase a spare for your PiMag® Sport Bottle, PiMag MicroJet® shower systems, PiMag Waterfall® and KenkoAir Purifier®! Each filter helps decrease your carbon footprint and gets your closer to being in harmony with nature!
Is it Hay Fever or a Common Cold?
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like symptoms. These may include a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus. Hay fever is caused by an allergic response to a harmless outdoor or indoor substance the body identifies as harmful, known as an allergen.1
Common allergens that can trigger hay fever symptoms include pollen and dust mites. Pet dander made up of tiny flecks of skin or fur shed by cats, dogs, and other animals with “hair” or feathers also can be allergens that cause hay feverlike symptoms.
Hay fever cannot be transmitted. In other words, it’s not contagious; however, hay fever can rage for weeks, months or even year-round. Colds generally last a week or less. Why is that?
If you are allergic to a seasonal environmental trigger such as pollen, your hay fever symptoms may be limited to particular seasons of the year. If you’re allergic to dust or smoke, symptoms may last all year long.
The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Colds are generally caused by rhinoviruses and are highly contagious. Colds spread easily from one person to the other via coughing, sneezing and touching infected surfaces.
Cells in the nasal cavity recognize foreign substances and once they detect a bug or irritant, they activate “T cells” (a type of white blood cell that helps protect the body from infections) to search, find and destroy the culprits. This process is known as an immune response—and it occurs whenever you catch a cold or any other virus.
With hay fever, the irritant triggers the same T cells as it does with viruses. But with hay fever, the irritant also causes the release of IgE antibodies and histamines which produce ongoing symptoms, such as a plugged nose, losing the sense of smell and even nasal inflammation. Hay fever also produces itchiness on the face, especially near the eyes and throat, something colds do not.
Hay fever and colds share other symptoms: extreme fatigue, postnasal drip, coughing and runny noses. Hay fever sufferers tend to have watery runny noses, while those with a cold may have yellow or thicker discharge. Hay fever produces a dry cough whereas colds may have “productive” coughs that are phlegmy.
One major difference between hay fever and the common cold is the sore throat. Hay fever may produce the effect of an itchy throat; in fact, the whole mouth, from roof to throat may itch. The sore throat is virtually always a precursor to a full-blown cold.
Symptoms can be similar, so it can be difficult to tell hay fever from a cold, especially since some people don’t develop hay fever until adulthood. This can result from a genetic predisposition that pops up when there is an unusually high level of airborne pollen, a major change in your lifestyle, moving to a different city, state or country, and even changes to what and how you eat. Although hay fever recurs and may last a very long time, about 50% find symptoms decrease as they get older and 10-20% outgrow it at some point in their lives.2
Anyone who suffers from hay fever or frequent colds can attest to how important it is to be proactive to help minimize symptoms. One tried and true method is to use an air filter year-round to improve air quality. At Nikken, we offer an effective and eco-friendly air filter known as the KenkoAir Purifier®.
The KenkoAir Purifier helps improve your indoor air quality to a higher level with an ultra-clean three level filtration system that captures up to 99.95% of 0.3 micron particles in the air. A pre-filter acts as a physical barrier or trap to remove large particles, an activated carbon absorption filter removes airborne gas and solution molecules, while the HEPA filter helps to remove ultra-fine particles such as airborne allergens. Negative Ion Technology replicates the clean, refreshing air found in natural settings, such as by a lake or a forest.
You can replace the filter every six months and the prefilter is re-usable, leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Environmentally-friendly, the KenkoAir Purifier is made with recyclable materials. At Nikken, we believe “To breathe is to live” and to live well is to be in harmony with nature!
Embracing Spring Cleaning and Warmer Weather
Spring is here and that usually means warmer weather, more sunshine and frequent but short showers—all helping flowers to bloom and foliage to grow. That adds up to more outdoor activities, such as hiking, running, swimming, yard work and picnics. While outdoors, we’re breathing in a mixture of pollen, clean and polluted air, and depending on the location, possibly industrial waste.
Spring is also a time of renewal and part of that is the universal embrace of spring cleaning. In fact, in many parts of Asia, spring cleaning involves not only one’s house but also the gravesites of ancestors. It’s a way to celebrate the gifts that the spring season brings to the living and remembrance and honor to those who have gone by keeping their resting places swept and clean.
The average American spends 80% of their lives indoors, where the air quality may actually be worse than the air quality outdoors! Depending on where we live, clean air and potable water can be valuable commodities rather than the norm. The rite of spring cleaning addresses indoor air pollutants and the need to hydrate more as the climate changes.
Even when outdoor air is breathable and water is potable, we run the risk of bad indoor air quality that can cause respiratory issues or other ailments. Air pollutants can range from contaminants brought in by pets, dust mites, spores, mold and mildew, or even harmful gases like carbon monoxide and radon, or volatile chemicals emitted from conventional cleaners and cooking.1
These air pollutants and allergens can cause respiratory problems and flare-ups in people who already have breathing issues. Children, people with asthma and the elderly may be especially sensitive to indoor pollution. These same people often do not stay well hydrated and other health issues can arise.This is why it’s so important to use water and air filtration units.
Nikken is committed to creating environmentally-friendly products that are in harmony with nature. They help us to breathe clean air, to live a a wellness lifestyle and to keep hydrated with alkaline water. When we’re spring cleaning, it’s the perfect time to make sure all our water and air filters are changed in a timely way!
- The KenkoAir Purifier® exceeds the measured efficiency of capturing up to 99.95% of 0.3 micron particles in the air. It’s 35% more efficient than standard models and saves a minimum of 215 kilowatt-hours per year. Unlike typical air filters, this advanced system helps generate negative-ions similar to those found in natural environments.
Nikken recommends changing the filters every six months. Be sure to clean the reusable prefilter when the other filters are replaced. Choose Item #1444.
- The PiMag® Sport Bottle uses state-of-the-art filtration technology that exceeds NSF standards for reducing particulates, chlorine, chloramine, taste and odor, cysts, lead, bacteria, VOCs, MTBE and more.
Nikken recommends changing the filter approximately every 40 gallons or three months of average use or up to an estimated 250 refills per filter. Choose item #13503 for the Replacement Filter Pack.
- The PiMag Waterfall® is the eco-friendly Sport Bottle’s counterpart for the home and office. It also exceeds NSF standards as mentioned above.
Nikken recommends changing the filter every 3- 6 months or 900 liters/238 gallons, whichever comes first. Choose item 13845. Mineral stones should be changed annually. Choose item #13846.
- The PiMag MicroJet® Shower System has also been tested according to NSF standards and been proven to effectively reduce chlorine exposure. While most chlorine-reduction systems in shower filters merely trap chlorine or add other chemicals to counteract it, the PiMag MicroJet uses a reduction/oxidation process to neutralize chlorine ions. The MicroJet injects air into the shower stream to increase the electronegative potential of the water for more effective filtration. Micro-bubbles are released through the nozzle to provide an exceptional cleansing action.
Nikken recommends changing the filter for the hand held model every 5,000 gallons or three months, based on average use. Choose Item #14661.
Nikken recommends changing the filter for the wall mount model every 10,000 gallons or six months, based on average use. Choose Item #13831.
Pet Love Equals Better Health
April 11 is National Pet Day, and those of us who live with pets can attest to the multiple ways they enrich our lives. The truth is that the benefits of having pets are scientifically proven, not just our emotional bias. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects pet companions have on their humans.
Pet love is known to provide emotional support and in doing so, to help reduce stress. Cortisol is a hormone activated by stress, and studies have found that being around animals can decrease cortisol levels.1 Being around pets has proven to be so effective that some workplaces and schools are allowing dogs to be present.
Pets are also known to help with hypertension. A study of stockbrokers found that having a dog or cat helped lower the spike in blood pressure that happens when a person is stressed. Another study of hospitalized heart patients found that dogs decreased the patients’ blood pressure by about 10%!2
Cats specifically have shown they are able to decrease the likelihood of a stroke by more than a third! Researcher theorize that petting a cat can lower stress. They also surmise that the type of people who own cats might tend to be more stress-free naturally.3
Pets require care and can be a lot of work; however, even that ends up being helpful for our health, especially mentally. Whether it’s a daily wellness routine of walking, grooming or feeding, our labor of love provides a sense of purpose that overflows into other parts of our lives. This sense of purpose and the ability to take care of a loved pet can alleviate some mental health conditions, including PTSD, anxiety and depression.4
A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long-term mental health issue and found that pets contribute to a stronger sense of identity, provide a sense of security and routine that reinforces stable cognition and serve as positive distractions from internal distress signals.5 For these reasons, pets are now widely used as support and therapy animals.
Even caring for fish can have positive effects. A recent study showed that caring for fish helped teens with diabetes better manage their disease. Researchers had a group of teens with type 1 diabetes care for pet fish twice a day by feeding and checking water levels. The caretaking routine also included changing the tank water weekly. The researchers tracked how consistently the teens checked their blood glucose levels compared with teens who didn’t have fish to care for. The teens with fish to care for were more disciplined about checking their own blood glucose levels, a key to maintaining their health.6
Considering that cats and dogs all have pet dander, a seven-year study of almost 500 children produced some interesting results. Children exposed to dogs and cats as babies were half as likely to have allergies and risk factors for asthma as they grew up than those who had no pets. Infants with more than one pet in the home had the lowest risk of allergies!7
There are so many animals available for adoption and waiting for a loving home. When you save an animal’s life, it will repay you and end up saving yours in so many other ways! Why not check out your local shelters, rescues and pounds and welcome one or more new family members!
1, 2, 3, 7 https://www.animalhealthfoundation.org/blog/2012/10/8-health-benefits-of-having-a-pet/?gclid=Cj0KCQjww4-hBhCtARIsAC9gR3bsJF3jJTRin9pp3bUSRqhD6-XKfEgrM-teCN9TNSKKQGrfpY_FgAEaAkOpEALw_wcB
4, 5 https://www.onehealth.org/blog/10-mental-physical-health-benefits-of-having-pets
Introducing Kenzen Jade GreenZymes® Citrus!
Kenzen Jade GreenZymes® is the inspiration of a Japanese medical scientist, Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara. For more than 40 years, Dr. Hagiwara devoted his life to finding a natural substance that would promote good health and help support the body’s nutritional needs. Numerous scientific studies led him to discover the positive effects of green barley grass on human physiology.
Kenzen Jade GreenZymes, made with organic barley grass, has been a Nikken flagship nutritional product for many years, and now, we are introducing a new flavor with Citrus! Made with organic barley grass harvested at its prime, Kenzen Jade GreenZymes Citrus has concentrated organic lemon juice powder as well as organic lemon flavor to give it a special tang! It’s really delicious so even children like it. This is a great way to get something super nutritious into little tummies.
Not all barley grass is the same. Organic barley grass is freshest and most potent at its prime, and that’s when it is picked for use in the Jade GreenZymes Citrus formula. It is a completely natural food and is combined with organic inulin, known for its prebiotic properties and digestive support.
Known as “Nature’s perfect food,” organic barley grass is composed of nutrients and minerals that help to maintain health and miraculously contains the full range of enzymes that the human body needs to oxidize fatty acids.* Not only does it help to remove waste from the body, it also helps support healthy bones, tissues and skin’s elasticity for a youthful appearance!*
But there’s even more to organic barley grass that makes it “perfect.” It is a naturally alkaline food, so it helps to counteract the acidic foods we commonly eat in the modern diet. It’s a natural way to help us regulate our body’s pH.
Cold-pressed to retain the natural enzyme activity*of the organic barley grass, Kenzen Jade GreenZymes Citrus can be mixed with room temperature or cold PiMag® water, other cold drinks and even food. You can have it any time, but we recommend two to three servings a day, 20 minutes before or two hours after meals. To preserve its freshness, we recommend not using it with hot liquids.
Kenzen Jade GreenZymes Citrus is certified organic by QAI and gluten-free. Its abundance of naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and concentrated nutrients renders it a perfect food for children, adults and the elderly. If you want to give your body an extra boost, simply reach for a packet and some PiMag® water. Some people even like to sprinkle it on fruit or combine into dressings and smoothies. It’s a great way to give any dietary regimen a truly powerful boost, without preservatives, additives or fillers.
When you put Kenzen Jade GreenZymes Citrus on autoship, you’ll never run out and it will be delivered to you on the schedule you choose: monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. You will even receive a 10% loyalty discount on your autoship order!
Whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian, vegan or on a sugar-free, gluten-free diet, Kenzen Jade GreenZymes® can be the perfect beverage for you!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
When a Negative is Actually a Plus
Being out in nature is good for us. From forest bathing to surfing, a simple walk outdoors to swimming in lakes and the ocean—it’s the combination of movement and breathing in fresh air that gives our entire body and mind a healthy boost! It’s especially important to seek some time with nature when we spend so much time indoors during the winter months.
What is it about fresh air that makes us feel happier and invigorated? They’re called negative ions.
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale freely in natural environments, such as forests, waterfalls and beaches. When inhaled, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that help relieve stress and increase energy levels.
Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation and moving air and water. The air circulating in the mountains and the beach is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions —much more than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds, and may even register a flat zero.
Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat irritation,” says Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C.1
It’s estimated that one in three people are sensitive to the effects of negative ions. If you are one of them, simply opening a window and breathing in fresh air can cause an immediate effect of feeling lighter and almost euphoric. According to Dr. Howard, you may be one of them if you feel sleepy when you are around an air-conditioner, but feel immediately refreshed and invigorated when you step outside or roll down the car window. Air conditioning depletes the atmosphere of negative ions and natural air replenishes it.
Negative ions provide more benefits than just freshening the air. They can help clear the air of allergens such as pollen, mold spores, bacteria and viruses, as well as dust, pet dander and cigarette smoke. This occurs when negative ions attach themselves to positive ion particles in large numbers and negatively charging those ions. When that happens, those allergens become too heavy to remain airborne and are prevented from being inhaled!2
Natural energy sources of negative ions come from five main areas: 1. radiant or cosmic rays in the atmosphere, 2. sunlight including ultraviolet rays, 3. discharges of electricity in the air after thunder and lightning, 4. the shearing forces of water (as in a waterfall), and 5. plant-generated ions from natural growths.3
When indoors, the use of an air purifier can help to freshen stale air affected by dust, pet dander, cooking fumes, poor room air circulation, heat and humidity, and the proximity of grounded devices that may emit counteracting positive ions (such as computer monitors and other electronics).
We encourage everyone to experience the KenkoAir Purifier® for themselves. Once you do, you’ll want to share your experience with those you care about, because as we say at Nikken, “to breathe is to live” and living well means breathing clean, refreshing air filled with negative ions! Ask your Nikken Consultant how to take advantage of special pricing on the KenkoAir Purifier by ordering through the Yes! My Wellness Home link through the end of March.
It’s not Magic, It’s Hyaluronic Acid
The numbers are stunning: the global hylaluronic acid market size in 2022 was valued at 9.4 billion US dollars.1 The market is expected to grow as technologically advanced products continue to be introduced. So, what is hyaluronic acid and why is it trending?
Hyaluronic acid is a gooey, slippery substance that is found throughout the body, especially in eyes, joints and skin.2 In scientific terms, hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found throughout the body’s connective tissue. Glycosaminoglycans are simply long unbranched carbohydrates, or sugars, called polysaccharides.3 HA is the main element that gives skin its structure, and is therefore responsible for creating the appearance of plump, hydrated skin.
The natural aging process, tobacco smoking, and pollution can reduce the amount of hyaluronic acid present in human skin. Since hyaluronic acid is produced naturally by the skin but production slows down due to multiple reasons, using hyaluronic acid-based supplements and serums helps boost the skin’s natural processes.
Here are a few benefits of hyaluronic acid: 4
- Helps things move smoothly. Hyaluronic acid helps your joints work like a well-oiled machine. It helps prevent pain and injury from bones grinding against each other.
- Helps keep things hydrated. Good at retaining water, a quarter-teaspoon of hyaluronic acid holds about one and a half gallons of water. That’s why hyaluronic acid is often used for treating dry eyes. It’s also used in moisturizing creams, lotions, ointments and serums.
- Makes skin flexible. Hyaluronic acid helps skin stretch and flex to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Hyaluronic acid is also proven to help wounds heal faster and can reduce scarring.
Hyaluronic acid belongs to a type of long, complicated chain-like molecules called polymers. The chain has plenty of spots on it where other chemical compounds (like water, for example) can latch on. That’s why a quarter-teaspoon of hyaluronic acid can hold about one and a half gallons of water, making it the best polymer — natural or artificial — for absorbing water (and a key ingredient in moisturizing products). Hyaluronic acid’s chain-like structure also means it can act like a scaffold structure, allowing tissues to grow.5
Put another way, HA can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water!6 It functions as a humectant and holds water molecules onto skin’s surface to keep it hydrated and counteract the effects of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which is the scientific term for measuring how much water evaporates from the skin. When a product prevents TEWL, it keeps skin hydrated by making sure that water doesn’t escape from skin’s surface. Hyaluronic acid does exactly that by slowing the rate at which the water evaporates.7
Three Kenzen True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care products are formulated with hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate.
• True Elements® Youth Activ Serum contains low molecular weight hyaluronic acid. Molecules with lower molecular weight are smaller, so they reach the deeper layers of skin. There, they help sustain skin’s moisture content, while stimulating collagen synthesis to leave skin feeling firmer and smoother.
• True Elements® Revitalizing Serum is the complement to Youth Activ Serum. It contains high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, which acts to help retain moisture on the surface of the epidermis rather than at depth. Keeping the skin’s surface hydrated gives it a healthy, glowing appearance.
• True Elements® Moisturizing Face Cream contains high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, similar to Revitalizing Serum. Together with the other ingredients in the formula, the hyaluronic acid helps skin maintain hydration by forming a protective veil on its surface.
All TRUE elements® skin care products are EcoCert COSMOS Organic certified, pH balanced and naturally fragranced. There are no parabens, synthetic colors or fragrances.
2, 4, 5 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22915-hyaluronic-acid#:~:text=Hyaluronic%20acid%20helps%20skin%20stretch,faster%20and%20can%20reduce%20scarring.
3, 6, 7 https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/hyaluronic-acid
The Power of Women in More Than Childbearing and Childbirth
One primary physiological ability stands out between men and women: women give birth. Labor and childbirth are universally considered the toughest and possibly most painful “workout” a body can undergo. What does this mean in terms of women’s overall health and specifically, physical strength?
The power required to bear children and give birth means women are not just strong but extremely strong. In general, women have the same basic health requirements as all human beings in terms of needing good air to breathe, clean water to drink to keep hydrated and adequate whole food nutrition.
Women typically require more calcium than men to keep bones strong due to smaller mass, and during pregnancies, more balanced whole nutrients. In fact, it is men’s overall larger mass and weight that gives them the perceived advantage in strength. When differences in height and weight are factored in, the strength quotient is more similar than not.
Strength is measured not only by how much weight a person can lift, but also by longevity or life expectancy, ability to withstand pain, mental and emotional toughness, and even crisis management.
• Longevity: The global Gerontology Research Group notes that out of the 43 people in the world who’ve made it past the age of 110 years, 42 are women.Scientifically speaking, women tend to live longer than men due to a “complex interaction of biological, environmental and social factors” as per a study published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of the United States of America.1
• Bearing pain: According to a study conducted at McGill University, women have a higher threshold for pain.2 Can that be why Nature gave women the physique and responsibility for labor and childbirth?
• Mental strength: According to a study conducted by the researchers from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the University of St.Gallen, and NYU Shanghai–women cope with pressure well and do not tend to buckle during tense moments. This is due to the fact that cortisol, the stress hormone, tends to increase less rapidly in women.3
• Emotional strength: A study published in the journal Emotion says that women are adept at identifying sadness and disgust, due to the same hormones that work for reproduction.4 Women are therefore more sensitive to environmental chemicals and deal with them. A study conducted at the Binghamton University in New York and University College London, showed that in case of a break-up, women may feel the hurt deeper as compared to men, but tend to heal faster by dealing with the pain rather than burying it.
• Survival by natural selection: Women have been found to survive the toughest conditions such as famine, extreme climate change, epidemics, etc. Even though a clear reason is yet to be found for women’s exceptional endurance, researchers attribute it to the possibility of a mother’s placenta working harder to maintain the pregnancy and avoid infections in the case of a female fetus. Women get that extra dose of survivability in their mother’s womb itself.5 Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men,” says Steven Austad, an international expert on ageing, and chair of the biology department at the University of Alabama.6
• Strong immune system: Higher levels of estrogen and progesterone could be protecting women in some way, not only by making their immune systems stronger, but also more flexible. This may help maintain a healthy pregnancy. A woman’s immune system is more active in the second half of her menstrual cycle, when she’s able to conceive.7 Even when it comes to everyday coughs and colds, women have the advantage. “If you look across all the different types of infections, women have a more robust immune response,” says Director of the Centre for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Ageing and Disease at Georgetown University Kathryn Sandberg. “If there’s a really bad infection, women survive better. If it’s about the duration of the infection, women will respond faster.”
• High cognitive skills: According to a study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine, women can maintain their cognitive skills and retain their memories for longer periods of time as men’s brains tend to diminish faster with age. Although men have been proven to have a higher brain volume, women have thicker cortices, the area of the brain that is linked to improved performance on intelligence tests—women therefore outperform men on I.Q. tests.8
So what could it have been in our evolutionary past that gave the female body a little more robustness? Why would women have developed a survival edge? The human body, both male and female, adapted over millennia to their changing environments: Studies of hunter-gatherer societies provide a few clues. Many anthropologists studying tribal communities in Africa, South America, Asia and Australia believe early humans lived fairly equal lives, sharing responsibility for food, shelter and raising children. The evidence shows that women would have done at least the same physical work as men, but with the added burden of bearing children.9
In evolutionary terms, these were the circumstances under which our bodies were shaped. Through a large part of early human history, humans migrated through Africa to the rest of the world, and the women not only travelled hundreds or thousands of miles, under the same extreme environmental conditions as the men, but they also had to reproduce and survive.
Adrienne Zihlman, an anthropologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz, says, “Women have to reproduce. That means being pregnant for nine months. They’ve got to lactate. They’ve got to carry these kids. There’s something about being a human female that was shaped by evolution. There is something about the female form, the female psyche, just the whole package, that was honed over thousands and thousands, even millions, of years to survive.”10
Where super heroes traditionally have been depicted as men in the western world—Superman, Batman, Ant Man, The Flash, etc.—we now have, among many others, Katniss, Black Widow, Xena Princess Warrior, Shuri, and a revival of Mulan who goes back millennia into Chinese folklore, to more accurately reflect the power of women.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 https://www.healthshots.com/mind/are-women-stronger-than-men-here-are-8-scientific-facts-to-put-this-debate-to-rest/
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/11/the-weaker-sex-science-that-shows-women-are-stronger-than-men
Women in Leadership Then and Now
“Since 2008, more women have assumed leadership of huge and influential companies (GM, IBM, Lockheed Martin) and global institutions (the IMF, the World Bank, the European Central Bank). More women have also been elected to high office around the world. Since 1964, 64 countries have had a female head of state or government, according to Women’s Power Index and as of May 2020, 19 countries were being led by a woman,”1 according to Sally Helgesen, author of seven books on leadership, and a keynote speaker around the world on women’s changing roles.
Even with these vastly improving numbers, women in leadership still lag behind the majority. This may be attributed to the basic challenges women continue to face in the workplace, even as progress is made:
1. Unconscious bias stems from gender stereotypes reflected in the subconscious attitudes both men and women have about female capabilities. Huge strides have been made, but the deeply ingrained image of women “barefoot and in the kitchen” still is widespread even in civilized nations.
2. Unequal pay is more complex than just dollars and cents. It extends into the opportunities women are presented with, often fewer than their male counterparts.
3. Different expectations makes it more difficult for women, because there is the need to balance actual ability, respect from peers and being likable. In other words, aggressive men are the norm, but aggressive women may be considered dislikable.
4. Limited career advancement opportunities take the form of fewer promotions for women in a corporate environment. A 2021 Yale study found women 14% less likely to be promoted at their companies annually as well as being consistently judged as possessing lower leadership potential than their male counterparts.2
5. Lack of sponsorship and mentorship ties in with limited career opportunities. Women are less often approached by mentors or sponsors who can be sources of knowledge and even lead to the “inside track.” What women need to do is to actively seek out mentors and coaches rather than hope to be “found.”
6. Sexual and gender-based harassment is something that women continue to contend with. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences found that women supervisors had to deal with even more sexual harassment than others in their fields in the United States, Japan and Sweden.3
Given the inherent challenges that women face, the progress that has been made by women in leadership in recent decades is impressive. According to recent statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the proportion of women in higher education fields as of 2017 are as follows: 78% Education, 76% Health & Welfare, 64% Social Sciences, 63% Humanities, 54% Business and Law, 50% Science & Math, 24% Engineering and 19% IT & Communications. The World Bank shows that as of 2017, women accounted for 49% of the global workforce.4
Women inevitably will continue to rise in roles of responsibility and power. The reason is simple: women are major consumers and therefore drive the global economy. A report looking at female emerging markets by Ernst & Young pointed out that by 2028, 75% of the disposable income worldwide will be controlled by women.5 With women as the primary consumers for everyday products and services (fashion, home, health, education) female preferences will dictate the marketplace, and women executive and entrepreneurs will have the sensitivity and know-how to lead. In fact, start-ups founded by women since 2018 to date, have yielded higher benefits with an average 10% higher income than those founded by men.6
What is called “she power” by entrepreneurs in the Digital Age, refers to leadership traits attributed more often to women. It embodies the ability to combine, adapt and learn. In other words, women leaders tend to be able to adapt quickly to changing environments and to face hardships with optimism and perseverance. According to a survey published by the Boston Consulting Group in 2018, women are more dependent on data and information analysis as well as being more willing to spend time on research.7
This trend coincides with the decreasing “confidence gap,” where women questioned their own competence. Since female millennials are now a force to be reckoned with in the global workplace, confidence has increased as well as the recognition of women’s capacity for strategic insight and vision. According to Ms. Helgesen, “As growing confidence based on demonstrated competence has increased women’s determination to reach their full potential, so has greater solidarity among them. This is one of the most dramatic shifts that has taken place over the past 30 years. Increasing solidarity among women, a growing role for male allies, and vastly improved organizational engagement have combined to create an infrastructure of support for women almost entirely missing in previous decades.”8
As women continue to expand into leadership roles worldwide, initiatives that were once considered tokens to showcase a company’s commitment to women’s advancement have now become integral parts of many companies’ talent acquisition strategy. Global organizations look for leaders who can combine decision-making with relationship-nurturing, collaborative thinking and direct communications—qualities found often in women. And, as women come into positions of power, they are actively giving a hand to the new generations coming up through the ranks.
Some interesting trivia about women of wealth from Forbes: China had 45 self-made women billionaires in 2022, down from 57 in 2021. The U.S. had 24 self-made women billionaires in 2022. India’s richest self-made billionaire is Falguni Nayar whose fashion retailer Nykaa went public in November of 2022. Singer and entrepreneur Rihanna is Barbados’ first billionaire.9
One major change in workplace attitudes may be attributed to the pandemic. For some time, as workers were forced to stay home, the distance between those who worked outside of the home and those who worked within the home, closed. Women who worked from home used to be in the majority, but the pandemic shifted the numbers drastically. Companies that were able to be flexible and support working from home (like Nikken did globally) managed to survive and even thrive. Traditionally, women have always dominated in direct selling and network marketing—and the pandemic supported what women have been doing all along: being productive while working from home.
Let’s celebrate together on International Women’s Day on March 8 and honor all the women in our lives!
1,8 https://www.strategy-business.com/article/The-evolution-of-womens-leadership. (2020 article)
Building Relationships is Key to Good Health and Quality of Life
Whether we tend to be introverted or extroverted, our health, happiness and even longevity, may depend largely on our relationships. From the moment of birth, we have to interact with other people, and how we do so can impact our wellness lifestyle for the extent of our lifetime.
Relationships come in many forms—co-workers, family, inner circle of friends, wider reach of friends, acquaintances, teams both in sports and entrepreneurial endeavors, pets, co- volunteers, and so on. Each type of relationship can improve our quality of life if we approach it in a mindful way.
How relationships work often mirror the theories behind the psychology of team building. Relationships work best when the people involved have their basic and deeper needs fulfilled, just as team members function best when each person’s professional needs are fulfilled.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs include physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem and self-actualization.1 Depending on the type of relationship, fulfilling some or all of these needs is key to forming, developing and keeping positive connections. For example, a parent-child relationship would require the parent to work with the child to fulfill the entire hierarchy, whereas a team leader at a job or athletic group would focus more on belongingness, esteem and self-actualization. Whether the relationship is hierarchical or between peers, the key is for both parties to work in tandem for it to be mutually beneficial.
In addition to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, relationships may also depend on Clark’s four stages of psychological safety, which are inclusion, learner, contributor and challenger.2
1) Inclusion safety is when people feel wanted and that they matter.
2) Learner safety is when it’s okay to ask questions and to make mistakes without negative repercussions.
3) Contributor safety is when people can make a difference with their particular set of skills, so they actively participate.
4) Challenger safety is when people are allowed to disagree without fear of reprisal.
Clark’s stages of psychological safety apply to the work environment, but even in friendship or familial relationships, they can make the difference between a close loving connection vs. an adversarial or tense association. By creating a work environment or entrepreneurial team where each member feels secure enough to act true to themselves, we can lift invisible barriers and empower colleagues to experiment and reach their full potential. By the same token, children, relatives and friends who feel empowered to ask questions, make mistakes, contribute differing opinions and know they’ll be loved no matter what, naturally develop into Humans Being More.
What if a professional or personal relationship runs into obstacles that manifest in problems or dissent? A handy way to determine why the relationship is not flowing smoothly is Beckhard’s GRPI Model. This diagnostic tool developed by organizational theorist Dick Beckhard is based on goals, roles, processes and interpersonal relationships.3 When issues arise, the three questions to ask are:
1)Are goals clearly defined and is everyone committed to finishing them?
2)Is each member’s role and responsibilities clear in every aspect of a project?
3)Does everyone involved understand the processes involved through completion?
4)Are team members communicating with each other in a mutually agreeable and trusting way?
Although Beckhard’s model was created for a work environment, it certainly works on a personal level as well. Friends and family need to be committed to their relationships, clear in what their roles are and honestly communicating with each for their connections to be strengthened and lasting.
In a nutshell, good relationships matter a great deal. Proven links include lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy and a stronger immune system. We can also recover more quickly from illness and even live longer, more productive lives when we develop ongoing solid relationships.4 It’s always the perfect time to reach out from your heart to a long-lost friend, a geographically distant relative or a professional mentor from years long gone!
1, 2, 3 https://teambuilding.com/blog/team-building-psychology#:~:text=Team%20building%20psychology%20is%20a,work%20environment%20where%20everyone%20thrives.