Awareness

Apple Music Joins Music Industry’s Blackout Tuesday Awareness Campaign

Apple Music has cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule for Blackout Tuesday and is suggesting that listeners tune in to a radio stream celebrating the best in black music.

Blackout Tuesday is a campaign organized by the music industry to support Black Lives Matter after Minneapolis citizen George Floyd was killed by police in the course of his arrest.

On launching ‌Apple Music‌, many users on Mac and iOS devices are today being met with a message replacing the usual For You, Browse, and Radio sections, along with a Listen Together button that links to the aforementioned station.

In steadfast support of the Black voices that define music, creativity, and culture, we use ours. This moment calls upon us all to speak and act against racism and injustice of all kinds. We stand in solidarity with Black communities everywhere. #TheShowMustBePaused
#BlackLivesMatter

Otherwise, the ‌Apple Music‌ service is operating as usual. Users are still able to access their music library and search the ‌Apple Music‌ catalog.

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Following the unrest in numerous U.S. cities after last week’s killing of George Floyd, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Sunday addressed the pain that many are feeling and urged others to commit “to creating a better, more just world for everyone.”

CHAMPIONING ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

This framed quote in Alix MacDonald’s office reminds her and her clients that interpersonal violence affects us all, no matter what form it takes, and support for its victims and survivors is imperative.

WellCat Safe Place recognizes its 10th anniversary this year—marking a decade of campus support for victims and survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. As its advocate administrator, MacDonald is a relentless champion to ensure victims and survivors receive the aid they need, while also raising campus awareness about the dynamics and prevention of interpersonal violence.

“The way this work is valued at Chico State, we are the best in the system in terms of caring for and treating people with respect and dignity,” she said.

Since its founding a decade ago, Safe Place has provided confidential services to thousands of students, faculty, and staff. Today, it helps hundreds of individuals each year, offering information and a listening ear to those in crisis; accompanying visits to the hospital, law enforcement interviews, and Title IX meetings; helping obtain restraining orders or creating safety plans; and aiding in academic, scheduling, and housing accommodations for those who feel unsafe on campus or in the classroom due to interpersonal violence.

“Everything we do in this work is optional for everyone else,” MacDonald said. “We’re the only person sitting at that table who doesn’t have to be there. It’s a constant battle to be taken seriously, to feel your job is more than holding someone’s hand.”

With a genuine effusive kindness and magnetic warmth, she leads a small team of two staff and five students, and takes an active role in every service Safe Place offers. She wants their clients to not just feel safe and supported but to know the University is committed to their success.

There is no better outcome, MacDonald said, than watching student survivors of trauma persist with their education and achieve their degree.

“They make it. They are courageous. They are smart. They are resilient,” she said. “To see this work is truly valuable in someone’s life and is propelling them forward is so incredibly rewarding.”

Helping others discover their resilience is a personal passion for MacDonald, who graduated from University of South Indiana in 2016 with a double major in psychology and gender studies. After working in domestic violence and rape crisis intervention, she realized higher education might be her calling.

She had never heard of Chico State—or even been west of Indiana—but she came to visit and fell in love with what she felt was a Midwestern vibe. She was hired in October 2017.

“On a personal level, it completely changed my life,” she said, noting that she soon found herself engaged on campus in environmental work, diversity issues, and intersectional opportunities like never before.

In the last three years, MacDonald has increased Safe Place’s services by more than 284%, tripled staffing, and secured a new location in the Student Services Center to ensure easy access to crisis intervention, prevention education, and other resources. With a passion for holistic wellness, her big dreams for the future include a focus on intersectional trauma and bystander intervention.

Nationwide, it is estimated that 1 in 5 females and 1 in 16 males experience sexual assault while in college, and over 90 percent of victims do not report their assault to law enforcement. Additionally, nearly half of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors from their partners.

Wanting to get a clearer picture of how those numbers translate locally, she helped lead the 2018 Chico Speaks survey, which affirmed those who report experiencing sexual violence are not alone at Chico State. She also launched several new programs, including participation in the national Clothesline Project, where shirts are decorated by or in honor of those who have experienced violence, and Bro Talks, a conversation series with male-identified students about their role in preventing dating violence and sexual assault.

MacDonald has also been forming strong partnerships with Gender and Sexuality Equity Coalition and the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, in hopes of reaching student populations who historically have not felt comfortable accessing such services. Advocacy work is most often done by white women, she said, and she wants to ensure everyone feels welcome and supported by Safe Place.

“How can I make services accessible to people who look like me or don’t look like me or who don’t share my same perspective?” she said.

Title IX Coordinator Dylan Saake has worked closely with MacDonald since her arrival, as their work often intersects while he investigates cases in which her clients may be victims, and said he values her as a colleague. While they have different perspectives and at times can be at odds with one another, they share a mutual respect and a goal to see the end of interpersonal violence.

“She wants us to be better as an office and as people working with people of interpersonal violence,” he said. “She gracefully points out things we can do better and in ways that make us want to be better.”

While working together on the Chico Speaks survey, MacDonald was one champion who took the resulting data and identified potential actions that could come from it, Saake said. He admires how she approaches her advocacy not just on behalf of individuals but also the way society and institutions address issues of interpersonal violence.

“She wants [Safe Place] to truly be available and serve as many people as possible, as many genders, as many groups on campus,” he said. “She wants to get everyone involved in the work and believe they have a role.”

Ultimately, MacDonald’s vision is for Safe Place and the WellCat Counseling Center to be a unified center that takes over the fourth floor of the Student Services Building. She’d like to hire another advocate and a specialty therapist for trauma. And she hopes to help launch Wildcats Thrive, a new, collaborative initiative that aims to cultivate a campuswide culture of holistic well-being by addressing all aspects, from emotional and physical to financial and intellectual to relationship and vocational. She envisions Safe Place will have a lot to contribute.

“In the grand scheme of our University and its mission, we are so small,” she said. “But I’ve always been a really big-picture thinker. Instead of looking at a tree, I look at a whole forest. And with Wildcats Thrive, I know that will trickle into the students that I’m serving.”

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Three years after starting, MacDonald finally feels like her head is above water. She’s no longer drowning in her work—or the emotion that accompanies it. Admittedly, she said, advocates are often working alone as they help people through horrific experiences of assault, stalking, and trauma.

“Doing trauma work in isolation is a dangerous thing,” she said. “This is one of the high risks—to experience vicarious trauma and have high burnout.”

Just as she encourages self-care in her clients, she works diligently to practice it herself. She finds a lot of healing in cooking, gardening, and walking in nature.

“And I talk to someone that I love every single day,” she said, adding that she also has a rescue dog, Nora, whose unconditional love and vibrancy bring unbridled joy to her own life.

“I try to remind myself that yes, [violence] is happening all around us, but it’s not all that is happening,” she said. “There are still good people, and good men.”

Despite the darkness she often encounters, in supporting clients through violence, she is still filled with hope. By addressing the root of trauma and prevention, she thinks rates will gradually go down.

“Hurt people hurt people,” she said. “We need to put interventions in place so that it happens less and eventually never.”

“I believe in progress, and I believe it changes people’s lives in how they make decisions,” she added. “I have to have hope. If we have the brainpower and the willpower, we have the ability to change, and I think we do.”

MOTHER DEFENDS SHARING PHOTOS OF HER STILLBORN BABY AFTER RECEIVING VILE COMMENTS ONLINE

A mum has hit back at people who criticised her for sharing photos of her stillborn son online.

Zariah Jackson, 17, from Florida, gave birth to her son Jeremiah Kai on March 14 but found out shortly after his birth, “when it was silent,” that he was stillborn.

Heartbroken and devastated, the young mother shared photos of herself and her son on social media.\

The photos show Jackson holding Jeremiah in the hospital shortly after his birth as well as photos of the newborn in his purple casket.

According to Jackson, who spoke to the Mirror Online, she wanted to “share my pictures and my story to raise awareness of stillbirth.”

In a post on her Instagram, Jackson revealed that Jeremiah was stillborn as a result of gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall where the baby’s intestines are outside the body.

But after posting the emotional photos, Jackson received hateful messages attacking her for sharing pictures of her baby.

Responding to the horrible comments, Jackson posted a scathing response on social media to anyone criticising her for showing off her son.

She wrote: “My baby had every right to be shown off by his mother just like a baby who was living.

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“I shared my story not for you all miserable negative a** folk to get on my sh*t but to simply show you how God will give you something in life that’s gonna make you or break you.”

According to Jackson’s post, the lesson she learned was to “appreciate what you have while you have it because you never know when it’s going to be taken.”

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In addition to her post defending her son’s pictures, the new mum has also been outspoken on social media about advocating for pregnancy and infant loss awareness.

And despite the abuse, Jackson told the Mirror that she is glad she shared the photos of Jeremiah, as it has helped her cope and connect with other mums who have lost their babies.

“It brought on a lot of negativity but it helped me knowing I wasn’t the only mother with no baby,” she said.

 

 

Melania Trump to star in U.S. coronavirus awareness ads

LOS ANGELES: First lady Melania Trump will urge Americans to wash their hands and keep their distance from one another to fight coronavirus in a new TV ad campaign produced with major U.S. broadcast networks, the White House said on Wednesday. ABC, CBS, NBC and other networks will air the public service announcements, which will also include other Trump administration officials and “communicate the most important ways Americans can protect themselves and those most at risk,” the White House said in a statement. Nickleodon will create a separate campaign for children. The air time will be donated by media networks, the White House said. Trump, a former fashion model, has avoided the public arena more than many first ladies. Her signature initiative has been a campaign called Be Best, which focuses on the safety and well-being of children. All the ads will direct audiences to coronavirus.gov, a website containing the latest information about the outbreak.

The announcement comes as the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 rose to at least 146, with the number of infections closing in on 8,000 as millions of Americans stayed home instead going to work or school and President Donald Trump said hospital ships would be deployed to make up for an anticipated shortage of hospital beds.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized for Gallbladder Treatment

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The Supreme Court said she expected to participate in Wednesday’s oral arguments by telephone from the hospital.

WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized for treatment of a gallbladder condition, the Supreme Court announced on Tuesday. She had participated in oral arguments held by conference call on Tuesday morning, and the court said she planned to take part in Wednesday’s arguments by telephone from the hospital.

The court said Justice Ginsburg was treated for acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “Following oral arguments on Monday,” a statement from the court said, “the justice underwent outpatient tests at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., that confirmed she was suffering from a gallstone that had migrated to her cystic duct, blocking it and causing an infection.”

The treatment did not involve surgery, the statement said without elaboration. Gallstones can sometimes be removed through a scope passed down the digestive tract. If the blockage has caused an infection, it may be treated with antibiotics.

Gallstones are more common in women than in men, and are more likely to form in people over 40. The most common type are made mostly of cholesterol.

When a stone blocks a duct, it causes pain and sometimes nausea and vomiting. If there is an infection, there may be fever.

The statement said Justice Ginsburg was resting comfortably and “expects to stay in the hospital for a day or two.”

Justice Ginsburg, 87, has had a series of recent health scares. Last summer, she underwent three weeks of radiation treatment for a malignant tumor on her pancreas. “The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” the court said in a statement at the time.

That was Justice Ginsburg’s fourth brush with cancer, following surgery in 2018 to remove two malignant nodules from her left lung, surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009 and treatment for colon cancer in 1999.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Justice Ginsburg had maintained a remarkably busy schedule, often making public appearances at least twice a week.

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The court stopped hearing arguments in its courtroom in early March in light of health concerns, postponing arguments in about 20 cases. The court started hearing two weeks of arguments by conference call on Monday, providing the public with live audio for the first time. At arguments on Monday and Tuesday, Justice Ginsburg’s questions were characteristically crisp and cogent.

Justice Ginsburg is the senior member of the court’s four-member liberal wing. She has repeatedly vowed to stay on the court as long as her health holds and she stays mentally sharp.

President Trump has appointed two members of the Supreme Court, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. The last president to appoint more than two justices in his first term was Richard M. Nixon, who put four on the court from 1969 to 1972. Those appointments spelled the end of the liberal court that had been led by Chief Justice Earl Warren and created a conservative majority that remains to this day.

The current court is closely divided, with five Republican appointees and four Democratic ones. A third Trump appointee would not only make the balance more lopsided but would also almost certainly move the court’s ideological center to the right.

Justice Ginsburg was named to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She was the first Democratic appointee since 1967, when President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall.

During the Obama administration, some liberals urged Justice Ginsburg to step down so that President Barack Obama could name her successor. She rejected the advice.

“I think it’s going to be another Democratic president,” Justice Ginsburg told The Washington Post in 2013. “The Democrats do fine in presidential elections; their problem is they can’t get out the vote in the midterm elections.”

Mr. Trump, whose election proved her wrong, has been critical of Justice Ginsburg, saying in 2016 that “her mind is shot” and suggesting that she resign. His sharp words came after Justice Ginsburg criticized Mr. Trump in a series of interviews. She later said she had made a mistake in publicly commenting on a candidate and promised to be more “circumspect” in the future.

More recently, he urged Justices Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor to recuse themselves in all cases involving him.

The ‘boogeyman’ of pediatrics: What is Kawasaki disease and is it linked to the coronavirus?

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Symptoms of a rare inflammatory condition have been identified in at least 15 children in New York City hospitals, alarming pediatricians across the country and raising concerns about a possible link to the coronavirus.

The patients exhibited symptoms typically seen in Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome, including a persistent fever, according to the city’s health department.

The children were between 2 and 15 years old and were identified between April 29 and May 3. While all the patients had a fever, more than half of them reported a rash, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

In an alert issued to doctors, the NYC health department said less than half of the patients exhibited respiratory symptoms. Four of the cases tested positive for COVID-19, while 11 tested negative.

No deaths have been reported, but many of the patients required blood pressure support and five of them required mechanical ventilation, the city’s health department said.

 

Both Kawasaki disease and COVID-19 are illusive conditions that doctors are still studying. Some experts doubt there’s a link between the two while others don’t believe the mysterious symptoms belong to Kawasaki at all.

What is Kawasaki disease?

“Kawasaki disease is one of the great mysteries in pediatrics,” said Dr. Frank Esper, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “It’s something we’ve been dealing with for decades.”

Symptoms include a fever of at least 101 degrees that lasts for five days or more, a rash and swollen glands in the neck, according to Britain’s National Health Service. Esper says that it predominately affects children between the ages of 2 and 6, tends to run during “mini-epidemics,” and is more likely to happen in the winter than the summer.

 

While doctors know how to treat Kawasaki disease, they still don’t know what causes it or why some people get it. Esper says “a cemetery of different reports” have hypothesized the disease is caused by viruses while others say people may be genetically predisposed.

“Kawasaki disease is the boogeyman to pediatricians,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult to diagnose. Even with the most astute clinicians, we have a hard time figuring out who has it and who doesn’t.”

 

Esper says the main indicator of the disease can be found in the heart. Coronary artery aneurysm, or a dilation of the coronary arteries, is what distinguishes Kawasaki from any other inflammatory disease.

First cases with COVID-19 concern appeared in Europe

The condition was first reported by doctors in Britain, Italy and Spain in late April. Britain’s Paediatric Intensive Care Society issued an alert noting there had been an increase in the number of children with “a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care” across the country.

 

The group said there was “growing concern” that either a COVID-19 related syndrome was emerging in children or that a different, unidentified disease might be responsible.

Spain’s Association of Pediatrics recently made a similar warning, telling doctors that in recent weeks, there had been a number of school-age children suffering from “an unusual picture of abdominal pain, accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms” that could lead within hours to shock, low blood pressure and heart problems.

In Italy, Dr. Angelo Ravelli of Gaslini Hospital and a member of the Italian Paediatricians’ Society, sent a note to 10,000 colleagues raising his concerns. He and his team reported an unusual increase in the number of patients with Kawasaki disease in regions of Italy hit hard by the pandemic, noting some children had COVID-19 or had contacts with confirmed virus cases.

Some possible cases have also been reported in France and Belgium.

Is Kawasaki disease related to the coronavirus?

Experts say it’s too early to tell if the disease can be associated with COVID-19.

“We’ve never seen the coronavirus before but we’ve been dealing with Kawasaki disease for decades,” Esper said.

He also said that experts aren’t even sure if the mystery disease popping up in parts of Europe and the U.S. can be definitively identified as Kawasaki disease. So far, he hasn’t seen any the reports mention coronary artery dilation, which would be a major indication.

“I will caution that there are many things that look similar to Kawasaki disease,” Esper said. “It could be that what they’re calling Kawasaki is not Kawasaki but an inflammatory disease caused by the coronavirus.”

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Dr. Sunil Sood, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Northwell Health’s Southside Hospital and Cohen Children’s Medical Center, doesn’t believe the condition is Kawasaki.

Sood says patients he’s treated have been sicker, with inflammatory markers 10 to 100 times higher than average child with Kawasaki disease.

Although the New York City Health Department only mentioned 15 cases in their alert, Sood says he’s had at least 20 cases between the two hospitals where he works. Only three of his cases tested positive for coronavirus with the regular PCR test, but the rest tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

He estimates his patients may have had the virus, even unknowingly, four weeks before developing the inflammatory condition.

“The immune system can overreact in a delayed timeline many weeks later,” Sood said. “We know this from other infectious diseases.”

He advises parents and pediatricians to look out for a fever as well as a combination of any of these symptoms: Abdominal pain, confusion, diarrhea, red eyes, rash, swollen hands and feet, difficulty breathing and passing out. Sometimes the abdominal pain can be so severe that it mimics appendicitis.

Sood urges parents to bring their children to the hospital if they develop any symptoms because it could lead to further heart complications, even acute heart failure.

“Initially, I thought it was Kawasaki … but it’s going beyond those symptoms,” he said. “Pediatricians and parents should be aware that there’s an outbreak of this right now.”

While there’s a spike in these cases, Sood says that children are still among the least affected group by the coronavirus. Data from more than 75,000 cases in China showed they comprised 2.4% of all confirmed cases and mostly suffered only mild symptoms.

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The Public’s Awareness Of and Concerns About Coronavirus

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On December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, China the first cases of a new Coronavirus were reported. Over the span of two months, the virus – also known as COVID-19 to public health experts – has spread beyond Wuhan, across China, and around the world. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, only the 6th declaration of its kind in WHO history. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared it a public health emergency for the United States on January 31, 2020.

The February KFF Health Tracking Poll gauged the public’s knowledge of and concerns about the Coronavirus in addition to exploring public opinion on how the outbreak is being addressed by the U.S. government.

THE PUBLIC IS HEARING A LOT ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS

Our poll indicates that the Coronavirus outbreak is on the public’s radar, with an overwhelming majority saying they have heard or read at least “a little” about the outbreak, and over half (56%) saying they have heard or read “a lot.” In addition, nearly nine in ten (87%) are aware that there have been cases of Coronavirus diagnosed in the U.S. As of February 25, there have been 35 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the United States, and no confirmed deaths. Track the virus’ spread on the KFF COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker.

Across demographic groups, substantial shares report having heard “a lot” about the Coronavirus, including large shares across gender, education levels, and health status. Adults ages 50 and older are somewhat more likely than younger adults to have heard or read “a lot” about the outbreak compared to other age groups, with about half of adults under age 50 saying they have heard or read “a lot,” and this share rising to nearly two-thirds among adults ages 50 and older. In addition, roughly half of adults with less than a 4-year college degree say they’ve heard “a lot”, and this share rises to 66% among those with a college degree or higher. These patterns by age and education mirror findings from previous surveys showing that older adults and those with higher levels of education tend to pay closer attention to health news. See Appendix 1 for more information on demographic differences.

THE PUBLIC IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE HEALTH AND ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS

Large shares of the public report feeling concerned about various possible effects of the Coronavirus. At the time the survey was fielded (February 13-18, prior to the U.S. stock market decline on February 24), a majority (57%) said they were very or somewhat concerned that the Coronavirus would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. A similar share (55%) expressed concern that there will be a widespread outbreak of the Coronavirus in the U.S.

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On a personal level, a smaller, yet sizeable share (43%) is concerned that they or someone in their family will get sick from the Coronavirus. Those in fair or poor health are more likely to say they are very or somewhat concerned that they or a family member will contract the Coronavirus compared to those who report having an excellent, very good, or good health status (60% vs. 39% respectively). Furthermore, women, people with lower levels of education as well as adults ages 65+ are more likely to be concerned about this possibility than their counterparts

MAJORITIES ACROSS PARTISANS SAY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS DOING ENOUGH IN THEIR CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE, AND ONE IN FIVE REPORT TAKING PERSONAL ACTIONS

When it comes to the government’s response, seven in ten (69%) say they think U.S. government officials are “doing enough” to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, including large majorities across partisans. Republicans are most likely to say the U.S. government officials are doing enough (80%), followed by independents (70%) and Democrats (60%).

Despite concerns about the possible effects of Coronavirus on the nation as a whole and on individuals and their families, as of the time of this poll, few say that they have taken personal preventive actions due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Roughly one in ten say they have cancelled or changed their travel plans (13%), or have bought or worn a protective mask due to the Coronavirus outbreak (9%). About two in ten overall (19%) say that they have taken either one of these actions.

 

What Is Self-Awareness, and How Do You Get It?

Self-awareness involves monitoring our stress, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It is important, because it’s a major mechanism influencing personal development. After spending the last year researching and writing my new book, Outsmart Your Smartphone: Conscious Tech Habits for Finding Happiness, Balance, and Connection IRL, I’ve learned that our lives can get out-of-control pretty fast if we are unaware of how and under what circumstances our emotional nature is triggered (for example, we might not realize how much social media upset us).

How do we increase self-awareness?

Self-awareness requires self-examination (take this well-being quiz to become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses regarding your well-being). Be aware, though, that an honest, non-judgmental self-analysis isn’t easy. We tend to berate ourselves for our failings or fantasize about how great we are, when neither is actually the case. We all have a unique mix of “good” and “bad” traits, but we are largely unaware of them. In order to self-reflect objectively, we need to quiet our minds and open our hearts, forgiving ourselves for our imperfections and offering ourselves kudos, but only where we deserve them.

Increasing self-awareness of false attitudes or inappropriate behaviors requires peace of mind, time, attention and focus. Knowing ahead of time that we can indeed change in positive ways through deeper self-awareness makes it worth working on those personal qualities we most value. But first we must look within ourselves through self-examination to see what’s there, which is often less obvious than we think.

Why does self-awareness matter?

High self-awareness is a solid predictor of good success in life, perhaps because a self-aware person knows when an opportunity is a good fit for them and how to make an appropriate enterprise work well. Quite frankly, most of us are running on “autopilot,” hardly aware of why we succeed or fail, or why we behave as we do. Our minds are so busy with daily chatter that we usually only self-reflect when something goes awfully wrong.

Perhaps we stumble through a job interview or academic test we thought we were well prepared for, or we handle something in our lives awkwardly that we assumed we were good at, or perhaps we lose a romantic partner over some misunderstanding where feelings got hurt.

Our response in challenging situations is often to get defensive, make excuses, or blame another person, because we don’t want to see our own part in the disaster. If we can observe ourselves during such incidents, it will be a good start to self-awareness.

How do we build self-awareness? 

Here are some suggestions to start building self-awareness:

1. Walking, especially in the quiet of nature, can be useful in building self-awareness.

The mind tends to wander along with our feet, so with a little conscious nudging (and walking), we can examine our part in something that is happening in our lives now — at work, in social situations, in our relationships, or within the family.

2. Practicing mindfulness can increase self-awareness.

Mindfulness is similar to self-awareness in that they both relate to consciously directing our thoughts inward in order to become more aware of our inner state of being, to observe our thoughts and beliefs, and to notice what triggers our emotions as they rise and fall. Mindfulness includes focused attention in the moment to whatever one is doing, and involves practices such as meditation or a quieting of the mind.

3. Becoming a good listener can increase self-awareness. 

“Getting out of ourselves” by focusing on another person is a good antidote to stop downward spirals of self-destructive thinking. By being open to someone else, we can learn to listen objectively, even lovingly, to what that person wants to or needs to share. This, in turn, helps teach us how to listen to our own inner dialogues and opinions objectively and lovingly as well.

4. Becoming more self-aware can be quite enlightening.

There is so much we don’t know about our inner thoughts and processes that the inward journey at times can be surprising. Sometimes certain phrases come out automatically to reveal attitudes or opinions that we don’t even realize we subscribe to, or even know where they came from. Over the years of being submerged in a family, a school, various jobs, and a social milieu, we absorb prevailing ideas from our environment, and some of these get buried in our subconscious, where they often don’t get examined until we inadvertently blurt them out, at times to our own embarrassment. This is one good reason why it behooves us to become more self-aware . . . to learn how to be ourselves, and to feel more confident that the ideas we are expressing are really our own.

5. Self-awareness can open your mind to new perspectives.

We each tend to have different perspectives on a variety of topics, but as we develop these perspectives, we get comfortable with them and have a preference for our own opinions. However, limited perspectives lead to limited thinking, so by being open to the views of others, we can expand our perspectives to be more universally inclusive. New ideas are refreshing and stimulating, opening our thinking in new and possibly promising directions. Open-mindedness is definitely a plus in being successful at dealing with life’s challenges and diverse situations.

6. Self-awareness is connected to self-esteem.

Very often the opinion we hold of ourselves is based on what others think, or more correctly, on what we think others think about us. If we were criticized often as children, we may develop a case of low self-esteem and sensitivity to rejection as a result. On the other hand, if we were praised as a “prince or princess,” we are likely to develop high self-esteem, whether deserved or not. So much of our beliefs are buried in the subconscious, where they can do irreparable harm if not examined and re-calibrated to more correctly reflect who we really are.

We owe it to ourselves to become more self-aware of the thoughts and beliefs within. The subconscious holds these ideas and beliefs to be true, so if not examined, we could become a mere sponge for the societal popular mindset and lose much of our uniqueness. Self-awareness can improve our self-esteem because we will know who we are and what we believe, which empowers us to move forward through life with a strong rudder to guide us along our chosen path.

7. Self-awareness can help you look at yourself objectively.

Humans tend to be critical beings, whether self-critical or hard on others, and sometimes both. By beating ourselves up, we serve no one and harm our well-being. And since no one is perfect, why should we expect ourselves to be? So learn to cut through the hype and become more objective, especially about yourself. Yes, there will always be areas where we can improve, but that won’t happen if we refuse to take the extra time to develop self-awareness.

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What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It)

Self-awareness seems to have become the latest management buzzword — and for good reason. Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We’re less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies.

As an organizational psychologist and executive coach, I’ve had a ringside seat to the power of leadership self-awareness for nearly 15 years. I’ve also seen how attainable this skill is. Yet, when I first began to delve into the research on self-awareness, I was surprised by the striking gap between the science and the practice of self-awareness. All things considered, we knew surprisingly little about improving this critical skill.

Four years ago, my team of researchers and I embarked on a large-scale scientific study of self-awareness. In 10 separate investigations with nearly 5,000 participants, we examined what self-awareness really is, why we need it, and how we can increase it. (We are currently writing up our results for submission to an academic journal.)

Our research revealed many surprising roadblocks, myths, and truths about what self-awareness is and what it takes to improve it. We’ve found that even though most people believe they are self-aware, self-awareness is a truly rare quality: We estimate that only 10%–15% of the people we studied actually fit the criteria. Three findings in particular stood out, and are helping us develop practical guidance for how leaders can learn to see themselves more clearly.

#1: There Are Two Types of Self-Awareness

For the last 50 years, researchers have used varying definitions of self-awareness. For example, some see it as the ability to monitor our inner world, whereas others label it as a temporary state of self-consciousness. Still others describe it as the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us.

So before we could focus on how to improve self-awareness, we needed to synthesize these findings and create an overarching definition.

Across the studies we examined, two broad categories of self-awareness kept emerging. The first, which we dubbed internal self-awareness, represents how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others. We’ve found that internal self-awareness is associated with higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness; it is negatively related to anxiety, stress, and depression.

The second category, external self-awareness, means understanding how other people view us, in terms of those same factors listed above. Our research shows that people who know how others see them are more skilled at showing empathy and taking others’ perspectives. For leaders who see themselves as their employees do, their employees tend to have a better relationship with them, feel more satisfied with them, and see them as more effective in general.

It’s easy to assume that being high on one type of awareness would mean being high on the other. But our research has found virtually no relationship between them. As a result, we identify four leadership archetypes, each with a different set of opportunities to improve:

When it comes to internal and external self-awareness, it’s tempting to value one over the other. But leaders must actively work on both seeing themselves clearly and getting feedback to understand how others see them. The highly self-aware people we interviewed were actively focused on balancing the scale.

Take Jeremiah, a marketing manager. Early in his career, he focused primarily on internal self-awareness — for example, deciding to leave his career in accounting to pursue his passion for marketing. But when he had the chance to get candid feedback during a company training, he realized that he wasn’t focused enough on how he was showing up. Jeremiah has since placed an equal importance on both types of self-awareness, which he believes has helped him reach a new level of success and fulfillment.

The bottom line is that self-awareness isn’t one truth. It’s a delicate balance of two distinct, even competing, viewpoints. (If you’re interested in learning where you stand in each category, a free shortened version of our multi-rater self-awareness assessment is available here.)

#2: Experience and Power Hinder Self-Awareness

Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that people do not always learn from experience, that expertise does not help people root out false information, and that seeing ourselves as highly experienced can keep us from doing our homework, seeking disconfirming evidence, and questioning our assumptions.

And just as experience can lead to a false sense of confidence about our performance, it can also make us overconfident about our level of self-knowledge. For example, one study found that more-experienced managers were less accurate in assessing their leadership effectiveness compared with less experienced managers.

Similarly, the more power a leader holds, the more likely they are to overestimate their skills and abilities. One study of more than 3,600 leaders across a variety of roles and industries found that, relative to lower-level leaders, higher-level leaders more significantly overvalued their skills (compared with others’ perceptions). In fact, this pattern existed for 19 out of the 20 competencies the researchers measured, including emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, empathy, trustworthiness, and leadership performance.

Researchers have proposed two primary explanations for this phenomenon. First, by virtue of their level, senior leaders simply have fewer people above them who can provide candid feedback. Second, the more power a leader wields, the less comfortable people will be to give them constructive feedback, for fear it will hurt their careers. Business professor James O’Toole has added that, as one’s power grows, one’s willingness to listen shrinks, either because they think they know more than their employees or because seeking feedback will come at a cost.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. One analysis showed that the most successful leaders, as rated by 360-degree reviews of leadership effectiveness, counteract this tendency by seeking frequent critical feedback (from bosses, peers, employees, their board, and so on). They become more self-aware in the process and come to be seen as more effective by others.

Likewise, in our interviews, we found that people who improved their external self-awareness did so by seeking out feedback from loving critics — that is, people who have their best interests in mind and are willing to tell them the truth. To ensure they don’t overreact or overcorrect based on one person’s opinion, they also gut-check difficult or surprising feedback with others.

#3: Introspection Doesn’t Always Improve Self-Awareness

It is also widely assumed that introspection — examining the causes of our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors — improves self-awareness. After all, what better way to know ourselves than by reflecting on why we are the way we are?

Yet one of the most surprising findings of our research is that people who introspect are less self-aware and report worse job satisfaction and well-being. Other research has shown similar patterns.

The problem with introspection isn’t that it is categorically ineffective — it’s that most people are doing it incorrectly. To understand this, let’s look at arguably the most common introspective question: “Why?” We ask this when trying to understand our emotions (Why do I like employee A so much more than employee B?), or our behavior (Why did I fly off the handle with that employee?), or our attitudes (Why am I so against this deal?).

The problem with introspection isn’t that it is ineffective—it’s that most people are doing it incorrectly.

As it turns out, “why” is a surprisingly ineffective self-awareness question. Research has shown that we simply do not have access to many of the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and motives we’re searching for. And because so much is trapped outside of our conscious awareness, we tend to invent answers that feel true but are often wrong. For example, after an uncharacteristic outburst at an employee, a new manager may jump to the conclusion that it happened because she isn’t cut out for management, when the real reason was a bad case of low blood sugar.

Consequently, the problem with asking why isn’t just how wrong we are, but how confident we are that we are right. The human mind rarely operates in a rational fashion, and our judgments are seldom free from bias. We tend to pounce on whatever “insights” we find without questioning their validity or value, we ignore contradictory evidence, and we force our thoughts to conform to our initial explanations.

Another negative consequence of asking why — especially when trying to explain an undesired outcome — is that it invites unproductive negative thoughts. In our research, we’ve found that people who are very introspective are also more likely to get caught in ruminative patterns. For example, if an employee who receives a bad performance review asks Why did I get such a bad rating?, they’re likely to land on an explanation focused on their fears, shortcomings, or insecurities, rather than a rational assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. (For this reason, frequent self-analyzers are more depressed and anxious and experience poorer well-being.)

So if why isn’t the right introspective question, is there a better one? My research team scoured hundreds of pages of interview transcripts with highly self-aware people to see if they approached introspection differently. Indeed, there was a clear pattern: Although the word “why” appeared fewer than 150 times, the word “what” appeared more than 1,000 times.

Therefore, to increase productive self-insight and decrease unproductive rumination, we should ask what, not why. “What” questions help us stay objective, future-focused, and empowered to act on our new insights.

For example, consider Jose, an entertainment industry veteran we interviewed, who hated his job. Where many would have gotten stuck thinking “Why do I feel so terrible?,” he asked, “What are the situations that make me feel terrible, and what do they have in common?” He realized that he’d never be happy in that career, and it gave him the courage to pursue a new and far more fulfilling one in wealth management.

Similarly, Robin, a customer service leader who was new to her job, needed to understand a piece of negative feedback she’d gotten from an employee. Instead of asking “Why did you say this about me?,” Robin inquired, “What are the steps I need to take in the future to do a better job?” This helped them move to solutions rather than focusing on the unproductive patterns of the past.

Self-awareness isn’t one truth. It’s a delicate balance of two distinct, even competing, viewpoints.

A final case is Paul, who told us about learning that the business he’d recently purchased was no longer profitable. At first, all he could ask himself was “Why wasn’t I able to turn things around?” But he quickly realized that he didn’t have the time or energy to beat himself up — he had to figure out what to do next. He started asking, “What do I need to do to move forward in a way that minimizes the impact to our customers and employees?” He created a plan, and was able to find creative ways to do as much good for others as possible while winding down the business. When all that was over, he challenged himself to articulate what he learned from the experience — his answer both helped him avoid similar mistakes in the future and helped others learn from them, too.

These qualitative findings have been bolstered by others’ quantitative research. In one study, psychologists J. Gregory Hixon and William Swann gave a group of undergraduates negative feedback on a test of their “sociability, likability and interest­ingness.” Some were given time to think about why they were the kind of person they were, while others were asked to think about what kind of person they were. When the researchers had them evaluate the accuracy of the feedback, the “why” students spent their energy rationalizing and denying what they’d learned, and the “what” students were more open to this new information and how they might learn from it. Hixon and Swann’s rather bold conclusion was that “Thinking about why one is the way one is may be no better than not thinking about one’s self at all.”

All of this brings us to conclude: Leaders who focus on building both internal and external self-awareness, who seek honest feedback from loving critics, and who ask what instead of why can learn to see themselves more clearly — and reap the many rewards that increased self-knowledge delivers. And no matter how much progress we make, there’s always more to learn. That’s one of the things that makes the journey to self-awareness so exciting.

Wasted Food: U.S. Consumers’ Reported Awareness, Attitudes, and Behaviors

The U.S. wastes 31 to 40% of its post-harvest food supply, with a substantial portion of this waste occurring at the consumer level. Globally, interventions to address wasted food have proliferated, but efforts are in their infancy in the U.S. To inform these efforts and provide baseline data to track change, we performed a survey of U.S. consumer awareness, attitudes and behaviors related to wasted food. The survey was administered online to members of a nationally representative panel (N=1010), and post-survey weights were applied. The survey found widespread (self-reported) awareness of wasted food as an issue, efforts to reduce it, and knowledge about how to do so, plus moderately frequent performance of waste-reducing behaviors. Three-quarters of respondents said they discard less food than the average American. The leading motivations for waste reduction were saving money and setting an example for children, with environmental concerns ranked last. The most common reasons given for discarding food were concern about foodborne illness and a desire to eat only the freshest food. In some cases there were modest differences based on age, parental status, and income, but no differences were found by race, education, rural/urban residence or other demographic factors. Respondents recommended ways retailers and restaurants could help reduce waste. This is the first nationally representative consumer survey focused on wasted food in the U.S. It provides insight into U.S. consumers’ perceptions related to wasted food, and comparisons to existing literature. The findings suggest approaches including recognizing that many consumers perceive themselves as being already-knowledgeable and engaged, framing messages to focus on budgets, and modifying existing messages about food freshness and aesthetics. This research also suggests opportunities to shift retail and restaurant practice, and identifies critical research gaps.

Introduction

In the U.S., 31 to 40% of the U.S. post-harvest food supply goes to waste[,]. A substantial portion of this waste occurs at the consumer level, driven not only by consumer behaviors but also by practices at the processing, retail and restaurant levels and by broader social and economic factors[,]. This waste has immense consequences.

The lost nutritional value of post-harvest waste in the U.S. represents an estimated 1,249 calories per capita per day, with the greatest amount by weight coming from fruits and vegetables []. Waste impacts public, food industry and household budgets; food lost from harvest to consumer in 2010 cost $161.6 billion; losses at the consumer level averaged $371 per capita, or 9.2% of average food spending []. Addressing wasted food puts that food and/or money back into circulation, potentially contributing to improved nutrition and, among those with lower incomes, improved food security. More broadly, reducing waste could help offset the 60% increase in food the United Nations projects we will need from 2009 to 2050[]. Because wasting food means wasting all the food’s “embodied” social and environmental impacts, this loss contributes extensive water, air and soil contamination [] and harm to workers[]. Wasted food in North America/Oceania also accounts for an estimated 35% of freshwater consumption, 31% of cropland, and 30% of fertilizer usage[]; as well as 2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions[]; and 21% of post-recycling municipal solid waste[]. The avoidable use of limited resources and additional environmental impacts from wasted food contribute to the challenge of providing a sustainable and affordable food supply for the future.

While well-supported efforts to understand and address wasted food have proliferated around the world[], in the U.S. these efforts are nascent, piecemeal, and primarily entrepreneurial, though there are some federal and state interventions[,]. Intensive, multifaceted efforts supported by research can work; for example, following a range of activities, the U.K. achieved a 21% reduction in avoidable consumer food waste in five years[].

As prevention efforts ramp up in the U.S., there is a need for evidence to inform the approaches taken, as well as baseline data to assist in tracking progress. We performed a nationally representative consumer survey aimed at addressing research questions including:

  • How aware are Americans of wasted food generally, and of food they waste?

  • What attitudes shape their decisions about purchasing and discarding food?

  • What would motivate them to waste less?

  • To what extent do they perform behaviors known to increase or decrease waste?

  • What retail and restaurant industry actions to reduce consumer-level waste of food are supported by consumers?

Surveys in several countries have addressed these topics, but due to differences in culture and society, food system, infrastructure, policy, and geography, we cannot presume how these findings might translate to the U.S. context. This survey identifies points of similarity and difference with that work, and highlights areas in need of additional in-depth research.

We define “wasted food” per the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “reductions in edible food mass anywhere along the food chain.” [] (We prefer the term, “wasted food” to “food waste,” emphasizing that the item is essentially food rather than essentially waste.) For the purposes of the survey, in most cases, we used terms such as “discarding food” rather than “wasting food,” to reduce implied judgment and thus reduce bias in responses.

Materials and Methods

Survey Development

We designed a survey instrument to examine consumer awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to wasted food. To enable comparison, many of the questions were replicated from other surveys; in some cases the number of response options was reduced, or questions were edited for U.S. language usage or clarity []. Additional questions were added to expand upon topics of interest. The survey does not aim to quantify the amount of food consumers actually waste (surveys are inappropriate tools for measuring waste) but does ask qualitative questions about waste quantity. One section requests information about respondent performance of a set of behaviors we characterize as waste-promoting and waste reducing. We based these classifications on evidence summarized in literature from the U.K. and Australia [,,]. Most of the demographic information was gathered in advance from panel participants by the GFK Knowledgeworks firm. The survey was administered online, enabling randomization of response option order for questions with multiple options. The survey instrument was reviewed by more than 20 colleagues, including those engaged in research and communications on wasted food, and survey design experts from our network and the firm, GFK Knowledgeworks, which administered the survey. The firm prepared a user-friendly interface reflecting principles of online survey design. The questionnaire is provided in S1 File.

Survey Sampling and Implementation

GFK/Knowledgeworks maintains a nationally representative online panel with members randomly recruited using probability-based geographic criteria[]. A key benefit of this approach is that it “covers” 97% of U.S. households in sampling nomenclature, regardless of whether they have cell phones, landlines or neither. To improve representation in its panel, GFK oversamples census blocks with high concentrations of African American and Hispanic residents, and provides Internet access and devices to those lacking them. The firm collects extensive demographic and background data on participants, supporting its ability to create survey samples that are representative of the U.S. non-institutionalized population. For sample selection purposes, the firm applies an adjustment based on the updated national demographic distribution for nine demographic variables. Following survey administration, the firm also supplies a set of post-stratification weights for use in analysis, based on benchmark distributions of seven demographic variables. GFK runs a modest incentive program including raffles or sweepstakes for cash and prizes; this program encourages participation in general, and is not linked to specific surveys.

The survey was formally piloted for two days with a random sample of respondents, and further modifications were made. The survey was administered from April 16 to 20, 2014, to a nationally representative sample of 1,998 non-institutionalized adults ages 18 and above. Reminders were sent on day 3. The response rate was 51%, yielding a sample size of 1,010 respondents.

Analysis

Results were analyzed in Stata (version 13.1). We used chi-square tests of independence to test for associations with demographic variables, with statistical significance determined by p<0.05. Demographic variables reported here include gender, age (“older respondents” referring to those age 65 and above, and “younger respondents” referring to those under age 65”), parental status (“parents” referring to respondents with a child age 18 or under in the household), education (less than high school, high school, some college, or completed college), and household income quintiles (less than $29,999; $30,000 to $59,999; $60,000 to $84,999; $85,000 to $124,999; and $125,000 or more). Other demographic variables, such as household size and employment status, were not significantly associated with outcomes of interest reported here. In chi-square analyses, some categorical dependent variables were analyzed as binary variables so that results would be more readily interpretable. A future multivariate analysis will describe non-demographic predictors of awareness, attitudes and behaviors related to wasted food. Survey data may be found in S2 File.

Ethics Statement

This study was reviewed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Institutional Review Board (IRB), which determined it non-human subjects research. All subjects had previously consented to participate in GFK Knowledgeworks surveys. Due to the non-sensitive nature of the research and subject anonymity, the IRB determined there was not a need for additional consent procedures.

Results

Table 1 describes the characteristics of the unweighted sample of 1,010 respondents. Survey weights were applied to further improve the sample’s representativeness, and are used in all analyses. Table 2 displays results of the chi-square analyses.