Evening Classes Improve Quality of Life
Did you know that taking evening classes can improve the quality of your life — regardless of the subject matter? Researchers at Oxford University found that people who took continuing education classes reported improved mental and physical health, as well as more satisfaction with their lives.
The participants took singing, crafting and creative writing classes. They sited benefits like increased self-confidence, a greater feeling of control over their lives and more willingness to take on new challenges. The classes also broadened their networks and boosted their sense of belonging.
The people who took singing classes built relationships more quickly than those who took up crafting. This reinforces earlier research that concluded that singing has an ice-breaker effect. The researchers also believe that such creative endeavors lead to happy and healthy communities.
How Committed Are You To Change
You’re not happy in your job. You want to go back to school. You have an idea for a business. But you’ve made no progress toward the change you believe you want. The question: are you really committed?
Test the sincerity of your commitment with a few simple questions. Is this change something you really want, or something you think you should do? Is the need coming from within or have others planted the notion in your head? Do all of your conversations – the ones you think and the ones you articulate – match your goals? Or do you find yourself hemming and hawing over the amount of work it will take? Is your stated goal in alignment with your true thoughts, feelings and beliefs? Or are you struggling in one or more of those areas?
If your head and heart are out of sync, the tiniest challenge, the slightest resistance, will stop you in your tracks. To be truly committed and move forward successfully, align your thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
The Trouble With Labels
Labels are an intrinsic part of how humans make sense of the world. Reducing things to categories falsely convinces us that we understand our unknowable universe. Labels are and have always been the great separator. At work and out in the world, labels are often used to make uneducated snap judgments. Communication laced with labels influences the way we view things that we actually know little about.
Now, more than ever, it is important to avoid taking the easy way out by accepting labels as truth. Start by noticing how you use labels to describe. Do you make sweeping generalizations to explain complex issues? Do you accept without question labels used by people you respect? Once you become more aware of how labels shape perception, use your brain’s enormous capacity to look beneath the seemingly similar. This will open your mind to understanding the history and triggers on both sides of an issue.
Like snowflakes, every person and every situation is unique. We have within us the ability to treat them that way.