27 November, 2008

Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health

Friendships are good for your health. During hardships, they are a source of comfort and strength. Learn how to find and nurture friendships and how to be a good friend.

It's the shoulder to lean on. The good advice. The unspoken comfort. The good times and shared laughter. Friendships offer all these benefits, and lots more. They boost your self-esteem, provide companionship and even help protect your health and mental well-being.
It's not always easy to form the close bonds of friendships, though. It may be especially hard to develop and keep up friendships when your life is hectic — work demands, family time, school. But friendships are important for both men and women. Take a minute to think about the friends in your life. Do you have close friends? Would you like to develop more friendships?
Learn why friendships are good for you and how you can bring more friends into your life.

Why friendships are so important

Good friends are good for your health. Talking with a friend over a cup of coffee, going to a ballgame together, chatting while your kids check out the playground, or hitting the links for a round of golf can offer simple but powerful ways to connect. The connections of friendship increase your sense of belonging, purpose and self-worth, promoting positive mental health.
Friendships can help you weather the trauma of a divorce, a job loss or the death of a loved one. Your friends may encourage you to change unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking. Or they may urge you to visit your doctor when you feel overly anxious, sad or hopeless. Friends can also share in your good times — a new baby, a new job, a new house.
They can celebrate the good times with you or offer comfort during the bad. Just knowing that friends are there for you can help you avoid unhealthy reactions to stressful situations.

Ways to actively seek out friendships

Some people benefit from large and diverse networks of friends, while others prefer a smaller circle of friends and acquaintances. You may have certain very close friends you rely on for deeply personal conversations, and more casual friendships for movies, a pickup game of basketball or backyard cookouts.
But many adults, especially men, find it hard to develop new friendships or keep up existing friendships. For one thing, time may be short, and friendships may take a back seat to your other priorities, such as long days on the job, tiling the kitchen floor or caring for aging parents. Or maybe you've moved to a new community and haven't yet found a way to meet people.
Developing friendships does take some work. But because friendships are so important to your overall sense of well-being, it's worth the time and effort.

Here are some ways you can develop new friendships:

* Get out with your pet. Seek out a popular dog park, make conversation with those who stop to talk on your daily neighborhood jaunts, or make pet play dates.

* Work out. Join a class through a local gym, senior center or community fitness facility. Or start a lunchtime walking group at work.

* Do lunch. Invite an acquaintance to join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

* Accept invites. When someone invites you to a party, dinner or social gathering, say yes. Resist the urge to say no just because you may not know everyone there or you may initially feel awkward. You can always leave if you get too uncomfortable.

* Volunteer. Hospitals, places of worship, museums, community centers and other organizations often need volunteers. You can form strong connections when you work with people who share a mutual interest.

* Join a cause. Get together with a group of people working toward a goal you believe in, such as an election or the cleanup of a natural area.

* Join a hobby group. Find a nearby group with similar interests in such things as auto racing, music, gardening, books or crafts.

* Go back to school. Take a college or community education course to meet people with similar interests.

* Hang out on your porch. Front porches used to be social centers for the neighborhood. If you don't have a front porch, you can still sit out front with a cup of coffee or a good book. Making yourself visible shows that you are friendly and open.

You may not become instant friends the first time you meet someone. But the seeds of lasting friendships can be sown with a friendly wave as you're mowing the lawn or bringing in the newspaper.

Keep friendships nurturing and healthy

Developing and maintaining healthy friendships involves give and take. Sometimes you're the one giving support to your friends, and other times you're on the receiving end. Letting friends know you care about them and appreciate them will help ensure that their support remains strong when times are rough. It's as important for you to be a good friend as it is to surround yourself with good friends.
Here are some ways to make sure your friendships remain healthy and supportive:

* Go easy. Don't overwhelm friends with phone calls or e-mails. Communication can be brief — five minutes on the phone or several sentences in an e-mail. Find out how late or early you can call and respect those boundaries. Do have a plan for crisis situations, when you may need to temporarily set aside such restrictions.

* Be aware of how others perceive you. Ask a friend for an honest evaluation of how you come across to others. Take note of any areas for improvement and work on them.

* Don't compete. Don't let a friendship turn into a hidden battle over who makes the most money, has the best clothes or the coolest car. Don't fight over other friends. This will only turn friendships into unhealthy rivalries.

* Adopt a healthy, realistic self-image. Both vanity and constant self-criticism can be turnoffs to potential friends.

* Resolve to improve yourself. Cultivating your own honesty, generosity and humility will enhance your self-esteem and make you a more compassionate and appealing friend.

* Avoid relentless complaining. Nonstop complaining is tiresome and draining on friendships. Talk to your friends about how you can change the parts of your life that you're unhappy about.

* Adopt a positive outlook. Try to find the humor in things. Laughter is infectious and appealing.
* Listen up. Make a point to ask what's going on in the lives of your friends. Don't talk about your own problems all the time. Friendships can't last when you're self-absorbed.
Friendships pay dividends

Friendships provide a sense of belonging and comfort. Friendships act as a buffer against life's hardships and help you develop resilience. They offer compassion and acceptance. And friendships can make you feel important and needed by giving you a chance to offer someone else comfort and companionship, too.
Relationships change as you age, but it's never too late to build new friendships or reconnect with old friends. The investment in your friends will pay off in better health and a brighter outlook for years to come.

20 November, 2008

First Iranian female Professor of Cardiac Surgery in Europe


Marjan Jahangiri graduated in medicine from University College Hospital , University of London , in 1988. Subsequently, she completed her senior house officer positions at University College London and affiliated hospitals. She completed her training in General Surgery in 1992 and embarked on a career in cardiothoracic surgery. She then became a registrar in cardiac surgery at the London Chest, St. Bartholomew's and the Royal Brompton Hospitals in London . She was awarded a research fellowship at the William Harvey Laboratories at St. Bartholomew's Hospital and Medical School . Having completed her research fellowship in 1996, she returned to the Royal Brompton Hospital as a senior registrar where she trained in the fields of adult and paediatric cardiac surgery. She was awarded a position in sub-specialist paediatric cardiac surgery as a senior resident at the Children's Hospital, Boston , Harvard. Upon her return from the United States in 1999, she obtained a position as national trainee in paediatric cardiac surgery at Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and Birmingham Children's Hospital for a period of two years. She was appointed as Consultant Cardiac Surgeon and Senior Lecturer at St. George's Hospital and Medical School in 2001. She was appointed Professor of Cardiac Surgery at University of London in 2007. Her major interests in the field of clinical cardiac surgery are: aortic surgery, especially major and major complex cases (Marfan's), aortic valve surgery, minimally invasive aortic valve surgery, beating heart surgery, adult congenital operations and surgery for the pregnant. She is also a specialist in aneurysms of the aorta. Marjan Jahangiri is the author of over 80 peer-reviewed articles and published abstracts. She is also a frequent speaker at national and international forums. At any one time, she has 5 —7 research fellows who work under her direct supervision. She is on the regular review board of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

Academic and Professional Degrees

1988 University College & Middlesex School of Medicine, London , (MB BS)
1992 Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England , (FRCS)
1999 Intercollegiate Specialty in Cardiothoracic Surgery, (FRCS CTh)
1999 Master of Surgery, University of London , (MS)


1985 Department of Pharmacology Scholarship
1985 Pharmacology Project: Prostaglandins and antihistamines (Merit)
1988 Final MB BS Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2 nd prize (Merit)
1989 J Epson memorial prize for clinical research (Distinction) University College & Middlesex Hospitals
1995 Ronald Edwards Medal for Best Paper at the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland .
British Medical Association
Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland European
Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons
Royal Society of Medicine


July 2007 — Present
Professor of Cardiac Surgery, St. George's Hospital , University of London

May 2001 — July 2007
Consultant Cardiac Surgeon and Reader in Cardiac Surgery, St. George's Hospital , London

1999 — 2001
Senior Registrar in Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Great Ormond Street Hospital / Birmingham Children's Hospital

1998 — 1999
Senior Resident, Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Children's Hospital, Harvard University , Boston

1997 — 1998
Senior Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery Royal Brompton Hospital

1996 — 1997
Research Registrar The William Harvey Laboratories, St. Bartholomew's Hospital

1992 — 1996
Specialist Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery Royal Brompton Hospital / St. Bartholomew's / London Chest Hospitals

Academic Summary

Total number of Papers 60
Total number of Abstracts 65
Book Chapters 4

14 November, 2008

“‘Sacrilege’ and the Nightmare of ‘Freedom’”

Most of us have esteemed religions and creeds; believing in a certain faith, prophet(s) and a holy book, praying to a unique God and struggling to behave in a way that please Him, or so we believe.
To followers of monotheistic religions including Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Islam, there is just one God supposed to be the owner and creator of the whole universe and its components. While believers might assign various names to this creator and possessor of everything, which is natural due to the cultural and linguistic differences, it does not make any difference in the nature, unity and almighty nature of the lord.
The thing is that we believe a single and unparalleled God has created us, assisted us and guided us through a firm path in his unity. Such a God who is able to design the construction of man’s mind with its endless capabilities, design the arrayed rotation of four seasons without any disorder and design millions of flower species with special smell for each of them would undoubtedly have no collaborator and needs no help to incarnate his privileges and powers; otherwise he would not be called as the “creator”.
We don’t attribute each of the natural resources and powers to a special god and don’t believe in a group of gods who co-work with each other to manage and maintain the incidents of the world. Such a belief is potentially unacceptable and rejected since all of us know well that the creation is not a nigh-patrol job to be shifted by reserve guardians.
Creation means making something appeared from “nothing”; endowing existence to something that was not existing before. By the exact means of the word, creation should be interpreted as an exclusive business which does not come from humankind.
Have you ever thought about the industrial or scientific inventions? What the innovators do? Do they create something new? Of course not! They just use previously existing materials, fix and mix them together, handle them in a different way and conclude a new production. I’ve to confess that their process of working is complicated too much; needing creativity and originality which most of ordinary people lack, but their work is not to produce things by using their own-made “materials” and “tools”.
Such a clear and realistic way of thinking is owed to the progressive doctrine of monotheistic religions that lead the mankind toward advanced scopes of thought. So you see, supposing numerous gods for the world and stating that rains, snows, days, nights, love, hate, childhood and adolescence are dominated by each of them indicates the shortsightedness and illiteracy of some of our ancestors in ancient civilizations.
But all of the illiteracy is not limited to those who believe in several gods. On the other hand, we have the irreligious who don’t assume any creator for the enormous cosmos which they are living in. They think that the world came into existence accidentally without any former plans or schedules and its inhabitants also “tumbled” on the earth suddenly rather than being “created”.
However, I am not going to criticize the viewpoints of non-believers, since, believing in nothing is somehow a type of belief itself.
In this brief debate, I have also nothing to bring to the table about with agonists, atheists, seculars or the others who believe that religion does not play any role in the daily life. Of course, they have not any concerns about “the other world”, not afraid of punishment as a consequence of their sins and unlawful acts, never minding about a superior observer who witnesses all of their deeds, rarely preventing themselves from “wining and dining”.
Sometimes, you may begrudge to them who live and commit liberally, having no restrictions, feeling responsible to nobody but to their desires and wishes, not bothering themselves to take part in prayers and rituals, apparently enjoying life.
This does not mean that a religious believer is deprived of material joys, but he tries to live a in a way pleasing to his God, meaning with little regard for superficial entertainment. He is confident that his exercises and mortifications would be granted luxuriously someday and somewhere.
All of the 6 billions living on the Earth have their particular religious, political and personal beliefs and nobody is allowed to convict and interrogate them because of “having” them. Honestly, the beliefs are mixed with the private territory of individuals and privacy is respectable, something that not to be threatened.
But the question is that, how these personal ideologies and beliefs sometimes violate the privacy of others. Others who have certain kinds of freedoms and rights like us.
It is an accepted fact everywhere in the world that “freedom of religion” must be respected. All of us are free to choose our beloved religions and act upon them without being offended by others.
The interesting matter is that some of the Western countries believe in this “freedom of religion” in a slightly distorted way; it has become “the freedom of no religion,” or even “the freedom of not being bothered by any religion.” They declare that people are free to having no religion and those who are irreligious are under absolute support and security.
If the purpose was the protection of all believers and non-believers in an equal way without discrimination, that would be OK, but evidently, the main goal of western states is not to advocate the freedom of religion, but to propagate atheism and irreligiousness, while it was rarely observed any efforts done by them to protect the believers of Abrahamic faiths. The European and Northern American countries are the only parts of the world in which mosques are destroyed and replaced by railroads.
Denmark is the only country of the world in which newspapers are allowed to publish insulting cartoons for a divine prophet under the pretext of media freedom. The United States is the only country of the world in which being Muslim could potentially be a serious threat and make everyone suspicious of you after any crime is committed.
American soldiers are the only soldiers of the world who could allow themselves to point their guns toward the Holy Quran and shoot it, because they come from the “beacon of freedom” and the other countries are “the axis of evil.”
France is the only country of the world in which the hijab-wearing female students could be banned from universities because of obeying the Islamic clothing and not dressing up in the strange western styles.
Britain is the only country of the world in which the writer of “Satanic verses” could be honored to receive the Knight title because of introducing some innovative ways of insulting Muslims and Islam.
The Netherlands is the only country of the world in which a parliament member could be called the “symbol of freedom” because of producing an affronting movie which insults all those who adhere to Islam, and practice it in their daily lives.
I don’t know exactly that what disasters would happen under the flag of “freedom” and “democracy” in the future, but it would be better to evacuate the entire world from that type of democracy which just deals with “insult”, “aspersion” and “outrage”.
I am wondering that whether this “Made in the West” democracy has other functions rather than spreading disagreement among people and exacerbating the atrocities.
As a non-aligned, independent and freelance journalist, I prefer to be “stupid”, “uninformed” or “unlettered” if blasphemy and insulting the values of billions of people is a sign of “intellectuality” and “freedom of speech.”
By Kourosh Ziabari
Kourosh Ziabari is an independent journalist and freelance writer from Iran.

07 November, 2008

President Obama - Lessons of Success

I really don’t care too much when it comes to voting in the US presidential elections because, frankly, I’m Canadian *smile*. But the story of Obama is a modern day story of success that repeats again and again for those who understand the principles of success.
Here are three of those principles based on Obama’s rise to Presidency today…

One: Not everyone has to vote for you
A very successful man once said, “I don’t know what the secret to success is, but I do know the secret to failure: trying to please everyone.” You do NOT need everyone to vote for you, you need the majority (and in the case of entrepreneurs, a small minority is enough to make you a million bucks).
Stop trying to cater to everyone. Don’t try to please old and young, rich and poor, Republicans and Democrats… focus instead on those who will vote for you in life. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.

Two: Just because no one has done it in the past, doesn’t mean it cannot be done.
When setting out on your goals, you may not find anyone who has done what you are planning to do. You may incorrectly come to the conclusion that it cannot be done because of the past history. But remember: every creation of Allah has a beginning.
And once it has been done once, it will be easy to duplicate.
If your dreams are something that hasn’t been done before, then let me give you the glad tidings that when you succeed, in sha Allah, your victory will give “permission” for other leaders to imagine what is possible.

Three: Don’t listen to the nay-Sayers
I was listening, last year, to “experts” commenting on the presidential election, and I distinctly remember the “expert” explicitly point out how America would never ever elect an African American to be their President.
I wonder what that “expert” is saying now.
Take intelligent counsel but always put your heart into what you are doing. In the end, if you open your mind and listen to your heart… you can’t go wrong, in sha Allah.

I vote for you! Now go do something amazing today.
Source: discoverulife.com