Thursday, April 24, 2008

Doing Good, Makes You Feel Good

A while back I came across this article, published on MSN.com, written by Ian Hodder. Very thought provoking, for sure!

"Is philanthropy as good as sex? Well, not exactly, though scientists have discovered that the act of donating to charity stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers. What they see is a “glow” in the same brain areas that occur during sex or a good meal. In other words, giving feels good.

Could these warm and fuzzy feelings be the reason for Americans’ generosity? As a country, we shelled out a record $295 billion to charity in 2006, according to the Giving USA Foundation's yearbook. Of that amount, $223 billion, or 75.6 percent, came from individual people. Those numbers are dying for an explanation," says economist Paul J. Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. By investigating the brain and human behavior, scientists are starting to discover why giving is pleasurable. "Economists have always questioned altruism," Zak adds, "but recent studies have found that virtuous behaviors activate reward regions of the brain."

Ever since Charles Darwin, researchers have pondered the roots of altruism. They have observed it in animals both simple (amoebas will give their lives so others in their cluster can live) and advanced (chimpanzees will share a tool regardless of whether they're physically rewarded). Perhaps generosity is a biological urge. Evidence that the "joy of giving" is hardwired into the brain came last spring from National Institutes of Health neuroscientists Jordan Grafman and Jorge Moll. They measured brain activity in subjects who were asked to decide whether to donate money or keep it for themselves. When they chose the altruistic option, activity increased in the midbrain, a region associated with pleasures such as food and sex."

Want to feel good? Then do something good; for someone else! Giving does make us rich. Or as St. Francis of Assisi said "It is in giving, that we receive."

An effortless way to give can be by way of donating to charity, whether it is your time or your money (or both!). Once again this year, I will be participating in AIDS Walk Boston to help raise funds for Boston-based AIDS Action Committee, a local charity that I really believe in and am happy to support. Can you help? I am counting on the generosity and kindness of people like you to sponsor my walk by making a contribution today. You can safely and securely make a donation online, by visiting my online fundraising page. To do so, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Donations of all sizes are welcome and appreciated. Every penny counts!

Thank You!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Such an exciting week... the women's Olympic running trials were held in Boston yesterday, today was the 112th running of the Boston Marathon (where both women and men's winners finished in less time than last year), which always coincides with Patriot's Day and tomorrow is Earth Day as well as the Pennsylvania primary.

Watching the Boston Marathon is always so inspiring and today was no exception. Seeing the runners, literally from all over the world and all walks of life and seeing the crowd just cheering them on, made me feel a sense of pride and connectedness. The energy was great and people were just happy; there was an obvious sense of community and spirit. Anything is possible, when people come together to benefit the greater good. That's why the timing of Earth Day is so appropriate, in conjunction with the marathon and the positive vibrations it spreads. We have the power to stop global warming. We need to work together, make better and more informed choices that are thoughtful and beneficial to each other, future generations and our planet. We need to consume less and tread more lightly on the Earth. It is exciting that "going green" has "gone mainstream". We've already started making some positive changes, but we've got a long way to go. Need some ideas? Want some information? Visit Earth Justice's website HERE and check out an issue of E The Environmental Magazine by CLICKING HERE and queue up your DVD selections on Netflix. There are many great documentaries out there, including The 11th Hour and An Inconvenient Truth.

One of the leading causes of global warming, that is oft overlooked in mainstream environmental media, is animal agriculture. That is, animals raised for food. Therefore, consuming less animal products (meat, dairy and eggs) is one way to lessen the negative effects it has on our environment. Do you know that raising animals for food impacts global warming more than all modes of the transportation industry combined? Yup! Airplanes, trains and automobiles. COMBINED. So, believe it or not, converting to a vegetarian (or vegan!) diet actually does more good than giving up your car! This has been studied, researched and reported many times and by many different sources. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported this worldwide in 2006. A simple Google search will confirm this statistic.


There are many different ways we can contribute toward the betterment and preservation of Planet Earth. I encourage everyone (myself included) to continue to try!


HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Friday, April 11, 2008

DailyOM

Most people know my affinity for DailyOM, which has been delivered to my email in box on a daily basis for a few years now. I find it very insightful and very inspirational and look forward to receiving it every day. DailyOM actually just published their first book and it arrived in bookstores on Tuesday. Courtesy of my very generous and thoughtful sister, I will be receiving a complimentary copy!

If you are interested in checking out DailyOM, a link to their site has been on the right side of my blog since its inception last July (and will remain there). I will also put a link to their site in this blog posting, as well as a link to their new book. I am confident that you will find DailyOM to be a great resource, whether you choose to visit their website or sign up for their daily email. I encourage you to take a look!

CLICK HERE for DailyOM's website
CLICK on book icon below to review and purchase the book

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sugar Solutions at The Boston Athletic Club

This Thursday marks my first Sugar Solutions Workshop at The Boston Athletic Club in South Boston. I invite everyone to attend; you do not have to be a member! Members should sign up at the Front Desk, non-members should sign up by emailing me at kathleen@kmoriarty.com

If you're hooked on sweets and would like to find ways to manage your cravings, without deprivation, I urge you to register for my FREE workshop. If you'd like to know what sugar does to our bodies and how to identify it on food labels and learn about sweet and natural alternatives, please register today!

The Boston Athletic Club is located at 653 Summer Street in South Boston. They have their own parking lot adjacent to the facility, which is free. The club is also accessible by multiple bus lines. It is approximately a 15-minute walk from the Broadway T and Andrew Square T stops on the Red Line. The workshop starts at 6:00 PM on Thursday, April 10th. For driving directions, you can visit BAC's website. For walking directions or for train and bus information, visit www.HopStop.com or www.MBTA.com

CLICK HERE for the Boston Athletic Club website

CLICK HERE for the Events page on my website, for other upcoming workshops

CLICK HERE to register for my 6-week Nutrition Made Simple class

I hope to see you on Thursday, April 10th at 6:00 PM!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

In Memoriam of a Hero

April 4, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is one of my personal heroes. Although his violent and untimely death is a painful part of our history, it's important to remember his life and how much change he created and inspired. He was the catalyst for most of the positive changes we see today, for the civil rights movement and for the overall growth we see in today's society. The effects of his work still reverberate today.

Peace is something I strive for and believe in very deeply, at a very spiritual and personal level. Did you know that Dr. King was the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at the tender age of 35? Did you know that Dr. King received his advanced degree right here in this city at Boston University? Boston is where he met his wife, Coretta Scott King, who also was a civil rights leader in her own right

One of my favorite U2 songs is "Pride" which honors Dr. King as well as Jesus Christ (both MLK and Bono, U2's lead singer are Christians). Below is a sampling:

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
One more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?

No doubt that Dr. King inspired U2's lead singer, Bono, who has become an advocate, ambassador and leader to correct social injustices around the globe. Bono works tirelessly for impoverished nations, AIDS and Amnesty International, among other causes. He co-created the "One" and "Red" campaigns as well.

Today, let's be inspired and do our part to make this world a better place.