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Having one of those days when you’re buried in paperwork while your boss piles on a list of unrealistic demands and a difficult co-worker manages to get on your very last nerve? If so, then it may be time for you to step away from your desk and take some time to meditate.
We’ve all had tough days like this while working on the clock. However, we don’t always deal with the stress of challenging situations and people at work in a healthy way. That’s why Black Enterprise invited entrepreneur, wellness expert, and author Quentin Vennie to stop by our office in New York City to share advice on how and why we must meditate.
Stay Calm at Work
Vennie explained why it’s imperative for everyone, especially working professionals, to give themselves a mental break and practice mindfulness.
“So often throughout the day we’re faced with so much adversity, so many things, so much stress, [and] we’re trying to multitask,” he said. “Sometimes I think it’s important to just take yourself outside of that. Focus your attention on one thing and move forward from that point.”
In a nutshell, here is why Vennie says mindfulness is crucial for success:
- We are what we think
- You can’t be faithful and fearful at the same time
- Focus on what you want to accomplish
- Gratitude is the best mechanism to defeat depression
Vennie also talked about using meditation as a tool to overcome affliction. Watch the full interview below.
Overcoming It All
Vennie, who says meditation has personally helped him overcome drug addiction and severe depression, was also recognized as a 2017 BE Modern Man of Distinction, where he shared his story. Here’s an excerpt:
I was born and raised in a single-parent household on the west side of Baltimore. My father was a heroin addict, and by the time I was 12 I had been shot at and spent more time visiting prisons than most of the people I was close to. Despite spending a lot of time in my old neighborhood in West Baltimore, I went to predominantly white schools in the suburbs of Baltimore County. I experienced racism, discrimination, prejudice, you name it. I was diagnosed with acute anxiety and mild depression when I was 14, and then diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety and panic disorder, and mild to severe major depressive disorder, at 26. I endured a two-year addiction to my anxiety medication, survived an accidental overdose and two failed suicide attempts, but was fortunate to discover a wellness system that saved my life (yoga, meditation, and fruit/vegetable juicing). Not only did it help me get off all medications, but it also made my anxiety and depression easier to manage.
I started telling my story of my battles with anxiety, depression, and addiction in 2012 when I first started my journey into sobriety, and on May 30th of this year, my first book, Strong in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Addiction and Redemption Through Wellness was published in the U.S. and Canada, and published in Australia and the U.K. on July 1st. I was able to successfully turn my trial into a triumph that has positively impacted people worldwide.
Now, it’s time for you to meditate with us! Follow along with this 14-minute meditation session guided by Quentin below.
The post The Importance of Meditation: How to Stay Calm at Work appeared first on Black Enterprise.
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Although sleep experts recommend adults get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, American adults are now averaging 6 hours per night. It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans don’t get enough z’s. Are you one of them?
Many people think sleep is just for resting at the end of their busy day. They justify less sleep by saying: “I feel fine.” However, sleeping is as important as any other activity a person does during the day. When we sleep, our immune system is activated to hunt and kill viruses, bacteria, and even cancer cells.
Our brain reviews all the information taken in during wake hours, then sorts and files it in an organized way to build memory. Psychological stability is also an important function of sleep. With sufficient sleep hours, a person wakes refreshed, with the mental and physical energy needed for a new day.
Dennis Hwang, MD, and Physician Assistant Cindy Gulley, national behavioral sleep medicine experts at Kaiser Permanente’s San Bernardino County Sleep Center located at Fontana Medical Center, stress that sleep disorders and chronic sleep loss can put you at an increased risk of physical and mental conditions, which can affect your overall health. Dr. Hwang advises that sleeping for 7 to 8 hours a night is best for maintaining a healthy metabolism among adults.
Dr. Hwang offers the following answers to frequently asked questions about the importance of sleep:
Can I make up for lost weeknight sleep on weekends?
No. While it may help some, sleeping long hours on weekends can actually contribute to insomnia. Your best bet is to keep the same sleep schedule all week long.
Do older people need less sleep?
Not always. Studies show all adults, with few exceptions, need to ideally sleep between 7 and 8 hours per night. Older adults are less active in the day, and nap often, which makes night sleep more difficult. Staying active in the day is the key. Going outside in sunlight is energizing, and makes it easier to sleep at night.
Will consuming caffeine make it harder for me to fall asleep?
It’s not advisable to consume caffeine late in the day, as it’s likely to stimulate your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. In fact, according to one study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality.
What about alcohol?
Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. It does make people relaxed and drowsy, but it suppresses production of melatonin, the natural sleep hormone, causing very disrupted sleep patterns and reduction of REM sleep. REM sleep is needed for mental stability.
If I wake up in the middle of the night, does that mean I don’t sleep well?
Not necessarily. It’s normal to occasionally wake up during the night. As long as you can go back to sleep and you feel rested when you wake up, it’s normal to occasionally wake up during the night. If symptoms such as daytime sleepiness occur, further evaluation may be needed.
What about using my smartphone or tablet before I go to bed?
It is easy to say NO, but we are very attached to our devices and constant flow of information. Research has found that exposure to blue-white light suppresses your body’s production of melatonin. Without sufficient melatonin it is difficult to fall and stay asleep. Blocking blue light with special glasses and turning down blue light on devices can really help.
Can I watch TV in bed to relax to sleep?
No. Bed should be reserved for sleep. Wait until you are sleepy to go to bed. The bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet to optimize the quality of sleep. Avoid checking the time during the night; it causes anxiety. Use an alarm to wake. Morning sunlight is important to be wakeful and energetic in the day.
The facts are clear: getting a good night’s sleep is critically important to everyone’s good health. If you’re in need of sleep therapy, or want more information about a Kaiser Permanente sleep center, please visit www.kp.org. We want you to sleep well, sleep enough, be well, and thrive!
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Puberty is much more than just a time of biological overdrive, propelled by sexual maturation. Progress in developmental science has greatly broadened the perspective of this critical maturational milestone.
Teen Health News — ScienceDaily
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In a time when the East Village is undergoing rapid gentrification, the Brant Foundation has made a conscious effort to maintain the look and feel of the original building while honoring one of the area’s own.
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At Sunday night’s 61st Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Drake — who was largely expected to sit this one out, as he has done for the last several years — surprised viewers by showing up to accept the Grammy for Best Rap Song for his smash hit “God’s Plan.” But it was his acceptance speech that stole the show, as the Canadian rapper took his time onstage to rebuke the musical establishment and send a shout-out to artists who may not be receiving recognition from organizations like the Recording Academy.
“We play an opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport,” Drake said. “This is a business where sometimes it’s up to a bunch of people that might not understand what a mixed race kid from Canada might have to say or a fly Spanish girl from New York.” He continued: “If there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here, I promise you that. You already won.” And then, although it seemed that Drake had more to say, he was cut off both on the telecast and live in the theater.
Drake has been nominated for dozens of Grammys in his rap career, but has only won four, including this year’s prize. The last time he attended the Grammys was back in 2013. His album Scorpion is also nominated for Album of the Year. And although he did end up dropping by this year’s ceremony, he reportedly declined to take on a performance slot.
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‘We can be in it to win it but we should be supporting each other’
Second Act is hitting cinemas this week, undoubtedly set to become the feel-good film of the season.
The high fashion office wear and career inspiration make this a millennial must-see, but it’s the two strong female leads, coming in the form of Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens, that make it a really important watch.
‘I think it’s great for women of all ages,’ Vanessa Hudgens told Marie Claire‘s Jenny Proudfoot. ‘I think that you’ll leave the film feeling inspired to reassess and go after what you really want and know that you aren’t a victim to your life. You are in control of it. And you decide how you live it.’
This is the film’s chief takeaway – a huge dose of career inspiration and an example of why women should support other women.
Jenny Proudfoot sat down with the lovely Vanessa Hudgens to talk all things Second Act, her surreal connection with J-Lo and why we should all surround ourselves with strong women on (and off) screen.
What was your first impression when you read the script?
I mean, my biggest thing reading the script at the beginning was, ‘Oh my gosh – Jennifer Lopez is going to crush this role and I want to watch her doing it.’ I grew up with her films. I remember watching The Wedding Planner over and over again and how charming she was and I was just so excited to see what she was going to do with this script because it’s so well-written and supportive of women.
Were you nervous meeting Jennifer Lopez?
I had met her once before in passing, and I was just really excited to have the opportunity to work with her in the room, and once we did our read together we connected in a way that was kind of crazy. Every now and then I feel like you meet people that you feel a soul connection to. It’s kind of weird and unexplainable but it’s a very real thing and you just feel it. That’s what happened with us. I remember calling my boyfriend afterwards and going, ‘Babe – even if I don’t get this part, I am so grateful for the experience that I just had because me and Jennifer connected on such a deep, real level that it just felt magical’. We read the big emotional scene. There were lots of tears between the two of us which I guess is what made it so special. It was emotional for me but it was also emotional for her. And afterwards she apparently said that she wanted me. I mean, only she can vouch for that but I feel like because our connection was so real, it just felt like it was right.
Do you hope this film will push women to boost each other up in business?
Yes. I think that it’s something that is really special and important. I feel that it’s such a sensitive time right now that women are really afraid of stepping on someone else’s toes, and it just goes to show with this – it’s ok as long as there is motive to support each other. We can be in it to win it but we should be supporting each other. I have always surrounded myself with strong women – I 100% think that who you are is a reflection of the people that you surround yourself with. It’s so important to be surrounded by people that challenge you and lift you up and are always there for you. I think it’s so important – that’s why my friendship group is so small!
What’s your top career advice?
I think people should lean into their interests. I feel as though we are at a point where it’s like “Work hard, go after what you want and be focused on that”. While that’s very true, it can give you tunnel vision and you lose sight of what brings you joy. It’s most important to lean into your interests – especially as an artist. I feel that there’s no right or wrong direction. Just follow your bliss and fully lean into it.
What career advice did Jennifer give you on-set?
Jennifer says herself that she loves being a mentor. She has been in this industry for so long and she knows the ropes – she has kind of done it all. So we would talk about trajectory and image and stuff like that. I mean, she was just super open with me and was down to talk about whatever.
What was your favourite scene that you filmed together?
It is really random. There was one scene when we were walking through Central Park together around the big classic Central Park fountain while we were filming in New York. It was a walk and talk scene and at one point it literally felt like someone had turned on a massive fan and put leaves in front of it. There were just leaves blowing all around us. But no, it was just Mother Nature doing her thing. And I remember looking up at Jennifer and looking around at Central Park and all these leaves blowing and it was just one of those real life movie moments, which is so funny because it turned into a real life movie moment.
Did playing VP Zoe inspire a career change of your own?
I’m an actor because I love stepping into other people’s shoes and then I feel that I get to bring a part of that person into my own personal life. And I think that there was something very empowering about playing this character, being the VP of the beauty department and having authority and power in an office space. Granted, that was fun but I would not be down for an office job. I don’t think I would survive. I like pretending, but not in real life.
What was your favourite Second Act look?
Zoe’s wardrobe was really nice. I love the winter layering – like the big winter coats with the thick scarves – I felt like they were such statements and so chic. I do like A/W fashion and I definitely enjoy seasons for short stints of time, but being a native Californian – I just want the sun the whole time. I mean, I’ve literally just been complaining about how I want it to be summer so that I can wear a dress.
What is your pre-audition prep?
I went to an acting class and they said before you do any audition you owe it to yourself to feel your body. By doing that you lie down and breathe, take account where you’re holding tension and pick a colour and put that colour in that place of tension. You breathe into it and therefore walk into the room feeling centred and grounded and completely present, giving yourself the best shot of getting the job.
While Zoe doesn’t have a British accent, how did you nail Lady Margaret’s voice in The Princess Switch?
I had a dialect coach that I worked with religiously. I obviously listened to a couple of the royals but at the end of the day it was all about thinking how I would be as a Duchess and practicing it. I was very self conscious about it and it would get to the point where I would have to do it all the time – in real life as well – so it would start to feel less foreign to me. There would definitely be days where I would go around all day with a British accent to everyone, even my mother.
Second Act comes to UK cinemas on Friday 25 January.
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Manhattan West Asset Management is an extremely diverse firm in the wealth management sector, existing in a world that is overwhelmingly white and male-dominated. The firm is made up of high character, highly-educated financial advisers with incredible backgrounds that previously reflect leadership roles at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan among others. It currently has a mix of African American employees that hold executive roles, Latino American partners, and a list of high ranking women.
Although extremely impressive, this is not the norm. Stats that include this type of makeup are extremely low. According to the Center for Financial Planning Board (CFP), less than 3.5% of all the 80,000 certified financial planners in the United States are black or Latino. So what is going on?
BLACK ENTERPRISE caught up with executive Justin McCurdy to find out what got him involved in wealth management and the importance of African American wealth management advisers as a career option for people of color.
Black Enterprise: How did you break into Wealth Management?
Justin McCurdy: I do not have the typical background of most wealth management professionals, but I believe that is why I am able to serve such a diverse client group. I came to the United States as an immigrant from Canada. My family moved from Jamaica to Canada before I was born in search of more opportunity. I won’t go too far into my personal life, but my background contributes to how unusual it is for me to be in my current role. My mother had me at a young age and we moved from apartment to apartment, city to city, before finally settling in Los Angeles when I was 11 years old.
I worked hard and was accepted at the University of Southern California. I financed my education through financial aid and the revenue earned from the youth sports organization I founded at the age of 18, which I still operate today. After about a dozen internships, I graduated and took a position as an advisor at Morgan Stanley. With no family connections, financing or an existing Rolodex, it was an uphill battle to build a client base. Fast forward 5 years and I am now at Manhattan West Asset Management holding a leadership role and realizing the abundant opportunities available when you’re willing to go after what you want in life.
What attracted you to wealth management?
My passion in educating those who did not come from backgrounds that gave them the skillset to properly manage wealth is what initially attracted me to the industry. I came from a traditional working-class family and although supportive, I was not exposed to wealth accumulation or preservation concepts. I worked extremely hard to educate myself and with the help of mentors I met through sports was able to develop a strong understanding of finance. Ultimately, I want to use my knowledge to educate and empower those around me, with a special focus on those that might have encountered the same roadblocks as me along the way.
What types of clients do you advise?
My clients stem from all walks of life but I have a special emphasis on professional athletes and entertainers.
Why do you think there is such a drastic shortage of African-American Advisors?
It’s simply a matter of exposure. African American kids do not often see Financial Advisors of color, making it hard for them to envision themselves taking that career path.
Why is it beneficial for African-Americans to be involved in a career like this?
It’s my belief that the more African-American advisors there are, the more educated the black community will be about finance. This will only lead to more wealth accumulation and preservation within the community. Living in such a unique time where people from all demographics/walks of life are acquiring wealth at sometimes rapid paces leads me to believe that professionals servicing them need to evolve and represent this newfound diversity as well.
Many African-American children have not had the opportunity to see successful Financial Advisors of color and that needs to change. I want the upcoming generation to see wealth management as a viable career opportunity that embraces those willing to work hard for their clients. Class, background or socio-economic status should not be a factor.
The post The Importance of African American Wealth Management Advisers appeared first on Black Enterprise.
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A new review of sleep research backs use of bedtime routines to promote healthy sleep for children.
Parenting News — ScienceDaily
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A child has until the age of two-and-a-half to establish healthy gut bacteria — with little change after this point, new research has revealed.
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