Harmful Oral and Skin Care Ingredients – Touch Me Not List


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This is a list of carcinogenic ingredients found in our personal care, make up and skin care.  If you see any one of these ingredients on the list, Be Smart!  Do your homework!  A label reading ” Natural or/and Organic, doesn’t mean it is safe from toxic chemicals!

The following are all harmful ingredients that many companies put in their Oral, skin and hair care products (and cosmetics). We recommend that you do NOT use products containing any of the following ingredients:

* Mineral Oil
* Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly)
* Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate
* Alcohol
* Propylene Glycol (PG) / Sorbital
* Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
* Calamine
* Ascorbic Acid
* Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Parabens)
* Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea and/or DMDM Hydantoin
* Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) and/or Monoethanolamine (MEA)
* Artificial (Synthetic) Colors
* Fragrances
* Lanolin
* Talc / Talcum Powder
* Glycerin
* Aluminum
* Isopropyl Palmitate, Acetylated Lanolin, Carmine and Pentahydrosqualene

* Mineral Oil is a petroleum derrived preservative and is the chief cause of that greasy after-feel on the skin. A liquid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum, mineral oil can attract dirt and causes blackheads and eruptions. It can accelerate free radical damage, thus speeding up the aging process, because it causes toxins to build up in the skin.

Mineral Oil is an extremely cheap ingredient (much cheaper than any natural oil) and is colourless and odorless, it is used in many skin care products to fill up space in a bottle and to make the shelf life last between 3-5 years. It has no proven benefit to the skin whatsoever.

Mineral oil can not be absorbed by the skin therefore leaving mineral oil in the pores which retards the absorption of emollient (moisture) creams. To add insult to injury, mineral oil is not water soluble so it cannot be rinsed off. It sits on the skin, drying your skin out and clogging the pores, causing acne. Instead of penetrating the skin, Mineral Oil coats and wraps your skin like plastic wrap. Your skin literally suffocates because oxygen can’t penetrate it and it can’t breathe, therefore, it starts to die and/or age prematurely.

* Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly) is a grease made from petroleum. It is used in industry as a grease component. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap. Petrolatum exhibits many of the same potentially harmful properties as mineral oil. While attempting to hold moisture in your skin, it traps the toxins and wastes that are inside your skin’s layers. Your skin smothers and can’t breathe, which leads to prematurely aged skin. You are using a product that creates the very problem that you are attempting to alleviate.

* Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate is a harsh detergent found mainly in products that “foam.” Research has shown that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate may be one of the most dangerous ingredients found in personal care products. It is used in industrial engine degreasers, garage floor cleaners, water softeners, and auto cleaning products, as well as many skin and hair care products. It is often disguised in so-called “Natural” products as (in parenthesis) as a coconut derivative.

It is considered to be a potent irritant, and is the standard irritancy substance used (meaning it is assumed it will net an irritated reaction) to measure and compare the irritancy potential of other ingredients. Because it’s such a strong and efficient degreaser, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate dries the skin and hair. It strips your skin and hair of its natural oils. It may even damage the immune system causing the layers of your skin to inflame and separate. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has been linked to eye damage, intestinal damage, breathing problems, skin spots, and cysts. It can cause cataracts in adults and prevent children’s eyes from developing properly.

Every wonder why more women are getting male pattern baldness these days? According to the Journal of American College of Toxicology, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate corrodes and damages the hair follicles. It can actually cause your hair to fall out!

After exposure, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can stay in your body for up to 7 days. It penetrates easily into your skin and then lingers around in your heart, liver, lungs, and brain. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org), these surfactant molecules stay on your skin long after you think you’ve washed them off and as they sit there, they literally strip-away fatty acids, moisture and amino acids from your hair and skin.

* Alcohol is another cheap ingredient and is very drying and potentially irritating to the skin. Alcohol strips natural moisture from the skin and can contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles. If you swallow or inhale Isopropyl Alcohol, it may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, coughing, wheezing, abdominal pain, mental depression, hallucinations, narcosis, and coma. The fatal ingested dose is about one fluid ounce.

* Propylene Glycol (PG) / Sorbital, which are commonly used in moisturizers as humectants, should be avoided. Chemically derived from alcohol, Propylene Glycol binds repels moisture from the skin, therefore the skin ends up not receiving any benefit at all from the moisturizer.

Propylene Glycol is the main active ingredient in anti-freeze. There is no difference between the Propylene Glycol used in anti-freeze and the Propylene Glycol used in personal care products. It can also be found in brake fluid and hydraulic fluid.

The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) warns companies who put Propylene Glycol into their products that it:
o May cause skin and eye irritation
o May be harmful if inhaled or ingested
o Can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, and depression
o Can inhibit skin cell growth. This means that your cells will not be able to reproduce normally. If your body cannot make new cells, then the cells will get old and wrinkled. Did you know that some wrinkle creams can make you look older, rather than younger? Propylene Glycol may be the reason.
o Can damage the skin and muscle tissue. Propylene Glycol is a chemical used in food processing. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires food workers to wear protective gloves, clothing, and goggles when working with Propylene Glycol. This is because Propylene Glycol quickly penetrates into your skin.
o And Propylene Glycol is linked to Contact Dermatitis, Liver and Brain Abnormalities, and Kidney Damage

* Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease, as well as to thicken products. Because of its effectiveness, PEGs are often used in caustic spray-on oven cleansers. PEGs can destroy the natural functioning of your skin which help keep it soft and moist. And what’s worse, products with Polyethylene Glycol are likely to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen (cancer causing chemical). Studies show that dioxane easily penetrates into your skin.

* Calamine contains about 5% Zinc Oxide (which can clog pores) and a good deal of Phenol, which is extremely toxic to skin. In 1992, the FDA actually tried banning calamine altogether, but that didn’t happen.

* Ascorbic Acid is considered to be the most irritating and least stable of any of the forms of vitamin C. Because it deteriorates so easily, it can quickly lose it’s effectiveness in Vitamin C creams and just become and irritant. Sensitive skins especially should avoid this ingredient.

* Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Parabens) an be found in almost all of your personal care products. They are the most commonly used preservatives in the United States. The sole purpose of preservatives in cosmetics is not to protect you from bacteria, but to protect and extend the shelf life of the cosmetic. Parabens have caused many allergic reactions, skin rashes, and are known to be highly toxic. They can also have an estrogenic or feminizing affect on your body, meaning it can make men more feminine.

In the book Organic Beauty by Josephine Fairley states that “concern is raised over parabens in skin care products absorbed throught the skin of pregnant women. Research has shown that they may affect the future fertility of male babies. Professor John Sumpter or Brunel University, England – and expert on estrogenic chemicals in the environment – believes the result could be significant, because over the last few decades, paraben use has been very widespread in the cosmetic industry. The chemical preservatives might just play a role in falling sperm counts and rising breast cancer rates.”

* Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea and/or DMDM Hydantoin are the most commonly used cosmetic preservatives after the Parabens. They are just three of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care products, antiperspirants, and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde releasing ingredients. According to the Mayo Clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin irritations, and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde releasing products may also cause allergies, nose congestion, nausea, headaches, dizziness, ear infections, chronic fatigue, depression, asthma, chest pains, and loss of sleep. But more seriously, formaldehyde is toxic to the immune system, a human mutagen, and is carcinogenic.

* Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) and/or Monoethanolamine (MEA) are usually listed on ingredient labels with the compound being neutralized. So look for names like Cocamide DEA or MEA, Lauramide DEA, TEA Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, etc. Neither DEA nor TEA is carcinogenic. However, if products contain nitrites (as a preservative or contaminant), chemical reactions can occur as products are sitting on the store shelves. This reaction leads to the formation of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Large amounts of nitrates may enter your bloodstream after just one shampooing. The FDA did two studies showing that 27 out of 29 cosmetics contained high levels of Nitroso-Diethanolamine. “Repeated skin applications have resulted in a major increase in liver and kidney cancers,” states Dr. Samuel Epstein of the National Toxicology Program.

* Artificial (Synthetic) Colors will be labeled FD&C (Food, Drug or Cosmetics) or D&C (Drugs or Cosmetics). This designation will be followed by a color and then a number. Some examples are FD&C Red No. 6, D&C Green No. 6, or FD&C Blue No. 1. Is your shampoo blue or green? If it is, you can bet on it that it contains a coal tar color. Artificial Colors are made from coal tar, a coal derivative. There is a great deal of controversy about the use of coal tars. Almost all of the coal tar colors cause cancer. Some artificial colors even contain heavy metal impurities such as arsenic and lead. Both of these metals are carcinogens.

* Fragrances are the number one common cause of allergies and irritant reactions to cosmetics. The FDA does not require manufacturers to list the ingredients of a “fragrance.” When you see the word “fragrance,” it can have as many as 4,000 separate chemicals. Some problems you may experience when exposed to these chemicals may be: headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, forgetfulness, irritability, hyperactivity, visual problems, clumsiness, watery eyes, stuffy nose, skin rash, skin discoloration, depression, mood changes, inability to concentrate, and sleep problems. Remember that a product labeled “unscented” may in fact contain a fragrance to mask other chemical odors. A product must be marked “fragrance-free” or “without perfume” to indicate nothing has been added to make it smell good. Some fragrance reactions occur only when the skin is exposed to sunlight.

Because the FDA does not require manufacturers to list hazardous chemicals in their fragrances, you have no way of knowing whether it contains carcinogens. For example, methylene chloride is one of the most common “fragrance” ingredients and is a confirmed carcinogen.

* Lanolin, an animal by-product, is made from the fatty secretions from sheep’s wool. Lanolin is not used in its pure from because of its allergy causing potential. Nonetheless, cosmetic grade lanolin may be contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides such as dieldrin, lindane, and DDT. The FDA recognizes that the contamination of lanolin in skin care products is a problem. Pesticides are likely to migrate through your skin into your bloodstream to do their damage.

* Talc / Talcum Powder causes cancer in laboratory animals and using it in the female genital area increases your chance of ovarian cancer. Talc enters the reproductive tract if used this way. And inhaling talc may be harmful too. Never use talc on babies. Not only is it a possible carcinogen, but inhaling it may cause acute respiratory distress and result in death.

* Glycerin is synthetically made from propylene alcohol or naturally from vegetable oils. Unless the humidity of the air is over 65%, glycerin will draw moisture from the lower layers of your skin and hold it on the surface. Glycerin dries your skin from the inside out. It is also a human mutagen.

* Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Since your body has no useful purpose for aluminum, it considers it a toxin. Studies show that regular use of products with aluminum compounds can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s by 300%!

* Finally, watch out for: Isopropyl Palmitate and Acetylated Lanolin, which are both known for clogging pores. Carmine and Pentahydrosqualene are insect shells and shark liver oil, respectively.

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Every morning are you putting chemicals, toxics, additives, detergents and sweeteners in your mouth?


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My family is using this green and natural tooth paste since past 6 month and we are seeing drastic positive changes in our oral hygiene. I have suggested this paste to my friends and family members, and feedbacks are positive. After doing thoughtful research (online and offline) I found mentioned below information which might be of your interest:-

Most Off-the-shelf toothpastes contain a laundry list of chemicals, toxic additives, detergents and even sweeteners. Warning labels on toothpaste say “Keep out of reach of children under the age of six”. The same warning shows up on baby toothpaste, and they don’t even have the ability to spit it out like older children do.

 SkullIngredient #1: Propylene glycol. This is a solvent that is the main component in antifreeze and is used in toothpaste and mouthwash. 45% of propylene glycol produced is used as chemical feedstock for the production of unsaturated polyester resins. In this regard, propylene glycol reacts with a mixture of unsaturated maleic anhydride and isophthalic acid to give a copolymer. This partially unsaturated polymer undergoes further crosslinking to yield thermoset plastics. Related to this application, propylene glycol reacts with propylene oxide to give oligomers and polymers that are used to produce polyurethanes.

Research has suggested that individuals who cannot tolerate propylene glycol probably experience a special form of irritation, but that they only rarely develop allergic contact dermatitis. Other investigators believe that the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis to propylene glycol may be greater than 2% in patients with eczema.

Patients with vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis may be especially sensitive to propylene glycol. Women suffering with yeast infections may also notice that some OTC creams can cause intense burning. Post menopausal women who require the use of an estrogen cream may notice that brand name creams made with propylene glycol often create extreme, uncomfortable burning along the vulva and perianal area.

A Swedish study published in 2010 strongly suggests a connection between airborne concentrations of propylene glycol in houses and development of asthma and allergic reactions, such as rhinitis, in children. Read More: A Guide to Glycols – http://bit.ly/11J8RaY

 SkullIngredient #2: Fluoride. Fluoride is a toxic chemical that can be potentially toxic if ingested in high quantities, so why would anybody want to ingest it in small quantities? Fluoride has also shown to create gum pockets. Just one tube of toothpaste contains enough fluoride to kill a small child. Poison control must be called if a child eats more toothpaste then what he can put on his brush.

Skull Ingredient #3: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This is a cleaning agent that creates lather and is mostly used in soaps and detergents however it is also in toothpaste. While it is not considered toxic by the FDA it is known to cause microscopic tears in our mouth that lead to canker sores as well as disrupting the protein in cells causing the membranes to absorb the chemical into the blood stream.

Skull Ingredient #4: Chlorine Titanium dioxide: this is an industrial bleach used for making your toothpaste white. Titanium dioxide is incompatible with strong reducing agents and strong acids.Violent or incandescent reactions occur with molten metals that are very electropositive, e.g. aluminium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc and lithium. Titanium dioxide accounts for 70% of the total production volume of pigments worldwide. It is widely used to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, plastics, papers, inks, foods, and toothpastes. It is also used in cosmetic and skin care products, and it is present in almost every sunblock, where it helps protect the skin from ultraviolet light. Many sunscreens use nanoparticle titanium dioxide (along with nanoparticle zinc oxide) which, despite reports of potential health risks, is not actually absorbed through the skin.Other effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on human health are not well understood.Nevertheless, allergy to topical application has been confirmed. Read More: http://bit.ly/kh1279

Skull Ingredient #5: Glycerin – Vegetable based glycerin is the base for many liquid soaps and on the body isn’t as much as a problem, however, in the mouth, glycerin creates a coat or film that won’t rinse away. Many natural dentists say this glycerin film on teeth can prevent the teeth from being able to remineralize thereby weakening the teeth.

earthpaste

What makes this earth paste different?

Earthpaste delivers all the benefits you expect from toothpaste without any chemicals or unnatural additives. You’ll see the difference on your and feel the difference in your mouth from the first use.

  1. No fluoride
  2. No propylene glycol
  3. No sodium lauryl sulfate
  4. No chlorine dioxide
  5. No glycerine

Ingredients used:

healthy Xylitol – used to help flavour the paste but it also helps to prevent tooth decay. Health Benefit of Xylitol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol#Health_benefits
Food grade Redmond Clay – a non-abrasive polishing cleanser with antibacterial properties that has been used for centuries to promote health.
Sea Salt – enhances the flavor and also lends to the antibacterial properties associated with salt
Tea Tree Oil – a natural essential oil with anti-viral, anti-fungal properties.
Peppermint, Menthol, Cinnamon – essential oils used for flavouring and also promote fresh breath and a healthy immune system.

This toothpaste always leaves your mouth and gums feeling tingly and fresh. You can eat the whole tub and won’t need to call poison control! Use it on your children and feel rest assured that you are not causing any harm.

earthpaste-info

Facts and Information:-

  1. What is toothpaste MADE of? http://totalhealthmagazine.com/articles/dental-health/what-is-toothpaste-made-of.html
  2. Health Warning – Fluoride Toothpaste Dangerous – Facts Analysis – http://www.hoaxorfact.com/Health/health-warning-fluoride-toothpaste-dangerous.html
  3. Top 10 Dangers of Fluoride http://www.cheeseslave.com/top-10-dangers-of-fluoride/
  4. The Dangers of Fluoride in Toothpaste? – http://undergroundscience.blogspot.ca/2006/06/dangers-of-fluoride-in-toothpaste.html
  5. Dangers of Fluoride in Toothpaste and Water – http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/where-the-yellow-went
  6. Use of Fluoride in drinking water and toothpaste is causing dental fluorosis. what is Dental fluorosis? –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_fluorosis
  7. Toothpaste And Mouth Sores – http://www.sideeffectsupport.com/survivors-caregivers/your-toothpaste-and-mouth-sores.html
  8. What Ingredients in toothpaste Can Cause Oral Discomfort? –  http://helpmehygienist.com/can-toothpaste-make-your-mouth-sore/

Organisations to follow, books to read and videos to watch:

  1. The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) seeks to broaden awareness about the toxicity of fluoride compounds among citizens, scientists, and policymakers. – http://www.fluoridealert.org/
  2. Few Videos to watch and books to read:
    1. Shocking fluoride documentary ‘The Fluoride Deception’: http://bit.ly/K0KLja
    2. Book ‘The Case against Fluoride’: http://amzn.to/1b0ALp7
    3. Drinking water is now fluoridated in many countries, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Italy, India and Chili. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoridation_by_country
    4.  Documentary on The Dangers of Fluoride – http://bit.ly/15SWUil

Solutions:

  1. Use herbal tooth Paste: Green, herbal and sustainable oral products to be used. An article to read on how to remineralize Teeth Naturally: http://wellnessmama.com/3650/how-to-remineralize-teeth-naturally/
  2. Install Water filter in homeAquasana AQ-4000 Drinking Water System

Products in Market to address this problem:

There are many products in the market, claim to be green and herbal but they are not 100% green. It’s true that most of them do not use Fluoride as a paste base nevertheless they are still using other foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS. They are marketing their brand as “Natural” but they still contain some of the ingredients listed above.

On the other hand Earthpaste uses only few ingredient such as Purified Water, Redmond Clay, Xylitol, Essential Oil (Cinnamon, Wintergreen or Peppermint), Real Salt, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Menthol (Only in the Wintergreen & Peppermint varieties).

Where to buy:

In Canada you can order online from amazon.ca

Secret of Happiness in this FAST pace world


HappyHappiness can be a paradox: The more you reach for it, the more it seems to slip through your fingers. “Ask yourself if you’re really happy.

How could this be true? Could it be you’re looking for happiness in all the wrong places? Do you think happiness is what you get when you get what you want? Some say happiness is a little like falling in love, that you can’t make it happen. If that’s the case, then how can you become happier?

At the 2008 Happiness & Its Causes Conference in San Francisco, a wide range of people — from scientists, doctors, and psychologists to artists, philosophers, and Tibetan Buddhists — offered their thoughts on the topic. Here are a few of their tips for overcoming six common barriers to happiness.

Happiness Barrier No. 1: Complexity

Solution: Simplify

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication– Steve Jobs turned this into the slogan behind an early Mac advertising campaign. Which doesn’t make it less true.”

Jobs, who was also ‘strictly business’ at work, suffered no waste of time. In one interview, he explained that it was why he wore the same thing everyday, his famous black mock turtleneck: so he didn’t have to waste time picking what to wear every morning. There are several explanations as to how he ended up wearing so many turtlenecks. In the biography Steve Jobs, Isaacson recalls Jobs explaining, “So I asked Issey [Miyake] to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them. […] That’s what I wear. I have enough to last for the rest of my life.” John Lasseter remembered a slightly different story: “He found this one really great black turtleneck which he loved – I think it was Issey Miyake – so tried to buy another one and they didn’t have any more. He called the company and asked if they would make another one, and they refused. So he said: ‘Fine, how many do you have to make before I can buy them?’ So they made them – I think he has a closet full of them.'”

A Joy of Tech comic on Steve Jobs’s clothing habits

Schooled in Buddhist monasteries since childhood, Thupten Jinpa, PhD, knows a thing or two about the benefits of simplicity. Why do you think monks and nuns shave their heads, he asks? For one, it simplifies their lives.

A principal English translator to the Dalai Lama, Jinpa is no longer a monk. But he still holds on to some of the lifestyle’s spartan values. “My family has a one-car policy,” he says, pointing out the hassles of owning more than one — the costs, the maintenance, and the time managing the details. Multiple credit cards? They don’t create freedom or happiness, he argues — although, these days, he might get less of an argument about that.

Modern life has elevated individual choice to the highest level, he says, but these choices come at a big price. “We often conflate quality of life with standard of life,” Jinpa says, “but after a point, the connection [between the two] disappears.”

If you simplify your life, you create more space in your day, making it possible to reflect on your life.

Happiness Barrier No. 2: A Breakneck Pace

Solution: Take a Pause

The same culture that entangles you in a web of complexity may also have you on the constant chase, Jinpa says. “That kind of tension takes a toll on your soul and your psyche.” Whether you call it meditation, silence, or prayer, taking a “pause” just a few minutes a day can help you “recharge your batteries” and make you feel happier. A good time to do this is in the morning. Without it, your life may feel out of control.

Venerable Robina Courtin, a Buddhist nun and organizer of the Happiness & Its Causes Conference, recommends spending these minutes practicing mindful meditation. “During the day, we’re completely absorbed by our senses,” she says, “so we don’t pay attention to our minds.” Sit in a quiet place and simply anchor your mind on your breathing. When your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Through this process, you learn to observe what your mind is saying.

Happiness Barrier No. 3: Negativity

Solution: Let go

“Your prison is nothing in comparison with the inner prison of ordinary people: the prison of attachment, the prison of anger, the prison of depression, the prison of pride.” wrote Lama Zopa Rinpoche to a California prisoner, a student of the Liberation Prison Project, which offers Buddhist teachings to people in prison.

Some might view this statement as a bit of an exaggeration. But negative, compulsive thoughts do have a quality of stickiness to them, Jinpa says. How you see things and the way you experience the world are strongly linked, making it critical to adopt a positive outlook. “You interact with the world through your senses and mind,” he says. “If you can find a way to stand at the doorway of your senses, you can have a say in how you experience the world.”

In our culture, though, we take it as natural that people are angry, depressed, or dejected, Courtin says. “No wonder we get depressed — it’s a depressing world view. It says you can’t do anything about it.” If you believe your abusive boss, father, or partner is the main cause of your suffering, for example, then you’ve tied your own hands and risk becoming imprisoned by toxic thoughts.

The Buddhist view, by contrast, is that happiness is what you get when you give up a neurotic state of mind, Courtin says. It’s empowering, she says, because knowing you can change it gives you the courage to look inside, pay attention, and take responsibility for your thoughts. Rather than judging negative thoughts, Courtin advises observing them with compassion. Then ask yourself, “What can I do about this?”

Techniques like mindful meditation can help with this, but may not be for everyone, especially those experiencing severe depression, says Philippe R. Goldin, PhD, research associate in the department of psychology at Stanford University.

But there are other simple steps you can take to counteract negativity and enhance your happiness. Practicing gratitude is one. People appear to have a certain set point for happiness, a range that’s influenced by genetics. But those who regularly practice gratitude can enhance this set point by as much as 25%, reports Robert Emmons, PhD in his book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Through his research, Emmons found that people who kept gratitude journals felt better about their lives, exercised more, and were more optimistic.

Happiness Barrier No. 4: Despair

Solution: Stay hopeful

Did a parent attempt to protect you as a child by saying, “Don’t get your hopes up”? There’s no evidence that hope is hurtful, says David B. Feldman, PhD, assistant professor of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University in California. Instead, hope can greatly enhance happiness in people.

Happiness Barrier No. 4: Despair continued…

But genuine hope isn’t a yellow smiley face or the denial of death at the bedside of a loved one in hospice, says Feldman, who’s pursued research and clinical work addressing the question: “How do people maintain hope and meaning in the face of adversity?

Three components are essential for hope to thrive, Feldman says. They are having goals, as well as a plan and the motivation to achieve them. “Those who succeed don’t internalize the blame game, either internally or externally,” he says, “They ask, ‘what now?’”

In addition to reaching goals, these people perform better in sports and school, Feldman says. They have a greater tolerance for pain. They use health-promoting behaviors. They also have a lower risk for depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Feldman advises setting personally meaningful goals and checking to see where your hope falters — is it with the plan or the motivation? Allow yourself to daydream, he says. It’s a wonderful source of hope and, therefore, happiness.

Happiness Barrier No. 5: Suppressing sadness

Solution: Feel the real

Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean you never allow yourself to feel sadness. The parents who try to protect their children from dashed hopes — or any kind of sadness — may actually produce the opposite effect than is intended, says James R. Doty, MD, director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. Some suffering, he says, makes you a whole person and allows you to acclimate and move forward in your life. Doty speaks from experience. He had an alcoholic father and invalid mother. He lived on public assistance for much of his youth.

“Happiness is not the absence of sadness,” says David Spiegel, MD, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. It is not a stiff upper lip or the pop psychology mantra, intoning “always stay upbeat” in the face of cancer. “Phony happiness is not good.” By suppressing sadness, you suppress other, more positive emotions, as well, he says, so people who try to suppress emotions actually become more anxious and depressed.

By finding outlets for sadness and frustration, you gain some measure of control, Spiegel says. Using others as a sounding board — not as a toxic dumping ground — can help convert generalized anxiety and depression into targeted feelings you can address with specific solutions.

Happiness Barrier No. 6: Navel-gazing

Solution: Connect with others

How important are social networks to your happiness? Perhaps even more important than you realized. A recent 20-year study of more than 4,000 people showed that happiness is influenced not just by your immediate friends and family. The happiness of a friend of a friend of a friend — someone you’ve never even met — can also influence your happiness. It turns out that happiness can spread through social networks, like a virus.

Happiness Barrier No. 6: Navel-gazing continued…

Unfortunately, many people spend so much time by themselves navel gazing, they don’t benefit from this positive “contagion.”

The more self-absorbed you are, the more your world closes in, and the less realistic you become, all of which produces a vicious circle. “You become oblivious to the needs of others, and the world shrinks still more, making you less able to see outside yourself.” If asked, ‘Why are your problems so special?” says Jinpa, you might respond, “Because they’re mine!”

“If you have such a huge ego, you’re setting yourself up as a huge target, which can easily get hit,” Jinpa says. But using a “wide-angle lens” instead helps you see connections you wouldn’t otherwise see, such as the universality of suffering. All it may take is having a loved one diagnosed with a serious disease to realize how many people are grappling with similar challenges. Feeling joined by others on this journey provides some comfort and happiness.

The straightest path to making connections like these? Compassion and caring for others.

Even primates seem to understand this, says Robert M. Sapolsky, PhD, author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers and research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. Primates that groom each other after a stressful event experience a reduction in blood pressure. The clincher? Grooming others has a greater impact than getting groomed, says Sapolsky.

Compassion engages us with others, removes isolation, builds resilience, and leads to deep fulfillment, says Doty. “Without compassion, happiness is simply short-lived pleasure.”

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, may have said it best: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Everyday Etiquette—Forms of Address


Addressbook, cup of tea and stationery at the ready, you start addressing
invitations for your husband’s fortieth birthday party. All of a sudden
you realize you are in a potential etiquette minefield. Jane and John
are married, but she does not want to be addressed as “and Mrs. John
Kelly;” Sam and Sue are not married, but live together; and Tanya is
separated but not yet divorced. What are the correct forms of address
for each of these invitations?

Help is on the way! Simply refer to our handy chart and take the mystery out
of addressing your social correspondence correctly.

Situation Options/Notes
Addressing a Woman
Maiden name Ms. Jane Johnson Miss Jane Johnson* *usually ‘Miss’ is for girls under 18
Married, keeping maiden name Ms. Jane Johnson
Married, uses husband’s name socially Mrs. John Kelly Mrs. Jane Kelly* *Nowadays this is acceptableMs. Jane Kelly
Separated, not divorced Mrs. John Kelly Mrs. Jane KellyMs. Jane Kelly
Divorced Mrs. Jane Kelly Ms. Jane KellyMs. Jane Johnson (maiden name)
Widowed Mrs. John Kelly* *If you don’t know the widow’s preference, this is
the traditional and preferred form
Mrs. Jane KellyMs. Jane Kelly
Addressing a Couple
Married, she uses her husband’s name socially Mr. and Mrs. John Kelly
NOTE:
Traditionally, a man’s name preceded a woman’s on an envelope adddress,
and his first and surname were not separated (Jane and John Kelly).
Nowadays, the order of the names—whether his name or hers comes
first—does not matter and either way is acceptable. The exception is
when one member of the couple ‘outranks’ the other—the one with the
higher rank is always listed first.

Married, she prefers Ms.

Mr. John Kelly and Ms. Jane Kelly
Ms. Jane Kelly and Mr. John Kelly
*Do not link Ms. to the husband’s name:
Mr. and Ms.John Kelly is incorrect
Married, informal address Jane and John Kelly
John and Jane Kelly
Married, she uses maiden name Mr. John Kelly and Ms. Jane Johnson
Ms. Jane Johnson and Mr. John KellyIf you can’t fit the names on one line:
Mr. John Kelly
and Ms. Jane Johnson
*Note the indent, either name may be used first
Unmarried, living together Mr. John Kelly
Ms. Jane Johnson
Note: Use two lines, do not indent and do not link the names with ‘and’. Either name may be used first.
A woman who outranks her husband:
elected office, military rank
The Honorable Jane Kelly and Mr. John KellyIf you can’t fit both names on one line (note indent):
The Honorable Jane Kelly
and Mr. John Kelly
A woman who outranks her husband:
professional or educational degree
Dr. Jane Kelly and Mr. John Kelly
Both are doctors (PhD or medical) and use the same last name The Doctors Kelly (omit first names)
Drs. Jane and John Kelly / Drs. John and Jane Kelly
Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Jane Kelly / Dr. Jane Kelly and Dr. John Kelly
Both are doctors (PhD or medical), she uses her maiden name Dr. Jane Johnson and Dr. John Kelly
Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Jane Johnson
Business
Woman Ms. is the default form of address, unless you know positively that a woman wishes to be addressed as Mrs.
Professional designations—use only for business Jane Kelly, CPA
Note: Do not use Ms. or Mr. if using a professional designation.
Socially, drop the professional designation and use Mr., Ms., or Mrs.: Ms. Jane Kelly
Esquire:
Attorneys and some court officials
Jane Kelly, Esquire
Note: If using Esquire, do not use Ms. or Mr.
In conversation or socially, ‘Esquire’ is not used; use Mr. or Ms.: Ms. Jane Kelly
Attorney at Law Ms. Jane Kelly
Attorney at Law
This is an alternative to ‘Esquire’ for attorneys. Use Mr. or Ms. and use two lines with no indent.