Health & Wellness In the News: Snuggle Up!

>> Friday, February 26, 2010

Earlier this week we shared some current perspectives on fitness and health. Today, the subject is intimacy ... whether it's psychological or physical ... and what it can mean for your relationships.

  • In what will probably be the last reference to the Olympics, the New York Times offers an inside look at what makes for a successful relationship on the ice. No surprise, part of the answer lies in both members of the couple putting in equal amounts of hard work – and knowing that falling and getting up again is part of the gig.
  • The “Mind” blog at the New York Times offers an insightful look behind the psychology of touching. Seems that those sports teams who pat each other on the back do better than those who don’t. Likewise for couples.

Hope this finds you well!



RT @DalaiLama

>> Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It’s official: the Dalai Lama is now using twitter. According to the Huffington Post, His Holiness laughed when the idea first came up – but then obviously warmed to the idea. His first tweet was on February 22; two days later, his number of twitter followers topped 110,000.

And that’s after only 13 tweets.

Take that in conjunction with a new statistic that only about 50% of tweets are in English, and you can see where this is going: Twitter has created a way to scale virtual relationships all over the world.

I was privileged to attend a two-day seminar the Dalai Lama offered in New York a few years ago. He spoke in Tibetan, through a translator, but his presence was affirming, uplifting and thought-provoking. I’ll admit, I don’t get the same warm glow from twitter that I do from being in the same room with someone … but it’s nice to be reminded that this very good man is present in the world. And sharing his thoughts and experiences with us.

So whatever its faults and virtues, Twitter is bringing the world closer together, from Dharamsala to downtown Manhattan. And elsewhere, of course :). And while virtual relationships – we can hope – will never replace the real thing, they add a dimension to our lives when we physically can’t be close -- and knowing those connections are open to us is a way of finding wellness.

Hope this finds you well!



Health and Wellness in the News: The Sports Report!

>> Tuesday, February 23, 2010

As armchair athletes and gym rats, we’ve been watching the Olympics with an eye towards what these outstanding athletes can tell us about the connection between exercise and wellness.

Some of the stories we think are especially interesting include:

+ The Wall Street Journal writing about how diabetic athletes achieve their goals

+ USA Today sharing the reasons that those who win bronze medals are happier than those who win silver

+ Superblog CafeMom teaching how to build a strong core – a strategy shared by many Olympic athletes.

Please join the conversation and add your own picks!

Hope this finds you well.



Viva la Siesta!

>> Monday, February 22, 2010

Last Sunday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science revealed data that confirms the benefits of napping. But SSW’s own Cornelius Kelly already knew that.

Viva la Siesta

By Cornelius Kelly

VP Copy Supervisor, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Extolling the virtues of an afternoon siesta on the company blog may sound subversive, but it makes good business sense. Regular naps help reduce stress, improve concentration and curb irritability, which could make us all more productive employees.

Why We Nap

The siesta has been around for thousands of years and was usually seen as a physical necessity rather than a luxury. We all notice a drop in energy levels in the afternoon. Recent research has shown that it’s perfectly natural. Our biological clock, which regulates body functions such as blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature, also tells us when to rest. This happens about 8 hours after we wake up in the morning and then again at night. Eating lunch doesn’t necessarily bring on drowsiness, although a heavy midday meal with lots of carbs and alcohol can make us even more tired.

The Advantages Are Many

According to NASA, a short 10 to 20 minute nap in the middle of a working day can increase productivity by over 30% and alertness by 100%. Another study conducted by the Harvard Medical School proved that afternoon naps help improve memory. Subjects in the study were trained in a few memory tasks, and then half of them took 45-minute naps. Those who learned the tasks prior to the nap retained the information better than those who had stayed awake. So, after your next marathon meeting, head to the nearest beanbag. If people complain, tell them you’re doing it for the benefit of the company.

Afternoon naps do more than make us better employees. It seems they also help reduce the risk of illness. A study of 24,000 men and women conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School found that a short nap in the afternoon reduced the risk of heart disease by 34%. And, since drowsiness is often the cause of accidents, a quick nap can restore concentration and alertness and help us avoid mishaps.

Creating the Optimum Conditions

The type of nap most often recommended for improved health and productivity is a short one – even 5 minutes can help. Think of it as shutting down the engine and letting it cool off for a few minutes.

Ideally, you should lie down in a comfortable position so your body can relax more easily. And of course, it’s best to nap in a place where you’re not in full view. Here are a few tips:

• Set your alarm for 10-20 minutes and disconnect your phones

• Use a yoga or exercise mat. Or sit back in your chair and use a cushion or flight pillow

• Close your eyes – an eye mask can help cut out bright light

• Let your mind go blank. Even if you don’t actually sleep, the process will relax and refresh your mind

• Just after your nap, drink a glass of water and eat a small piece of chocolate. These will help revive you and get rid of that groggy feeling.

Know that you’re in good company when you take a siesta. Consider these successful people who napped regularly:

• Bill Clinton, while President of the United States

• Napoleon, while sitting on his horse between battles

• Churchill, to cope with his wartime responsibilities

• Einstein, to help him think more clearly.

Even if it’s difficult to take time out to nap every day of the workweek, fairly regular siestas, especially on weekends, are a great way to enhance wellness.


Olympics Inspire A New Kind of Wellness

I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m watching curling. And ice dancing! The Olympics this year are mesmerizing, and I don’t think it’s just because of the US medal count. I think in this time of economic crisis, war, fear, distrust in institutions, and general exhaustion, it’s refreshing to see happy, dedicated, talented people at the top of their game, pursuing their dreams.

But the joy is not just in being a couch potato, vicariously watching others sweat (for more about the virtues of watching TV, see Jim Joseph's blogpost today). I’m finding that the more I watch, the more inspired I get to rededicate myself to the things I want to focus on in my own life.

In December, we talked about Re-Invention being one of the top wellness trends of 2010. And while seeing Bode Miller come back from Olympic defeat is awe-inspiring, I take just as much inspiration from all 33 downhill skiers who put every ounce of their energy, talent and intelligence into their qualifying runs, and the ice dancers who practiced for 5 years, not to win, but to be 9th or 10th best. In the world, but still.

Reinvention doesn’t just happen. It takes focus, patience and dedicated practice. But fortunately, I don’t think you have to be an Olympic athlete to do it.

Hope this finds you well.



Are You in the Blue Zone?

>> Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In September 2009 Dan Buettner gave a talk at TED where he detailed the findings of research he has done on what he calls “Blue Zones” – areas where people live to be really old. And not just old – vital. They’re still physically active. They maintain a sharp wit and a discerning mind.

Somehow these people have figured it out.

My first reaction was – boy I’d love to take a swim in their gene pool. But according to Mr. Buettner, only 10% of their longevity is determined by genetics -- the other 90% is lifestyle.

Wellness means many things, but for most of us one of the key components to wellness is how long we live. We quit smoking, go on diets, stuff ourselves with expensive vitamins and supplements all in the name of being healthier with the expectation that we will live better and also longer.

Mr. Buettner offers “nine commandments” for living a long life – things which all of the super-seniors had in common:

1. Move Naturally: Incorporate regular, non-stressful physical activity into your daily life.

2. Downshift: Slow down & de-stress. Stress ignistes an inflammatory response that can lead to a number of health issues.

3. Purpose Now: Take time every day to remind yourself why you’re doing what it is you do.

4. Wine @5: Drink a little bit every day (whoohoo!)

5. Plant Slant: Eat more plants than anything else

6. 80% Rule: Stop eating when you’re 80% full

7. Loved Ones First: Maintain close contact with extended family. It may feel like it’s killing you, but it turns out to be healthy (I added that part J)

8. Belong: People with a large social network of close friends live longer

9. Right Tribe: If the people around you have unhealthy habits, it’s likely that you will too.

Just out of curiosity and I checked off which of the nine I am currently doing – being generous with myself I’m at 4 out of 9.

He doesn’t tell how many extra years that buys me, but I’m hoping for a few.

Hoping this finds you well.

Jacob Braude
VP, Planner


Getting Personal with Social Media!

>> Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Last Thursday, I was in San Francisco, speaking – and listening! – at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) Industry Leader Forum - Putting Listening to Work , held at the beautiful Bentley Reserve. It was a great day, packed with interesting speakers from Toyota, Kraft, Vitamin Water, and many more.

I was there to talk about how pharmaceutical companies can – and do – engage in social media. As you probably know, one of the biggest issues holding pharmaceutical companies back in social media is the need to report adverse events. To help create some perspective around the problem, I quoted a statistic from Nielsen BuzzMetrics – saying that only 1 in 500 posted comments qualify as reportable events.

Here’s what happened next: cue the twittersphere!

@cdny (in attendance) writes: Did I hear that correctly? 1 in 500 conversations on pharma is an adverse event?

@ wmartino (our own William Martino, following the tweet feed from our office in New York) replied to @cdny: According to the study by Nielsen, yes 1 in 500 was "reportable" (meeting 4 key criteria).

@ MelissaKDavies (also following from a remote location) also replied to @cdny: 1 in 500 online HC msgs contains reportable AE. I ran that rsch for Nielsen. View whitepaper at

A question was asked, answered and reviewed in the course of just a few minutes, pinging from the back of the room to our office in NY, to Melissa Davies -- the author of the study! -- and back again to San Francisco.

I found all this out at the end of my talk -- still standing on the stage -- when Joel Rubinson, The ARF’s Chief Research Officer, asked for the room's attention and read the entire exchange aloud.

As Joel said, “let me show you how social media is working right now.”

Cool, yes?

I’ll be posting more about my speech, and the rest of the conference, soon.

Hope this finds you well!