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It’s Time for a Solution

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For close to the past 2 years, I have been trying so hard to get people to listen…. to shift their thinking from the focus on “the problems” to that of the positive and the possibilities. For the past two years I have felt frustration and experienced having doors “slammed” in my face or people telling me I “can’t” make things change or how people wouldn’t participate if they “didn’t have a problem”.

BUT, I’ve persisted because I believe in the power of the idea of the Enjoy Life Community® model and the focus on life enjoyment for our communities and for our people.

Why?

Because I know that EVERY day someone in our community wakes up in despair or experiencing feelings of loneliness or hopelessness or helplessness. I know that EVERY day, in our Country, on average, there are 121 suicides. I know that EVERY day, people wake up with depression. I know that EVERY day, in our Country, 120 people die from overdoses with, I believe, the blame for using drugs being inappropriately directed to drug dealers or physician prescribers.

What we are doing is evidently not working. In 2009 23.5 million (of 306.8 million) persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem . Through discussions with our elected officials and research, it is shown that alcohol or drug rehabilitation may only be effective 10 – 30% of the time.

We have the power to shift and to create an environment to: Decrease social isolation, share the good works being performed in our communities, encourage participation in our community endeavors, and to shift our current focus and redirect our energies from problems to solutions and the goal to enjoy life.

This is the mission and vision of the Time to Play Foundation – The Foundation offers a positive reminder and reinforcement that every day should feel like “play” and provides resources in a PROACTIVE manner to decrease the development of, or utilization of, self-destructive behaviors; and, to, instead, shift the focus to enjoy life and to spark a progressive and proactive momentum in our communities to do so.

Got Crime in your community? Sure. Got drug issues in your community? Sure. BUT…. How about if we shift our efforts to concentrate on a SOLUTION vs. trying to control a negative situation or outcome. The war on drugs has been waging since Richard Nixon declared drugs as public enemy number one in the United States. Since it was coined as such, more than $1 Trillion has been spent in this “war”.

Guess what – it “ain’t” working, no matter how many billions have been spent. Here’s a thought… what if we shift to focus on getting people to love life – to feel wanted and part of their community? Demand drives supply. I believe that, if people loved their life, they would never use drugs or other self-destructive behaviors in the first place.

Ask yourself: Do you love your life? With the visible and proactive solution provided by the Enjoy Life Community® program of the Time to Play Foundation, you will.

It’s time to encourage participation and provide greater opportunities to our students and our people through partnerships and community collaboration. It’s time to strengthen our businesses. It’s time to change the discussion of feeling sad or lonely or depressed from embarrassing and taboo. It’s time to stop the silent suffering.

It’s time to bridge the communication barriers in our communities in order to showcase opportunities available. It’s time to work together to create solutions so our people can be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance.

It’s time to Enjoy Life. It’s Time to Play.

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1- https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics
2 -published studies report that about 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and that nearly 50% of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime costing $300 billion https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealthsurveillance/fact_sheet.html
3 – https://www.overdoseday.com/resources/facts-stats
4 – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publicatio…/…/treatment-statistics
5 – http://jeremyfrankphd.com/drug-and-alcohol-recovery-outcome…
6 – https://web.stanford.edu/…/poverty_preju…/paradox/htele.html
7 – http://www.mintpressnews.com/war-on-drugs/211217

The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit 501c3 corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. – See more at:www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org

PREinvent YOUR Life® Survey Findings can put the Self-Help Industry Out of Business

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preinvent your lifeThere are many statistics and studies that show the effects of reactive education, counseling and treatment for those who experience a negative life experience, including those who participate in self destructive behaviors and/or who are suffering from depression.  Additionally, in light of the fact that the average life expectancy in the United States is currently 78.8 years, it seems imperative to address quality of life issues early in life in order to facilitate the longest possible quality of life experience.

An article published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Depression, A Global Public Health Concern”,  confirms the work of the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization that encourages everyone to enjoy life.  In the WHO report, it was noted that over 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, which, at its worst, could lead to suicide.  The article noted that almost 1 million lives are lost to suicide yearly, which equates to approximately 3,000 deaths by suicide per day.

It is our position that treatment, provided reactively after development of the symptoms of depression, is less effective than a proactive approach.

Further, the WHO article did emphasize that that the prevention of depression is an area that deserves attention.

In our society it is common knowledge that those in their mid to late life experience the proverbial “mid-life crisis” to search for their life purpose, quality of life and life enjoyment; but, today, it is evident that many of our youth are plagued with self-destructive behaviors, depression and /or suicidal ideation, translating to a painful and displeasing life experience.  In response to these, the self-help industry has exploded to an over $11 billion a year industry that preys on those experiencing a negative life experience.  For so many there is a need for counseling, encouragement, and education to assist them in recovery of their mental health status.

The Time to Play Foundation’s intention is to encourage people to enjoy life in a proactive manner, and believes in a proactive approach and the concept of PREinvention® vs. REcovery.

It is evident in our society today that the focus is more reactive than proactive and utilizes the practices of REinvention and REcovery vs. the concept of PREvention and PREinvention®.  In 1855 Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.  While the background behind this statement was not solely in reference to creating a mentally healthy and stable population, it can be utilized to emphasize this proactive idea of PREinvention® that could be easily implemented into our population today.

Therefore, it may be emphasized that an enjoyable life experience starts with a healthy thought process and healthy self-perception.  In the reactive recovery process we utilize today through our current self-help industry, we hear over and again how people cannot let go of their past and see how self-destructive behaviors are developed in response to lack of life skills and coping skills. This thought process is what feeds our self-help industry, where we try to unravel past damage and unhealthy thoughts that cause the underlying motives behind self-destructive behaviors.

With this more proactive approach it seems to be possible to eliminate so many who spend much of their lives without life enjoyment and that we can facilitate a better life experience for a longer period of time.

The Time to Play Foundation’s team acknowledged the importance to look for a root cause that may provide insight as to why people are not enjoying or not able to enjoy life.  In April, 2015 the Foundation conducted a survey entitled PREinvent YOUR Life® to high school students in grades 9 – 12 at the Comsewogue High School in New York.  There were 727 voluntary, anonymous respondents out of 1131 students present, a statistically significant survey that represented the whole.  The findings were mind-blowing and provided valuable PREventive insight, as well as a “key” concept that may not only eliminate self destructive behaviors, but provide an opportunity for us to implement an easy strategy while raising our children that will provide them a lifetime of success and life enjoyment.

The findings showed that 90.65% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “how to be happy as myself” was the most important “how to” in order to have an enjoyable life experience.

The survey was developed by Doreen Guma, an expert in quality improvement and the Founder of the Time to Play Foundation, who researched many reactive processes and experts in the self-help industry and compiled data for the survey over a 2 ½ year period.  The survey was developed by a team selected by Mrs. Guma to create a streamlined inquiry.

Following the survey, the insight gleaned was validated through discussion with students and young adults.  There was agreement supporting the idea that, if the students had learned preventive, positive coping skills, they may have chosen a different way with dealing with life situations they had encountered thus far in their lives.  It stands to reason that these positive skills, learned early, would have impact on overall life satisfaction throughout an entire lifetime.

The study findings were most telling, and potentially provide a KEY to quality of life.  Considering the implications behind the skill of “how to be happy as myself”, it is may be safe to summarize that, if a person is happy as themselves, and loves themselves, there is potential to eliminate self-destructive behaviors adopted to fill a void and/or hide some type of personal pain; for example, self-harm, suicide, or alcoholism.  Further, it could be deduced that if a person is happy as themselves, they may not adopt these types of hurtful actions.  It may be safe to go a little further to note that, if a person loved themselves, they will protect themselves.

Therefore, if we can encourage and educate our children in a proactive manner how to “be happy as myself”, we have the potential to create a population of persons with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth.

Based on the findings of the survey, Dr. John Salvarodos, a member of the Time to Play Foundation’s Business Advisory Board with 30 years experience as a school psychologist, educator, mental health therapist and crisis intervention counselor, noted that, “Creating programs that educate new parents and community workers to find common language that supports the development of critical reasoning and decision-making skills benefits all children.”  Further, he summarized that, “Efforts that promote healthy outcomes are fundamental in understanding ways that we can reduce the quantity and effects of adverse childhood experiences.”

In summary, based on the preliminary findings of the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, it can be suggested that early intervention programs for ALL children, beginning with parents, support the possibility of the prevention of the development of depression, self-destructive behaviors and an adverse life experience.

The Time to Play Foundation is in final stages of development of the proactive PREinvent YOUR Life® programs for expectant parents and early childhood intervention programs and educators, spurring further research on the effectiveness of this approach.

Dr. Salvarodos’ essay overview of the findings from the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, incorporating his years of direct observance of students entitled Developmentally Making the Right Choices, is available at Developmentally Making the Right Choices.  Dr. Salvarodos is also a founding member of the Gardner Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Task Force created in response to the per-capita rate of suicide in his area.  He is a strong supporter of the PREinvent YOUR Life™ concept.

The PREinvent YOUR Life® survey is available for your review in its entirety at http://timetoplay.com/preinvent-your-life-survey

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

 

References:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/who_paper_depression_wfmh_2012.pdf 

http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/15/self-help-industry-ent-sales-cx_ml_0115selfhelp.html

Remembering Those in Need

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Remember

Remember

This article was triggered by my frustration trying to help a lovely woman in need and my inability to rally people to help.  It breaks my heart how one person can give so much and can wind up so alone, fighting insurmountable obstacles. 

With this being Memorial Day, I started thinking broader about the silent plight of so many. 

I am a person who looks at an issue and sees the “big picture”, not just what directly affects me.  I continuously marvel about how today’s “problems”, in many cases, are not new.  Many of these issues are recurring in our society.  Time and again I marvel at how history repeats itself – it we let it – which I did go into greater detail in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life” (www.ifiknewthenbook.com).  

I continuously assume people will feel the same urgencies I do for certain things and about situations that affect us as a whole.  Time and again I wind up frustrated, disappointed or surprised.

With this being Memorial Day, I am reminded of a conversation I had with an elected official.  I asked him why we don’t hear daily reports about our military personnel or the plight of our veterans.  He told me that, unlike during the world wars when everyone was affected, only 1% of people in our country are currently connected to military personnel or situations. 

My family does not have anyone in the military, but I totally believe that we should care about the men and women who are protecting our freedoms, at home and abroad.  I believe we should know what they need, how to help, and how to care.  Not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but every day. 

Did you know that 22 soldiers a day commit suicide?  http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day  Did you know that many Veterans are homeless? There are many articles that gave a statistics that approximately 58,000 veterans were homeless in the year 2013.  It is so hard for me to believe that someone could fight for our freedoms and end up in this manner. Through my work experience in healthcare I have learned that many don’t know where to get help or the resources available.

If you look into history, these situations that currently affect our Veterans are not new.  We still hear the term “the forgotten war”, and many talk about our current Veterans fitting into this same category. 

Working in quality improvement for many years, I have learned that you cannot ignore issues – things will only continue to get worse.  I have learned that it is better to weigh your options and implement the best possible solution when first identifying the problem.  This can be applied to anything; for example a hole in a pipe will get larger and larger (it won’t go away), health problems will continue to compound, or a car that is in disrepair will eventually stop working. 

I am acutely aware that one person cannot be involved in and deal with everything, but I am also aware that many people might just say, “That’s too bad” and move along in their day.  I believe there are so many things that get put on the back burner without getting the proper attention that it should.  In the end, issues will just get larger and continue to reappear.  Just watch our nightly news and the stories that we hear over and over.  We see the same situations, on a daily basis, just reported on with different names and dates.

With this being Memorial Day, please take a moment today to reflect on our Veterans, their dedication and sacrifice.  Perhaps do a quick “Google” search to find one of the many organizations working to help our Veterans.  Perhaps there is something you can contribute.  If each one of us does one little thing to help, we can make things better.  That’s the concept behind “people helping people” and Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com).

I’ll even inappropriately venture out on this Memorial Day and ask you to stop a moment to consider the plight of others, those who may not be Veterans.

In reference to my dear friend, she has been going through a horrible health crisis for almost a year.  She’s just one of many who are going through a crisis in their lives or the lives of their loved ones.  I had believed she had a stronger support group than she actually does have.  Maybe I just want to believe that everyone has some type of support group or a person they can count on in their time of need.  The more I’ve been working on the Time to Play project, the more I realize that just isn’t so and how many people are out there truly out there on their own. 

In this particular case, I’ve been trying to do a fundraiser for her with not great results.  Maybe it’s because she is not a young child, maybe people just have too much of their own stuff that they are dealing with.  Through working on Time to Play, many have said to me that, unless something directly affects a person, it is hard for them to wrap their minds around the plight of another. 

I will never be able to accept that. 

We all need to care. 

People Helping People.  Collaboration = Success.

What is a Life Coach and Why Would I Pursue Such Education?

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In today’s society I’ve personally noticed a decline in happiness amongst many people, both young and old.  Today I saw an article that my brother Jonathan referenced about a poll that showed 2/3 of Americans are not “very happy”. This is quite disturbing to me.  After all, I am a person who truly believes we live in the most amazing country and we should all have an opportunity to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance — the Time to Play Philosophy.

I am a research junkie, which you can read further about in Jonathan’s chapter in our newly published book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (seewww.IfIKnewThenBook.com for more info). Jonathan’s chapter is about his experience with the tabu topic of depression and suicide.  I honestly did not know how significant a problem this was, and was horrified when I read statistics published by  the National Institute of Health: “Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2007, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths. The overall rate was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people.  An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death(1).  Additionally, it was noted that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in young people ages 15 – 24, which really upset me.  After all, life is just beginning for these young people. I also foundthat mental illness affects approximately 20% of our population, which may create a higher suicidal ideation in some component of our population(2).

I became further interested in learning about the statistics of suicide after a discussion I had with my daughter Jacquelyn, who is 18.  She recently spoke to me about many of her friends who felt lost or who have given up and had a “what’s the use” attitude.  Additionally, my 21 year old son, a Psychology Major at Baruch College in New York City, spoke of the same when I asked his opinion of Jacquelyn’s statements.  So, I started to investigate this topic and found the incredible numbers of suicide and depression that affect our people.  Even in today’s society, while it is more visible, it is my opinion that the topic of suicide and depression is still quite tabu and hidden.  The pains of the great numbers of our society are truly something that the general population needs to be aware of in order to make changes. 

It pains me that such a young person could feel so lost.  While other situations may come into play, the discussion with my children brought to light that, with the troubled economy, the kids may feel their future is questionable regarding getting a job or “making it”.  Perhaps they’ve lost the American Dream feeling, where anything in our Country is possible if you put your mind to it.  Instead, maybe, they have become poisoned by news reports and feel that they have a questionable future, that the middle class is shrinking, that they have to deal with college debt, and that it will be difficult to find a job to survive.  These are not just my opinions, but opinions of college students I asked as a result of the conversations sparked by my children.

So… I decided to continue my education to learn more so I can help more.  I believe education is power. I chose to become a life coach to guide people in their discovery of how to live a life of passion and to help people identify what they want in life.  Life coaches help people that may be lost in their life path to identify and create goals and set strategies so they could develop a successful vision, relationships, values, time management, or to identify whatever else is obscuring their future happiness and success.  It is important to emphasize that Life Coaches are not therapists. 

Perhaps helping people identify their passion, develop a vision, and create life goals will help others live a fulfilled life.  A Life Coach may enable them to see past what they perceive to be negative odds.  When we, as a people, put our mind to something, nothing is impossible.  It is my hope that, with the proper direction, they will find a path and not give up.

That is what drove me to obtain this education.  So I can be better prepared to help guide others in their path of discovery.  To have insight that may enable me to provide just what a person needs to see past negative thinking and be able to live a fulfilled life to achieve happiness.  After all, in the end, don’t we all just want to be happy? 

References:

  1. National Institute of Health
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness