Strong Wheeled's Posts (11)

Education, Education, Education

We here at Strong Wheeled think that education is key. They may be able to take your car, your home, or your ability to walk; but, the one thing that can never be taken is your education and your will. What do our members think? Are real life skills more important than education? What types of education do our members have? Share your thoughts so we can get to know more about you. #knowledgeispower

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Smile More

A quick link here

Does smiling make you happy?

by

The losing Miss America contestants probably aren't getting much of an emotional boost from their artificial smiles.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Evidence That Smiling Causes Happiness

In 1989, a psychologist named Robert Zajonc published one of the most significant studies on the emotional effect of producing a smile.

His subjects repeated vowel sounds that forced their faces into various expressions. To mimic some of the characteristics of a smile, they made the long "e" sound, which stretches the corners of the mouth outward. Other vowel sounds were also tested, including the long "u," which forces the mouth into a pouty expression.

Subjects reported feeling good after making the long "e" sound, and feeling bad after the long "u."

Other studies reported similar results. One had subjects make the positive and negative expressions by holding a pen in their mouths, either protruding outward for a pout or held lengthwise in the teeth to make a smile. In another, researchers had subjects mimic each physiological trait of a smile until their faces were in a full Duchenne expression.

In yet another experiment, one group of subjects was shown pictures of various facial expressions; another group made those facial expressions and a final group made those expressions while looking in the mirror.

The evidence all points toward smiling as a cause of happy feelings. Subjects were asked questions that pinpointed their emotional state before and after smiling, and they overwhelmingly scored happier after smiling. In the study involving the mirror, subjects who watched themselves smile saw an even more pronounced change in mood than those who smiled without the mirror, and the subjects who merely looked at pictures didn't experience that change at all.

Those researchers hypothesized that self-consciousness is a factor in the effect -- that introspective people might experience a greater smile-related mood lift than those who are less aware of their feelings. Thus the mirror-related boost. But what about the difference between those who looked at pictures and those who created the expressions? Why would the people who put their faces into a smile feel happier afterward?

Most other studies on the topic note the cause-and-effect relationship without having a definitive explanation for it. The reason why Dr. Zajonc's research is so significant in the field is because he proposes a detailed, physiology-based explanation for the cause-and-effect relationship. According to his hypothesis, the facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness.

In 1989, a psychologist named Robert Zajonc published one of the most significant studies on the emotional effect of producing a smile.

His subjects repeated vowel sounds that forced their faces into various expressions. To mimic some of the characteristics of a smile, they made the long "e" sound, which stretches the corners of the mouth outward. Other vowel sounds were also tested, including the long "u," which forces the mouth into a pouty expression.

Subjects reported feeling good after making the long "e" sound, and feeling bad after the long "u."

Other studies reported similar results. One had subjects make the positive and negative expressions by holding a pen in their mouths, either protruding outward for a pout or held lengthwise in the teeth to make a smile. In another, researchers had subjects mimic each physiological trait of a smile until their faces were in a full Duchenne expression.

In yet another experiment, one group of subjects was shown pictures of various facial expressions; another group made those facial expressions and a final group made those expressions while looking in the mirror.

The evidence all points toward smiling as a cause of happy feelings. Subjects were asked questions that pinpointed their emotional state before and after smiling, and they overwhelmingly scored happier after smiling. In the study involving the mirror, subjects who watched themselves smile saw an even more pronounced change in mood than those who smiled without the mirror, and the subjects who merely looked at pictures didn't experience that change at all.

Those researchers hypothesized that self-consciousness is a factor in the effect -- that introspective people might experience a greater smile-related mood lift than those who are less aware of their feelings. Thus the mirror-related boost. But what about the difference between those who looked at pictures and those who created the expressions? Why would the people who put their faces into a smile feel happier afterward?

Most other studies on the topic note the cause-and-effect relationship without having a definitive explanation for it. The reason why Dr. Zajonc's research is so significant in the field is because he proposes a detailed, physiology-based explanation for the cause-and-effect relationship. According to his hypothesis, the facial changes involved in smiling have direct effects on certain brain activities associated with happiness.

President Obama gives a winning smile aboard Air Force One.

Image courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov

Explanations for Why Smiling Causes Happiness

While lots of research on smiles triggering happiness was performed in the last half-century, that spurt of interest was actually a renewed interest in the topic. The theory goes back to Darwin, who proposed in the 19th century that facial expressions didn't only reflect emotions, but also caused them.

A lack of good evidence for how that happened put the theory on the back burner for many years. But in the 1980s, some interesting studies on the physiology of smiling brought it back into the consciousness of the psychology field. One study found that when subjects contorted their faces to indicate fear, their body temperatures increased and their pulses sped up. Dr. Zajonc's research took this observation further, into a full-fledged proposal for why a smile might trigger happiness. It basically goes like this:

When the temperature of any body part changes, the chemical activities connected with that area also change. Therefore, when facial muscles are activated in an expression, the biochemical processes associated with those areas of the face are altered according to their temperature change. And research suggests that a cooler brain creates good emotions, while a warmer brain produces negative emotions [source: Goleman].

Zajonc points to the part of the body called the internal carotid artery, which is the "pipe" that delivers the majority of blood to the brain. This artery flows through an opening called the cavernous sinus, which contains lots of facial veins. When someone smiles, causing certain facial muscles to stretch and tighten, veins are constricted. This would cut down on the blood flowing to the cavernous sinus, which in turn would reduce the amount of blood flowing through the carotid artery to the brain. Less blood volume means the temperature of that blood drops.

When that cooler blood gets to the brain, brain temperature would drop, too, triggering a happy feeling. The theory works in reverse, too: Zajonc says that when the muscles involved in a frown tighten, the result is increased blood flow to the cavernous sinus and, by extension, a warmer brain.

So, if Zajonc is right -- and not everybody thinks he is, but it's an interesting possibility -- does that mean you could avoid sadness for the rest of your life by faking a smile?

Definitely not. Even proponents of the theory don't suggest that smiling can make unhappiness go away. The theory basically states that in a state of emotional neutrality, putting a smile on your face can tip you in the direction of a positive feeling.

So don't walk into a funeral and make everybody smile as big as they can. You'll look insensitive, and it probably won't make anyone feel any better.

Sources

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Disability Awareness: 10 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Disabilities

The Mobility Resource  |  Posted: 08/02/2013 6:07 pm EDT

By Tiffiny Carlson, THE MOBILITY RESOURCE

Parents are all over the board when it comes to how they teach their kids about disabilities. Some scold their kids when they ask what’s wrong when a person with a disability passes by, and other parents are totally cool with letting their kids run around and approach us at will. No two parenting techniques are alike.

But there are a few things that are repeated. From telling their child to always look away or giving them a generic viewpoint of people with disabilities, mistakes on how to talk about us are abound. Since even the most well-meaning parent can accidentally flub up, here are 10 ways to help give your kid a leg up on how to think differently about disabilities.

1) Answering “Why can’t they walk?”

One of the most common questions kids ask when they see someone who uses a wheelchair is this, “Why can’t they walk?” Kids are naturally curious and have no filter, which are without question one of their best and worst qualities. If your child is younger, saying, “They just have an owie,” can be enough.

If they’re older however, just be honest. “I don’t know, baby, but most likely it’s because their nerves,” is all you need to say. My 6-year-old niece is a great example. She’s still too young to understand the concept of a spinal cord injury, so I just tell her my legs just don’t listen to me anymore, and she understand it completely.

But what’s great is once they fully understand, fear is erased.

2) Don’t get mad when they get curious.

While it’s great so many parents want to make sure their kids don’t offend us, which for some kids is a legitimate concern when it comes to sensitive people with disabilities, getting angry with your child when they ask questions about our disability should be avoided. Fear, shame or embarrassment is not what you want your kids to feel in the presence of disability. I hear kids ask their moms about me all the time. Cutest thing ever.

3) Being different isn’t a negative thing.

Instead of putting a “sad story” spin on disability whenever they inquire about someone, saying something along the lines of, “But it’s ok.” “The world is full of people who are different,” is vital. We all get around in our own ways. As long as we get there is the important part.

4) Always ask before helping.

A lot of well-meaning parents like to teach their kids to help us whenever possible. But it’s just as important to teach them to ask before helping so they can appreciate our autonomy, and respect us as such. Teaching your child to automatically jump to our aid is kind, but it can make it harder for them to see us as a person apart from the chair. Letting them know we can do many things on our own is a huge lesson for kids.

5) Our wheelchairs aren’t oversized strollers.

Seeing a wheelchair as our “legs” is another big lesson to drive home. Kids can come up with some hysterical words when referring to a wheelchair – a mini car, a wagon, a “what’s that” (my personal favorite), but don’t let them go on thinking of our wheelchair as a stroller. Kids like to, but driving home the notion of a wheelchair as being an empowering object, not one that symbolizes helplessness, can make a huge impact.

6) Be careful how you react yourself.

It’s no secret kids are sponges and instantly sense whatever mom or dad is feeling. Feeling nervous, awkward or afraid around people with disabilities will only make your kids feel exactly the same way. Try to put those feelings aside in the best interest of your kids. Respond positively and calmly when encountering a person with a disability and they’ll do the same (and hopefully into adulthood too).

7) A 10-second stare is ok. I promise.

When it comes to staring, kids get a “Get of Jail Free” card. At least that’s how I feel about things. As long as it’s not a long drawn out stare that is, which in that case you should tell them, “Looking is ok, but not too long.” I say this because it always saddens my heart whenever I see a parent scold their children for looking at a person with a disability for a brief moment. Kids are shiny new people learning about the world. Their innocent glances are 100 percent ok.

8) We aren’t in pain.

When I told my niece, “My neck has an owie. That’s why Aunty Tiffy can’t walk,” her first response was, “Well does it hurt?” Kids are just learning about the human body and the double-meaning of words too. By saying “I hurt my neck,” she heard “hurt” and equated “pain.” While some of us do have some awful chronic pain, letting your kids know a disability doesn’t necessarily equate to physical pain can take a definite load off their mind.

9) We can be awesome too.

Whenever possible, showing your child a movie, book or play with a positive portrayal of disability can make a huge difference. Sad movies about skiers who break their necks, then fall in love with a pilot who ends up dying in a crash is not such a good movie to show. They need to see us involved, having fun, even dare I say cool.

While it can be hard finding children’s books with a positive disability spin, they’re out there. Arlen, Marvelous Mercer, Saddle Sore, Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair and Mama Zooms are some good reads (click for more). And a few good kids movies or shows to check out in the same vein include Miracle in Lane 2, a movie with a young adult in a wheelchair who dreams of winning trophies like his brother, Dragon Tales, a cartoon with a character who uses a wheelchair and Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series with one of the main characters having a friend with a disability. **(Win one of these books by sharing this article on Facebook, google + or twitter, but make sure you tag or mention us so we know its you).

10) Our chairs aren’t glued to our butts.

I’ve always felt every child needs to see someone in a wheelchair get out of their wheelchair just once. Maybe onto a couch, or even better – into a pool or onto a motorcycle – leaving their wheelchair behind, just so they can see we are a person first, wheelchair-user second.

The first time my niece saw me get out of my chair and onto the couch was at Christmas when she was 2-years-old. Her eyes widened and she was deliriously happy when she saw me get out. I think she saw it as breaking free (I don’t think she thought it was even possible until that point).

Parenting is a huge responsibility, and molding your kids into hopefully soon-to-be awesome adults is the end goal. I’ve met a handful of these adults who were raised in a disability-positive environment and they have been some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. If your child ends up being one of these very people, you’ve done a parenting job well done.
And remember, these above tips are mine alone. Not all people with disabilities may agree on these recommendations. Whenever possible, ask people with disabilities in your life for any input or tips. There’s knowledge to be learned from everyone.

To read more on The Mobility Resource, see below:

9 Disability Related Charities You Should Never Support or Donate To

A Life Lesson About People With Disabilities For Parents Everywhere

20 Things Every Parent of Kids with Special Needs Should Hear

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World Record Wheelchair Wheelie

World Record Wheelchair Wheelie  <----- link to article

Above is the link to the article. I thought this was an amazing feet that takes years of dedication and training.

 Tuesday, August 18, 2009
  
  Longest wheelie in a wheelchair-world record set by Michael Miller
 

 Hortonville High School, WI, USA -- Michael Miller, 19, of Ellington, took 40 laps around the quarter-mile, track logging 10.016 miles and setting the new world record for the Longest wheelie in a wheelchair.

    "It was amazing," said the soft-spoken man who's already thinking about ways to break the record.

  
 The former world record for the Longest wheelie in a wheelchair was 8.097 miles, set by Paul Stares of England in 2005.

   Despite his disability, Michael popped his first wheelie at age 4 after receiving his first wheelchair. And he never stopped.

   "He'd get in so much trouble in school because he'd spend more time on wheelies, and the teachers would just run behind him because they thought he was going to tip over," his mother Karri Miller said.

    Michael was about 10 when he began thinking of how he might get into the Guinness records, but over the years, multiple surgeries kept him from his goal.

    A favorite uncle's death in May 2008 spurred him to make his dream of executing the longest wheelie in a wheelchair come true. Michael joined the YMCA and trained for hours on the hilly roads near his home.

  "Every time he did a lap everyone got up and cheered and pushed him on," Karri Miller said. "He wouldn't take any water. He was so afraid he would get distracted and he had to focus." Three miles into the feat the sun came out and the resulting humidity caused steam to rise from the track. Although Michael struggled, he never lost his composure, Holso said.

   The attempt took 3 hours and 55 minutes to complete.

   "He does more on two wheels than most people can do on four," his proud mother said.

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