17 November 2014

How to avoid a disaster

Have you ever had a special night out spoiled by poor service, poor staff? Lets go Out on a Limb once more and investigate how to avoid such a disaster in the future, plus details of a major new research review from the National Cancer Institute in the USA that recommends meditation for women with breast cancer, and news of the next Happiness and its Causes Conference (that will feature HH the Dalai Lama!) with a special offer to you the reader of a big discount, but first

               Thought for the day

  We can never obtain peace in the outer world 
  Until we make peace with ourselves

                     HH The Dalai Lama 

Imagine this. You have a special occasion to celebrate. Maybe a special birthday, an anniversary. Completion of a challenging piece of work, a loan paid off, a sporting triumph….  All sorts of possibilities, but definitely time for a big celebration.

So you gather the family, maybe some friends; and decide it will be your shout, no expenses spared, and you book into a fancy restaurant.

The evening arrives. Some anticipation. You head into the restaurant, the manager’s greeting is a touch cool, but then this is a classy place, maybe that is how things are done here?

But then the waitress. Definitely cool. Even remote. Hardly much of a welcome at all.

She tells you of the specials for the evening. Almost disinterest. No verve, no enthusiasm. You start to wonder??? This is not how it I imagined it would be. Fancy restaurant. I expected better service than this. The place must have a management problem. They should be employing better staff than this. Or supervising them better; making sure they are doing their job.

You order.

Everyone else seems happy enough.

Maybe it is OK after all.

But your soup arrives and THAT waitress manages to actually spill a little on your lap! Spilled the soup. Good grief! Everyone apologizes profusely, but your worst fears are confirmed. The night is gone for you.

Things go from bad to worse. An error in the mains that arrive, very expensive wine tastes ordinary, dessert not what you hoped for. Big bill. No tip. You try to put on a brave face for your guests, but you leave feeling miserable, swearing you will never go back to that place again.

An unmitigated disaster.

Now, imagine re-running the same scenario - up until the time you arrive at the restaurant. This time, the manager greets you, welcomes you with some reserve and what seems like a little trepidation, then explains.

It seems one of his waitresses had her own disaster just 6 weeks ago. Her husband was killed in a car accident and she has 3 young children to support. She need to work. This is actually her first night back. Everyone is unsure of how she will go, but he asks for your patience and understanding.

So knowing this, how differently things unfold. You welcome her warmly, understand the lack of verve. Laugh off the spilled soup, make good everything else that could have gone “wrong”. The wine tastes sweet; the dessert spectacular. You have a great night. Maybe even make a new friend.

So how much of an explanation in day-to-day events do we need to display compassionate awareness? How often do we stumble into mindless intolerance?

It would seem that compassionate awareness is a big part of Emotional Intelligence, and requires quite some work on our part to over-ride what is often an immediate, unaware, instinctual reaction.

Next time you are at a restaurant, maybe pause for a moment to wonder what sort of day those who are serving you have had.

And smile.

Finding our true identity

1. Meditation recommended for women with breast cancer
A major new review article has recommended the use of meditation and some other complementary and/or integrative therapies for a range of conditions affecting women with breast cancer. This is such an important piece hat the entire abstract is offered here. The full article can be read by following the link below.

Background The majority of breast cancer patients use complementary and/or integrative therapies during and beyond cancer treatment to manage symptoms, prevent toxicities, and improve quality of life. Practice guidelines are needed to inform clinicians and patients about safe and effective therapies.

Methods Following the Institute of Medicine’s guideline development process, a systematic review identified randomized controlled trials testing the use of integrative therapies for supportive care in patients receiving breast cancer treatment. Trials were included if the majority of participants had breast cancer and/or breast cancer patient results were reported separately, and outcomes were clinically relevant. Recommendations were organized by outcome and graded based upon a modified version of the US Preventive Services Task Force grading system.

Results The search (January 1, 1990–December 31, 2013) identified 4900 articles, of which 203 were eligible for analysis. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation with imagery are recommended for routine use for common conditions, including anxiety and mood disorders (Grade A). Stress management, yoga, massage, music therapy, energy conservation, and meditation are recommended for stress reduction, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life (Grade B). Many interventions (n = 32) had weaker evidence of benefit (Grade C). Some interventions (n = 7) were deemed unlikely to provide any benefit (Grade D). Notably, only one intervention, acetyl-l-carnitine for the prevention of taxane-induced neuropathy, was identified as likely harmful (Grade H) as it was found to increase neuropathy. The majority of intervention/modality combinations (n = 138) did not have sufficient evidence to form specific recommendations (Grade I).

Conclusions Specific integrative therapies can be recommended as evidence-based supportive care options during breast cancer treatment. Most integrative therapies require further investigation via well-designed controlled trials with meaningful outcomes.

REFERENCE: Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer. Greenlee H et al; J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 2014 (50): 346-358.   LINK HERE

2. Happiness and its Causes 2015 with HH the Dalai Lama

Special discount to readers of Out on a Limb


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