Wednesday, January 27, 2010

5 Ways to Revitalize Your Health and Well-Being Using Manners

We do not typically think of manners as having an impact on our overall health and well-being. We usually think of the most common links such as proper diet and regular exercise. As it turns out, manners actually do have an impact and it is bigger than we realize. Take a look at our list below, along with practical exercises for how you can revitalize and rejuvenate your health and well-being using a little thing called manners.

1. Pay Attention to Posture. The first thing people notice when you walk into a room is your posture. Making a habit of sitting and standing with good posture will result in the appearance of looking slimmer and taller and will also help you to feel more confident and secure. Good posture is highly beneficial to your health because it forces you to hold in your stomach thereby eliminating lower back pain. It can correct poor body alignment and enhance the digestive process. Exercise: Imagine you are a puppet being held up by a string from the top of your head. This will naturally elongate your body and add inches to your height. A good exercise is to practice your sitting posture while at the table and your standing posture any time you enter a room.

2. Give Yourself the Gift of Grooming. For practical reasons alone, good grooming and proper hygiene should be maintained and managed on a regular basis. This is a big category that includes everything from trimming your nails to brushing your teeth and combing your hair. There are statistics that link poor dental hygiene to chronic illness and poor health habits such as washing hands to a number of flus and colds. Good grooming also includes paying attention to your attire, such as making sure to dress appropriately for a bad weather day to avoid getting sick ,as well as taking care of your skin by applying extra lotion during the winter months to keep it hydrated. Exercise: When it comes to grooming, everyone has one particular area that seems to fall by the wayside. Choose the area that could stand a little improvement and commit to paying more careful attention until it becomes part of your daily regimen.

3. Smile, It’s Contagious. Not only does it prevent wrinkles, but it actually helps us to feel better from the inside out. Even faking a smile can lead to feeling happier. A smiling person appears to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable and competent than a non-smiling person. Smiling has a contagious, domino affect that captivates and inspires. Exercise: If you need a little work in the smiling department, take a couple of minutes each day after brushing your teeth and smile at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Notice if you look tense or relaxed, with practice it will begin to feel more natural.

4. Remember Attitude is Everything. Along with smiling, a bad attitude is contagious and can ruin almost anything. To maintain a healthy mind, you must consciously choose to be positive about virtually everything. Believe it or not, it is much harder work to be negative and critical and this type of attitude has been found to have a long lasting effect on our overall well-being. It has a direct impact on our stress level and has been linked to an increase in many diseases. Exercise: If you happen to be a Debbie or Don Downer, do yourself (and those around you) a favor and try on (like a new pair of clothes) a new attitude. Trust me, it will change your life and your health!

5. Dine Like a Diplomat. It is never too early, nor too late to learn the value and importance of table manners. To begin with, the dining experience is an opportunity for us to feed our bodies with a well-balanced (hopefully) meal and share in good conversation. Both are key ingredients (no pun intended) to living a civilized and well-balanced life. Secondly, the ritual of dining allows us to seek refuge from the days’ activities to enjoy time together. Dining like a diplomat is a metaphor for being your best at the table. It encourages us to utilize our utensils and apply the proper styles of eating rather than standing and eating over the kitchen sink. It demands that we sit, converse and digest before jumping up to tend to the next activity. Exercise: Select at least one day a week to practice dining like a diplomat. As challenging as it may seem at first, if you take the time to slow down and focus, you will acquire better habits at the table in no time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Carpet Manners @ the 2010 Globes

Yesterday was my youngest daughter's 6th birthday, so instead of watching the Golden Globes and tweeting away with the up to the minute account of red carpet manners winners and losers, I was making sure my daughter, her sister and their friends didn't kill themselves as they ran around my house playing, singing and having fun. Needless to say, I had to wait until everyone left to plop myself down in front of the TV to watch the TIVO'd pre-awards and awards show.

Year after year, the cable channels, and now some of the biggest networks, chime in on the fashion and style of the celebrities as they walk down the red carpet posing for cameras and stopping for interviews. So we thought to ourselves that perhaps after witnessing our fair share of red carpet mishaps and misfortune (see and Kayne's behavior at the recent MTV Video Awards), that perhaps the viewing audience might be interested in something a little deeper than just who the celebrities are wearing and what they're going to eat after the show. Since Hollywood is basically regarded as America's royalty, maybe it's time they started acting a bit more like it. Thoughts?

One more thing before we get started, the rain played a big part in this year's awards and therefore we feel we must give a few quick tips on proper umbrella etiquette. As well, we noticed a couple of faux pas amongst our celebrity commentators and thought we'd point out a couple of things to note for the future. Let's take a look at this award's shows biggest manners winners and losers.

Umbrella Etiquette.
Neil Patrick Harris was overheard talking about the inconsiderate size of some of the umbrellas the celebs were using and how they were as big as tents making them almost impossible to get around. Next time they may want to remember the following umbrella etiquette tips: (a) select an umbrella that is appropriate for your size and the occasion, (b) be mindful of those around you before opening your umbrella so you do not accidentally poke someone, (c) raise or lower your umbrella to match the height of those passing you and tip your umbrella away from the other person to avoid a collision (d) close your umbrella before entering any indoor space and make sure to remove any excess water and store in a dry place such as an umbrella stand or carrying case and (e) carry your umbrella with caution and hold it vertically with the pointed end down.

Commentating Etiquette.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love E!, but I think Mr. Seacrest and Mrs. Rancic had a few manners missteps themselves. Why Ryan had to embarrass poor Jane Lynch by showing her the clip of a bird pooping on her forehead and then make a second wise crack about it is beyond me, and then if I had to hear Guiliana say the word "frickin" one more time, I don't know what I was going to do?! A noteto our commentators in the future, stick to the complimentary clips and try to refrain from using slang. It is much more becoming.

BBE a/k/a Big Boob Etiquette.
The biggest offenders were Mariah Carey and Christina Hendricks. Ladies, sometimes things are better left to the imagination. We were so insanely distracted by your ginormous cleavage that we could barely focus on anything else!! Whether blessed with a naturally enhanced pair or sporting surgically enhanced bosoms, make sure you do not border the lines of indecent exposure by bearing too much décolletage and questioning good taste.

Posture and Posing Etiquette.
A word about posture, it is the single most important thing to make you appear poised and elegant. Vera Farmiga and Sofía Vergara, who are both incredibly gorgeous, unfortunately suffered from slouchy shoulders syndrome. They were both hunched over during their interviews doing a complete disservice to their otherwise beautiful selves. Chloe Sevigny completely cracked us up with her very intense poses on the red carpet. She looked like she was on the runway posing professionally for the cameras. Knowing the right pose and position that is best for your body is certainly a good thing, but humility and a warm and friendly smile does wonders. Speaking of smiling...

Smiling Etiquette.
Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman seemed a little strained in the face to us at the Globes. Once again, here is an example of two strikingly beautiful women who would have completely endeared themselves to us if they had ventured to crack a bigger smile. Instead they appeared a bit cold (and not because of the weather) and distant. Celebs must remember to smile BIG for the camera. It makes them appear so much more accessible and lovable and that's what the audience wants.

Grooming Etiquette.
Kevin Bacon looked like he just ran in from the rain or had run a marathon and needed to use the powder room and freshen up a bit. We wanted to crawl into the television and blot his face with a handkerchief. We also wanted to grab his face and make him look us in the eye. His eye contact was all over the place and he was a bit too casual in his speech making liberal use of the slang word "man".

Speaking Skills.
When Mickey Rourke launched into his tirade about the fear of his underware crawling up his "you know what" and causing a potential red carpet wedgy, we were done. Does he not realize he was on national television? Does he not care? Then he went on to admit that his reading skills were not that great and that he needed note cards on hand in the event he could not read the teleprompter. Ugh, learn when to keep your mouth shut! Our image of you from 9 1/2 weeks is forever lost!

Hot Mess Etiquette.
To borrow a phrase from the Chelsea Lately show, if you are a celeb that is just going through a big hot mess phase a la Mariah Carey, perhaps it is time to skip the awards shows and stay at home until it all blows over. Between her ridiculously huge cleavage, her unsavory off-color speeches and the gratuitous promoting of her new champagne, we have absolutely had enough and are seriously considering removing her from our iPod.

Attitude and Appreciation.
Our biggest winners of the evening, both literally and figuratively, were Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock. These gals have got it all in our book. They are always upbeat with a positive attitude. You get the sense that they are very grounded and tremendously appreciative of all their success. They are gracious and respectful to their mentors and peers alike and there is zero sense of entitlement in the way they conduct themselves both offscreen and on.

We could go on and on about so much more as etiquette touches every facet of our lives and is so evident in everything we do from the way we present ourselves, to our demeanor and our daily interactions. Stay tuned for more red carpet manners in the coming months as we hope to add more winners and losers to our list from the Grammys to the Oscars...