14 abr. 2010

Calming Down



Melanie Hudson

How many times a day do you hear someone say he/she is feeling stressed?
Follow this guide to feel less stressed.

The ISMA - International Stress Management Association say that 60% of adults claim to have too much stress at work. Stress is blamed for everything from bad skin to divorce, even death. Of course, at the right level, stress can be positive, helping us to do our best.

Danger Signals

See if you are over stressed. The following signs are all danger signals:

1. You find it difficult to sleep, or wake up and can't get back to sleep.

2. You wake up tired.

3. You are often irritable.

4. You want to eat sweet things all the time.

5. You find it hard to concentrate on work or studying.

6. You feel weighed down by life.

7. You have a lot of colds.

8. You argue a lot with family and friends.

Eight Steps for Less Stress

Do these things and you should feel less stressed:

1. Cut out stimulants. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, so cut out coffee and cigarettes. Drink herbal tea instead.

2. Eat well. Sugary foods give you a quick boost, but are bad for you. Instead, eat nutritious foods like fruit and cheese to give you energy.

3. Treat yourself. Give yourself a really relaxing treat, like a massage, or a session in a steam room. Even just a swim in quiet surroundings can feel great.

4. Exercise. Exercise is one of the best things to relieve stress. It produces endorphins, nature's "feel-good" chemicals. Spend some time at the gym, dancing, or having a quick walk.

5. Have a laugh. One of the best ways to cope with stress is to have a good chuckle. So watch a funny movie or TV show. Avoid dramas.

6. Have a bath at bed-time. Research shows that a warm bath just before you go to bed makes you sleep better. It helps the body begin the natural cooling down that leads to sleep.

7. Take vitamins. Your body deals with stress much better when it has the right balance. B Vitamins (found naturally in liver and wheatgerm), zinc (in shellfish, seeds, and nuts), and Vitamin C (in citrus fruits and root vegetables) are excellent. Take them as tablets to supplement your diet.

8. Get help. If your list of jobs to do is getting longer and longer, ask for support. Your friends may be able to help walk the dog, or recommend a good ironing service. Your boss may be able to help share some of your work with colleagues.

Source: Think in English
GLOSSARY


claim to have: affirm or assert they have (aseguran tener)
blamed for: responsible for (responsable de)
get back to: go back, return to (volver a)
irritable: easily annoyed (irritado)
weighed down: oppressive or disheartening (desalentado)
to argue: to discuss violently (discutes con violencia)
cut out: remove (elimina)
stimulants: something that raises one's level of activity, often a drug (los estimulantes)
boost: improvement, increase (mejoría repentina)
treat yourself: provide with a gift or entertainment (mímate)
steam room: vapour bath (sauna, baño de vapor)


After reading the artilce answer the questions below:

1. What do you think is the limit between positive and negative stress?

2. Have you ever detected in yourself any of the danger signals mentioned in the article?

3. Do you think the “Eight steps for less Stress” are ideal or real solutions for stressed people in our country?

4. What should happen in your life to make your stress disappear totally?

<10 WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS AT WORK

Douglas Jasch

Productivity drives, efficiency initiatives, company cutbacks, mergers...


(Line 1) While the modern workplace is producing more for less, recent research has indicated that increasing worker output is being accompanied by increased stress.

However, by following the simple hints and techniques mentioned below you can effectively lower tension and find that your work life quickly improves and that you are far better able to manage your stress. Let's see...

1. Personalise your work space.Bring a plant to work, a photograph of the family and some personal items. The plant will help to provide fresh oxygen in an air-conditioned environment. By personalising your workspace you create an atmosphere in which it is comfortable to work. This can help to increase your productivity. Whatever you decide to do, it is important to select items appropriate to your company's culture.

2. Start the day in a positive way. Try to be positive about going to work. Research has indicated that a positive attitude helps to reduce stress and conflict in the workplace.

3. Prioritise your tasks.
Set a list of priorities each day. Prioritising your tasks will help to reduce stress by ensuring that the most important things are done first which helps to avoid emergencies and unnecessary pressure.

4. Achieve a task a day. When you set your priorities, make sure you include at least one task which you will be able to complete on that day. Even if it is a very small task and there are several complex tasks you will be working on, completing one thing each day will help, you feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

5. Exercise Your body. Try to do some exercise at least once a day. A twenty-minute stroll at lunch will not only reduce stress but could also help you to live longer.

6. Exercise Your Eyes.
In the modern world it is not enough to only exercise your body. With the advent of computers and the necessity in the modem office to sit looking at a screen for hours on end, it is also important to exercise your eyes. There is little doubt that computers have helped increase worker productivity and efficiency. Unfortunately there is a very negative side effect from excessive computer use: bad eyesight. By staring into the distance for one minute every hour you can greatly reduce the likelihood of suffering eye damage. It is just as important to exercise your eyes as your body.

7. Take Regular Breaks. Take regular short breaks. Most people can only maintain effective concentration for 40 minutes. Regular short breaks will help you to be at your productive best. lt will also help to approach problems from a different perspective after a break. Don't work through coffee breaks and always try to leave the office to eat your lunch.

8. Eat Healthy Food. Eating healthy food cannot only increase the length of your life, it also helps to reduce stress. The traditional Mediterranean diet is recommended. Animal fats and excessive alcohol intake should be avoided.

9. Avoid conflict. Seek solutions and resolutions not confrontation. Be flexible and try to maintain positive relationships with your colleagues.

10. Sleep. Many executives believe that they only need five or six hours sleep a night. This may be so for a lucky few but the reality is that most of us need between eight and ten hours sleep a night.

Source: Think in English

GLOSSARYproductivity drives: (in this context) productivity campaigns (las campañas de productividad)
cutback: personnel reduction (reducción de personal)
merger: process in which two companies join together and become one company (fusión)
output: production (producción)
hint: piece of advice, recommendation, tip (recomendación, sugerencia)
items: things, articles. belongings (artículos)
whatever (you decide to do): it makes no difference what (you decide to do) (independientemente de lo que decidas hacer)
to prioritise: to assign a priority to (priorizar) task: piece of work, individual job (tarea)
to achieve: finish, conclude (alcanzar, lograr)
achievement: fulfilled goal (logro, objetivo alcanzado)
stroll: walk for pleasure (paseo, caminata)
advent: arrival (llegada, advenimiento)
screen: computer display (pantalla de monitor)
to stare: look for a long time (mirar fijamente)
likelihood: probability (probabilidad)
break (n.): period of rest (descanso, recreo)
through: (in this context) during (durante)
animal fats: oily substances derived from animals (grasas animales)
intake: consumption (consumo, ingesta)
to seek: look for, try to find (buscar)



After reading the article please answer the questions below:

1. Do you agree with the statement in line 1?

2. Do you feel work-related stress at the moment? If so, how do you feel exactly?

3. Have you tried any the hints mentioned in the article? If so, have they been effective for you?

4. How you manage your stress at present?

5. What do you think people should do to balance their stress with some relaxation?

11 abr. 2010

The secret of Okinawa to Long Life




1 May 2008 Food for Thought

Hara hachi bu – eat only until you are 80% full‘Far off in the East China Sea, between the main islands of Japan and Taiwan, is an archipelago of 161 beautiful, lush green islands known as Okinawa. The beaches are a dazzling powdery white; the waters are crystal turquoise, and the pristine subtropical rainforests house a huge variety of exotic flora and fauna. But while Okinawa has all the makings of a tropical paradise, it is in fact something more special – Okinawa is more like a “real-life Shangri-la” why? Because the islands are home to the longest lived population in the world.’ –

The Okinawa Diet Plan
The traditional Okinawa diet, with its emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes (soy foods) and fish with limited amounts of lean meats serves as a model for healthy eating and healthy aging that not only reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease but also helps to minimise free radical production. Free radicals are cell-damaging molecules that are generated mainly by our bodies' metabolism when we create energy from food.

Dr Bradley Willcox talked to GI News about the secrets of healthy aging in Okinawa. 'The Okinawan cultural habit of calorie control called hara hachi bu, which means eat only until you are 80% full, plays a role in as well as their habit of eating an antioxidant-rich, plant-based diet,' he said.

'Stopping at 80% capacity is actually a very good strategy to avoid obesity without going hungry because the stomach's stretch receptors take about 20 minutes to tell the body how full it really is and 20 minutes after stopping you will really feel full.

In Okinawa, heart disease rates are 80% lower, and stroke rates lower than in the US and other Western countries. Cholesterol levels are typically under 180 mg/dL (4.6 mmol/L), homocysteine levels are low and blood pressure at goal levels. Rates of many cancers are 50–80% lower – especially breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Hip fractures are 20% lower than mainland Japanese and 40% lower than in the US. Dementia is much rarer.


Hara hachi bu – eat only until you are 80% full
‘Far off in the East China Sea, between the main islands of Japan and Taiwan, is an archipelago of 161 beautiful, lush green islands known as Okinawa. The beaches are a dazzling powdery white; the waters are crystal turquoise, and the pristine subtropical rainforests house a huge variety of exotic flora and fauna. But while Okinawa has all the makings of a tropical paradise, it is in fact something more special – Okinawa is more like a “real-life Shangri-la” why? Because the islands are home to the longest lived population in the world.’ – The Okinawa Diet Plan


The traditional Okinawa diet, with its emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes (soy foods) and fish with limited amounts of lean meats serves as a model for healthy eating and healthy aging that not only reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease but also helps to minimise free radical production. Free radicals are cell-damaging molecules that are generated mainly by our bodies' metabolism when we create energy from food.

Dr Bradley Willcox talked to GI News about the secrets of healthy aging in Okinawa. 'The Okinawan cultural habit of calorie control called hara hachi bu, which means eat only until you are 80% full, plays a role in as well as their habit of eating an antioxidant-rich, plant-based diet,' he said.

'Stopping at 80% capacity is actually a very good strategy to avoid obesity without going hungry because the stomach's stretch receptors take about 20 minutes to tell the body how full it really is and 20 minutes after stopping you will really feel full.

In Okinawa, heart disease rates are 80% lower, and stroke rates lower than in the US and other Western countries. Cholesterol levels are typically under 180 mg/dL (4.6 mmol/L), homocysteine levels are low and blood pressure at goal levels. Rates of many cancers are 50–80% lower – especially breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Hip fractures are 20% lower than mainland Japanese and 40% lower than in the US. Dementia is much rarer.

However, Okinawans who adopt Western eating styles have similar rates of heart disease as in the US. Young Okinawans, eating more processed foods, have a higher risk of heart disease than their elderly relatives. A study of 100,000 Okinawans who moved to Brazil and adopted local eating habits, showed a life expectancy 17 years lower than in Okinawa.'

So what's the Okinawan secret?

Consciously controlled portion sizes through the practice of hara hachi bu: eat until you are 80% full. A low-calorie, mostly plant-based diet with plenty of fish and soy foods, a great variety of vegetables as well as moderate amounts of the monounsaturated fats and omega-3’s. Include high fibre whole grains and starches.
Regular, life-long physical activity. Dancing, martial arts, walking and gardening are common forms of exercise.

Staying lean and fit. The combination of diet and activity keeps body fat low (ie, BMI 18-22).

What does my Signature Say About Me?



Graphologists claim that they can tell the difference between an honest, funny extrovert and a shy, creative workaholic, all by the signature. Although graphology has been deemed by many as a pseudoscience, it has gained in popularity and respect since its inception in the late 17th century. According to graphologists, handwriting and signatures are the result of the unplanned, reflexive movements of a person’s brain, so it’s nearly impossible to fool the trained eye of a graphologist.

Although most graphologists will say that a mere signature is not enough of a handwriting sample to do a complete analysis, at times, this is all that is needed to come to a general conclusion about the writer’s character traits. Companies and governments all over the world use handwriting analysis to screen potential employees. Analyzing a signature or handwriting sample can shed light on a person’s character and personality traits, providing a window into her mind.

Graphologists analyze several components of a signature or handwriting sample, including where the person writes on the page, how the letters or words are spaced, the slant of the writing, and how hard or soft the person presses on the pen. They also examine how the Ys are looped, how the Ts are crossed, and how the Ms are formed, among many other components. Handwriting analysis is used not only for job screening, but also for marital compatibility, jury screening, and psychological and medical diagnosis.

Graphologists claim that they can use a person’s signature or other handwriting sample to determine his honesty, communication abilities, work ethic, emotional stability, creativity, sense of humor, and self image. Social skills, including how shy or outgoing one is, as well as one’s ability to work independently or with a team, can also be determined. Sexuality is another trait graphologists claim they can determine, along with a person’s confidence and nervousness, tenacity, and goal setting abilities.

Of course, the analysis of a signature is open to much interpretation, and this subjectivity that many associate with graphology leaves any analysis up for debate. Many have raised questions about using handwriting analysis for job screening, because it may unfairly label a prospective employee before he even gets a chance to prove himself worthy for a position. Critics believe that the practice teeters on discrimination and that judging a person based solely on her signature is unfair.


For others, handwriting analysis is a fun way to gain insight into someone’s personality. Many celebrities, business tycoons, and political figures have had their signature analyzed by graphologists, and the results are surprisingly insightful. Because many of these people’s personality traits are already highly publicized, the real test is whether the analysis of an unknown person’s signature nets accurate results.

In sum

While for some people handwriting analysis is a fun way to gain insight into someone’s personality, for some other people judging a person based solely on his or her signature is a form of discrimination and that is unfair.

Remember companies and governments use handwriting analysis to screen potential employees, marital compatibility, jury screening, and psychological and medical diagnosis.

Social skills and even sexuality are traits graphologists claim they can determine, along with a person’s confidence and nervousness, tenacity, and goal setting abilities.

GIVE YOUR OPINION

• Do you think the use of graphology can unfairly label a person?

• To what point do you think should handwriting analysis be taken seriously?

Definir Objetivos para Diseñar nuestros Cursos

WELCOME BACK TO the 2010 In Company Classes of English Project!


Please answer the questions below so that we can design our course together and make the most of it.


Name:

Date:

Proficiency level:

Last course taken:

Personal interests:


1. Why would you like to take this course?

• To update my English
• To travel on business
• To travel on holiday
• To write/read material specific to my area of work/ study
• For entertainment
• For personal development


2. During this course we will focus on the four skills of language development -
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Would you like to place a special emphasis on any of them?


3. As usual we will visit different areas of interest in our classes. Is there any topic you are especially interested in?

• Global issues
• Business issues
• Environmental issues
• Health issues
• Ethics
• Other


4. What kind of material would you like to use in this course:
• EFL materials - designed for learning/teaching English as a foreign language,
• Material related to my area of business (work or study),
• Authentic material – not designed for use in class, e.g. newspaper articles, TV programs, videos, Internet material in general, etc.


5. Would you like to do homework in order to practise and consolidate the skills worked around in class?

If so, do would you prefer listening reading writing  activities?



6. Would you like to participate in an interactive intra company blog where we can publish the texts we use in class, discuss different issues and express and exchange our opinions on them?


7. Would you like to be evaluated on your progress during the course?
If so, how often would you like to be evaluated …

• after every class?
• once a month?
• every two months?



8. Would you like to be evaluated on your achievements at the end of this course?

Inglés General & Inglés Específico

Inglés General

El término Inglés General se refiere a aquellos cursos que no enseñan contenidos específicos ni relacionados a una ocupación o campo de estudio en particular.
Este tipo de curso se recomienda a aquellas personas que no tienen una razón académica o profesional para querer aprender la lengua.

Los cursos de inglés general son aquellos que tienen como objetivo prioritario conseguir que el alumno aumente su capacidad de comunicación en inglés en cualquier entorno cotidiano.
El alumno comprobará que comunicarse eficazmente en inglés puede ser una realidad para él en un plazo de tiempo razonable, aumentando con ello su desarrollo personal y profesional.
A través de este tipo de cursos se logra facilitar y agilitar el proceso para poder manejarse en el mundo de habla de inglesa, lo cual en el mundo globalizado de hoy es una prioridad.

El incorporar las estructuras de la lengua inglesa para comunicarse, pensar en inglés sin necesidad de traducir del español al inglés y viceversa, desarrollar las destrezas necesarias para hablar fluidamente y pensar con espontaneidad en inglés son hoy una posibilidad real para quienes están dispuestos a darse la oportunidad.

Inglés para Fines Específicos

El aprender una lengua para fines específicos – es un enfoque esencial para el diseño de un programa. Se utiliza generalmente con adultos ya que este implica identificar las metas profesionales y/o académicas de cada persona. Una vez identificadas esas metas el siguiente paso es identificar las estructuras de la lengua, las funciones, el vocabulario y los registros necesarios en la lengua objetivo para alcanzar dichas metas.
El movimiento Inglés para Fines específicos - English for Specific Purposes ESP – comenzó en el Reino Unido en las década de los años setenta en parte porque los médicos y enfermeras extranjeros que no hablaban inglés como su lengua nativa, necesitaban comunicarse con sus pacientes.

Hoy en día en la enseñanza dentro del Inglés para Fines Específicos identificamos dos grandes categorías:

Inglés para fines Ocupacionales - English for Occupational Purposes (EOP), e
• Inglés para fines Académicos - English for Academic Purposes (EAP)



English for Occupational Purposes (EOP)

EOP, también conocido como Inglés para el Lugar de Trabajo, implica definir de qué manera se debe utilizar la lengua inglesa en el ámbito laboral. Cabe destacar que hablar el idioma en forma eficaz tiene incidencia en la salud y seguridad el trabajador, su efectividad en el trabajo y su crecimiento laboral.
La variedad de material auténtico que existe en la actualidad para estos cursos es formidable gracias a la Internet y los medios de comunicación en general, sin dejar de lado el material especialmente preparado por editoriales especialistas en la materia. Algunos de estos cursos incluyen Ingles Médico, Inglés Legal, Inglés para la Industria Hotelera y para el Turismo.

Inglés para Fines Académicos - English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

Los cursos de inglés para fines académicos se especializan en el vocabulario, las estructuras gramaticales, los tipos de discurso necesarios para que los estudiantes tengan un mejor desempeño en sus estudios, logrando acceder a los contenidos redactados en inglés, adquirir el conocimiento y lograr demostrar ese conocimiento a través de informes, exámenes escritos o presentaciones orales.
Una vez más se logra potenciar la calidad del aprendizaje y rendimiento académico-profesional de quienes utilizan la lengua inglesa como la herramienta eficaz que es.