Posts Tagged ‘comment’

I found a recent article by journalist Polly Phillips in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph absolutely fascinating, and thought it might possibly contain some useful advice for how we in the UK can become a happier nation.

As we say farewell to a typical wet, windy diet-obsessed January, Polly explained how the Danes ignore the annual fasting to create our ‘perfect’ bodies and enjoy living as they have done for centuries. You can see young and IMG_2189old Danes alike plunging naked into the icy seas around the coast in mid winter and enjoying pastries whenever they want to!

A recent study by the University of Zurich sheds some light on the reasons for such a carefree approach to living. Apparently, Danes are conditioned from a young age not to feel shame. A mere 1.62% of the population suffer from gelotophobia (a fear of ridicule), the lowest figure of any country surveyed. Britain topped the charts with 13%! Danish children do not grow up paralysed by the fear of being laughed at as we do. While we might spend hours locked in gyms on treadmills, the Danes spend hours outside, biking, hiking and swimming – often in the nude (no one is at all worried by the sight of naked bodies as we would be in the UK!).

If you look deeper you can see how different Danes are from the reserved American and British citizen. From communal showers and baths to women’s liberation in the 1960s, Danish society really does accept a different way of life, and perhaps starting at a very young age there is an acceptance that if the rules say you go naked into the showers then this is what you do.

It seems to me that this accepted way of life must contribute to the Danes being one of the world’s happiest nations. Acceptance of who we are naked or clothed and following accepted rules made by society is not a bad way to live.

Is there a lesson here for us Brits, who sadly appear much further down in this league of ‘happiest’ nations?

– Rob Petersen.

We have all been touched and horrified by the hundreds of images shown on broadcast and social media over the last week covering the events in Paris, as well as the frightening verbal accounts of some of the survivors.peace-for-paris-hed-2015

The terrorists who planned, and then implemented the various acts of brutal killings and bomb blasts are obviously well financed and must be part of a strategy by ISIL to deliver terror and fear into, not just French citizens, but all Europeans of whatever country or political leanings.

While retaliation is an understandable and necessary action to halt further atrocities on such a scale, I am concerned that until the young, vulnerable and disenchanted youths of so many counries are reunited with basic human values of what is good, beneficial and constructive in those countries such tragic events will continue.

If these indoctrinated, marginalised  young terrorists find that their actions do not spread chaos, panic and financial disorder as they are designed to do then their current strategy will have failed.

This is why we all as Europeans must show solidarity and support all those affected by last weekend’s horror in Paris, and work together to eliminate both the funders of these terrorists and the terrorist recruitment cells across the world.

Vive la France, Vive la Europe.

Rob Petersen.

As I really begin to look forward to my annual holiday on the glorious island of Ibiza soon, I read with some sadness and concern one poll survey showing that 75% of SME owners sacrificed their holidays to power through and ensure their business runs smoothly. With the technology available today to keep in touch and good planning most of us can take at least a summer holiday to recharge the batteries and reduce stress.

While others may prefer to have active holidays and explore new places, I prefer a destination which I know well and where I will hopefully get some all important vitamin D and serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’, from the sun. As I get older I think I will become more prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) syndrome so my weeks in the summer are important for my health and well-being.

Even though research shows that those living in some colder climates like Denmark, Iceland and Norway are ‘happier’ than UK citizens in terms of social support, life expectancy, generosity etc and not just wealth and economic prosperity, I strongly believe that summer breaks in the sun have huge benefits in the longer term to my overall happiness so need to find it abroadsadly as I would prefer a ‘stay-cation’ ideally!

Blue sky, warm breeze in the evening, healthy eating and a few glasses of rose really will help me recharge for the winter ahead. Of my 20 statutory days of holiday each year at least 10 must be in the sun. Long live the summer break for SMEs and all of us.

-Rob Petersen

The debate over the pros and cons of assisted dying was once again brought to our attention today with the story of Bob Cole, who travelled to Switzerland this afternoon to end his life.

Sean McCabe with new wife Lisa (left) and urging others not to give up hope (right). Picture credit: Wales Online

But as the country argues the ethics of Bob Cole’s decision to end his life, what a truly heart-warming survival story we had in today’s Western Mail.

The Mail reports on the story of cancer sufferer Sean McCabe who, having been given 2 months to live due to an aggressive form of cancer, planned his funeral in his local church.

In an incredible turn of events and after a bone marrow transplant he beat the disease to the astonishment of doctors and cancelled his funeral, planning instead his wedding to his partner Lisa in front of hundreds of guests. As Sean says, every day to him is a miracle and he is now 18 months in remission.

As someone who has also suffered from a cancer scare, having had a tumour removed from my left lung 2 years ago, I believe survivors like Sean and myself do tend to have a more positive view on life and try to persuade others to enjoy the moment every day as sadly lives can be turned around in an instant by this dreaded disease amongst many others.

So live every day as best you can with a smile on your face!

-Rob Petersen.