Phase One:

Week #4: Blog Pitch!

Hello, I am Julia Vaiano, and the piece I am going to be covering is called, “Run, Swim, Cook: The New Prescription for happiness,” written by a Guardian columnist named, Gaby Hinsliff. The central argument of the piece is that to improve and take care of mental health all individuals need to control their stress levels through preferred activities. In order to do so, work schedules have to be shortened, so people will have more time to look after their mental health. The significance of the issue is that with current work schedules, people feel that they don’t have time to do preferred activities, which is causing people with mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression to worsen.

A potential counterargument could be that people despite their hectic schedules have to learn to prioritize their time appropriately and make it a point to organize time for themselves. Many people are not organized, and they often procrastinate. I think everyone in the world can be guilty of doing this at one point or another in their life. If people were to be organized with their time and really prioritize and focus on what needs to be done, they would gain more time in their day. They would be able to dedicate this time to doing activities they find pleasure in which can decrease their stress levels, and help manage their mental health. Furthermore, even if people are given the opportunity to work less, there is no guarantee that they would use that time to actually do activities that they prefer to take care of their mental health. They may just fill the time doing things such as running errands and completing household chores instead of doing something for themselves. 

Regarding my podcast, I am going to be supporting the opinion piece. I believe that despite how much someone can organize and arrange their schedule, it still would be challenging to find the time to do activities that would help you to de-stress and take care of your mental health without work schedules being shortened. 

According to the article, “Why You Should Schedule ‘Me Time’ Every Day,” written by the Adrenal Fatigue Solution, most people in our culture feel the need to be doing something all the time.  In today’s work driven society, we can feel guilty for not working and tend to allow our work to take up our whole life. However, going long periods of time without having time for yourself can have a profound impact on your health and psychological effects. Psychological effects include mental fatigue, insomnia, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, and increased irritability. The biggest reason to take time to yourself is to avoid the negative consequences such as the psychological effects that are listed above. Taking “me” time can also help an individual have better control over their irritability and mood. This will also lead an individual to have greater stamina, and an improved ability to concentrate. Having time for yourself will make an individual feel refreshed and re-energized. It can also allow an individual to sleep better, feel less fatigued, and to feel less depressed and anxious. This supports the main article because it discusses how vital having time for yourself and your mental health is, so that’s why it’s important to propose that work schedules be shortened so that people will have time to focus on themselves for them to truly benefit and be happy.  

Audio File:

Work Cited:

Bean, Katherine, and Fawne Hansen. “Why You Should Schedule Some 'Me Time' Every Day.    

   Adrenal Fatigue Solution, 14 Nov. 2017, every-day/.

Week #3: Opinion Piece Q&A

The opinion piece I selected is called, “Run, swim, cook: the new prescription for happiness.”  The writer, Gaby Hinsliff begins the article by detailing a story about how a woman named, Ella Risbridger, struggled with her mental health and reached a point where she wanted to end her life. After being released from the hospital, she returned to her home and made a pie. From baking a pie, Ella realized that the activity of cooking became a comfort to her. The predictable act of making meals provided Ella with a way to cope with her chronic anxiety. 

The piece provides examples of other individuals, and the activities they enjoy doing to feel better and improve their mental health. The writer also states that having a chronic mental health condition can never be quite cured, but it is possible to manage.

The writer explains there is a renewed interest in the politics of well-being. She provides the following as example; the government created a minister for tackling loneliness. One of the objectives is to follow chancellor John McDonnell’s interest in shortening the working week. His main argument is that if people work less, they will have with more time to relax, so they can do whatever activity they feel will eliminate the stress from their lives. As a result of this, he believes we will become a more productive nation.

Gabby Hinsliff concludes her opinion piece by writing the following line: “It’s good to be reminded that, sometimes, happiness is in the small things. But it may take bigger changes in national life before everyone has the time and freedom to pursue them.”

The central argument of the piece is that to improve and take care of mental health all individuals need to maintain their stress levels through preferred activities. In order to do so, work schedules have to be limited, so people will have more time to look after their mental health, and do activities they enjoy to decrease their stress levels. 

The evidence presented is the stories that the author provides about individuals devoting time to activities to take care of and manage their mental health. In addition to this, the author informs us how people in politics, like chancellor John McDonnell, are concerned about mental health; he desires to shorten the work week, so individuals have more time to care of themselves.

I recognize that this is an opinion piece because there are no facts or statistics included to support the claims and statements the author is making throughout the article. 

The author’s name is Gaby Hinsliff; she is a columnist for the Guardian. She worked at the Daily Mail where she was a successful news reporter and health reporter before becoming a political reporter in 1997. This specific information about the author can show that she has fostered personal views about health and politics. The author appears to be biased because all the stories she includes pertain to how individuals suffering from mental illness and stress improved when they made more time for themselves. The author does not provide any contradictory stories; instead all the stories she writes support her main argument. 

The social context that makes this piece topical is that mental illness rates are on the rise, and so many individuals are experiencing mental illnesses, or have family and friends who are struggling with it. This piece sheds light on the significance of finding time to do the activities you enjoy for mental well-being and lowering stress levels, yet it also addresses how this is not always possible. I believe many people can relate to this because it is challenging to make time for yourself when there are so many overwhelming obligations, such as work, school, family, and as a result, so many people are neglecting themselves and their mental health.

This piece has the potential to make an interesting podcast episode. There is a great deal of information that can be researched to support how crucial it is for people to dedicate time for themselves, and how not having enough time to yourself can affect your mental health, or worsen a mental health condition that is already present such as anxiety or depression.

Week #2: The Nature of Opinion

I believe that specific information can be factual and that certain information can be rooted in opinion. I have to disagree that all knowledge is a matter of opinion if an individual can formulate proper evidence to prove and support their alleged claim. According to this week’s lecture, an opinion is a view or judgement about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge, but can be further investigated to be proven. An example of this would be the following: MAC makeup is cruelty-free. The claim that MAC makeup is cruelty-free can be further investigated. After researching, an individual can find out and can 100% confirm if MAC tests its makeup products on animals or not.

An opinion has the potential to become a fact if it is supported by evidence and reasoning. Michael LaBrossiere is in agreeance when he writes, “Given that logic and reasoning are not simply matters of opinion, these supported positions cannot be dismissed as being simply matters of opinion.” Furthermore, factual information has the potential to be disputed because an individual can present supplementary proof to support their assertation. If an individual wants to refute, they would have to provide secondary proof or else their appeal to disagree has no reason to be accepted over an individual, who can support the assertation they are making.

To contrast, a matter of opinion is something that is incapable of being proven. A matter of opinion has a tendency of being a grand and bold statement that an individual declares to be true. An example would be the following: Starbucks coffee is the best coffee in the world. This statement is a matter of opinion because it is subjective; there is no possible way to prove that Starbucks is producing the best coffee in the world because people’s coffee tastes and preferences vary, and due to this there is no way to determine who makes the best coffee. 

In regards to the nature of opinion, I agree with Michael LaBrossiere that not all opinions can be regarded as being “equally good.” For example, if an individual seeking medical attention for an illness, they would trust the advice and opinion that they receive from a Doctor, whereas they would not trust the suggested advice from a friend family member, who is not a qualified Doctor. If all opinions were considered as being equally good, there would be no point in visiting a Doctor’s office to diagnosis an illness if anyone else’s opinion was good enough. 

To summarize, opinions are subjective, based on emotions, biased, and cannot be supported by evidence. Opinions often involve statements including personal pronouns such as, “My belief is that” or “I feel that.” However, a fact is a statement that is true and can be verified with evidence. Therefore, I believe that an individual cannot assert that all knowledge in the world is just a matter of opinion because opinions become facts when they are confirmed with proof to be the truth.

Week #1: Hello Everyone!

My name is Julia Vaiano. I am an English and Professional Writing major. I would describe myself as being a kind-hearted and enthusiastic person who is always eager to learn. My three greatest passions in life are writing, acting, and reading. I love writing because it is a medium that helps me to express myself. One of my greatest aspirations is to be a successful writer and to publish a novel. I have a passion for acting, and I want to learn about the craft as much as I can. My last passion is reading, and it is a hobby that started when I was a young child. It’s challenging for me to select a favourite book because I have read so many. Some of my favourite books would have to be: The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Mortal Instrument Series, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and The Fault in Our Stars. 

I am excited about the course project because I enjoy researching topics I am interested in. I am also looking forward to working on my public speaking skills. A research tactic I think is commonly used for undergraduate students is researching a topic on an accessible database such as Jstor, Google Scholar, and Scholars’ Portal.  This tactic can be helpful but is also limiting because finding peer-reviewed journals is more convenient for a busy student to find than spending an ample amount of time in the library searching for books on a topic. I believe a strong paper contains information from online academic sources and books from the library. Students should strive to include a variety of resources in their writing to make their paper more accurate.

I am looking forward to getting acquainted with all of you. I wish you all the best of luck on your upcoming research and creating your original podcast!