7 steps for instant confidence
Step 1 for instant confidence: Look in a mirror
When you think you are ugly and want to hide your head in a paper bag you are unlikely to feel confident. However, if you are having an “ugly day” (or one of those “ugly years”), take advice from psychologist Nikki Owen: ‘When your eyes take in something that pleases you, your brain’s reward system is activated and you will see an almost instant improvement on your face’. So, the next time you look in the mirror focus on areas that you like about yourself. You’ll be feeling smoking within minutes ladies and gents.
Step 2 for instant confidence: Gay BFF
If you’re a woman, it turns out that self-confidence is all about the gay BFF. A study conducted by researchers from Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia, Canada and the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada found that women who have a gay friend have better self-esteem when it comes to the way they look and their body confidence. Although the researchers weren’t entirely sure why women felt better about their bodies when they had a gay friend, some claim it is because gay men are far more generous when it comes to compliments and are skilled at giving ego massages.
Step 3 for instant confidence: Workout
Although pulling on your smelly training shoes and donning some not-so-flattering lycra doesn’t sound much fun when you’re curled up in bed or sprawled out on the sofa watching re-runs of your favourite TV show, a study seen in theJournal of Health Psychology says that even if you exercise for a little amount, on a regular basis, your mood improves. Therefore even if you don’t do a really intense workout, you can still reap the positive benefits of exercise and experience the perks of the mood boosting endorphins that exercise gives us.
Step 4 for instant confidence: Straighten up
When you were little you were constantly nagged by your parents and teachers to stand tall, stop slouching and sit straight. Does anyone do the same for you now? Although it would be a little annoying to have someone constantly telling you off for having bad posture, it turns out that it might make you believe in your own abilities a lot more. A recent study found that people who sat up straight and wrote down how qualified they were for a job believed in their abilities far more than those people who did the same activity, but who slumped over their desks. If you’re reading this now, sit up and improve your posture.
Step 5 for instant confidence: Cancel
Sometimes we hang out with people we don’t really like. People that moan, whine and bully their way through life, bringing everyone around them down into their pit of misery and self-loathing. Remember, you are under no obligation to see anyone who makes you feel bad. Although you shouldn’t abandon your friends and family when they are having a hard time, ask yourself how long they have been acting in this way and if it is really necessary. Are they being mean and belittling you? If you decide they’re being unfair and are affecting your confidence start to cancel on them and associate with people that reinforce your confidence and don’t bring you down.
Step 6 for instant confidence: Be a traveller
Why is it that when you travel everything seems interesting, fresh and intriguing? Everything seems better when you are away and you feel better too. Although we haven’t conducted any grand studies into this phenomenon, we have a strong suspicion that it’s all about the mindset. Being somewhere new does something to us that makes us relax, unwind and become less inhibited. Although getting away from the humdrum of your home life and routine helps you to do all of these things, it’s only your mindset that has actually changed. After all, you are still you. If you can try to adopt this travelling way of thinking in day-to-day life you’ll feel calmer, more relaxed and far more confident.
Step 7 for instant confidence: Think about love
Feeling loved is one of the best ways to boost your confidence, but what do you do if there’s no one around to tell you how much they care for you? Simple; just remember a time when you were shown a lot of love. Think of those birthdays when you were showered with gifts, or when you left your old job and were told how much you’d be missed. When you were ill or had a baby did you receive lots of concerned visitors and get sent lots of get well cards? Remembering moments like these will instantly boost your confidence because it shows that people love and care about you.
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The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined.
Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.
Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short.
Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification.
The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.
It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.
It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.
For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.
The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.
Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.
Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.
Disconnected information systems
While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration.
A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.
By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.
Political influence and social equality
As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.
In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.
However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.
Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution.
The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.