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NEW STUDY: Users who engaged in 4 weeks’ practice with Muse showed reduced stress and brain plasticity.

Over the past two decades, meditation has become a topic of great interest to brain researchers, for its significant effects on mental health as much as how it sheds light on the internal experiences of cognition and consciousness. Psychologists and neuroscientists around the world continue to explore the workings of the mind through contemplative practices including meditation, in ever greater numbers. And increasingly, technologies used to study the brain have found their way out of the laboratory into the homes and workplaces of everyday meditation practitioners.

It’s for this reason that some meditation researchers have begun to evaluate the use of tools like Muse, which put the established research technology of EEG into a form factor that is now widely used – not just to measure the brain, but to produce real-time measures of brain state that can be used to facilitate learning through feedback. 

This might seem, at first, a paradox: given how much technology seems to challenge individuals’ mental health and ability to relax, shouldn’t technology be something to avoid in contemplative practice?

muse mediation, muse research

The laboratory of Prof. Michela Balconi at the Catholic University of Milan sought to understand whether using technology, specifically Muse: the brain sensing headband, daily for several weeks, would show measurable differences when compared to a group using a simple relaxation exercise. Their results were published in a series of two papers in 2017 and 2018.

Note: You can find the original published papers from the Balconi Lab study HERE and HERE.

Members of Prof. Balconi’s lab studied 40 participants over four weeks. Half of the participants used Muse for meditation daily, and the other half (the control group) performed a daily deep breathing exercise while listening to recorded sounds of nature. At the outset, and at the end of weeks two and four, participants underwent high-density EEG and performed a series of cognitive tests, as well as measures of stress.

Prof. Balconi’s study revealed several interesting results:

  1. The group using Muse showed an improvement in response times in a complex reaction task – they got faster at a cognitive task. 
  2. Participants using Muse showed changes in their resting brain states, similar to the changes seen in the brains of mindfulness meditators by other researchers, and suggesting an improved control of participants’ ability to relax.   
  3. The participants in the Muse group showed brain plasticity changes indicating, according to the researchers “markers of neural efficiency and information-processing were significantly greater for [Muse] training than control participants.”
  4. Compared to the control group, the Muse group showed a significantly larger reduction in stress – a 16% reduction in perceived stress in just four weeks.
muse meditation, muse research
Image and text from the original paper published from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12671-018-0975-3.

 

Taken together, the results of the Balconi Lab’s study show strong evidence that technology-assisted meditation, and more specifically the regular use of Muse, can have meaningful and significant effects in helping people acquire the skills and benefits of contemplative practice. Feedback has been well understood, since the early days of contemporary psychology research, to be a powerful mechanism in learning, and EEG feedback is well established as a tool. The results are clear: through regular use of Muse, participants in well-controlled studies show brain changes that suggest measurable improvements in brain health.

If you’re interested in learning more about the research Muse is involved in, please visit our research page HERE.

 

The Muse 2018 Summer Interns

Written by Ivey Norton, BSc majoring in Psychology at McGill University

 

Exams are over, our brains are fried, and we’re all packed up to head home for the summer. What are we going to do for the next 4 months before fall semester starts?

Enter the Summer Internship: a college students best friend, or worst enemy.

For some, summer internships can be more demanding and less exciting than school, where they slave away doing mindless, mundane tasks (think sorting the file cabinet that hasn’t been touched since the company’s latest relocation…in 1970), just so they can add something to their resumés and hopefully land their dream job much later on down the road. Or worse, some might not land any internship at all.

However, if you’re one of the lucky ones, summer internships can offer you:

  • a chance to get to learn more about your field
  • an opportunity to watch what you’ve learned in classrooms be applied to the real world
  • a place to meet peers with similar interests
  • a greater sense of what careers you might want to do once you graduate while you develop and build skills that get you there

Here at Muse, we are most definitely the lucky ones.

muse interns

MEET THE INTERNS: 

Alex Zidros: BEng in Electrical Engineering at Ryerson University, 2nd Year.

As a Mindfulness Technology Resident, Alex was focused on integrating a new audio engine into the Core Muse App. The engine will allow music artists to create audio for new experiences.

Bronwyn Cooper: BSc in Psychology: Brain & Cognition at the University of Guelph, 3rd year. 

Muse interns Bronwyn is working on the research team, assisting in data collection w/ ERP studies + PPG sensor integration and researching different physiological patterns that occur during meditation to implement new experiences into Blackcomb.

 “Working at Muse has given me the chance to collaborate with some of the most innovative minds in the field of neuro-technology. I have been given the opportunity to provide insight and assistance on projects that are bettering and advancing Muse and pushing Muse further into the world of neuro-technologies. This internship has helped me see the applications of neuroscience outside of the lab, and opened my eyes to the importance of promoting brain health in both corporate settings and everyday life.”

Charlotte Copas: BSc in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, 3rd year.

Charlotte works in Customer Care and as a Research Intern in Sales and Marketing.

Helping customers with a wide array of problems, whether it be troubleshooting their device from Bluetooth/sensor issues, app crashes, hardware malfunctions to simple problems like lost packages or returns and exchanges

“Being immersed in an environment with people from all walks of life has been such an eye-opening experience and has made me realize how much you can accomplish when collaborating with a passionate and dedicated group of people. No one here is valued more than any other, as we acknowledge that everyone plays an important role in making this company as successful as it can be. Working at Muse has pushed me to come out of my comfort zone, but it has also taught me that no question is too small, and no idea is too big, a reassurance that I will carry with me as I continue to be exposed to new experiences throughout my life.”

Gavin Z: BCS at the University of Waterloo, 3rd year.

Gavin has been working on App Dev Team as an iOS Developer. Mainly working on the iOS app: fixing bugs, and implementing new features.

Ivey Norton: BSc in Psychology at McGill University, 4th year. 

I’m working underneath Founder Ariel Garten on opportunity development and partnerships to build her personal brand and all current evangelist strategies! I’m also helping the Professional Team implement their online education initiative, as well as creating content for various Muse communications including this blog post!muse interns

 “Muse has shown me a whole new world! It’s a world filled with brilliant and inspiring people, where neuroscience, research, technology, innovation, engineering, creativity, and business all come together in one place with one goal. Imagine what kind of environment that cultivates, where passion, innovation, and hands down ingenuity are the norm! Thanks to this internship, I’ve gotten to see first-hand what it looks like for a company to grow from a small idea to a multi-million-dollar business, what it feels like to have a company value and care for each of its employees, and to learn what can happen when people dream BIG and aren’t afraid to give it everything they’ve got when it comes to achieving their goals. Thank you, Muse, for this experience that will undoubtedly be pivotal in my development as a student, in helping shape my dreams, and for further deepening my curiosity in psychology and in the world.”

Jason Dam: BSc in Computer Science at the University of Toronto, 4th year.

Cloud team (Mainly Muse Account and Muse Connect). Mainly working on developing new features on Muse Connect, some major features includes free trials, GDPR deletion, and client groupings. Also working on other minor issues like email translations for Muse app and modifying cloud architecture to support internationalization and journaling.

Matthew Wong: BEng in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo, 2nd year.

Matthew is working on the Hardware Team to update the manufacturing tests to be able to test the new components in Blackcomb.

“My experience at Muse has been phenomenal; I’ve learned a lot about different hardware components and how they interact with each other. I plan on using these new skills to make cool new hardware projects in my free time”

Nikki Stuart: BA in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo, 3rd year.

muse interns

Working on the Professional Wellness Sales Team – reaching out to and working with corporate partners, and creating resources for our professional partners

 “Muse has opened me up to an entirely new approach to the field of psychology. As a cognitive neuroscience student, I tend to lean heavily towards academic applications, but the team I work with has given me a new outlook on how neuroscience can be applied to everyday life. Being in sales and marketing, I’ve been challenged to speak about complicated topics in concise and understandable language, and I’ve been able to engage with individuals who have been truly impacted by meditation. I feel so excited to come to work every day, not only because of the work I get to do, but the people I get to work with.”

Oishe Farhan: BASc in Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, 4th year.

As a Mindfulness Technology Resident Oishe was working on new and experimental ways to enhance the connection between mind and body through Muse technology and immersive visual experiences.

 Simon Guo

Simon is the youngest intern in the history of Muse! He is going into 12th grade at Upper Canada College, working on completing his International Baccalaureate and OSSD as a Mindfulness Technology Resident.

Tim Romanski: BCS at the University of Waterloo, 3rd year.

muse interns

Tim worked on the public API, called libmuse, which Muse offers to other developers. This allows them to connect, disconnect, read data from, etc… from their Muse device. They can then write their own programs around this. He’s also working on Muse Direct, the subscription-based application meant for research. This displays data gathered from Muse on visual graphs, allowing users to stream data to Muse Lab (desktop app).

“Before joining Muse I was a computer science student. Now I’m an iOS and React Native developer that knows a thing or two about Bluetooth. Technology aside, I feel privileged to be working with such a great group of people. Looking forward to these last few weeks I’ve still got at Muse.”
…AND THAT’S ALL OF US!

 

THANK YOU, Muse, for taking a chance on us. Thank you for encouraging us, and for teaching us to learn, to dream, and to imagine. Each of us will be going back to school in the fall full of life, with a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, curiosity, and fascinating stories to share with our overworked, energy-drained college pals.

This is a summer every single one of us will remember and cherish, and most importantly, one we will all look back on as being vital to our growth, our lives, and in shaping who we are as young learners.

 

Interested in being an intern at Muse? Make sure you check out our CAREERS page for listings!

 

Meditation: The Missing Link In Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment?

A concussion causes direct damage to the emotional centre of the brain, the amygdala, increasing the likelihood of mental health disorders. Fortunately, meditation can help rewire this part of the brain.

Most of us are familiar with a concussion, the most common form of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, we’re not as aware of the 30 percent of patients that continue to struggle with serious symptoms well after the recovery period for a concussion, known as post-concussion syndrome disorder (PCS).

This is a serious disorder that disrupts the ability to lead a normal family, social and professional life, and can take a big toll on mental health; patients often have to restructure their entire life in order to simply avoid triggering symptoms.

Fortunately, there is hope for PCS patients that are struggling with their mental health. Research has shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction training  (MBSR) can improve mood, memory, attention and overall quality of life for PCS patients. [1]

What Is Post Concussion Syndrome?

Typically, the major symptoms following a concussion last up to two weeks, and full recovery takes place within a month. [2]

In the case of PCS, symptoms persist beyond the normal two week period and can last for months, or even years.

Lingering symptoms that indicate PCS are: [2]

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Reduce tolerance to noise and light
  • Problems with memory and concentration

If you have any of these symptoms following two weeks after a concussion, speak with your doctor about post-concussion syndrome.

post-concussion syndrome, post-concussion syndrome treatment.

Certain risk factors also increase the likelihood of PCS: [2]

  • Age
  • Being female
  • History of previous concussions
  • History of mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression
  • History of migraines
  • History of seizures
  • The severity of impact
  • Major visual symptoms soon after injury
  • The duration of initial symptoms

Post Concussion Syndrome Treatment

Managing PCS is often a matter of allowing the brain time to rest and recover, by avoiding both physical and cognitive triggers, such as work, looking at a screen or being in social settings.

However, depending on the severity and duration of an individual’s symptoms, specialized therapies are sometimes prescribed.

These are tailored based on the individual and include: [3]

  • Vision therapy
  • Vestibular (balance) therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Exertional (light aerobic exercise) therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Psychotherapy or antidepressants for mood problems

It’s also important for patients to take extra care with their diet and lifestyle:

  • A healthy diet ensures that the brain receives the right micro and macro-nutrients to function; essential fatty acids from flax, hemp, chia, walnuts and fish are especially important for cognitive function. [4]
  • Aerobic exercise under clinical supervision helps rewire brain circuitry and restore normal blood flow to the brain.
  • Restorative sleep is crucial, as this is when the brain processes information and changes from the day, repairs and heals itself overnight.

post-concussion syndrome, post concussion syndrome treatment

Post Concussion Syndrome and Mental Health

 
Not only do concussions trigger mental health problems due to the disruption of a normal lifestyle, but they also impact mental health at a physiological level.

A concussion can physically damage the emotional centre of the brain known as the amygdala. [5]


The amygdala plays an important role in storing memories and is responsible for the perception and regulation of primal emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. When the amygdala is damaged, emotional self-control becomes much more difficult, and it puts someone with PCS at a much higher risk for anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). [5] [6]

Given that PCS has a direct impact on the amygdala, it is necessary for a PCS patient to undertake treatment that is specific to emotional regulation; while medication can help improve mood, it is a short-term solution that does not consider rewiring brain circuitry for better emotional control.

post-concussion syndrome, post-concussion syndrome treatment.

Improving Mental Health with Mindfulness

Scientists have found that mindfulness-based stress reduction training (MBSR), a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga, is an effective tool for rewiring the emotional centre of the brain.

For example, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation found that people with PCS showed significant improvements in quality of life, self-efficacy, working memory and attention after a 10-week MBSR program. [7]

Another study published in NeuroImage: Clinical revealed that an 8-week MBSR program for patients with GAD resulted in less amygdala activation and an improvement in the frontal-limbic cortex, which is another area that is crucial for the regulation of emotions. [8]

Mindfulness Meditation: The Key To MBSR

The most important element within an MBSR training program – and one that is both accessible and affordable to patients on a regular basis –  is mindfulness meditation.

Science continues to show that meditation strengthens the assessment center of the brain (the lateral prefrontal cortex), which engages in logical reasoning and rational thought, and weakens the fear centre of the brain (the amygdala) that responds with fear and anger.  [9]

Getting Started with Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation can be learned through an instructor, group class, or – perhaps ideally for PCS patients – guided meditation sessions at home.

If you are a PCS patient, adding neurofeedback to your meditation session is highly recommended. This is a specific treatment that has been studied for use in traumatic brain injury (TBI), where ‘patients are able to see or hear representations of data related to their own physiologic responses to triggers, such as stress or distraction, in real time and, with practice, learn to alter these responses in order to reduce symptoms and/or improve performance’. [10]

According to a 2017 study in Medical Acupuncture, the use of at-home neurofeedback devices for TBI patients helped improve motivation for treatment, attention and mood.

Fortunately, this combination of guided meditation and neurofeedback can be found in the Muse app and brain-sensing headband; it tracks your brainwaves as you meditate, whether it’s with the assistance of a guided session or simply the sounds of nature. Feedback is communicated to PCS patients in the form of gentle guiding sounds and visuals e.g. the sound of ocean waves picks up when the mind is distracted, and the waves quiet down when the mind is calm and focused.

To learn more about Muse, visit http://www.choosemuse.com/how-does-muse-work/

 

SOURCES

[1] Azulay, J., Smart, C., Mott, T. and Cicerone, K. (2013). A Pilot Study Examining the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Symptoms of Chronic Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Postconcussive Syndrome. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 28(4), pp.323-331.

[2] Concussion Legacy Foundation. (2018). What is PCS?. [online] Available at: https://concussionfoundation.org/PCS-resources/what-is-PCS [Accessed 4 Jul. 2018].

[3] Concussion Legacy Foundation. (2018). What is PCS?. [online] Available at: https://concussionfoundation.org/PCS-resources/what-is-PCS [Accessed 4 Jul. 2018].

[4] Gomez-Pinilla, F. and Kostenkova, K. (2008). The influence of diet and physical activity on brain repair and neurosurgical outcome. Surgical Neurology, 70(4), pp.333-335.

[5] Reger, M., Poulos, A., Buen, F., Giza, C., Hovda, D. and Fanselow, M. (2012). Concussive Brain Injury Enhances Fear Learning and Excitatory Processes in the Amygdala. Biological Psychiatry, 71(4), pp.335-343.

[6] Stein, M. and McAllister, T. (2009). Exploring the Convergence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. American Journal of Psychiatry, 166(7), pp.768-776.

[7] Azulay, J., Smart, C., Mott, T. and Cicerone, K. (2013). A Pilot Study Examining the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Symptoms of Chronic Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Postconcussive Syndrome. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 28(4), pp.323-331.

[8] Hölzel, B., Hoge, E., Greve, D., Gard, T., Creswell, J., Brown, K., Barrett, L., Schwartz, C., Vaitl, D. and Lazar, S. (2013). Neural mechanisms of symptom improvements in generalized anxiety disorder following mindfulness training. NeuroImage: Clinical, 2, pp.448-458.

[9] Gladding, R. (2018). This Is Your Brain on Meditation. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation [Accessed 4 Jul. 2018].

[10] Gray, S. (2017). An Overview of the Use of Neurofeedback Biofeedback for the Treatment of Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury in Military and Civilian Populations. Medical Acupuncture, 29(4), pp.215-219.

 

How Meditation Increases Emotional Intelligence & Leadership Potential

There’s a big difference between being a leader, and a great leader, one that leaves behind a legacy and inspires millions of people. Think about it – we can all easily name off a list of CEOs, Presidents and Prime Ministers, but if asked to name a leader that has inspired an entire generation, we tend to think of only a handful of people, such as the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela. We may also think of leaders closer to home, such as Barack Obama or Sheryl Sandberg.

So, what makes them such effective leaders?

After all, it only takes a quick glance at leadership in government, corporations, and within the media to know that it is not enough to just be intelligent, powerful or charismatic in order to be called an inspiring leader, or earn the same level of respect as the group mentioned above.

The difference comes down to one common thread that exists between all inspiring leaders: a high level of emotional intelligence or EI/EQ.

Fortunately, EI is a set of skills that can be developed and cultivated over time with practice – read on to learn more! 

emotional intelligence, what is emotional intelligence

 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others and to manage emotions effectively in ourselves and our relationships. (1) A key characteristic involves the ability to adjust emotions and adapt quickly to a different environment or for a specific goal.

A common misconception is that emotional intelligence refers to being sensitive, or having a high level of empathy. You can have both of those traits, yet not be emotionally intelligent if you are not self-aware of your emotions or know how to manage them.

According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, a world-renowned psychologist, author and Emotional Intelligence coach, there are four competencies of emotional intelligence that are required for effective leadership: (1)

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management (self-control, adaptability, positive outlook, achievement orientation)
  3. Social awareness (empathy, organizational awareness)
  4. Relationship management (mentor, influencer, inspirational leadership, conflict management, teamwork)

Adding to the above list of key components of a high EQ, there are several red flags that can offer insight on an individuals lack of EQ.

Interested in measuring your own baseline emotional intelligence? There are a lot of online EI tests you can take as well, like this one found on the popular site Psychology Today.

emotional intelligence, what is emotional intelligence

How To Increase Emotional Intelligence With Meditation

Just as a professional athlete needs to train their bodies for strength, effective leaders need to train their mind for strength as well – and meditation and a consistent mindfulness practice are the most powerful tools to help achieve this.

While meditation alone will not create a well of emotional intelligence, it will simultaneously strengthen the mind across all four emotional intelligence competencies mentioned above, which enables emotional intelligence and effective leadership to take place.

How is meditation able to do this?

Meditation is not just spiritual fluff – this exercise physically changes the structure of the brain, builds new neural pathways and can weaken others. In particular, research has shown that meditation can strengthen the following areas related to emotional intelligence:

Emotional Self-control

Meditation helps to control our immediate reactions. For example, it weakens neural connections to the fear centre of the brain – the amygdala – where primal reactions such as fear and anger are triggered. In contrast, it also strengthens the neural connection to the assessment centre of the brain – the prefrontal cortex – where rational thought and logic reside. (2)

Strengthening these connections allows for more thoughtful responses as a leader and an overall calmer demeanour.

Empathy

Being able to understand how others feel and tune into their emotional state, helps us become more effective communicators, and therefore more effective leaders.

Research shows that the connection between the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex – the ‘me centre’ of the brain that references back to personal perspective and also infers other people’s state of mind – and the insula – involved in ‘gut-level’ feelings – becomes stronger after meditation. This strengthened connection enhances our capacity to understand where another person is coming from, and put ourselves in their shoes. (2)

emotional intelligence, what is emotional intelligence

Self Awareness

Meditation encourages greater ‘gut level’ intuition, which is governed by the insula region of the brain. The role of the insula is to monitor bodily sensations and assesses whether they are benign or harmful, and a strengthened insula will be better able to pick up on bodily cues from the muscles, skin, ears and eyes, if something doesn’t feel right. (2)

Together, a strengthened insula and prefrontal cortex (where logic and rational thought reside) help develop the ability to pause, reflect and evaluate how we think and feel on a daily basis.

This greater self-awareness can, therefore, help guide leaders when it comes to making hard decisions.

Conflict Management

Effectively navigating a conflict requires the ability to find common ground and understand different perspectives. This is made possible when we approach a conflict with a mindful approach.

As shown above, meditation enables this mindful approach by improving emotional self-control, self-awareness and empathy. It helps us develop the ability to acknowledge that we have our own biases, emotions and sense of distorted perspective. This opens the door to ownership and acceptance of responsibility.

Once we are aware of our emotions and bias, we can prevent them from affecting our decisions or actions, all while being more sensitive to a different point of view. You can read more on how to use mindfulness to improve conflict here. 

How To Get Started With Meditation

If you are a beginner to meditation, start with focused meditation. This calls for an object to be the center of your focus, driving all other thoughts away.

To get in the habit, try guided meditation sessions with an app like Muse; this will make the process easier and more enjoyable. The Muse app also pairs with a brain sensing headband that will translate your brainwaves into the sounds of weather, allowing you to understand when your thoughts have wandered.  The combination of the Muse app and Muse headband help you keep track of your progress, and provide valuable insights for building a consistent practice.

Start with three minutes per day, and then build up to longer sessions if you want. Make it a consistent habit and you should notice a shift within just a few weeks.

Related Articles:

SOURCES

  1. Media, K. and WooCommerce, B. (2018). Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies: An Overview. [online] Key Step Media. Available at: https://www.keystepmedia.com/emotional-social-intelligence-leadership-competencies/  [Accessed 21 May 2018].
  2. Gladding, R. (2013). This is your brain on meditation. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation  [Accessed 21 May. 2018].

In Celebration of Dads

Q: What’s Forrest Gump’s password?

A: 1forrest1

 

Q: Why do chicken coops only have two doors?

A: Because if they had four, they would be chicken sedans!

 

Q: What do you call a fake noodle?

A: An Impasta!

Why are these horrible yet perfect dad-jokes relevant to your day? Well, that’s because this past Sunday was Dad’s Day! Father’s Day! The time to celebrate DADS or your personal role model near and far! Father’s Day is the day to give some appreciation to the fathers in our lives. While we may not always articulate how much our dads (or male mentors of any kind) mean to us, we love that this day serves as a reminder to show these guys some love!

Here are some of the dads we admire here at Muse.

WARNING: these guys are not just regular dads…they are SUPERHERO dads, and just overall standup guys.

Dad #1: Barack Obama

Our first special mention goes out to the “Dad-In-Chief”, previous USA President, Barack Obama. Not only was he the full-time role model to Americans, but he was also the full-time role model to his two daughters, Sacha and Malia. Whenever talking about his family, Obama consistently wears his heart on his sleeve, expressing that his daughters are the greatest joys in his life and that their smiles always light up his day. He’s not just a mush-ball, however.

From dancing to “Hotline Bling” with Usher at the Whitehouse to singing the Happy Birthday song to his daughter on stage in front of a large audience, Obama never shies away from making memories with (or embarrassing) his girls.  We think this would be the right time to add “Dads” to the list of people Obama is a role model to… and he’s set a high bar!

 

 

original image from https://heavy.com/

Dad 2: Michael Phelps

Most of us know Michael Phelps as USA’s superstar swimmer, but did you know he is also a father of two? Aside from being the most decorated Olympian of all time – bearing a total of 28 medals – as well as a full-time dad, Phelps is also an advocate for mental health. Despite his remarkable successes in the pool, this athlete and parent struggled massively with his mental health, specifically with anxiety and depression. This past May, Phelps launched a campaign in support of mental health with the goal to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues and to get those struggling the help they need and deserve.

It took Phelps quite some time to feel ready to come to treatment, but he has since internalized that “it’s OK not to be OK”, something that helped him accept that not everyone is perfect. It is this mindset we are looking to see more of in our society, and with Phelps and his family on board, hopefully, we can further engrain the message that mental health is health!

Original image from https://betakit.com/

Dad #3: Derek Luke, CEO of InteraXon

This Muse Father’s Day post would not be complete without proudly mentioning one of our own: Derek Luke, the CEO and President here at InteraXon. Derek has been contributing to companies such as Blackberry, Seagate and other multinationals for over three decades, and was brought into the Muse family just over five years ago.

His contributions at Muse are transcendent and immeasurable, not only in his role as CEO, but also in the heart and spirit he adds to our team. Our Scottish superstar brings his impeccable character and work ethic to the table every day, but over time he has learned that family is his true priority, a quality he believes also translates to the culture here at Muse. From family board game nights to reading The Night Before Christmas with his four children on Christmas eve, Derek is proud to say that his kids are each other’s best friends. He brings this same care and passion to everything he does here at the office, inspiring us and pushing us to do the same every day.

Coming to America🎃

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Dad #4: Jay Z

Alongside his glamorous wife Beyoncé, the Carters welcomed twins into their family this time last year. This big-hearted father of three is giving other dads a gift this past Father’s Day: a chance to see their families again. Often, those who cannot afford a private attorney get lost in the jail system, and Jay Z is taking a stand against this exploitative bail industry and speaking up for those held in this broken criminal justice system simply because they cannot afford bail.

Using his fame and influence to stand up for what he believes in, his three children are lucky to have such a strong, prosocial dad!

Dad #5: …YOUR DAD/FATHER FIGURE/ROLE MODEL/POSITIVE INFLUENCE

Don’t forget to make a big deal out of them this weekend!

THANK YOU, DADS AND ROLE MODELS, FOR BEING YOU! WE LOVE YOU! <3