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Energy & Empaths

Posted By Michelle J. Howe , Friday, December 7, 2018
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2018

image of light in nature representing energyAn empath is an intuitive with higher sense perception. The awake empath is quite aware of the word ENERGY. Energy is not a bad or crazy word. When referring to our energy, it is a term that expresses how physically or emotionally powered up (or down) they feel at any given point and time. We eat food, we exercise, and we even relax to help us manage our energy.

In general, people think of energy as something to be preserved, gained or restored. We then speak of high energy when we attend a fun event or socialize with wonderful people. We speak of low energy or about feeling down when we are at a sad event or around people that are not so wonderful. We feel tired when we lack energy – meaning, we have nothing left to function, no extra to give to others. To most, the word energy is something we must have, get, or maintain. In summary:

We give energy,

We get energy,


This is the brilliant idea the metaphysical world has been trying to tell us about. The concept that we are energy is hard for some to accept, as many see themselves as simply physical bodies. But that physical body runs on nourishment, rest, and exercise. That physical body needs a form of fuel that allows it to function — a sort of "electricity" you can say. Energy is the unseen electricity that allows us to function on a daily basis.

The Word Energy is LOADED for Empaths

The empath knows we are energetic beings, and really “gets” the metaphysical concept that everything is energy. Many empaths feel the energetic body; others can see it. Empaths know that in every interaction with another, there is an energy exchange beyond shaking hands or saying “hello”. They are affected by energy seen and unseen, more than the “average” person. This gift allows Empaths to feel and know things about people on a more intimate level. The gift of knowing and feeling goes hand-in-hand with an Empath’s ability to help others heal emotionally.

Emotional healing involves helping a person understand, release, or see his or her life situation from a higher perspective. Often the people being helped don’t truly understand or see what is happening when they speak to an Empath, but enjoy the connection because they walk away with a smile or at least, feeling better. What happens in this exchange with an Empath? There’s a clearing or transmutation from a merging of energy.

An empath also uses the term energy to describe how someone feels to them. The empath is able to determine via intuitive vibe (knowing or feeling) many things about another person. Most notably, empaths connect with the emotional layer — although they also have the capacity to connect to physical ailments and thought patterns. As an empath, I find it interesting that people are often totally uninterested and/or unaware in knowing, acknowledging, or feeling anything that is inside of them. They often fear negative emotions and refuse to visit uncomfortable situations. As such, negative emotions can remain buried and take up permanent residence within them. Emotions that remain buried in the body cause energetic blocks. As these blocks accumulate, they lead to physical, mental, or emotional issues. It is these issues that empaths are uniquely qualified to help with. When we address issues that arise beyond not just physical, but emotional and spiritual as well, we move into a more holistic level of wellness.

Michelle J. HoweMichelle J. Howe is the founder of Empath Evolution. She is also a graduate of Orin & DaBen’s Awakening Light Body Program, and a certified Reiki Master, Integrated Energy Therapist, Soul Detective Practitioner and Metatronic Healer.

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Ripple Effects Mapping: A Holistic Approach for Evaluating Wellness Programs

Posted By Christina Peterson, Monday, December 3, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wellness professionals are increasingly required to demonstrate program impacts. But capturing the holistic impact of wellness programs can be elusive because they are contingent upon dynamic social processes of change that may not be fully understood, controllable, or predictable. In these situations, qualitative evaluation methods like Ripple Effects Mapping are well-suited for constructing information about wellness program outcomes in multiple dimensions. 

Capturing the holistic impact of wellness programs can be elusive.

The Intended and the Unintended

Wellness programs often have outcomes that were not planned. Unintended outcomes can be positive or negative in nature and take two forms: the unforeseen and the unforeseeable. Consequences that are unforeseen arise from insufficient program planning or failure to fully take advantage of past evaluation or research. These types of unintended outcomes may be preventable with intentional planning and use of social theory as a guide. Alternatively, unforeseeable consequences are not predictable through any social theory or planning because change is by nature uncertain and non-linear. To learn from and adapt to these unintended program outcomes, program decision-makers must understand not just what changed, but how and why it changed. Understanding the unintended outcomes and feedback loops of a program is advantageous for providing insight into how a program works or how to improve a program that doesn’t work. Such outcomes may provide justification for budgetary reallocations, expanded funding, program expansion, or strategic redirection. Additionally, program administrators also have an ethical obligation to do no harm. Evaluation that uncovers negative unintended outcomes can help administrators alter strategies that are found to cause harm. 


Ripple Effects Mapping

Ripple effect mapping (REM) is a participatory method of qualitative data collection that seeks to identify intended and unintended effects (positive and negative) of a program using Appreciative Inquiry (AI). It is useful in situations where the results of programs occur over time within complex settings and can be used to explore outcomes at both the individual and organizational levels. In REM, participants are asked to consider the social, emotional, physical, intellectual, occupational, and spiritual dimensions of their life as they share their experiences in, and after, the program. This framework makes REM suitable for evaluating wellness programs among employees, youth, college-students, and more.

There are five phases to the REM process: interactive interviewing, group mind mapping, stakeholder interviews, data analysis, and member checking. Ripple-effect mapping may be used on its own or integrated into a mixed-method design that includes additional qualitative or quantitative components. For example, an evaluator may use a survey to examine intended outcomes among a large sample and recruit REM participants. Alternatively, the evaluator might follow the REM process with a survey to assess the theory of change that emerges from REM among a larger sample, allowing for additional revision and refinement.


Synergies with Wellness

Wellness is defined by the National Wellness Institute as an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. It is a process in which the social, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, emotional, and physical dimensions of individuals and groups function in harmony. Wellness promotion is a humanistic practice that leverages methods grounded in salutogenensis, self-determination, authentic relationship, inter-professional collaboration, and an inter-disciplinary knowledge base to cultivate wellness. Like wellness, Ripple Effects Mapping is a holistic, context-responsive, and person-centered evaluation method that can help understand how a program impacts the wellness journey. The Appreciative Inquiry style questioning used in REM is similar in nature to wellness coaching in that it is non-directive, strengths-based, and growth-oriented. Instead of focusing on solving problems, AI seeks to generate new ways of thinking, identify opportunities, and catalyze new patterns of behavior by cultivating "more good" instead of "less bad". Therefore, using REM in evaluation is particularly congruent with the aims of wellness promotion. 

Now what?

Tired of low survey response rates? Need to tell a great story about your program impacts? Is your program not working as intended and you want to know why? Find out more about the REM process in the December National Wellness Institute webinar: Ripple Effects Mapping: A Holistic Approach for Evaluating Wellness Programs.

Christina PetersonChristina Peterson is a PhD student in Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement at the University of Tennessee. She is passionate about promoting wellness by catalyzing data-informed decision-making in through program evaluation. Her research interests include mixed-method approaches to economic evaluation and evaluation use. Christina has a MS in Nutrition, a BA in Economics. Prior to starting her PhD, Christina worked for the National Wellness Institute as the Professional Development Manager. In this role, she led program evaluation activities for NWI. Currently, Christina works as a Graduate Research Assistant where she provides statistical consulting for research projects.

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Managing Sadness, Anxiety, and Depression over the Holidays

Posted By Lindsay Born, Monday, December 3, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Holidays are often associated with the happiest time of the year, but for some people it is also a difficult time. Some people are worried about time, family, and money or may feel isolated, especially if they recently lost a loved one. Below is a graph from the American Psychological Association showing the leading holiday stressors.

Leading Holiday Stress from American Psychological Association

What are ways we can help others or ourselves manage this stress?

Help those around you. Spend time with someone who needs it. An inexpensive way to make a huge difference in someone else’s holiday is to invite someone who may not have family into yours. For example, many years ago, a sweet woman named Edith began coming to our family holidays. She’s an elderly woman who emigrated from Hungary and has no family. Every year, she is delighted to see the children at our holidays and to have people to cook for.

Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect. They should be enjoyable. Not every single holiday and activity may fit in over the span of a week; there will be a next year, families grow and change, and traditions can change too. Choose which traditions to hang on to and what new traditions to begin.

If you feel isolated, reach out. Try getting involved in a community or religious organization or plan or participate in social events. Volunteering is always a great idea during the holiday season to give back to others. See if a local soup kitchens, fun run, or animal shelter is in need of volunteers.

Holidays are often associated with the happiest time of the year, but for some people it is also a difficult time.

Know that it is okay to not feel the holiday joy or spirit all the time. During the holidays, you are still human and can feel any emotions. Especially if a loved one isn’t there, know it is normal to feel sadness or grief. This can be a good time to start a new or different tradition to have a fresh start.

Save your shopping! Make gift-giving an experience rather than an item. Kids may already have a hundred toys, and teens or significant others can be difficult to shop for. Try getting them something they can do rather than own. This helps make memories! Some examples include tickets or gift cards to a movie, zoo, ski hill, amusement park, show, museum, mini vacation, or other local experience. Classes or lessons for dancing, yoga, instruments, singing, languages, and sports or donating to a charity in the other person’s name are also great ideas.

Budget your money and time. Both of these are valuable resources to keep track of, so plan ahead! Some alternatives are homemade gifts or a family gift exchange. Baked goods are affordable homemade gifts for someone with not a lot of space such as a college student, military personnel, or the elderly. As a college student, I would love is someone made me lasagna! I wouldn’t have to cook for a week! To keep track of your time, list what is important, learn to say no, and plan time for relaxation. Watch out for “FOMO”: the fear of missing out. You can’t do everything!

Save your guilt. Keep your healthy habits continuing into the New Year. Sugar and alcohol are plentiful at this time of year, so make sure to eat nutrient dense foods and to consume the unhealthy ones in moderation. 

Travel safely and wash your hands. Being sick or injured over the holidays is no fun! Prevent this by handling and preparing food safely, using your seatbelt, getting a flu vaccine, and using a designated driver if under the influence. Also, keep an eye on your kids during the hustle and bustle of family gatherings. Beware of choking hazards like coins and hard candy.

For airports and long car rides, make a list and check it twice! Plan to bring reusable water bottles (empty through airport security) and refill them as you travel to save money. Pack plenty of healthy snacks in a backpack or other carryon as well. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. If you have kids, consider a small early gift for them to open that will entertain them when they get bored. This could be snacks, a book, a blanket, etc.

Six Dimensions of Wellness

Lastly, if you are undiagnosed and think you may have anxiety or depression, see a doctor. Be aware, accept and seek treatment because your emotional wellness impacts all other aspects of wellness, which is also why using the advice above can help anyone grow in all Six Dimensions of Wellness. Being kind, inviting, and helping others all focus in the social dimension. Being creative with gifts, helping others learn, and traveling all impact the intellectual dimension. Continuing or beginning healthy habits with eating and exercise are in the physical dimension. Being wise with money is part of the occupational dimension. Managing stress and sadness, acceptance, and focusing on positivity are the emotional dimension. And, lastly, the spiritual dimension is enhanced by volunteering, sharing joy, getting involved in the community, religion or environment, and feeling universal harmony and connectedness.



A. Greenberg and J. Berktold. American Psychological Association. (2006, December 12). Holiday Stress [Press release].

Mayo Clinic. (2017, September 16). Tips for coping with holiday stress. Retrieved November 6, 2018.

Lindsay Born is a Health Promotion and Wellness major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her minor is in psychology. Lindsay is currently an intern at the National Wellness Institute, engaging in marketing, writing, planning, and communication projects.

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Updates from Bright Pink

Posted By NWI, Monday, December 3, 2018
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2018

 This is a excerpt from Bright Pink's "Bright Now" newsletter. To receive the full newsletter sign up on their website.

It is one of our favorite times of the year at Bright Pink — the season of giving and gratitude. There is so much to be thankful for this year–and our incredible community of supporters and advocates (you!) are at the top of the list. 

Believe it or not, we are already planning for 2019. As we reflect on our 2018 accomplishments, we are also thinking ahead to how we can continue to empower women to be proactive about their breast and ovarian health. As more and more of us engage in healthcare digitally, one thing is super clear: gone are the days of one-size-fits-all healthcare. Bright Pink is proud of our improved risk assessment experience and how it plays a role in driving the future of personalized, digital healthcare.

In September and October (AKA our "busy season"), storytelling, partnerships, and innovative digital strategies took center stage. Here's what you might have missed:

  • In September, we raised awareness around the importance of listening up to your ovaries in honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. We enlisted five women from our community to share why they prioritize their ovarian health. The result? Over 50,000 people engaged with our educational content and stories on social media. 
  • October brought Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the launch of our new and improved Assess Your Risk experience, four new videos around the importance of knowing your risk, and a lineup of amazing partnerships benefitting Bright Pink. Bright Pink and Assess Your Risk were featured in TheSkimm, Well + Good,, The Root, WCIU The Jam, WGN, and by notable influencers such as LaShawn Wiltz, Misty Nelson, and more–driving 18 Million impressions and over 400,000 views of the new video series. 

In September and October alone, 153,144 women assessed their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, contributing to a total of 400,000+ in 2018. This is so much more than a number–it's about strengthening our community of women who have the knowledge they need to manage their risk proactively.

Congratulations to the 2018 Team Bright Pink marathon runners! We had over 170 runners participate in the Chicago and New York City marathons this year, raising a combined $295,343 to fuel our mission. A huge thank you to all of our runners for their incredible support! 

Interested in running with Team Bright Pink in 2019? Registration for the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is now open! 2019 will bring our largest team ever, and want you to be a part of it. Commit today by creating your fundraising page! Email for more information.

Do you know your family health history? Ah, Thanksgiving. Time for heated debates over stuffing vs. mashed potatoes and fielding questions about your job and love life. But, did you know? Thanksgiving is also National Family Health History Day! There is no better time to sit down with your loved ones and have an open conversation about your family health history. Learning more about the health of your family tree gives you a better picture of your own health and arms you with information you need to live proactively. Not sure where to start? Feeling a bit awkward about asking pointed questions about health? We've got your back. 

Peer support is evolving. Bright Pink strives to provide all women with access to peer support and community on their journey toward better breast and ovarian health. As such, we’re growing our online support community on Facebook through content, connection, and facilitation in partnership with our Ambassador community. This group is a meeting place for women at elevated risk for breast and ovarian cancer who are seeking support and guidance while managing their risk. We’re welcoming new members on a weekly basis. Please consider joining the group if you are at elevated risk and help us spread the word about this resource!

How Breast Cancer Can Affect The Bonds Between Family, Friends, and Partners [O Magazine] Real life stories of how breast cancer can reshape relationships with family, friends, and partners. Our own Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deborah Lindner's experience is shared as she discusses how she took control of her health after a BRCA 1 diagnosis.

Ovarian Cancer Screening Isn't as Simple as Getting an Ultrasound [SELF] "Ovarian cancer is one of those diseases you probably assume you’re being screened for when you go to your well-woman exams, but that’s not really the case. Ovarian cancer screening, in fact, isn't recommended at all for women at average risk for the condition, but that's not something that most people know."

Bright Pink
670 N. Clark Street
Suite 2
Chicago, IL 60654

Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

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NWI Member Spotlight — December 2018

Posted By NWI, Friday, November 30, 2018

Nicole StecNicole B. Stec, MBA, CWP, CSCS

Employee Health & Wellness Manager
City of Mesa 

National Wellness Institute Member since 2016; 
CEO/Founder of Capital Wellness Consulting;
Recipient of the 2018 Wellness Council of Arizona Senior Leadership Award


 Nicole Stec is the Employee Health and Wellness Manager for the City of Mesa, Arizona and a national speaker on employer on-site clinics and wellness programs. For the past ten years, Nicole has worked in community and corporate health settings, designing and implementing population health management strategies for organizations, including healthcare systems, small businesses, the U.S. military, and local government. Nicole is also the CEO/Founder of Capital Wellness Consulting, a health management and wellness consultancy that specializes in population health management, benefit design, wellness coaching, and programming. 

Nicole’s mission is to improve the health of businesses by implementing evidence-based strategies and programs that are customized to a population’s needs. Nicole is passionate about improving the lives of others, which is demonstrated through her enthusiasm, persistence, and innovative ways of addressing health. 

In her current role, Nicole is responsible for the City of Mesa’s Health and Wellness Center and the City’s worksite wellness program. The Wellness Center and Program offer many health resources to City of Mesa employees and families, including chronic disease self-management programs, health coaching, preventative health services, and screenings. In her time at the City of Mesa, Nicole has developed an award-winning health and wellness strategy that has increased healthy behaviors of City employees from 36% to 60%, with a 93% satisfaction rate, and achieved cost savings of $2.1M over three years. The City has been recognized by many national organizations for its innovation and progressive stance on employee health, including the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), the American Heart Association, and ComPsych. 

Nicole also volunteers her time with community organizations focused on improving the well-being of others. She serves as an Officer and Board Member for a non-profit Future For Kids, which provides after-school mentoring programs concentrated on academics, athletics, and ethics to improve the lives of youth facing adversity in the Phoenix metropolitan area. With one of their values being “Healthy Living,” Nicole has contributed her time and knowledge to assist in program design over the past several years. 

Nicole is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.S.), the University of Phoenix (MBA) and is currently completing her Master of Public Health (MPH) with concentrations in Public Health Practice and Social Marketing with the University of South Florida. She also holds many certifications, including being a Certified Wellness Practitioner (National Wellness Institute) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association). 

People that know Nicole well recognize her for her abilities to lead cross-organizational teams to success, cultivate trusted relationships with key stakeholders, and deliver captivating speaking engagements. Nicole has also chaired regional committees focused on population health. She recently launched Capital Wellness Consulting to provide her expertise to organizations (businesses, healthcare facilities, communities) seeking to improve the health of their populations.   

To learn more about Nicole and her work contact her at:

Phone:  916.698.1118
LinkedIn:  nicolebozich

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