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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until 2019. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

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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, Prevention.com, 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 teambrightpink@brightpink.org 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
E-mail:  nicole@mycapitalwellness.com
LinkedIn:  nicolebozich
Website: MyCapitalWellness.com   

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Boundaries and Why We Need Them

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

I’m sure you’ve heard someone utter the phrase “boundary setting” at one point or another. This self-help buzzword is all over the place and can be misunderstood as purely conversational, or, even worse, ultimatum-based. I think, though, that boundaries are the small choices, actions, and deliberations that gradually help us become a truer, deeper version of ourselves. As a mental health therapist, when I see a client experiencing symptoms like anxiety or depression, I try to always consider the client’s relationship to boundary-setting and I think it is useful for everyone to consider.

Boundaries are the small choices, actions, and deliberations that gradually help us become a truer, deeper version of ourselves.

 Is it challenging for you to you to say no to others, to dissent the majority opinion, or declare your own uniqueness? On the flip side, are you more comfortable stating where you stand, what your limits are, and what you need without creating space for hearing those of the people around you? 

If you tend toward the former, you could find yourself yielding to those around you. When it comes to things like where to eat lunch, what show to watch, or how to spend your day off, these compromises might not seem very consequential. Over time, though, these conceded decisions compromise who we are and what we desire. When we don’t have a firm grip of where our boundaries lie, we can start to lose ourselves.

If you tend toward the latter, you may have rigidity around your boundaries. You may find most comfort and safety in stating your boundaries without thoroughly considering those of others which, to you, might run the risk of renegotiating yours, or even defending them. Maybe there was a time in your life when someone else’s rigidity trampled your boundaries, which showed you the way you know how to stay strong in your sense of self. 

All relationships demand establishing similarities and differences over and over. It is the bumping into one another’s boundaries that teaches, not only, those around us who we are, but also teaches ourselves who we are. Declaring our boundaries can be challenging in a culture that prescribes for us what those boundaries should be and how we should go about setting them, depending on things like gender, race, or social class. Declaring our boundaries can also be challenging when you grew up in a family where you either learn to yield unconditionally in order to accommodate those around you, or where you were rarely shown how to consider alternate paths or to collaborate. In addition to these challenges, breaking out of our boundary habits can be scary, sending a rush of uncertainty into our body, and causing our hearts to race or faces to flush. The result though, is almost always the same: becoming more you. How can that not feel good? With balance in boundaries, we can find ourselves in relationships that are more authentic, fulfilling, and, ultimately, have a more fulfilling relationship to the world.

Communicating boundaries starts small in minute-by-minute choices and daily conversations. It is the first step on a path to re-establishing yourself in the world, to gain a clearer sense of self, more fulfilling relationships, and a life that is truly yours.

Krissy MulpeterKrissy Mulpeter is an individual, couples & family therapist, self-care enthusiast, and seeker of stories. She writes to explore topics in wellness, whole-hearted living, and healthy relationships to self and the ones we love. When she is not doing therapy or writing, Krissy enjoys caring for her plants, cooking, getting exercise in the most fun ways possible, and traveling.

Tags:  Boundaries  Self Care  self-Help 

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New Times Need a New Approach to Smoking in the Workplace

Posted By Michael Hook, Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2018

There has been a shift in perspective in many workplaces regarding assisting smoking employees to quit the habit. The emphasis has swung away from the traditional health concerns accompanying smoking and very firmly towards a concern about the loss of productivity caused by the regular smoke breaks that smokers take.

The days of finger-pointing are over, and the forward-looking organization is being more creative about smoking cessation.

Part of the reason for this is employers are finally doing the math, which reveals those four or five ten-minute breaks daily add up to a loss of close to two full working days a month. This alarming calculation has led to the caring employer examining more carefully the various options available when initiating a new smoking at work strategy. Out of this are emerging some really creative solutions to offer to smokers to make the prospect of quitting more attractive.  (We must bear in mind that the average smoker is absolutely terrified at the prospect of separation from not only the nicotine but perhaps more importantly, the patterns and triggers smokers have perfected via consistent practice, often up to 20 times a day).


So, which of these approaches are having the desired effect?

A Japanese company routinely awards the non-smokers an extra 6 leave days a year. I like this initiative because the reward spans both general non-smokers as well as the newly liberated smokers. So 6 days off work is actually a great deal for the employer as in actual fact smokers generally waste up to 2 full work days each month, the net benefit being an extra 18 days each year of productivity. The employer noted a marked interest in quitting and a much-improved success rate for those attempting to slay the nicotine dragon. 

An American study by the University of Pennsylvania, using a base of 2500 CVS Caremark employees took the “skin in the game” approach by asking potential quitters to bet $150 of their own money, which they would recoup with a handsome bonus when achieving success. A second model grouped quitters and rewarded this group financially upon success.

Both approaches were declared successful, the former especially in recruiting program attendees, but each model had a much higher success rate than unrewarded programs of a similar nature.

Incentives need not be of high monetary value, and the prestige and recognition for successfully quitting often works very well. A very simple approach I recommended to a banking group was to give successful quitters a free cappuccino voucher each day, partly as a reward and partly to keep the quitting momentum. Quitters used this as an opportunity to gather and support each other, and in ways this seemed to replace the connection previously enjoyed when smokers met up a few times a day. Cost to company was minimal but rewardees felt special and appreciated.

I’ve consulted to an organization who tried discouraging smoking by moving the smoking area further and further from the front entrance, but the result was the breaks just consumed more time as smokers had to walk farther. My recommendation was to have a smoking area much closer and in plain view of the open plan offices. Smokers were very aware they were being observed by co-workers and management and we also asked that smokers be urged to join a quitting program sponsored by the employer. This not as a finger pointing exercise, rather offered as a caring and concerned effort to improve the lives and health of valued employees. The results have been encouraging.

The days of finger-pointing are over, and the forward-looking organization is being more creative about smoking cessation. While the long-term health hazards of smoking have long been understood,  when we do the sums on lost employee productivity, such company support for employee smoking cessation is a no-brainer.

Michael HookMichael Hook is a herbal and natural medicine manufacturer, transformation and personal development facilitator, and the father of the Beyond Nicotine quit smoking program. Hook trains practitioners to present the Workshop Experience worldwide. 

Tags:  Quitting Smoking  Smoking  Smoking cessation  Workplace 

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Your Body is Speaking, Are You Listening? Reclaim Your Sacred Vessel for Sustainable Wellbeing

Posted By Lisa Medley, Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2018

We live in a time where we feast on information, yet starve for connection. When it comes to our wellbeing, although we have access to a wealth of knowledge, resources, and research about what to DO, the culture’s state of health indicates a lack in how well we really BE.

happy family lying in the grassWhat is missing? I believe that part of the equation is how we perceive what our body is. How we view, relate, and care for our body, or not, reflects our quality of wellbeing. Our thoughts and feelings dictate our actions and therefore, our results. If we want behavior change, it is critical that we include the point of view of how the body is defined and experienced. There is a plethora of negative body myths that have been programmed into the culture for a very, very, very long time.

Once upon a time, in ancient times, there was a perspective that honored the body as sacred. The rhythms of nature, including the body, were respected and integrated into daily life. This was thousands of years ago.

Then, qualities of domination and control over the natural world rose up and the value of the body went down. As time went on, with suppression of the body and its wisdom well underway, there were attempts to understand how the world really worked. Although well intended, René Descartes (“I think, therefore I am”), developed a conviction that the natural world could be understood in mechanical terms. After all, his take on the body was that it was like a clock. It could be taken apart, studied like pieces of machinery, and then put back together with the assumption that it would work again just fine. Sound familiar?

When the Industrial Revolution began a few hundred years ago, the experience of our body was transformed from a human being to a human doing. The assembly line way of life and push to produce become the status quo. Although this era contributed to the progression of culture, this pace of life caused an increased regression from our natural state of ease and grace. Life got more linear, repetitive, and static; the experience of the body did too. There was a continued loss of connection to our fluid, expansive, and dynamic nature.

We are now in the age of technology, and then some. We are constantly overloaded with information, the onslaught of data is relentless, and try as we might to keep up with it all, we can’t. Why? Because we are not designed to live up to the myth that the body is a machine. Or many of the other myths that have been injected to keep us distanced from our true nature.

Woman looking at an image of a beautiful female face.One of these myths is body as object. This is a whole other discussion. For now, I’ll share a story of a recent observation by my 10-year old son. We were in a store where I was looking at nail polish colors. My son saw a poster ad of a woman selling make up. He wondered why it looked like she wasn’t wearing any clothes. It was a headshot from the shoulders up with no evidence of an undergarment or a shirt. He was confused. I was awestruck. I asked him why he thought they show ads like this. He said he didn’t know, that they should have clothes on, and just focus on the products they are selling. I gave him a hug.

Other body myths include getting caught up in metrics madness. Measuring the status of our body based on the size of our dress, the shape of a body part, or our blood pressure, BMI, and number on a scale. Or our age. Or our fitness level.

There is another body myth that has also been around since ancient times; bypass. Even though this perspective is coming from a place to connect to something greater, there also can be enormous judgement of our physical existence and denial of our incarnation.

Sometimes this bypass is employed when life gets too much and we numb. We want to feel better, so we make choices to not feel. I get it. My perspective on numbing is that there is a time and place for it. We do the best we can and can only do so much when we have run out of tools or support or both. However, this way of life is not really living, and at some point, we have to come back to Earth.

The presence of these body myths, especially when unconscious, can contribute to the degree of behavior change success. If the body is perceived as a machine, an object, or measured only by numbers, then, although some positive change can occur, it may not be as long-lasting, integrated, or well, easy.

The remedy to expand beyond the ancient presence of warped, limiting beliefs about the body is to remember what it really is: a natural living process.

The body is alive, full of life. The degree of vitality reflects how the inner environment is adapting to the external world. If dis-ease is occurring, the body shape-shifts, evolves, and does its very best to back into balance, center, homeostasis. The body WANTS to feel good, or at least better. It functions optimally when effective communication between the systems takes place. It roots for cooperation. It depends on our listening skills and the positive ways we respond to its needs. It can self-heal (!) when given the opportunity. It thrives when we bring its voice to the table of our life. It celebrates when we go with its flow!

Our body is a sacred vessel, guiding us to choose from the feel-good and live in alignment with our best self. When we reclaim this truth, we raise our body consciousness. This awareness, coupled with positive lifestyle choices that prevent a majority of dis-ease, increases a state of wellbeing that is sustainable. Your body is speaking; it is time to listen. Your life depends on it.

Lisa MedleyLisa Medley, MA serves as a Wellbeing and Body Intelligence Expert. She supports her clients to cultivate positive relationships with their body for sustainable inside-out wellbeing. Lisa believes in reintegrating the body and its wisdom to support the evolution of our divine human potential. Learn more at SoulisticArts.com

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