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Wellness Trends - December 2019

Posted By NWI, Friday, December 20, 2019
Updated: Thursday, December 19, 2019

Celebrate giving and gratitude through everyday actions.5 Ways To Incorporate Gratitude and Giving Into Your Everyday Life

At Givhero, they are in the business of celebrating giving and gratitude through everyday actions, and they inspire people to do the same! Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude into your day-to-day life. Read more on Givehero.com

 

2020 Wellness Budget

If you ask for information about what a wellness budget should consider in 2020, this is what you will find based on a few key professional groups:

 

Why Most New Year's Resolutions Will Fail

Another new year is almost here, and as it is every year, so many people—likely a good portion of your employees included—are high on hope, optimistic that this is finally the year when they’ll eat healthier, start exercising, quit smoking, etc. Of course, last year was the year too, but for so many people, it didn’t stick. Read more at selfhelpworks.com

Tags:  Budget  Gratitude  Resolutions  Trends  Wellness Trends 

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Combating the ‘Silent Killer’

Posted By Colin Bullen, Monday, December 16, 2019

This is part 1 of The BRATLAB ‘Behavioral Prescription’ Series

High blood pressure, or "hypertension" has no immediately noticeable symptoms. It is therefore difficult to spot and often referred to as the "silent killer." It is one of the most frequently diagnosed health conditions amongst US adults and was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014. That's over 1,000 deaths each day and represents an 18% increase since 2009.

Hypertension is defined as blood pressure in excess of 140mmHg Systolic or 90mmHg Diastolic (“140 over 90”) and these levels are experienced by over 30% of the US population. The percentage of the population with hypertension increases significantly with age and is one of the leading indicators for chronic heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, aneurysms and aortic disease. The relationship between high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease events is continuous, consistent, and independent of other risk factors — the higher the blood pressure, the greater is the chance of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

If you have a population impacted by hypertension, what behavior change would have the greatest impact on an individual’s risk profile? With a limited budget, where should you focus your resources?

The most effective wellness interventions for High Blood Pressure

Seniors laughing using hula hoops outdoorsThe Behavioural Research and Applied Technology Laboratory research suggests that behavior change can reduce hypertension significantly, and fast. Compared to other lifestyle habits, exercise has the largest impact. Research suggests that a reduction of around 55% in the prevalence of hypertension can be achieved through a ‘habit prescription’ or ‘dose’ of cardiovascular exercise at moderate (brisk walk) to intense (running) intensity levels for 30 minutes, five days per week. Although physicians recommend that exercise should still be combined with drug therapy, clinical trials confirm that exercise is at least as effective at controlling blood pressure as medicines — and with none of the unpleasant side effects.

In addition to exercise, getting adequate sleep (>7 hours per night) and meditation (transcendental, practiced twice a day for 20 minutes) significantly reduce hypertension prevalence by up to 40%. Other wellness interventions also show benefits, but not as large as these.

Making the Change: Adopting Healthy Behaviors that Reduce Hypertension

Organizations looking to change the health risk profile of their employee populations would do well to address hypertension, at least through exercise. Setting up a change-ready environment that allows employees to adopt healthier behaviors regarding exercise, meditation and sleep hygiene will result in significant improvements in an organization’s health risk profile.

Alongside the 30% of the population with hypertension, it’s estimated that around 60% of the US population does not exercise adequately. In the worst case this means that 18% of a typical US population will both hypertensive and not exercising adequately. However, given these findings, it’s likely that more than 60% of the hypertensive population are not exercising, meaning that 18% is an underestimate. Combining this finding with the 55% reduction available through exercise, suggests that a reduction of at least 10% in hypertension prevalence is achievable in a typical US population.

Within a few years, that will translate to significant reductions in cardiovascular and heart disease, more than reversing the increasing trend and reducing health plan costs. The cost and productivity benefits will manifest over time and can be accurately predicted.

Any organization looking to evaluate the impact of investing in these changes or wanting to understand more about how to create happy, healthy and change-ready cultures should contact Change Craft at hello@changecraft.consulting.


Colin BullenColin Bullen is the founder and director of Change Craft, a global business established to help organisations execute effective and successful wellbeing change. In business, he’s the technician, evaluator, and strategist. A true road-less-travelled devotee, he qualified as an actuary in 1992 in the UK before spending 13 years in South Africa where he met Chicago-based business partner Hanlie van Wyk. During this time, he has steadily broadened his métier into health, well-being, leadership, strategy, assessment, and data.

Colin has a deep passion for helping companies find their human touch, whilst accelerating their performance and focusing their vision. Colin is also one of the creators of the behavioural research database that is BRATLAB and has been a driving force behind early successes in Change Craft.

 

Tags:  aneurysm  aortic disease  exercise  heart attack  heart disease  high blood pressure  hypertension  Physical Wellness  stroke 

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The Bittersweet Gift of Death

Posted By Michelle J. Howe, Friday, December 13, 2019
Updated: Friday, December 13, 2019

The human cycle is one of birth and death.
Birth expands the heart. It’s a time to rejoice as we welcome a new soul into our lives.
Death constricts the heart. It’s a time to face the loss of someone from our lives.
There is a day to be born and there is a day to die.

Angel statue

Facing mortality is never easy.

There are those passing on with some level of awareness or notice. They have a unique opportunity to share their final thoughts with those most meaningful in their life. The biggest challenge for oneself and those we love comes as the process unfolds. It’s about coming to terms with what’s happening.

There are those who pass on without notice. Their death is sudden and to the point. The biggest challenge for these facing this type of situation comes from the sudden change, unresolved feelings or regrets. Neither party left got the opportunity to say goodbye.

Mortality is bittersweet.

Bittersweet is a noun describing something that is sweet with a bitter aftertaste. The sweet part of mortality or losing a loved one comes from our focus and attention to our connection to them. It comes from feeling the depth of connection and honoring them with presence, pause and love.

The sweet part also involves revisiting storylines and past memories. The revisit allows us to cherish and value their role in our life. The revisit brings the past to present. The revisit brings tears that soften as we move into grief. Surrender, allowance and acceptance are the next important steps. In the end, we release heavy emotions and move forward with our life.

The bitter aftertaste is saying goodbye.

Each soul leaving their body has its own unique experience. There may be fear. There may be regrets. There may be anger. There may be restlessness and angst. There may be a determination to stay here. There may be grace and acceptance. There may be no emotion at all. There is no right approach to mortality. Each and every individual on his or her own path.

To be that individual saying goodbye to someone or losing a loved one is another experience. This loss initiates a range of emotions that begin with heartbreak followed by some measure of grief, sadness, or sorrow. The best approach is to feel whatever emotions arise knowing the importance of moving through each step your process.

A few things to consider when you are facing a bittersweet loss in your life:

  • Focus on the soft, loving sides of them.
  • Engage them to learn more about their life.
  • Speak with kind words and open your heart.
  • Listen without trying to correct or fix their mind.
  • Take notice of the imprints you have inherited from them.
  • Recognize the soul beyond the mentality of the personality.
  • Beliefs about life and death are personal and vary from person to person.

Below are a few introspective questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I believe happens after the death of a loved one?
  • Do I still feel connected to those who are no longer physically here?
  • Have I moved through all stages of grief or stuffed those heavy emotions?

Regardless of your position, thoughts or beliefs about death, there will always be mystery surrounding the topic. To prove or not to prove is always a debate that part and parcel for those unwilling to believe or trust beyond our logical minds.

“Faith is that the magic ingredient that allows us to accept life and death without fear. Faith allows us to move forward with peace in our hearts and an awareness of infinite connection to one another.”

Loss shocks our sense of stability, challenges our mind, and fills us with heavy emotions. The more we love, the stronger we are impacted by grief. Grief is the process of letting go, saying goodbye and, stepping forward with a new maturity.

When dealing with grief, it’s important to express emotions in the form of tears, writing or words. It’s important to be compassionate and patient with oneself. It’s important to nurture oneself by spending time alone or hanging with good friends. When dealing with grief, it may help to find a quality healer or empathic counselor as listed on online directories like DaoCloud or Wellness Universe. In time, the heart will heal.


Michelle J. HoweMichelle J. Howe is an Evolutionary Guide, an Awakening Speaker, and a Master Healer. She is the founder of Empath Evolution and the curator of The Empath Evolution Community for individuals who are Highly Sensitive Feelers, Healers and Empaths. Michelle is a powerful channel of high vibrational healing energies who is on a mission to awaken your sense of inner connection and to deepen the trust you have in your own natural gifts and intuition. She's passionate about helping you navigate beyond the negativity, trauma, mood swings and anxiety that often accompany the Empath’s journey.

Tags:  Emotional Wellness  grieving  mortality 

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Chiropractic and the Immune System: A Great Relationship

Posted By Dr. Anthony Odney, D.C., Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

A baseball team keeps nine players on the field when it is that team’s turn to pitch. If something happens to one of those players, an alternate player is sent to take that person’s place on the field. As a unit, the team works to accomplish the task of getting all of the batters out in one way or another.

The body’s immune system works in much the same manner as a team of baseball players. How is this so?

During a game, the initial goal of the pitching team is to keep as many batters from gaining access to the field as possible. However, it is expected that batters will eventually make it on base. Once a batter does make it on base, that does not mean that a complete run has been gained for the running team. The defensive team can still get the running batter out before he or she crosses the home plate.

The human body is equipped with multiple methods for keeping out infection, disease, and illness. As the outermost layer of the body, the skin is often considered the body’s first line of defense against disease and infection. Mucous membranes, airways, and the digestive tract are a few of the body’s other natural defense barriers. Life naturally brings us to easily ingest or acquire harmful bits of the world in which we live.

A pitcher and his teammates can do everything right, and a batter will still get a hit. When a ball is put into play by the batter, the nine players must work together to retrieve the ball and use it to get the player out. How the baseball team plays will depend on the skill and determination of the players, time spent in practice, and the ability of the team to communicate effectively.

The immune system also has more than one chance for recovery. The body’s power to protect itself is incredible, but not quite impenetrable. We do get injured and sick, requiring the body to invoke its natural ability to begin healing — often before we are even fully aware there may be an illness underway.

When this happens, our bodies must begin to fight each individual matter from the inside. How well this happens will depend very much on our immune system’s health and ability to send information efficiently through the body.

 

How Does Chiropractic Boost Your Immune System?

A team may have amazing players, but if they have not learned how to understand one another’s hand signals and verbal cues, enjoying and winning the game will be far more difficult. Players must be able to communicate if they wish to achieve the secondary goal of getting the batter out.

In much the same manner, it is imperative for even the tiniest portions of the body to communicate via their highly intricate methods. Slight misalignments in the body can cause an interruption to the natural communication signals in the body. Chiropractic care empowers the human immune system with one of the most powerful defense mechanisms available: the ability to send messages.

When the ability to send messages through synapses to the brain is hindered or lost, the effectiveness for which wellness in the body can be retained is altered. Chiropractic care techniques work to restore this natural power from within the body.

Chiropractic care fosters a cooperative defensive team within the body’s natural mechanisms for health. Preventative and recovery care overlap in their techniques. Yet, the results are similar in that once communications are retained, wellness is better retained within the tiniest hidden portions of the body.

A seasoned baseball player may seek to inform another player through hand signals that get jumbled or missed. Perhaps a player’s vision becomes blurred, causing him to misinterpret signals. This will affect the outcome of the next play in the game. Something must be done to improve communications in order for the team to improve their game.

Like improving the vision of a player, chiropractic improves the nervous system’s ability to "see" and interpret signals that are sent through the body. Care of the spine and nervous system helps to improve the effectiveness of the information superhighways that run through the spinal column. In turn, the body receives a higher level of properly functioning tiny parts that may assist in keeping it well.

 

Chiropractic and White Blood Cell Counts 

illustration showing human vertebraeChiropractic adjustments serve as a series of gentle communication reminders for the body. These reminders help to reintroduce a sense of focus for nerves as they work to provide healing and wellness in the body. Manual adjustments to the spine and joints help to hone the focus of the joints as they work to help the brain and body communication efficiently.

Chiropractic adjustment(s) work to bring the vertebrae back into proper positioning, relieving pressure on the spine and restoring signals that are needed through the central nervous system. When this happens, white blood cells set about thwarting illness, ailments, and physical conditions that may cause pain and discomfort. In somewhat of a snowball effect, wellness can help us breed wellness within our bodies. When we are healthy enough to enjoy some exercise, we increase our ability to be well.

According to Kate Gilbert in Psychology Today, studies show the relationship that white blood cells have with chiropractic adjustments is positive. A study by the National College of Chiropractic in Illinois found that white blood cell counts are elevated following a spinal adjustment. Intentional care for the spine brings the immune system’s fighting power to an improved level of function benefiting the body throughout.

The relationship between the human immune system and chiropractic is clear. The immune system, as well as the rest of the body, loves the attention and care that chiropractic offers. Dr. Jonathan Verderame of the Digital Journal echoes this, noting the nervous system’s ability to control the immune system as shown by Musculoskeletal Science and Practice.

It is clear that the effects of chiropractic on the immune system are quite desirable. A team that operates with all of its powers and capabilities may bring a winning season, in part, due to good communication!

Doctors of chiropractic may be viewed as a collection of coaches silently bringing beneficial communications back into the immune system for the benefit of the patient.


Dr. Anthony Odney, D.C.Dr. Anthony Odney, D.C. is a graduate of Southern California University of Health Science where he earned his doctorate of chiropractic. In addition, he has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and kinesiology. Originally from Norway, Dr. Odney became a chiropractor because of his belief that the human body is a marvelous machine that can be “fixed” by chiropractic care. At Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, he continues to use a scientific-based chiropractic approach to help patients resolve their medical conditions.

Tags:  chiropractic  physical wellness 

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Mindfulness: The Focused Path to Spiritual Wellness

Posted By Wellsource, Monday, November 25, 2019

This is the sixth and final post in a six-part series focusing on the Six Dimensions of Wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Each post has featured a different dimension of wellness. This post will discuss spiritual wellness and the importance of pondering life and your place in it, being mindful, and finding peace within.

Part 1: Using Gratitude to Improve Your Population’s Emotional Wellbeing
Part 2: 5 Ways to Highlight Occupational Wellness in Your Health Program
Part 3: How to Keep Your Workforce Population Moving
Part 4: Six Strategies to Promote Social Wellness
Part 5: Keep Your Workforce Sharp with These 4 Simple Strategies
Part 6: Mindfulness: The Focus Path to Spiritual Wellness


Crowds of onlookers with mouths agape stared toward the early morning sky. This was no ordinary morning in New York City because 24-year-old Philippe Petit had chosen this day—August 7, 1974—to walk a wire he had secretly strung between the Twin Towers. More than 1,300 feet above the ground, Petit took one step, and then another. He felt the building sway in the breeze as he stood on the 131-foot cable.

“After a few steps, I knew I was in my element and I knew the wire was not well rigged… but it was safe enough for me to carry on,” Petit said in an interview with Ric Burns, producer of the PBS history series American Experience. “And then, very slowly as I walked, I was overwhelmed by a sense of easiness, a sense of simplicity.”

Petit felt alive! He danced and ran on the 5/8-inch thick wire. He sat down and took in the muffled cheers from the ant-sized crowd below. He fully and intentionally experienced each moment. He heard police officers yelling commands, and yet he chose to focus on the wind, the wire, and the joy of remaining balanced.

Spiritual Wellness, Like Balance, Takes Practice

Pictures show Petit smiling broadly, but looking back to that moment he recalls feeling disbelief that it was so easy “after all those years and months of ups and downs and detours, victories, and disasters.” The journey toward spiritual wellness is a lot like that high-wire walk. There may be moments of anxiety, distress, doubt, despair, and disruption, but there are also times of pure joy, happiness, and discovery of who you are, what you value, and how you fit into your world view. To find balance, a spiritually well person embarks on the same process as a tightrope walker: “He discards the movements space will not support,” Petit writes, “and gathers up the others into a group that he will polish, refine, lighten, and bring closer and closer to himself.”

Tightrope walker crossing between two huge waterfalls.

Finding balance—or as the National Wellness Institute says, harmony—between your inner “feelings and emotions and rugged stretches of your path” demands as much poise as walking near clouds. When asked how he copes with the 1992 death of his nine-year-old daughter, Petit replied, “Oh, I cope with joy….One has to find balance between joy and sorrow. I have immense sorrow over the loss of that child, but I also have immense joy when I think of her.” When faced with despair, a spiritually well person moves forward, step by step, exhibiting consistency and focus.

What would happen if your population engaged in a similar kind of balance and practiced focus?

Workforce Benefits of Mindfulness

Spiritual wellness follows these tenets:

  • It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant.
  • It is better to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs than to do otherwise and feel untrue to ourselves.

Source: Hettler, B. The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model. National Wellness Institute.

The most common definition of mindfulness is “the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present.” Being mindful requires a person to devote extra-focused attention on their thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. This hyper-attention to the “now” forces you to block out worry and stress. And that simple act has tremendous benefits:

Mindfulness is increasingly being promoted as a way to improve well-being, boost performance, and enhance working relationships.

But Is Mindfulness Hard?

Practicing mindfulness can be challenging at first—just like high-wire walking. But with enough practice, it is also “the simplest, the most beautiful, and the easiest” thing to do. “I shouldn’t say that, but why not?” says Petit. “It’s very easy to walk on a wire if you spend a whole lifetime practicing it.” For Petit, a lifetime of practice has made performing on a tightrope both the most difficult and the easiest art form on the earth.

Mindfulness—the focused path to spiritual wellness—gets easier over time. And the benefits make it worth the effort.

Ready to get started? Download our health challenge “Practice Mindfulness” which includes:

  • A basic quiz for participants to see how much they know about mindfulness
  • An inspiring story of how mindfulness changed one man’s life
  • The benefits of mindfulness to both mind and body
  • Trips for practicing mindfulness
  • A calendar to track your progress as you practice mindfulness each day

 

About Wellsource

Wellsource, Inc. has been a premier provider of evidence-based Health Risk Assessments and Self-Management Tools for four decades, making us one of the longest-serving wellness companies in the industry. With a strong reputation for scientific research and validity, we offer an innovative family of products that empower wellness companies, health plans, ACOs, and healthcare providers to inspire healthy lifestyles, prevent disease, and reduce unnecessary healthcare costs. Our assessments connect lifestyle choices with healthy outcomes, measure readiness to change for maximum results, and drive informed decisions with actionable data.


Works Cited

Bartlett, Larissa, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of workplace mindfulness training randomized controlled trials. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 2019:24(1):108-126. doi:10.1037/ocp0000146

Brown, Kirk, and Ryan, Richard M. The Benefits of Being Present: Mindfulness and Its Role in Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003;84(4): 882-848. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.822

Burns, Ric. Interview with Philippe Petit. “Philippe Petit, High Wire Artist.” American Experience. WGBH Educational Foundation. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Sept. 2003. Feature clip from the documentary film The Center of the World. From https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/newyork/

Dang, Jonathan M. The Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Depressive Symptoms and Quality of Life: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine, 2018;3(2): 011. doi:10.21926/obm.icm.1802011 Day, Elizabeth. “Philippe Petit interview: ‘There is a child inside me that wants to come out.’ The Guardian. June 21, 2004. From https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2014/jun/22/philippe-petit-man-on-wire-highwire-creativity-book

Good, Darren J., et al. Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review. Journal of Management, 2016;42(1): special collection. doi:10.1177/0149206315617003

Hart, Jane. School-Based Mindfulness Eases Stress and Improves Learning. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 2019;25(5): 266. doi:10.1089/act.2019.29237.pro

Hettler, Bill. The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model. National Wellness Institute. 1976. From https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.nationalwellness.org/resource/resmgr/pdfs/sixdimensionsfactsheet.pdf

Hülsheger, Ute R., et al. Benefits of Mindfulness at Work: The role of Mindfulness in Emotion Regulation, Emotional Exhaustion, and Job Satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2013;98(2):310-325. doi:10.1037/a0031313

Johnson, Jill R., et al. Resilience Training: A Pilot Study of a Mindfulness-Based Program with Depressed Healthcare Professionals. Explore, 2015;11(6):433-444. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2015.08.002

Justh, Matthew. (Scott Rubin, Ed.) The effect of Mindfulness on Problem Solving Ability in High School Students. Proceedings of the Berkeley Carroll 8th Independent Research Conference, 2019: 74-79. From https://www.berkeleycarroll.org/uploaded/Publications/SRD_Journals/BC_SRD_2019_8th.pdf

Khoury, Bassam, et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2015;78(6): 519-528. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.03.009

Luken, Michelle, and Sammons, Amanda. Systematic Review of Mindfulness Practice for Reducing Job Burnout. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2016;70(2): 7002250020p1–7002250020p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.016956

Petit, Philippe. “Philippe Petit Meditates on His Life Walking the High Wire: Glimpses of the Finite and Infinite.” On the High Wire. 1985. New Directions Publishing Corp: New York. Translated by Paul Auster. June 3, 2019. From https://lithub.com/philippe-petit-meditates-on-his-life-walking-the-high-wire/

Márquez, P.H. Ponte, et al. Benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing blood pressure and stress in patients with arterial hypertension. Journal of Human Hypertension, 2018; 33(3): 237-247. doi:10.1038/s41371-018-0130-6

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Wellness Trends - November 2019

Posted By NWI, Thursday, November 14, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

Eight simple steps to increase your intellectual wellness

  1. Read for fun
  2. Debate an issue with a friend, but choose the viewpoint opposite the one you hold.
  3. Improve your skills for studying and learning.
  4. Learn a foreign language.
  5. Play a board game.
  6. Play a musical instrument.
  7. Write down your thoughts or journal frequently.
  8. Do crossword or sudoku puzzles.

Learn more about each at:  https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2014/03/seven-simple-steps-increase-intellectual-wellness/

Just what is functional medicine?

If you’ve wondered about the specifics of functional medicine, you’re not alone. Read more on thedo.osteopathic.org

 

The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World

A plurality of experts say digital life will continue to expand people’s boundaries and opportunities in the coming decade and that the world to come will produce more help than harm in people’s lives. Still, nearly a third think that digital life will be mostly harmful to people’s health, mental fitness and happiness. Most say there are solutions. Read more on pewresearch.org

2019 PwC Financial Wellness Report

This year's survey results show more employees than ever admitting to being stressed about their finances. Cash flow and debt challenges continue to plague employees, inhibiting their ability to save sufficiently. Despite continued low unemployment and nominal wage growth, fewer employees feel their compensation is keeping up with the cost of living. We believe that employers will need to take a hard look at their programs to determine whether they effectively address the variety of financial challenges their employees are facing, while motivating employees to improve overall financial well-being and retirement readiness. Read more on pwc.com

When Science Meets Mindfulness

Researchers study how it seems to change the brain in depressed patients. Read more on news.harvard.edu

Health Coaches Approved for CTP Code

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), a nonprofit affiliate of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), announces the American Medical Association's (AMA) approval of new Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) Codes for health and well-being coaching effective January 1, 2020. Read more on 24-7pressrelease.com

7 Ways To Connect With Your Community And Embrace The New Season!

As the weather changes, the instinct for many of us is to go inside. We start to spend more time in our home, curling up with a good book or movie. And while that can provide some much-needed rest and relaxation, it’s important to resist the urge to isolate yourself, which can lead to loneliness and even anxiety and depression. Here are 7 ways to connect with your community and embrace the new season! Read more on givhero.com

Space Management and the Nitty Gritty of Inclusive Placemaking

Great public spaces are not simply made once. Even beyond the more tangible arts of public space design and programming, public spaces are made and remade again and again in the everyday management decisions made around maintenance, public safety, social services, programming, furnishings, and so much more. Read more on pps.org 

Gallup Creates Global Happiness Center

Gallup measures happiness in multiple ways on a global scale, partnering with the United Nations for the World Happiness Report and sharing insights on people's day-to-day emotional experiences through the Gallup Global Emotions report every year. Read more on news.gallup.com


Tags:  Intellectual Wellness  Wellness Trends 

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What Do You Want to Learn About a Career in Wellness?

Posted By Samantha Diedrich MS, CWP, CWHC, Thursday, November 14, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

NWI's Emerging Wellness Professionals task force wants your input! Please leave a comment below about what issues you would like help with in your wellness career. Our EWP team is eager to hear from you so that it can incorporate your feedback into its new tools and resources. We're here for you!

Samantha Diedrich, MS, CWP, CWHC, 2020 Vice President of the National Wellness Institute's Emerging Wellness Professionals task forceSamantha Diedrich, MS, CWP, is a Certified Wellness Practitioner and Health Coach with Aspirus Business Health - Wellness. She is passionate about engaging business partners and clients to improve their lives through health and happiness. Samantha is the 2020 Vice President of the National Wellness Institute's Emerging Wellness Professionals Task Force and a winner of NWI's 2019 Circle of Leadership award.

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Dance of Happy, Healthy, Harmonious Friendships

Posted By Michelle J. Howe, Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Young asian woman smiling and petting an elephant friend.Our circle of friends is important.

Friendships bring us into unique dance with one together.

The stage is set by agreement, coincidence or sheer happenstance.
Friendships vary in closeness and role within our lives.
They begin as a casual introduction… sometimes blossoming into more.
It’s important to note that we’re all seeking the same things:

  • Someone reliable and trustworthy.
  • Someone who accepts and validates us.
  • Someone who supports us through struggles.
  • Someone who cares and loves in their own unique way.
  • Someone who brings vitality, stability, and balance into our life.

There are energy dynamics within any dance with another person. There are reasons for the dance. There is purpose, and there is meaning for each dance. Each person’s dance is an investment of time and attention. Each person’s dance creates bonds of reliance or attachment. Each unique dance is a mix of positive, negative or neutral dynamics.

“The concept of friendships is too often simplified.”

During the dance, there’s an exchange of energy. There are energy dynamics as shared in our previous blog, The Energetic Dance of Friendships. This energetic exchange creates imprints of thoughts and emotions within each person. Energetic exchanges are a relevant and important dynamic to note for those on the awakening path.

Too much negative dynamic will create instability, confusion, and struggle. Too much negative dynamic brings you up close and personal to dancing with negativity. You begin feeling unbalanced, anxious or toxic emotions in your life. It becomes important to notice these “friends” and the very real, negative impact they are having on your life.

To avoid the negative dynamic within turbulent friendships, we must learn to discern and make wiser choices. The wisdom comes when we seek guidance by asking questions and going deeper to become our own best friends. In this process, we must learn to embrace an understanding of healthy versus toxic, and recognize our wants, needs, and desires within that dance.

A Good Place to Start — Ask Yourself:

  • What kind of friend am I?
  • What do I bring to the table?
  • What qualities do I like in my friends?
  • What topics and things do I value in life?

A mutually beneficial connection begins with dancing skills — our ability to keep pace with our partner, our ability to follow, and our ability to lead. A beautiful dance allows each to shine their light while the other mirrors that beauty, heart, and soul back to us. This dance shows up as an elegant, playful and beautiful flow between two people.

A vibrant, healthy and harmonious friendship brings a special person to dance with you. This person shares similar energy and capacity to:

  • Uplift and understands you.
  • Match the energy you bring to the table.
  • Show respect and allows space between you.
  • Be independent, kind, honest and truthful.
  • Express love and acceptance of you.

My suggestion to Highly Sensitive Feelers, Healers and Empaths is to embrace energetic awareness, go deeper to ask questions and learn to trust yourself.

  • Notice your feelings, thoughts, or vibes.
  • Notice the energy exchanges between you.
  • Notice the quality and flavor of that connection.
  • Ask, "Is this person or friendship in my highest interest?"

Michelle J. HoweMichelle J. Howe is an Evolutionary Guide, an Awakening Speaker, and a Master Healer. She is the founder of Empath Evolution and the curator of The Empath Evolution Community for individuals who are Highly Sensitive Feelers, Healers and Empaths. Michelle is a powerful channel of high vibrational healing energies who is on a mission to awaken your sense of inner connection and to deepen the trust you have in your own natural gifts and intuition. She's passionate about helping you navigate beyond the negativity, trauma, mood swings and anxiety that often accompany the Empath’s journey.

Tags:  Emotional  emotional health  empath  health & wellness  Mental Health  relationships 

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High Tech or High Touch — What's Best for Employee Wellbeing Programs?

Posted By Ellen Kocher, Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Human hand shaking digital hand coming out of laptop screen.Today, approximately 80% of organizations claim employee well-being is a critical part of their business plans. For younger generations entering the workforce, wellness has become a way of life. Incorporating wellness into workplaces has been shown to improve morale, job satisfaction, overall mood, workplace culture, job performance and, by extension, lives spent outside work. Employees like the way they feel when they have healthy lifestyles and there is tremendous value in having healthy, happy employees. Moreover, studies show that organizations with explicit and well-defined wellness programs tend to both attract and retain better people.

Since most companies have bought into workplace wellness in one form or another, it is more important than ever that it be valuable, affordable and inclusive for all. Organizations are faced with the choice of how to deliver wellness: either "High-Touch" personified relationship-driven programs or "High-Tech" technology-driven programs. This article aims to compare both in order to guide stakeholders to their optimal choice.

Motivational keychain says "High-Touch Wellness"

is essentially delivery of live programs on or off-site through specific wellness coaches working with individuals or groups. Coaches educate, mentor and support people in cultivating positive health choices that assist in achieving health goals through lifestyle and behavior modification. Wellness coaches are health professionals who target not only the physical aspects of well-being but also mind, spirit, and overall lifestyle. On-site wellness coaches are one of the fastest-growing trends in workplace wellness today.

High-Touch Advantages:

  • A personalized approach according to specific needs without a "one size fits all" solution
  • The client has full control of the agenda - so if something didn't work out the plan can be changed
  • Studies have shown the power of interpersonal support in building courage to try new behaviors beyond education
  • It has been shown that maintaining engagement is more likely with a health coach
  • Extra support and guidance to help break through blocks or obstacles
  • Compassionate motivation and accountability
  • Somebody to listen when one wants or needs to be heard
  • A "no-judgment" zone and safe space where struggles can be shared with someone who can relate
  • Employees (and their relations) can learn strategies for changing lifestyle behaviors influencing personal long-term health and well-being
  • The coaching relationship has been shown to positively empower individuals to create permanent changes that possibly were difficult alone
  • Health coaching has been shown to produce better health outcomes than wellness programs without coaching
  • Evidence supports health coaching with 84% of 43 studies combined reporting improved health outcomes at multiple levels in employees regularly working with health coaches
  • In our "High-Tech" world, "High-Touch" coaching is a way to re-humanize our workplaces
  • Coaches are savvy at helping participants understand their data in a way that's meaningful and impactful

Person synching their phone to their fitness device."High-Tech Wellness"

is essentially technology used by individuals and organizations to manage health and wellness. Tech tools provide organizations with the infrastructure to efficiently identify health risk levels of employees in order to develop and deliver programs that motivate, engage and reward. For individuals - through smartphones, apps, computers, and wearables - technology can help track, measure and monitor body functions and actions with real-time feedback supporting informed decisions about specific health behaviors. Today, technology plays a key role in the development of the most cutting-edge wellness programs allowing companies to monitor employee enrollment, overall return on investment and to pinpoint top health issues. This can include employer-driven initiatives such as: wellness or activity challenges, mobile tech tracking food, activity or sleep, email communication, forum-style message boards, push notifications, social networking, video chat, gamification or online education.

High-Tech Advantages:

  • Cutting Edge
  • Individuals play an active role in their health
  • A 24/7 environment - social and other
  • Instant feedback enhancing engagement
  • Individual capacity to monitor goals and compare performances
  • Motivational alerts or rewards when users reach goals
  • Employers can track participation due to the data-driven nature of tech
  • Employers can adjust and customize programs
  • Employees (and their relations) can learn strategies for changing lifestyle behaviors influencing personal long-term health and well-being
  • Data driven
  • ROI and VOI can be measured by both employer and employee
  • Educational
  • Can be cost effective
  • Can be time efficient

The Best Employee Well-Being Programs...Use BOTH!

Wellness is contagious. Employees talk to one another and share their successes. This momentum and "peer pressure" is one of the most powerful tools in creating a culture of wellness as explored above, both "high-touch" and "high- tech" have undeniable advantages.

An intelligent combination can offer a true population management solution that engages a broad number of employees, motivates them to make long-term behavioral change, and contributes to a stronger employer-employee partnership. Every company can make a difference by giving it some creative thought. Even on tight budgets, a little imagination can go a long way since in wellness, even small changes can compound over time and numbers of lives - and businesses improved.

7 Creative Solutions to Combining High-Touch & High-Tech!

  1. Apply a progressive approach, using people in a high-touch capacity to bolster and back up your high-tech tools
  2. Once a human connection is established, propose wellness coaching by telephone or via the internet
  3. Provide your high-touch coaches with the appropriate hi-tech tools they need to create, manage and communicate with participants
  4. Run regular live sessions - maybe monthly - and supplement with ongoing technology
  5. Provide wellness apps and educational platforms to help employees take charge of their health AND provide live coaching to motivate them to use it on a regular basis!
  6. Create a supportive environment for both high-touch and high tech options, involving stakeholders at every level
  7. It has been shown that despite technological tools, most employees appreciate a combination of high-tech and high-touch options, so ASK YOUR PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!
  8. Please reach out to brainstorm your organizations creative solutions!


    Ellen Kocher is an conomist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant, Master’s Degree in Health & Wellness Coaching, Accredited ICF, Health & Mindful Eating Coach. Educated in the US, she has lived in Switzerland for over 30 years. Following 10 years in the Finance Industry, Ellen understands the challenges of a busy working lifestyle. In 2003 she lost weight and found her new self through nutrition & lifestyle change. She has dedicated the past 15 years to nutrition & workplace wellness promoting a non-diet, mindfulness-based approach to eating, physical activity, holistic health, and self-care. She has coached hundreds of individuals and groups in dozens of organizations to make sustainable lifestyle changes. Ellen recently earned her Worksite Wellness Specialist Certificate through NWI.



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What does Employee Engagement mean to you?

Posted By Dr. Tyler Amell , Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2019

Employees working on a projectThe first thought that likely springs to mind might well be that heady period that follows a co-worker’s marriage proposal. Happy days. But unfortunately, from a workplace health, wellbeing, and productivity perspective, Employee Engagement has two distinct and potentially confusing interpretations.

I ran into this issue head-on during a conference presentation I gave last spring. The subject of my talk was Health, Productivity, and Engagement, and how these three concepts are interrelated and necessary to cultivate in high performing organizations — those that make up today’s top workplaces. And there is plenty of evidence to support their enthusiasm.

Just under half my audience took the concept of engagement to mean something different to my intended message regarding participation in employer-sponsored wellbeing initiatives. The other half interpreted the concept as I had intended: When people are enthusiastic about their work and workplace, they provide greater discretionary effort, resulting in higher productivity.

The latter concept is one that is frequently discussed among insightful corporate leaders, and is often high on the list of priorities for organizations striving to be employers of choice in a highly competitive global work environment, thus ensuring higher levels of productivity are attained.

Another very sizeable consideration is the fact that ill-health related productivity loss is estimated to cost the U.S. economy in excess of $530 Billion annually, based upon 2018 data from the Integrated Benefits Institute, a San Francisco-based leader in benchmarking in the health and productivity market. Similarly, the lost productivity in the U.S. amounts to over 1.4 Billion days of absence or impaired performance annually.

It’s obvious that people cannot be as productive if they are ill or injured. And people cannot be engaged if their discretionary effort is impacted by personal injury or illness. The logical conclusion is that productivity and engagement, for both the individual and the organization, rest on a platform of health.

The Gallup Organization has some very insightful data on employee engagement, but the numbers are not encouraging. According to the Gallup data, worldwide levels of employee engagement are at 15%, with variation by geographic region.

That’s not to say that 85% of companies haven’t attempted to improve their results. But the issue may lie in how those efforts have been interpreted by employees. Is the message “head” or “heart” driven? Is employee health and wellbeing the empathetic, primary objective, with productivity being the unstated rational dividend? Or is increased productivity the primary objective? If there is a sense that employee engagement efforts represent thinly veiled boardroom attempts to boost bottom-line results, the lack of enthusiasm on the “shop floor” will reflect that.

Health and wellness, at its core, is a personal issue. Whether an individual employee chooses to engage, or not, in a corporate wellness program may well be the result of how they interpret the motives behind this corporate offering. In supportive corporate environments, employee wellness programs promote engagement by creating and sustaining a sense of community in the workplace. They foster work-related relationships that reflect the supportive corporate culture. These individual relationships meld into groups and provide a fertile base that nurtures teamwork and collaboration, valuable elements of a contemporary corporate ethic.

Macey and Schneider published an interesting summary in the academic journal Industrial and Organizational Psychology where they differentiate between various types of employee engagement, all based in organizational psychology. The authors noted three types:

  • Psychological State Engagement,
  • Behavioral Engagement, and
  • Trait Engagement.

Close up of business man stacking small Engagement as a psychological state refers to employee involvement and commitment. Behavioral engagement is a demonstration of proactive, personal initiative. And trait engagement is demonstrated through positive views on life and work. As well, other factors, such as the nature of work, and the type of leadership have an obvious effect on these elements of employee engagement.

They strongly suggest that all types should be measured in engagement surveys and employee sentiment analysis. These surveys have seen a substantial increase in their use in the past few years as organizations struggle with assessing and improving employee engagement as they look to improve productivity.

Those organizations in the top quartile of Gallup’s global employee database are 21% more profitable, and 17% more productive than those in the bottom quartile. And these numbers don’t include other significant results in areas such as higher levels of quality, safety and perhaps most importantly, valuable staff retention. Other sources of information find similarly positive outcomes. But unfortunately, for some people leaders and the organizations they oversee, the concept of engagement is more important than the health of their workforce.

Which brings us to the second interpretation of Employee Engagement. Many professionals engaged in workplace health and wellbeing limit the concept of engagement to the raw number of people participating in wellbeing programming, or interested in assessing and improving their personal health. This obviously leads to workplace health and wellbeing discussions that are limited in scope and not necessarily aligned with the priorities of people leaders in organizations — a group that tends to be more focused on the concept of enthusiasm for their work and workplace, discretionary effort, and of course, productivity.

I believe it would be beneficial, on a number of levels, for wellbeing services vendors, insurance carriers, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and Third Party Administrators (TPAs) to rethink their approach to workplace health, wellbeing, and productivity. This would represent a pivot away from the idea that health costs (absenteeism, disability, pharmacy, medical, and health) should be the primary considerations for people leaders. It would be a move toward viewing employee engagement as a focus on the health of their workers, which then leads to positive results in increased engagement, discretionary effort, and productivity.

Research, surveys, and expert opinion are most often less-than-perfect interpretations of reality. Add in the increasingly complex trends in employment types such as freelancers, contractors and consultants, and the effect they have on the employee base, and obvious conclusions become less so. But all signs point to one, indisputable fact: a healthier workforce is also a happier, more cohesive, and ultimately, a more productive one.


Dr. Tyler AmellDr. Tyler Amell is an internationally recognized thought leader on the topic of workplace health and productivity, as well as a frequent speaker and writer. He is a trusted advisor on strategic and integrated workplace health and is the Chief Relationship Officer at CoreHealth Technologies, a corporate wellness technology company that powers well-being programs for global providers. He is on faculty at Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences and is on the Executive Board at the Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute and as well as the National Wellness Institute. In the past, he has served on the executive board of the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), and the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health (CARWH). He has held senior executive positions in a variety of sectors including human resources technology, consulting and healthcare.

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