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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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App Spotlight: My Fitness Pal

Posted By NWI, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

Technology has had both good and bad impacts on wellness. To balance out the negativity of screen time and loss of face-to-face social connections, there are many technologically driven tools to help us lead healthier lives.

This month, Wellness News focuses on one weight loss app that is getting great reviews. The app, "MyFitnessPal" is available for download on Apple and Android devices. It is a calorie counter, diet tracker, and exercise logging app that allows users to enter food consumed and exercise performed. The app boasts the largest database of foods (constantly growing with additions from more than 4,000,000 users) and the ability to fully sync with the website http://www.myfitnesspal.com/. Plus, it is a free app!

For other lauded fitness and wellness apps, CIO magazine online (Chief Information Officers) did a list of 2014’s top fitness and wellness apps. To see, more visit the website here: http://www.cio.com/article/2369248/healthcare/138681-12-Top-Fitness-and-Wellness-Apps-for-2014.html.


Tags:  Apps  Dieting  November 2014  Nutrition  Physical  Social  Weight Loss 

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A Link Between Neurosis and Alzheimer’s: Why to De-stress Now!

Posted By NWI, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

Neurosis, or a neurotic personality, is characterized by symptoms of stress (depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, hypochondria, etc.). A study released in October 2014 found that women who experience these feelings on an on-going basis are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was done at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden and was published in the scientific journal Neurology. It followed 800 women for nearly 40 years and looked at the women’s perceived stress levels and at the results of memory tests. After 40 years, approximately a fifth of the women developed dementia conditions. For the group of women that developed dementia conditions, there was a clear statistical correlation to women who had identified themselves as undergoing prolonged periods of stress.

According to the study’s authors, previous Alzheimer’s research has looked at education, family history, genetics, and other factors that contribute to conditions of dementia. This is the first study that shows the significance personality may play in the risk of developing Alzheimer disease.

There are several online resources to help individuals relieve stress. You might try the Calm Clinic (http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/types/neurosis) for tips on reducing neurosis and anxiety.


Study Reference:

Johansson, L et al. (October 1, 2014). Midlife personality and risk of Alzheimer’s disease and distress: a 38 year follow-up. Neurology.  Retrieved from http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/10/01/WNL.0000000000000907


Tags:  Alzheimer's  Intellectual  Memory  November 2014  Social  Stress 

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Inspiration: Kindness Leads to Wellness!

Posted By NWI, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

November 13 is World Kindness Day. For more information you can visit Waves of Kindness at www.wavesofkindness.org.

The following quotes are meant to inspire our kindness and our social and spiritual wellness.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. -Tenzin Gyatso

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. -Robert Brault

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. -Jesse Jackson

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. -Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are. -Author Unknown

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. -Dalai Lama

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. "Absolutely," the professor said. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy. -JoAnn C. Jones, Guideposts, January 1996

Don't be yourself — be someone a little nicer. -Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. -Samuel Johnson

Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how. -Author Unknown

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway. -Henry Boye

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid. -Author Unknown

Don’t let those who take advantage of your generosity stop you from being generous. -Author Unknown

In a world full of people who couldn't care less, be someone who couldn't care more. -Author Unknown

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. -Epictetus

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. -Amelia Earhart

As the bus slowed down at the crowded bus stop, the Pakistani bus conductor leaned from the platform and called out, "Six only!" The bus stopped. He counted on six passengers, rang the bell, and then, as the bus moved off, called to those left behind: "So sorry, plenty of room in my heart — but the bus is full." He left behind a row of smiling faces. It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it. -The Friendship Book of Francis Gay, 1977

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Because that's what kindness is. It's not doing something for someone else because they can't, but because you can. -Andrew Iskander

A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. -Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"

If thou are a master, be sometimes blind; if a servant, sometimes deaf. -Thomas Fuller

One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. -Booker T. Washington

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. -Nelson Henderson

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy. -Karl Reiland

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. -William Penn

If you step on people in this life, you're going to come back as a cockroach. -Willie Davis

Tags:  Inspiration  Kindness  November 2014  Social  Spiritual 

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November is the Great American Smokeout Month

Posted By NWI, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

Brought to us by the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), November is the Great American Smokeout month and November 20, specifically, is the Great American Smokeout day!

The American Cancer Society has a lot of great information on this event, resources to quit, and the benefits of quitting.

The following are some quickly realized rewards associated with quitting as detailed on www.cancer.org.

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • By bedtime, the carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal. Every part of your body now gets more oxygen.
  • In 24 hours, you'll have more spending money. If you smoke two $10 packs a day—that's $20 saved in a day!
  • In a year, your risk for heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes.

 What are you waiting for! Start trying to quit today!

Tags:  Intellectual  November 2014  Physical  Quitting Smoking 

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Wellness in 10: Occupational Wellness and 10 Tricks to Make Your Work Day Better

Posted By NWI, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

 1.       Set the office temperature to between 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit for the most productive employees. (This temperature setting should be adjusted for jobs that require more movement or physical excursion). For more information visit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at http://www.iaqscience.lbl.gov/performance-temp-office.html

2.       Stand up. Numerous studies have pointed to health concerns associated with sitting all day (worse than heart disease!). But what can you do? The following are just a few ideas: Remember to stand up and move each hour; Ask your company for a standing/adjustable work station or moving workstation (such as a treadmill desk); make your meetings "walking meetings;” and monitor your TV and screen time at home. For more information, here is a great infographic from Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/many-reasons-chair-killing-you

3.       Drink water. Other than thirst, the symptoms of even mild dehydration include light-headedness, headache, sluggishness, and even irritability. All of these feelings will impact the way you perform. For more information visit the Mayo Clinic site at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/symptoms/con-20030056

4.       Pack a lunch. Although it might seem easier to buy something on the go, packing your lunch has many wellness benefits. First, packing a lunch can help you with your financial wellness. Here is a quick calculator at bankrate.com: http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/bring-lunch-savings-calculator.aspx. Second, packed lunches are often much healthier than purchased lunches both in portion size and ingredients. Of course, you must pack a healthy lunch for this to be true! There are some great ideas for healthy packed lunches on Greatist.com at http://greatist.com/health/35-quick-and-healthy-low-calorie-lunches

5.       Say "Good Morning” to your co-workers. Not only is social wellness important in the office, but greeting people is polite and acknowledges that other individuals share the same office space as you. There is an outstanding article on the subject at Jobacle.com here: http://www.jobacle.com/blog/7-reasons-to-say-good-morning-to-your-co-workers.html

6.       Take your vacation days. Let’s face it, we all need a break. Downtime helps us to recharge. While there is a lot of research on the subject, check out this CBS piece for an informative overview: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/spending-your-vacation-days-is-good-for-america/

7.       Stay home when you’re sick. Really. We. Don’t. Want. What. You. Have. Here’s an informative article on subject from Inc.com: http://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/90-percent-of-your-employees-come-to-work-when-they-are-sick-and-its-your.html

8.       Watch the sarcasm, passive aggressive behavior, and gossip. All of these behaviors are counter-productive although they may feel "good” in the moment. This advice is summarized in the Thriving in the Workplace for Dummies book. Here is the Dummies website with a link to purchase the book: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/thriving-in-the-workplace-allinone-for-dummies-che.html

9.       Make "to-do” lists and check things off. Martin Seligman made the link between accomplishment and happiness in his book Flourish. If you want to know more, visit the University of Pennsylvania website about authentic happiness here: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/

10.   Don’t be afraid of change, but know thyself. Some folks are just unhappy and will be unhappy wherever they work. If you think this is you, seek help from friends you trust or a mental health professional that can work with you and your outlook of the world. But sometimes, individuals are "situationally” unhappy. If this might be you, consider a change. Indeed.com and other job search sites are a great place to get inspired about other ways to spend your working hours.

Tags:  November 2014  Occupational  Wellness in 10 

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Advancements in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Posted By NWI, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

November is American Diabetes Month (sponsored by the American Diabetes Association; see www.diabetes.org for more information). In recognition of this month, Wellness News You Can Use is reporting on a recent important advancement in diabetes research.

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden are testing a treatment for type 2 diabetes which targets the disease mechanism itself, not just the symptoms. The result of this research would be a more personalized approach to diabetes treatment. Details of the treatment were released in a press release October 14, 2014.

By using an individual patient’s genetic risk profile, this treatment is able to restore the individual’s capacity to secrete insulin. The treatment is undergoing additional testing.

While this treatment news is exciting for individuals who have type 2 diabetes, it is also important to focus on ways to prevent getting type 2 diabetes and on management strategies.

The following is from the American Diabetes Association.

Things you can do to lower your risk of contracting type 2 diabetes:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  •  Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
  •  Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
  • Have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked and work with your medical provider to maintain healthy levels of both.
  • If you smoke, quit.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the following six steps are critical in the management of the disease:

  • Work with your doctor to plan a diet that supports healthy diabetes maintenance.
  • Get physically active.
  • Take medicine (if your doctor prescribes it).
  • Check your blood glucose (if your doctor recommends it).
  • Go to all of your check-up appointments


Source: Tang, Y., Axelsson, A.S., Spegel, P., Andersson, L.E., Mulder, H., Groop, L.C., Renstrom, E., Rosengren, A.H. Genotype-based treatment of type 2 diabetes with an  2A-adrenergic receptor antagonist. Science Translational Medicine, 2014; 6 (257): 257ra139 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009934

Tags:  Diabetes  November 2014  Physical  Research 

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The Flu Shot and You: Facts Compiled from the CDC Website

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

‘Tis the season when we need to start thinking about getting our flu shots. But what do you need to know and what is different this year from last year?


The CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2014-2015.htm) has extensive information about the flu shot. Some of the key points are summarized below.

General Information

  • The flu season is generally at its peak from December through February, but it can start as early as October and last through May.
  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.
  • Children between 6 months and 8 years may need additional doses of the vaccine. Ask your healthcare provider for details.
  • Ideally people should get vaccinated starting in October.
  • It takes about two weeks after getting vaccinated for the flu antibodies to develop. You are not protected right away!
  • Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. For this season, manufacturers have projected they will provide between 151-159 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market.
  • You can visit http://flushot.healthmap.org to find a place near you to get a flu shot.
  • The effectiveness of the flu vaccine and the length of time it will protect an individual varies from year to year. For more information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm

Types of vaccinations available:

  • There are several flu vaccine options for the 2014-2015 flu season.
  • Traditional vaccines protect against three different types of flu viruses (a trivalent shot). There is also an option that protects against four types of viruses (a quadrivalent shot).
  • Trivalent shots protect against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.
  • Trivalent shots comes in a few different shot forms and are given based on an individual’s age. An intradermal trivalent shot is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot. It is approved for people 18 through 64 years of age. A high-dose trivalent shot is approved for people 65 and older.
  • Most trivalent shot cultures are grown in eggs. There is an egg-free option called a recombinant trivalent shot that is approved for individuals 18-49.
  • The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
  • Quadrivalent flu vaccines come in both shot and nasal spray forms. The nasal spray is recommended for people 2 through 49 years of age (recommended preferentially for healthy children ages 2-8). Visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/nasalspray-children.htm for more information about the nasal spray and children.
  • The only recommendation the CDC is making this year is the preference for the quadrivalent nasal spray for healthy children ages 2-8. See above for more information.

What you can do to prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Encourage those around you to get vaccinated.
  • Stay away from sick people and encourage sick people to stay away from others until they get better.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.

Tags:  Flu  October 2014  Physical  Social 

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Gallup Releases 2014 Global Well-being Index: Room for Improvement

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

Building on its State of American Well-Being Index, Gallup released the results of its global well-being research in September 2014.

The index includes five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

Regional statistics from the Americas, Asia, Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa show that, overall, the well-being in the Americas is rated the highest at 33% thriving in three or more of the above categories. This is compared to the global reports of only 17% reporting thriving in three or more categories.

In fact, in each category (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical) the Americas ranked on average between 5 and 22 points higher than the other regions collectively in terms of reports of thriving. The European region ranked the second highest.

What does this mean for the average person? At a 33% “thriving” score, there is clearly still room for improvement…even in the Americas. However, wealth, education, and life partnerships (including tight family relationships) were large determinants of the satisfaction that existed.  In addition, the survey results make a strong argument that society needs to look beyond physical well-being to less concrete ideas about well-being formed by an individual’s sense of purpose, social structures, financial stability, community engagement, and yes, also their physical well-being.

The next time you think about being well, take a page from the National Wellness Institute’s Six Dimensional Model of Wellness, and go beyond physical exercise. Your emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and occupational wellness is important too!

Tags:  Emotional  Occupational  October 2014  Physical  Social  Wellness 

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An Exercise in Inspiration

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

While the Inspiration entry in Wellness News You Can Use generally offers quotes and thoughts from other people to inspire us, this month we are going to embark on an inspiration exercise.

Take a moment to read and answer the questions below. Then start with just one phrase a week as a way to work toward a more inspired life. 


Have you loved enough? Who could you show more love toward?


What do you love doing that you aren’t doing? How can you get more of that into your day, week, month, and year?


What person or type of person would you choose as a life companion? Do you give those qualities to the world around you?


Where do you want to live? 


What do you want to accomplish? And most importantly, why — what’s your motivation? 


What do you want to be remembered by? Write it down. “This is the person who _______________.”


What adventures do you want to have? List the first three that come to mind.


If you had to add something to humanity, what would your contribution be? 


Who inspired you today? If you are coming up blank…stop and notice the small things. People do incredible things every day!


What is the most creative thing you can do? When was the last time you did it?


What does your body need in order to function at its best? Or when was the last time you felt physically strong and capable? What made you feel that way?


What are you proud of so far? Who are you proud of? When was the last time you told them? 

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  October 2014  Spiritual 

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Prostate 101: A Quick Guide

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a male gland about the size of a walnut that surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate produces semen. According to the Men’s Health Resource Center (http://www.menshealthresourcecenter.com/), the prostate grows during puberty and then does not change much until approximately age 40, when it begins to grow again.


What are common issues of the prostate and what causes them?

The three common issues of the prostate, according to the government-sponsored National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medline PLUS (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/prostatediseases.html) are the following:

  • Prostatitis: This is an infection, usually caused by bacteria. While the medical community knows bacteria is the culprit (sometimes caused by a backward flow of urine into the prostate, medical procedures, an abnormal urine tract, bladder infections, a reaction to previous infections, or in the case of chronic prostatitis…sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia), overall little is known. The Urology Care Center (http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=15) has some additional reading.
  • Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): This is a common problem in older men which may cause dribbling after urination or a need to go often, especially at night. Because it is natural for the prostate to grow, BPH is common in older men.
  • Prostate cancer: This is a common cancer that responds best to treatment when detected early. According to NIH, Prostate Cancer risks increase in men over 50, according to your race (African American men experience more cases), according to your family history, and according to your diet (high fat diets with few fruits and vegetables may increase risk). Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men (behind lung cancer) according to the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/). Further, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime (usually around age 66). One in 36 diagnosed will die of the disease.

How does a person avoid prostate issues?

1.       Eat a healthy diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables.

2.       Exercise.

3.       Be aware of symptoms of Prostatitis and BPH to catch issues early. See your doctor if you are urinating frequently (especially at night), have difficulty getting a urine stream going or out, pain urinating or ejaculating, fever/chills, pelvic pain, or cloudy urine

4.       Prostate cancer is hard to detect in its early stages. The American Cancer Society recommends a regular prostate exam and possibly a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test that looks for increased antigen levels sometimes associated with prostate cancer. 

Tags:  Men's Health  October 2014  Physical  Prostate 

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