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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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Inspiration: May 3-9 is Be Kind to Animals Week!

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sponsored by the American Humane Society and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (www.americanhumane.org, www.cfhs.ca), May 3-9 is our reminder week to always be kind to animals. Below are a few quotes on the beauty, wisdom and care of animals. As if we needed additional reasons to celebrate, a team of researchers from Azabu University's School of Veterinary Medicine in Japan found a spike in oxytocin (a chemical that makes us feel good) occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other's eyes—explaining why our bond is so tight. The research was published in April of 2015 in the journal Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6232/333).

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. -Mahatma Gandhi

Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later. -Mary Bly

A dog wags its tail with its heart. -Martin Buxbaum

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway. - Mary Kay Ash

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. -Albert Schweitzer

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. -W. C. Fields

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings

If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr. -Martin Delany 

Tags:  Animals  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Kindness  May 2015  Social 

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Let’s Start a Grassroots Effort: Demand Health Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Issues

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

In reverence to National Mental Health Month, sponsored by the National Mental Health Association (www.nmha.org), Wellness News You Can Use is offering a call to action!

According to a recent report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Health insurance plans are falling short in coverage of mental health and substance abuse conditions as compared to other health conditions. The report (http://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/Publications-Reports/Public-Policy-Reports/A-Long-Road-Ahead/2015-ALongRoadAhead.pdf) was released in early April, 2015.

The report surveyed 2,720 consumers, and 84 insurance plans in 15 states. While progress is being made after a 2008 law requiring some employer-sponsored plans to offer equal mental and physical coverage, there is still a great deal of work to do, according to Mary Giliberti, Executive Director of NAMI.

The report findings include the following:

  • More mental health providers in health insurance plans are needed.
  • Substance abuse treatment needs to be taken more seriously by insurance providers (Plans under the ACA actually had a higher rate denials).
  • Barriers to mental health medication coverage needs to be addressed.
  • The cost of drugs and co-pays needs to be addressed.
  • Consumers need better information related to mental health coverage.

What can you do as a consumer?

  • Look at mental health coverage before signing up for a plan under the ACA.
  • Ask your employer about all coverages under your health plan and question coverages that do not exist or that are not adequate.
  • If you have a claim that is denied, ask for clinical criteria used to approve or deny a claim.
  • If you think the 2008 parity law that required equal coverall of medical and mental claims for come employer plans has been violated, say something.
  • Ask for updated lists of mental health providers from your insurance company.

Write to your congressional representative and advocate for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to require all health plans to provide clear, accessible, and comparable information about benefits. In addition ask Congress and the Executive Branch to work together to decrease out-of-pocket costs under the ACA for low-income consumers.

Let’s all be well together!

Tags:  Emotional  Healthcare  Intellectual  May 2015  Mental Health  Social 

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Wellness in 10: Creative Ways to Reduce Stress

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Updated: Monday, April 6, 2015

April is Stress Awareness Month and Counseling Awareness Month, brought to us by the American Counseling Association (ACA) at www.counseling.org.

To celebrate this special month, Wellness in 10 will feature creative ways to reduce stress. Some of these methods are the result of years of scientific research, and others you might try just for fun!

1.     Paint, craft, or otherwise be artistic. According to the American Art Therapy Association (http://www.arttherapy.org/) being creative can help your brain to produce Serotonin which can help to reduce the feeling of stress.

2.     Chew gum. According to a 2008 study (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/119826.php), chewing gum may help to reduce cortisol levels and alleviate stress.

3.     Get your hug on. Hugs may help to reduce blood pressure, and stress in adults. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15740822)

4.     Breathe deeply. The simple act of slowing down and focusing on a simple process like breathing may help to reduce stress and anxiety (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20617660).

5.     Get your heart rate up—in a good way! Exercise can cause an endorphin release that can dramatically reduce stress (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469).

6.     Laugh. Not only can laughter help you to reduce stress, it can also help to increase your energy levels (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456).

7.     Get a massage. Massage can help with current stress and may help with the body’s reaction to stress over all (http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/massage-therapy-stress-relief-much-more).

8.     Play some tunes. Music can help us to relax, lower our blood pressure, and reduce stress (http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/stress).  

9.     Write, keep a journal…better yet, keep a gratitude journal. Writing and/or journaling has meditative qualities that helps our brains to slow down and process the world around us with more clarity (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21140872). Take this practice one step further and spend a few minutes reflecting each day on what you are thankful for and how you are blessed. The practice may help you to reduce your stress!

10.  Join Fido, or Furball, or Fluffy for some good animal-bonding time. There are many notable benefits to pet ownership (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1534428), stress reduction is just one of those benefits.  

Tags:  Emotional  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Stress  Wellness in 10 

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Quiz: Do you have a problem with alcoholism?

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2015

This month, to highlight several alcohol awareness events (See events at the bottom of this article), Wellness News You Can Use is providing the following Signs of Alcoholism questions from the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) (http://ncadd.org/index.php).

To take the quiz online, and to get a full explanation of your results, visit http://ncadd.org/learn-about-alcohol/alcohol-abuse-self-test.

 

1.     Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel
with someone?

2.     Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink?

3.     Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though
your friends say you didn’t pass out?

4.     When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others
won’t know about it?      

5.     Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?

6.     Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be?

7.     Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking?

8.     Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking?

9.     Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? 

10.  Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough?  

11.  Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily?

12.  When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking?

13.  Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your
drinking?        

14.  Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or
cutting down on your drinking?        

15.  Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence
of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking?  

16.  Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?      

17.  Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of
your drinking?   

18.  Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking?

19.  Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking?

20.  Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a
“little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?     

21.  Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to?   

22.  Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? 

23.  After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there?

24.  Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? 

25.  Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking?

26.  Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol? 

In general, if you answered between 2-8 of these questions with “yes,” NCADD suggests you might want to talk to an alcohol and drug counselor. If you answered 8 or more questions with “yes,” the results suggest that you have an issue with alcoholism and should contact a drug and alcohol counselor. NCADD has affiliates across the United States that offer drug and alcohol counseling. To find a counselor near you visit: http://ncadd.org/index.php/affiliate-network/find-an-affiliate.

The following organization promote healthy relationships with alcohol and sponsor alcohol awareness events this month:

National Alcohol Awareness Month
SAMSHA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information
www.ncadd.org

April 3 – 5 (first weekend in April)
Alcohol-Free Weekend
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
www.ncadd.org

April 9
National Alcohol Screening Day
Screening for Mental Health, Inc.
www.mentalhealthscreening.org

Tags:  Alcohol  April 2015  Emotional  Physical 

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April Inspiration: The Joy of Laughter

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2015

April is National Humor Month sponsored by the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor at www.aath.org.

 

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. ~Jean Houston

Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit. ~Author Unknown

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Laughter is an instant vacation. ~Milton Berle

So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter. ~Gordon W. Allport

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge

What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. ~Yiddish Proverb

When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other. ~Alan Alda

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish Proverb


I've always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, "Ain't that the truth." ~Quincy Jones

A man isn't poor if he can still laugh. ~Raymond Hitchcock

Remember, men need laughter sometimes more than food. ~Anna Fellows Johnston

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants. ~Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing. ~Ken Kesey


If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy. ~Proverb


Tags:  April 2015  Emotional  Inspiration  Laughter  Social  Spiritual 

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Wanna Be Well? Take Friends Just As Seriously As Diet and Exercise.

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2015

A new study reports that loneliness and isolation are just as much a threat to longevity as obesity. The March 2015 Brigham Young University study also concludes that the effects of loneliness and isolation are just as damaging for people who like to be alone. If you are under 65, the risk is even greater.

The study authors explained that loneliness and social isolation are different. A very social person may still feel alone, while an isolated person my feel perfectly content. The impact on health and premature death, however, is the same.

 

Although previous studies have been done on the topic of the health risks of loneliness and isolation, this study suggests that the mortality risks are the same as other risk factors (as previously thought) but also that the risk factors actually are greater than the risk factors associated with obesity.

 

Holt-Lunstad, J, et al.  Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: A meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2015; 10 (2): 227 DOI:10.1177/1745691614568352

Tags:  April 2015  Emotional  Friends  Loneliness  Physical  Social 

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Inspiration: It is All About Vision!

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February is Save Your Vision Month, sponsored by the American Optometric Association at www.aoa.org and Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month, sponsored by Prevent Blindness America at www.preventblindness.org. The following are some quotes to celebrate our physical and mental abilities to “see.”

 Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.     -Jonathan Swift

 Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.     -Mary Ritter Beard

 Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.    -Daniel H. Pink

 Not everyone has been a bully or the victim of bullies, but everyone has seen bullying, and seeing it, has responded to it by joining in or objecting, by laughing or keeping silent, by feeling disgusted or feeling interested.     -Octavia E. Butler

 Learning lessons is a little like reaching maturity. You're not suddenly more happy, wealthy, or powerful, but you understand the world around you better, and you're at peace with yourself. Learning life's lessons is not about making your life perfect, but about seeing life as it was meant to be.    -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 Things that I grew up with stay with me. You start a certain way, and then you spend your whole life trying to find a certain simplicity that you had. It's less about staying in childhood than keeping a certain spirit of seeing things in a different way.    -Tim Burton

 Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can't go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else's success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.    -Kevin Bacon

 Worship is a way of seeing the world in the light of God.    -Abraham Joshua Heschel

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  March 2015  Social  Vision 

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Significant Link Between Cannabis Use and Onset of Mania Symptoms

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

As certain U.S. states move to legalize marijuana, Colorado leading the charge, many wonder about the safety of smoking the plant. After all, advertisers told us for years that smoking tobacco was safe and even promoted it as a weight-loss tool.

Luckily researchers are continuing to do what they do best: question our assumptions and shed light on what is true vs. what is not true.

In this case, researchers from the University of Warwick Medical School, have found evidence to suggest a significant relationship between cannabis use and the onset and increase of mania symptoms. Mania symptoms are associated with bipolar disorders and can include feelings of persistent elation, increased energy, hyperactivity, a reduced need for sleep, anger, aggression, delusions, and hallucinations.

 

The paper, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (February 2015), was a review of scientific literature examining the effect of cannabis use. The paper strove to answer two questions: 1) Does cannabis use lead to increased occurrence of mania symptoms or manic episodes in individuals with pre-existing bipolar disorder?, and 2) does cannabis use increase the risk of onset of mania symptoms in those without pre-existing bipolar disorder?

 

In both cases the answer was not only “yes,” but a significant link between use and mania became evident. According to the authors, cannabis use significantly worsened mania symptoms in people who had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. More research is needed, suggested the authors, to consider specific pathways from cannabis use to mania and how these may be effected by genetic vulnerability and environmental risk factors.

 

"Cannabis is the most prevalent drug used by the under-18s and during this critical period of development services should be especially aware of and responsive to the problems that cannabis use can cause for adolescent populations,” warned the authors.

Gibbs, M. et al. Cannabis use and mania symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2015; 171: 39 DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.09.016

Tags:  Cannabis  Emotional  Mania  March 2015  Mental Health  Physical  Smoking 

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NIH’s Guidelines on Complementary and Integrative Approaches for Quitting Smoking

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has several guidelines and recommendations for individuals who would like to try alternative smoking cessation techniques. Because March is host to Kick Butts Day (March 18) sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco–Free Kids (www.kickbuttsday.org), NIH guidelines were well timed!

According to NIH (https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/smoking), conventional quit-smoking treatments such as counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will kick the habit successfully.

 

But NIH also took the time to address some of the less conventional, complimentary health, approaches to quitting.

  • There is evidence to suggest that mind-body practices can aide individuals who are trying to quit smoking. Examples of these practices include meditation-based therapies, yoga, and guided relaxation to reduce the urge to smoke.
  • Acupuncture and hypnosis, according to NIH, are supported by little evidence of benefit.
  • There is no current evidence that dietary supplements or a certain supplement are effective.
  • Mind-body practices are generally considered safe when performed by healthy people, but individuals should always consult a doctor or complimentary heath practitioner before starting any regimen.
  • Dietary supplements, although labeled “natural,” are not always safe. Some supplements can interact negatively with other medications.
  • For more quitting resources visit www.smokefree.gov

Tags:  Alternative Medicine  Emotional  March 2015  Physical  Smoking  Spiritual 

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