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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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Well Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moderation this HolidayThere is a Christmas list circulating and the writer (a little girl) has asked for a string of very expensive items. This early installment of the January 2014 Wellness News You Can Use proposes some alternative ways to celebrate the holiday season that focus on spiritual, social, intellectual, physical, and emotional wellness.

Remember those less fortunate. From coat drives to giving trees, from soup kitchens to elderly neighbors…is there someone who could use your help this season?

Create, don’t buy. Ever watched children open gifts to the point of exhaustion? These instances make us question the point and spirit of the holiday season. Instead of buying this year, what if everyone had to make gifts or donate services/chores? From cookies to hats, memory albums to poems, and from cleaning bathrooms to shoveling…there is something we can all create that has value.

Donate. With all of the money you and your friends and family saved creating and giving personal services…there might be a little money left over. Is there a charity that might benefit during this season?

Focus on activities together, not gifts. Caroling, baking and cooking, sledding, board games and puzzles, ice-skating (surfing for those in warm climates); Make the holidays about enjoying friends and family. You may just start a new beloved tradition.

Moderation. Often times during the holidays we forget about moderation. It is a celebration after all, right?! But between less sleep, more food, more drink, and lots of presents, it is easy to lose ourselves, our goals, and our sanity. Have fun…but remember your roots. Your body and psyche will thank you.

Make time for the spirit. No matter your spiritual bent or religion, the end of a year and beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect, pray, give thanks, and center yourself.

Remember how things have changed. This letter was from 1938. The Adirondack Almanac published it in December of 2010 to remind us how simple things once were:

Dear Santa,
I would like a new pair of shoes for Christmas. -

Tags:  Emotional  Holidays  Intellectual  January 2014  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness 

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Quotes for the New Year

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

Follow the Yelloe Brick RoadThis is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.

- Taylor Swift


And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.

- Rainer Maria Rilke


No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!

- C. JoyBell C.


Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

- L. Frank Baum


Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

- Carl Bard


Now I've gone for too long
Living like I'm not alive
So I'm going to start over tonight
Beginning with you and I

- Hayley Williams


Even seasonal situations can bring with them lessons that last a lifetime. If the love doesn’t last, it prepares you for the one that will.

- Mandy Hale

Surrender...sacrificing my life or suffering in order to change what needs to be changed.

- Rick Warren


It took me a very long time to accept that an ending was really just a new beginning.

- Charlene May


I read about history I don't repeat it.

- nechantenique

Tags:  Behavior Change  Inspiration  January 2014  New Beginnings 

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Wellness In 10: New Year's Resolutions Better Than Losing Weight

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

Small StepsAt one time or another many people have wanted to lose weight. Some even go so far as to dump that one wish on a hopeful January 1st (or very late December 31!). If resolutions were all it took to accomplish what we wanted, we would make resolutions every day. As it is, most of us be-grudge the annual time of year when we are supposed to vow to do better, knowing that accomplishing those lofty goals are easier said than done.

What we know from years of study is that smaller goals are often easier to accomplish than large lofty goals, so here are 10 goals that are better than "I want to lose weight.” Just pick one. If you "master” it, add another one.

1. I will eat a high protein, low-fat breakfast.

2. I will not have a second helping (at least on weekdays).

3. I will try one new healthy recipe each week. (allrecipes.com has a great selection)

4. I will make sure each meal includes a green vegetable.

5. I will drink water throughout the day.

6. I will replace a half hour of TV time with movement (The TV can still be on!).

7. For those who sit at desks = I will get up and move around at least once an hour.

8. I will learn about strength training and how to do it safely. Here’s a great site: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/02/28/strength-training-101/

9. I will reward myself when I accomplish little goals.

10. I will look for at least five opportunities each week to move more.

Tags:  Intellectual  January 2014  New Beginnings  Physical  Weight Loss  Wellness In 10 

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14 Tricks for Motivation for 2014!

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013
  1. DisciplineFocus on one specific goal.
  2. Get excited about that goal.
  3. Start small.
  4. Build on little successes.
  5. Focus on the benefits, not the difficulties.
  6. Recognize why you don’t feel motivated:
    a. You don’t really want it.
    b. You lack some resource to get it (so how do you get that resource?)
    c. The cost of getting that resource is too high.
    d. Habit.
  7. Focus on getting disciplined instead of motivated.
  8. Allow only so many excuses a day.
  9. Create new routines.
  10. Don’t think, just do. Put your shoes on and walk outside…don’t think about if you want to go for a walk. Just go through the motions to get there. See, now wasn’t that easy?
  11. Set a reward if you accomplish your goal. Vegetables at every meal this week, check. Great, you have earned yourself a bottle of nail poilsih or a new fishing lure. Bigger accomplishments, bigger reward.
  12. Anticipate bumps. Motivation ebbs and flows, that’s natural. Staying on course after a "bump” is the secret.
  13. Incorporate learning something new. It could inspire you!
  14. Have support systems. Make sure you surround yourself with individuals that want you to succeed.






Tags:  Discipline  Emotional  Goals  Intellectual  January 2014  Motivation  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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Smoking Changes Human Genes

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

GenesA December 2013 journal article in Human Molecular Genetics describes how smoking alters several genes that can be associated with health problems for smokers, such as increased risk for cancer and diabetes.

The original research was done by faculty from Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center in Sweden.

While we know that smoking is bad for many of the systems in our body, this new research points to an underlying change in the way we as humans are composed at a basic level.

Nature or Nurture: Humans inherit genes from their parents at birth. But, we can change those genes with chemicals that alter DNA (think steroids). While certain changes in human DNA are caused by normal chemical processes (such as aging), environmental and lifestyle choices can also impact our DNA.

Through their study, the researchers identified large numbers of genes altered by smoking. According to the researchers, this means that the gene changes are not likely caused by the tobacco itself, but by the elements produced when the tobacco is burned.

Why does it matter? Smokers are not only at risk for the diseases associated with inhaling/ingesting tobacco products, they are also altering their genes in a way that puts them at a higher risk to actually contract the diseases associated with smoking. Essentially, it is a double whammy.

Welisane Besingi and Åsa Johansson.Smoke related DNA methylation changes in the etiology of human diseas. Human Molecular Genetics, December 2013

Tags:  Intellectual  January 2014  Physical  Quitting Smoking 

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Meditation: A Needed Gift After the Holiday Rush

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

MeditationGo, go, go! Slowing down seems like the last thing you want to do when you have so many things on your plate, but it may be the best answer. Sometimes you have to move slow to move fast. Or remember the old saying, measure twice, cut once? Meditation allows us to measure (or take stock of and collect) ourselves and our surroundings before we act.

The following are some great reasons to meditate:

Meditation counters the brain’s natural negative bias. The negative bias isn’t bad; it is an evolutionary tool that allows us to avoid danger and bad situations. For some folks, it can be in over-drive. Meditation as a tool can help individuals to counter this natural bias and focus on what is good and positive. And in doing so, it reduces our stress levels. Here’s the research: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118731/?tool=pubmed published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal in 2011.

Meditation practice also leads to decreased blood pressure and hypertension, lowered cholesterol levels, more efficient oxygen use by the body, increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA, improved immune function, and decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Meditation enhances concentration, memory, and the ability to learn. Here’s the research: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/ published by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2011. The research showed that after only eight weeks of meditation, participants experienced benefits associated with memory, learning, empathy, self-awareness, and stress regulation. In addition, the meditators reported decreased feelings of anxiety and greater feelings of calm.

Meditation helps to create better relationships through its ability to allow individuals to focus on what is "present” (in front of them such as their partner, friend, or family member) rather than focusing on unrelated worries or concerns. See the research from Harvard above.

Meditation improves creativity and problem-solving skills. Ever been stuck in a thought rut where you can’t let go of something? Ever have so much on your mind that you can’t think? Meditation helps individuals to slow down and focus on specific thoughts, goals, or feelings. See the Harvard research above.

Meditation decreases depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Without being too technical: Tthe process of slowing down our brains triggers the release of neurotransmitters (Chemicals including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins) that are linked to happiness, calm, pleasure, and exhilaration. For more on this effect visit http://www.chopra.com/ccl/why-meditate#sthash.xlpVBzU9.dpuf.

Tags:  Emotional  Intellectual  January 2014  Meditation  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Stress  Wellness 

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