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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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Wellness in 10: Simple Steps to Get Out of Your Rut.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Goals"Most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy.” -- Jim Cathcart

Lingering for too long in a personal or professional "rut” can have a negative impact on your overall wellness. Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, socially, physically, and occupationally, human happiness is in part linked to achievement. (For more on this idea, check out Dr. Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness:www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx).


To help you either get out of a current rut, or to achieve more for yourself in the future, here are a few rules to live by:


  1. Spend time thinking about the future, what you want to achieve, and your desires for your life. These are large, life goals. Goals enable our long-term vision as well as our short-term action.
  2. Once you have a good idea of what you want, write it down. Writing down goals helps to clarify them in your mind and a list of goals serves as a good reminder when distractions occur.
  3. Consider having different types of goals such as personal, professional, financial, educational, artistic, attitude, pleasure, and public service goals. Remember, achievement doesn’t just have to be about you. Serving others has a positive impact on our overall wellness.
  4. Break your large goals down into manageable pieces. So, if you want to get a promotion at work in the next year, a short-term "small” goal would be to look for opportunities to volunteer for new projects and responsibilities…or to set a meeting with your boss for guidance on your career goals.
  5. Express your goals in a positive way. Instead of saying "No more fattening, fried food” think about writing "Find 10 healthy recipes I really enjoy!”
  6. Review your goals. Are they SMART goals?: Specific (or Significant), Measurable (or Meaningful), Attainable (or Action-Oriented), Relevant (or Rewarding), Time-bound (or Trackable). This is the difference between saying, "I want to be thin,” and "I want to lose 30 pounds over the next two years to better my health and be more active with my children.”
  7. Create "To-Do” Lists to keep yourself on track. Daily, weekly, and monthly to-dos will keep you on track. Let’s face it—it is easier to watch a football game than it is to write a business plan for that business you’ve always wanted to start. Having to-do lists reminds us that we can’t always pick the easier choice if we want to get to where we are going.
  8. Prioritize your to-do lists. There are only so many hours in a day. Decide what you most want to achieve each day, week, and month…and make sure your top goal happens. If you have more time, by all means, keep moving forward.
  9. Know: Failure does not exist…only set-backs. You choose to keep moving forward.
  10. Reward yourself. Acknowledge achievements to boost your confidence for your next go!

Tags:  Emotional  Goals  Intellectual  July 2013  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness In 10 

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Feeling Rejected? Why reaching out to others may help.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Hound and ChimpA study released in June 2013 in the peer-reviewed journal Psychoneuroendocrinology shows a link between feelings of rejection and healthy coping mechanisms. In short, if we feel rejected a hormone called oxytocin will help our instinct to reach out to others and in turn, we will feel better.

The hormone was shown to increase a person's trust in others following social rejection. While our first instinct might be to hide in a corner, finding a friend is the healthier choice.

Mark Ellenbogen and Christopher Cardoso, researchers at Concordia's Centre for Research in Human Development, recently studied the hormone and its links to social behavior. Their research shows humans can choose more than the typical fight or flight response…they can also choose to "tend and befriend.” The research is important because it might lead to more options for those who are stressed, depressed, or lack social support. In addition, the research highlights the importance of social networks.

If you’re stressed, depressed, or feeling rejected, don’t go it alone. Science says you’ll feel better.

"Previous studies have shown that natural oxytocin is higher in distressed people, but before this study nobody could say with certainty why that was the case," Cardoso says. "In distressed people, oxytocin may improve one's motivation to reach out to others for support. That idea is cause for a certain degree of excitement, both in the research community and for those who suffer from mood disorders."

Christopher Cardoso, Mark A. Ellenbogen, Lisa Serravalle, Anne-Marie Linnen.Stress-induced negative mood moderates the relation between oxytocin administration and trust: Evidence for the tend-and-befriend response to stress?Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.05.006

Concordia University (2013, June 25). Feeling stressed? Oxytocin could help you reach out to others for support. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2013/06/130625092003.htm

Tags:  Emotional  July 2013  Social 

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Are you Engaged at Work? Why it matters to you and your company.

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013


Are you Engaged at Work? Why it matters to you and your company.

Data released in June 2013 from Gallup suggests companies that address employee engagement may have an easier time thriving…even in tough economic times. The data was part of a 2012 Gallup study using 263 research studies across 192 organizations in 49 industries and 34 countries. The outcomes mirrored those of the seven previous studies done on the subject of employee engagement. Specifically, it confirmed the link between employee engagement and nine performance outcomes:

· customer ratings

· profitability

· productivity

· turnover (for high-turnover and low-turnover organizations)

· safety incidents

· shrinkage (theft)

· absenteeism

· patient safety incidents

· quality (defects)

For employers, Gallup uses the following tested statements to measure employee engagement:

1. I know what is expected of me at work.

2. I have the material and equipment I need to do my work right.

3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.

7. At work, my opinions seem to count.

8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

10. I have a best friend at work.

11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Why is engagement at work good for employees? First, engagement is not happiness specifically. Engagement is not necessarily satisfaction either. Engagement at work is care. An engaged employee will go the extra mile to make sure something is done properly. An engaged employee will stay late when needed, but also might switch jobs if they are not happy or satisfied.

A 2011 study published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science (see link below) points to data that suggests engaged employees are also happier. Specifically, the study suggests engaged employees feel more in control of their situations at work and when they don’t like something, they are more likely to take the steps to fix or address what they don’t like and thus have a better chance of being happier.

Not engaged? Feel your employees could be more engaged? Use the 12 statements above as a guide for change. Employees, talk to your supervisors about achieving these statements. Supervisors, ask your employees how they feel with regards to the above statements. It is a great place to start the conversation.

Bakker, A. (August 2011) An evidence-based model of work engagement. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Retrieved June 24 from: http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/20/4.toc

Gallup. (2013) State of the American workplace. Retrieved on June 24 from: http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx

Tags:  Engagement  July 2013  Occupational  Physical 

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Feeling Flu’ish? Stay Home and ask to get paid!

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Sick DayA new study released last month (June 2013) further supports the already staggering evidence that sick employees should stay home for the good of the entire workplace. Interestingly, the study takes an additional step in the debate and ties the prevalence of workplace sickness and productivity to the availability of paid sick leave. In a nutshell, employers who offer paid sick leave, says the study, will have a healthier and more productive workplace than those that only allow sick leave without pay.

The study was done by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. It concluded that universal access to paid sick days would reduce flu cases in the workplace by nearly six percent and estimated it to be more effective for small, compared to large, workplaces. The results are reported in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

The Centers for Disease Control warn that an infected person can spread the flu virus one day before symptoms are present and up to 5-7 days after the symptoms appear (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm). Many workers, according to the study, are not inclined to miss so much time from work, especially if time off is unpaid. However, the researchers’ simulations showed that allowing all workers access to paid sick days would have the most beneficial reduction in illness occurrences.

The researchers also looked at the impact of sick-specific "flu days,” in which all employees had access to one or two paid days specifically to stay home from work to recover from the flu. Giving employees one flu day resulted in more than a 25 percent decrease in influenza infections due to workplace transmission. A two flu-day policy resulted in a nearly 40 percent decrease. The researchers found that flu days were more effective for larger workplaces, defined as having 500 or more employees.

How to apply this research?

1. Stay home if you are feeling ill.

2. Don’t feel guilty about missing work for the flu, you are actually doing the company and your coworkers a service.

3. If you are in management or a supervisor, encourage the employees you work with the follow this policy.

4. If you have some workers who do not have paid sick leave, consider flu-specific paid leave to keep your company healthy and productive.

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (2013, June 13). Universal paid sick leave reduces spread of flu. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 14, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2013/06/130613161831.htm

Tags:  Flu  July 2013  Occupational  Physical 

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Inspiration: Inspired by Independence Days and Patriotism Everywhere!

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013

Freedom"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits." – Thomas Jefferson

"Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose." – Simone Weil

"On life's journey
Faith is nourishment,
Virtuous deeds are a shelter,
Wisdom is the light by day and
Right mindfulness is the protection by night.
If a man lives a pure life nothing can destroy him;
If he has conquered greed nothing can limit his freedom." – Budda

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." – Albert Einstein

"For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty." - Louis D. Brandeis

"As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery.
We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace.
The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as
anger and attachment, fear and suspicion,
while love and compassion, a sense of universal responsibility
are the sources of peace and happiness." – Dalai Lama

"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." - William Hazlitt

"Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus

"In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Ask not what your country can do for you...but what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” – William Faulkner

"The constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness, you have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

Tags:  Behavior Change  Emotional  Freedom  Inspiration  Intellectual  July 2013 

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Obesity is a Disease. Now what?

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Friday, June 28, 2013
help with obesity

Last month the American Medical Association (AMA) categorized obesity as a disease (http://www.today.com/health/obesity-disease-doctors-group-says-6C10371394). To clarify, they categorized it this way to indicate addressing the issue requires prevention measures and medical treatment.

The AMA’s own Council on Science and Public Health has previously said obesity should not be classified as a disease because the method of determining obesity (Body Mass Index measurements) is flawed and doesn’t give a clear reflection of overall health. To see the full report, click here: http://www.ama-assn.org/assets/meeting/2013a/a13-addendum-refcomm-d.pdf#page=19

Current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics indicate a third of all U.S. adults age 20 and over are obese. That means, according to the new AMA ruling, a third of all U.S. adults has a disease! On the other hand, AMA’s designations have no legal authority, so the designation itself can’t force change…merely suggest and encourage change to take place.

Why the designation is good:

· Physicians will pay more attention to patients who are obese or may become obese.

· Insurers may look at what they cover in terms of obesity-related treatments.

· Drugs to treat obesity have not been well-reimbursed in the past, according to a June 18, 2013, New York Times ("AMA Recognizes Obesity as a Disease”) article. So, if the designation pushes insurers to reimburse these drugs, and drug companies can sell more, the incentive for drug companies to do more obesity treatment research grows. In short, there could be more or better products on the market to treat obesity in the future.

· The IRS allows tax deductions for approved medical expenses (such as treatments for disease). In other words, managing obesity could be tax-deductible.

· The designation could remove barriers to bariatric surgery and insurance coverage.

· A common treatment for losing weight is to eat less. Unfortunately, the patterns that cause individuals to weigh more change the body chemistry in a way that makes the body think it is starving if an individual eats less. A "starving” body will not metabolize calories properly. This complex issue is a great argument for medically supervised dieting.

Why the designation has issues:

· Obesity is already classified as a disability under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). A review of articles on the new designation reported fear among doctors that classifying obesity as a disease would create a reason for people who need to address their weight issues to ignore them…simply accepting that they have a "disease.” In short, some doctors fear the designation will act as an excuse in the face of personal responsibility.

· As stated above, there might be issues with the BMI scale used to determine obesity.

· Many in the debate feel obesity is a risk factor for diseases like diabetes or heart ailments, rather than a disease itself. They predict more runaway medical costs if overweight people now turn to surgery and drugs rather than to diet and exercise.

What should you do? Don’t wait for your doctor to bring up your weight…and don’t ignore an issue that can lead to additional life-threatening complications. Managing weight can be a long journey, but you need to take the first step.

The following website (nutrition.gov) has great resources to help you start your weight loss journey: http://www.nutrition.gov/weight-management

Additional resources and resources mentioned in this article:

CDC Obesity Statistics: www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db82.pdf

For an amusing take on the designation, with some great points, check out this Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/06/20/good-news-ama-declares-obesity-a-disease/

June 18, 2013, New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/business/ama-recognizes-obesity-as-a-disease.html?_r=0

Tags:  July 2013  Nutrition  Obesity  Physical 

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