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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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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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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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Mindfulness: The Next “Big Thing” for a Restful Sleep

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

Published last month (February 2015) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a new study shows mindfulness meditation practices have a significant ability to aide sleep.

Mindfulness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” In the case of sleep, an individual might work on being aware of all of the sensations in their body as they are lying in bed. They might consciously work to notice their breathing, the rise and fall of their chest, the feeling of the skin against the bedding, muscles relaxing and so forth. As their mind begins to wander, the practice of mindfulness is to bring the mind back to all of the immediate feelings associated with resting and being present in the restful moment.

According to this most recent study, mindfulness practice helped older adults who had moderate sleep difficulties. According to the study’s authors, sleep disturbances are a medical and public health concern with 50 percent of individuals 55 years and older experiencing some sort of sleep problem. These disturbances are tied to fatigue, disturbed mood, depression, and a decreased quality of life.

The study compared individuals who practiced mindfulness with a group that practiced sleep hygiene techniques (going to bed at a set time, avoiding stimulants after a certain hour, using the bed only for sleep and not watching T.V., etc). The mindfulness group showed greater improvement compared to those in the sleep hygiene group. In addition, the mindfulness group showed less of the associated symptoms of insomnia, depression, and fatigue symptoms.

 For more resources on mindfulness visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoLQ3qkh0w0

For more information on sleep Awareness visit: National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.

 Black, D.S. Mindfulness meditation appears to help improve sleep quality. Retrieved February 16 from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/tjnj-mma021215.php

Tags:  Emotional  March 2015  Mindfulness  Physical  Sleep  Spiritual 

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Inspiration: Quotes to inspire gentle interactions with those around us

Posted By NWI, Monday, February 2, 2015
Updated: Thursday, January 22, 2015

It is not for me to judge another man's life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone. ― Hermann Hesse,  Siddhartha

 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [Matthew 7:1-2] 

  You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.― Shannon L. Alder

 Even god doesn't propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I? ― Dale Carnegie

 When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself. ― Earl Nightingale

 When we make judgments we're inevitably acting on limited knowledge, isn't it best to ask if we seek to understand, or simply let them be? ― Jay Woodman

 All of us sport an invisible sign around our necks -- “AS IS.” It means, take me as I am. I may not become what you want me to be. And I’m far, far from perfect. But I have some great qualities, too, as well as my share of faults. You will have to take me “AS IS” and I’ll take you that way, too.  ― Steve Goodier

 In letting God sit in judgment they judge themselves; in glorifying God they glorify themselves. ― Friedrich Nietzsche,  The Anti-Christ

 As your consciousness, refinement and pureness of heart expands you will become less judgmental, less corrective, less reactive, less black-and-white, less critical, less apt to blame and less tormented by others and their faults and views. ― Bryant McGill,  Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

The sad reality is, it's not just the people I go to school with that are doing it. It's their parents too. Their noses are all turned up at me, like because of my diagnosis; I'm an alien to them. I'm not like their son or daughter so that means I'm not worthy of respect. ― Melyssa Winchester,  Count On Me

 The more judgmental a person is the sadder they are. ― David W. Earle

Tags:  Emotional  February 2015  Inspiration  Kindness  Social  Spiritual 

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December Inspiration: Quotes to Help Us Overcome Adversity

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

There is no education like adversity.
-Benjamin Disraeli 

In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends. 
-John Churton Collins

Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.
-Ralph Blum

It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.
-Isaac Asimov

All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune.
-Henry David Thoreau

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.
-Jonathan Kozol

All sunshine makes the desert.
-Arabian Proverb

Adversity is the mother of progress.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Success in the affairs of life often serves to hide one's abilities, whereas adversity frequently gives one an opportunity to discover them.

Times of great calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.
-Charles Caleb Colton

Obstacles are great incentives.
-Jules Michelet

In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.
-Albert Careb

There can be no rainbow without a cloud and a storm.
-J. H. Vincent

Look up and not down; look forward and not back; look out and not in; and lend a hand. 
-E. E. Hale

What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first steps to something better.

Tags:  Adversity  December 2014  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Spiritual 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways To Be Well in December

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

 1.       Pick a designated driver. The holiday season is full of parties and get-togethers, many of which involve alcohol. Make sure the good times stay good by picking a designated driver to stay sober before you go out.

2.       Wash your hands often. Sure, it is always important to practice good hygiene, but this is a great time of year to be extra vigilant about hand washing. We travel more during the holidays which means coming in contact with more people from more places (possibly more germs!). Plus, it is influenza season and no one wants the flu to get in the way of the festivities.

3.       Get a flu shot. With all we know about the flu shot, this writer is still amazed that individuals can justify not getting one. I have heard everything from, “Can’t they make you sick?” to, “I’ve never gotten one.” Well, I’m not a disease specialist, but the CDC has some of those on its staff. Here’s what they say: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

4.       For your financial wellness, make a budget before the holiday season. Individuals' pocket books can be stretched pretty thin with all of the new and flashy things to buy. Help your long-term financial goals by making a budget for gift-giving, entertaining, host gifts, etc. before the holiday season so your December bank statement won’t be such a shock.

5.       Practice balance. Eat a piece of pie. Have some sweet potatoes. Have a glass of wine if that’s your taste…just remember, the 10th bite and the 10th sip taste just like the first one. Practice moderation in your consumption. You won’t regret it.

6.       Exercise. In many regions, holiday get-togethers are inside events. Many times we get stagnant as we spend time visiting with friends and family. A little exercise before, during, and/or after get-togethers (family walk after a big meal?) can benefit both your waistline and your mental state. Exercise allows us to refresh our minds as well as our muscles.

7.       For social wellness, practice listening. Many of us get the chance to be around family and friends during the holidays that we are not normally around. This is a great time to learn from others and catch up on the lives of those we care about. If you have a senior relative, write down or record their stories. Those gems are priceless.

8.       Give. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and endless to-do lists, it might be easy to forget how many people go without. Some families do charity exchanges instead of gift exchanges. Some volunteer in soup kitchens for a day. There are many ways you can brighten the life of a stranger during the holiday season. You might find that in doing so, you've given a gift to your own spirit.

9.       Forgive and forget. The holidays are a great time to let go of grudges. While my family has always gotten along fairly well, I have friends who have holiday horror stories about this aunt or that cousin. If you can muster up a little forgiveness, the cheer of the holiday season is willing to do its part.

10.   Rest. Many people take vacation around the holidays, but don’t actually rest. Let’s face it, we all need to re-charge. Try to sleep in, or go to bed early at least a few days. Turn off electronic devices (and not just while flying). Give yourself permission to not think, not attend to, not react…if even for just an hour.


Tags:  December 2014  Emotional  Holidays  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness in 10 

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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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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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Wellness in 10: 10 facts about wellness coaches

Posted By NWI, Friday, August 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

Health coaching is growing in popularity, however, not all people understand what health coaches do. Below are 10 facts about health coaches to help you determine if seeing this type of professional might be beneficial to you.

  1. A Health and Wellness Coach is a guide, mentor, and aide who helps a client take responsibility for his or her own health.
  2. A Health and Wellness Coach encourages personal responsibility.
  3. A Health and Wellness Coach should be seen as a source of support on your wellness journey.
  4. Health and Wellness Coaches may help a client to focus on weight management, food cravings, sleep, energy, stress management, smoking cessation, diabetes management, among other health empowerment areas. 
  5. A Health and Wellness Coach does not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness changes in a client’s life; rather, he/she guides and supports the client as they progress towards personal wellness goals.
  6. Health and Wellness Coaches tend to focus on behavioral choices along with the basic understanding of dietary patterns and overall health.
  7. Many Health and Wellness Coaches use a strengths-based approach: instead of aiming to correct what is not working for you, they work to build what is working well for you from a wellness standpoint.
  8. Health and Wellness coaches are not (unless they hold another degree) therapists, personal trainers, dietitians, nurses, etc. They are trained to aide you as you work to make positive health and wellness decisions.
  9. If you are looking for a Health and Wellness Coach, first start by checking with your employer. Many workplaces now offer this service as part of a health plan. Health and Wellness Coaches might also be found by contacting your local fitness facility, medical center, or through an online search.
  10. Because there are limited degrees specific to wellness coaching (this degree program is growing, but is still limited), individuals may want to make sure their wellness health coach has a background or degree in the specific area with which they need help (such as nutrition). 

For more information on health and wellness coaching visit: The International Coaching Federation at http://www.coachfederation.org/need/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=978&navItemNumber=567

Tags:  August 2014  Emotional  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness In 10 

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