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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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5 Easy Ways to Offer Random Acts of Kindness

Posted By NWI, Saturday, February 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014

KindnessIn Honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 10 – 16 (For more information contact Random Acts of Kindness Foundation,www.randomactsofkindness.org) we offer you a few simple ideas about spreading kindness and joy. Joy, happiness, social interactions and emotional support are all related to our overall wellness. Joy and happiness can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and make us more resilient.

  1. Buy a stranger coffee (or other small items). The internet is strewn with stories of strangers paying extra to cover the person behind them in line. It is a small, unexpected, inexpensive act that brings joy to a stranger.
  2. Take the time to notice what’s around you and compliment someone. It could be someone you know or even a stranger. Kind words can lift the spirit.
  3. If you live in a cold climate, there might be a person who has trouble clearing their sidewalk. They could older or taking care of children or just at work all day. What a nice surprise to come home to a clean walk. If you have co-workers and leave the office first, you may even clean a few windshields.
  4. Leave a small secret gift or note. Is there a team or person at work who is burning the candle at both ends? Lift their spirits by leaving a small gift in their in-box. It doesn't have to be big…from a pack of gum to a muffin…something unexpected might brighten an otherwise stressful day.
  5. Offer help. If you see someone struggling, maybe a parent at the airport with kids, luggage and a stroller that doesn't want to collapse, maybe a shorter person trying to get something off a high shelf at the grocery, maybe someone coming in the door behind you--offer help, hold the door, smile, spread joy!

The news is full of those who are not spreading kindness or joy. Maybe if we all tried to spread joy, just once a day, we could reverse that trend.

 

Tags:  Emotional  February 2014  Kindness  Social  Spiritual 

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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. -
Ruth

Tags:  Emotional  Holidays  Intellectual  January 2014  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness 

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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.

http://impossiblehq.com/get-disciplined-not-motivated

http://zenhabits.net/get-off-your-butt-16-ways-to-get-motivated-when-youre-in-a-slump/

http://www.forbes.com/

http://www.askmen.com/money/body_and_mind_150/170_better_living.html

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/inspiration-motivation/secrets-of-motivated-people-00000000026714/page3.html

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

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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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Inspiration: New Beginnings and Passing On

Posted By NWI, Sunday, December 1, 2013
Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2013

to life!This month’s quotes are dedicated to the end of a year and new beginnings. Because the cycle of life is inevitable and all of us will have to one day deal with losing a loved one (if we haven’t already), sometimes our outlook on loss can be our saving grace (our own gem of wellness). The following quotes remind us to celebrate those who pass and to cherish life.

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
Mother Teresa

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.
Pope Paul VI

Get busy living, or get busy dying.
Stephen King

Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.
Helen Keller

Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.
David Gerrold

I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand.
Benjamin Franklin

You can change your world by changing your words... Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Joel Osteen

As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.
Leonardo Da Vinci

There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.
The Talmud

If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master.
Michelangelo

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.
Native American Proverb

Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.
Sachs

Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.
David Searls

A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.
Maya Angelou

That we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.
Helen Keller

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
George S. Patton, Jr.

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.
Bernice Johnson Reagon

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.
Rabindranath Tagore

In one sense there is no death. The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond departure. You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you. He lives on in your life and in the lives of all others that knew him.
Angelo Patri



Tags:  Comfort  Death  December 2013  Emotional  Intellectual  Physical  Spiritual 

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Inspiration: Malala Yousafzai

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This month’s inspiration is brought to us by Malala Yousafzai. She is the school girl/woman who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for wanting an education, and survived. She has just written a book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, and faces additional threats for sharing her story.

She reminds us to never stop fighting for what we believe in, that adversity is not a reason to stop trying, and that anything is possible. She is a beacon of emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, occupational, and physical wellness. While her actions are heroic on a grand scale, her message is simple: be brave, learn, love, care, help, forgive, and change.

We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced. – From her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. – From her keynote speech to the United Nations, July 12, 2013.

I raise up my voice—not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.

I don't want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban.

I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.

One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, "If he comes, what would you do Malala?” then I would reply to myself, "Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.” But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.” Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that "I even want education for your children as well.” And I will tell him,” That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”

Tags:  Education  Emotional  Intellectual  November 2013  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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Wading Through Health Information

Posted By NWI, Monday, September 30, 2013

When I Get SadWe’ve all been there…

One day you should eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away, the next day avocados are actually better at keeping the doctor away…and by the way…apples, if unwashed, often have harmful pesticides that can harm our health.

What’s a person to do? To what information should we pay attention and what information should we ignore. Unless you have a team of research scientists, nutritionists, and doctors on staff (I know, me neither), deciding what is wrong or right, good or bad, can get pretty tricky.

Don’t fret; some great advice is still out there. The following recommendations provide an overview of numerous Wellness News You Can Use articles from the last five years.

  1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Oh yeah, and wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  2. Stay away from processed foods in general. Crackers, candy, chips, sweets…these are items that should be consumed in moderation.
  3. Focus on getting healthy and strong…skinny shouldn’t be the goal. If you are healthy, you are good.
  4. Move. You don’t have to run a marathon…but try not to be idle for more than a half hour at a time. Those long hours in front of screens are making us less healthy and less strong.
  5. Lift weights. No, you don’t have to make loud grunting sounds and oil your skin…but lifting weights so you feel the "burn” after 10-12 reps will help your bone strength and metabolism, and help to prevent future falls. Here’s a great beginner routine to get you started: http://www.livestrong.com/article/456457-free-weights-routine-for-beginners/
  6. Sleep. Your sleep is more important than the end to that TV program. Besides, that’s why they make DVRs.
  7. Give back. Volunteer. Here’s the thing…you can eat all of the fruits and vegetables you want, but at the end of the day, if you have no purpose, it is going to be hard to be happy. Happy is a part of healthy.
  8. Learn something new. We are dynamic creatures. To feel fully alive, we need intellectual stimulation. It doesn’t have to be learning to speak Mandarin Chinese; start with something small that you enjoy…maybe learn a new recipe (for the good food listed above!).
  9. Realize that you are the sum of your choices. Take all of the "have tos” and start thinking in terms of "I choose.” Take power of your own life…being a victim, especially a self-anointed victim is a hard way to live.
  10. You don’t have to do everything at once. Try one piece of advice each week. Little by little, the wellness lifestyle will begin to stick.

 

Tags:  Emotional  Health Information  Intellectual  Occupational  October 2013  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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Inspiration: Quotes for Comfort

Posted By NWI, Monday, September 30, 2013

ComfortThis month’s quotes are inspired by the season that inspires comfort: Fall. From comfort food to holidays enriched by family and friends, let’s take a collective deep breath and think about comfort.

In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.
Aristotle

Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
Hippocrates

Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.
Humphry Davy

When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always get worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.
Malcolm Forbes

Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.
William Shakespeare

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen

If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.
Bill Cosby

I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion. I don't find thin girls attractive; be happy and healthy. I've never had a problem with the way I look. I'd rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym.
Adele

We're constantly striving for success, fame and comfort when all we really need to be happy is someone or some thing to be enthusiastic about.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Tags:  Comfort  Inspiration  Intellectual  October 2013  Social  Spiritual 

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Wellness in 10: Ten Sites with Great Health and Wellness Quizzes and Calculators

Posted By NWI, Sunday, September 1, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Health CalculatorThe information provided here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you. Some treatments mentioned may not be covered by your health plan. Please refer to your benefit plan documents for information about coverage.

  1. Healthstatus.com: HealthStatus.com, Inc. was formed in 1998 and is a privately held company located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Using the algorithms from the Healthier People project of the Carter Center of Emory University, an Internet-based health risk assessment was created, along with several calculators to take a quick snapshot of a person's health. http://www.healthstatus.com/calculators.html
  2. Healthcentral.com: From cholesterol to stress, this site might have the calculator you are looking for. http://www.healthcentral.com/tools/408/index.html
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH): MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's website for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in simple-to-understand terms. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/videosandcooltools.html
  4. University of Maryland Medical System health calculators: http://www.healthcalculators.org/
  5. MyOptumHealth.com: A for-profit company that works with physicians, hospitals, employers, insurers, government entities and individuals to improve health. From breast cancer assessment quizzes to exercise trackers, this site has many resources. https://client.myoptumhealth.com/myoptumhealth#prelogin.learn.learnLanding
  6. RealAge.com: If you want to know, based on your habits and your physical attributes, your "true” estimated age, this site is a great place to start. http://www.realage.com/
  7. American Association of Retired People (AARP): If you are looking for quizzes and calculators that speak to your mature age group, this site has done a great job of collecting valuable resources, calculators, and quizzes. From finding your coverage gaps in Medicare Part D to Drug Savings calculators, the American Association of Retired People has you covered. http://www.aarp.org/health/health_tools/
  8. Sheppardssoftware.com: For a child or just someone who wants more fun in their health quest, this site has interactive games as well as quizzes to improve your overall understanding of health. http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/health.htm 
  9. MedIndia.com: Just proving that all of the answers are not U.S.-based, MedIndia.com hosts ADHD calculators, diabetes tools, and a variety of other heath topics as resources. The current version of the site was launched in March 2000 and is supported by a team of doctors, editors, writers, programmers, and designers. http://www.medindia.net/patients/calculators/adhd-test-calculator.asp
  10. Wakehealth.edu: This site, hosted by Wake Forest Medical School, has many research-based tools to help you in your journey to understanding your overall health. http://www.wakehealth.edu/healthCalculators/

Bonus Round

Wellsteps.com: This for-profit site has a few free tools you can use to assess the wellness needs and financial implications of offering wellness at your company or in your community. https://www.wellsteps.com/roi/resources_tools_roi_cal_health.php

Tags:  Emotional  Health Calculators  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  September 2013  Social  Spiritual  Wellness In 10 

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Inspiration: Quotes to fuel your “get-up-and-go!”

Posted By NWI, Thursday, August 1, 2013

MudderThis month’s quotes where collected from Pinterest.com…a great resource for finding spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational and physical inspiration.

The picture, a Tough Mudder athlete (toughmudder.com), proves that if you really want to do something, you find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse. The Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. This race has earned more than $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.

Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.

Difficult doesn’t mean impossible. It simply means you have to work hard.

Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, TRY.

You can’t be both awesome and negative. Choose one.

Don’t find fault. Find remedy.

These and other inspirational quotes and saying can be found on Pinterest.com.

Tags:  August 2013  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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