A Few Pointers on Supporting Your Transgender Employees!

Transgender discrimination in the workplace is a significant problem. In fact, approximately 90 percent of transgender employees report experiencing some type of harassment in the workplace. Almost 20 percent of gay and transgender employees report that they were passed over on a promotion or were fired because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.[i]  Over 60 percent of transgender employees make less than $25,000 annually.[ii] Shockingly, it is still legal in 32 states to terminate or deny employment to an employee based on their gender identity.[iii] About 40 percent of transgender employees are underemployed.[iv]

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are still a number of employer-sponsored health plans which do not cover gender reassignment surgery. The average cost of a gender reassignment procedure is $16,000. Additionally, if the employer does not allow the employee to utilize leave for treatments leading up to and including gender reassignment surgery, there is an even more significant cost to the transgender employee.

What can you, as the employer do to support a work environment that is open and inclusive to all persons, including transgender candidates and employees?

  • Champion support for an inclusive and diverse work environment at all levels of the organization with the loudest voices at the top!
  • Offer non-discriminatory health plans! Work with your plans to ensure that you have removed exclusions for gender reassignment transition and hormone therapy.
  • Be sure to include gender identity in your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Consider zero-tolerance policies.
  • Treat transgender employee(s) as an individual, offer them the opportunity to lead their transitional process with the organization including; communicating their name, pronouns, how they want to inform their colleagues, their timelines, and how they best want to be supported.
  • Include gender identity awareness in your trainings whenever possible; consider your diversity, respectful workplace, and civility trainings as starting places.
  • Incorporate gender identity and transition into your leave policies. Transitioning can be a lengthy process. Keep the dialogues going with your transgender employees. Offer time off and discuss support needs along the way.
  • Support looks different to everyone! It might be handy to put together a supportive tool-kit for employees intending to transition. This toolkit may provide explanations about benefits for transgender employees such as health insurance, leave, and employee assistance programs. The toolkit may also include information about how to talk to managers and colleagues about the transition, restroom information, and a contact person to support them as well as their team. Your employee may or may not use the tool kit but if the resources are there, then they will be able to utilize them if needed.
  • Consult with your Employee Assistance Program with any questions and support around transitioning employees, policies, language and resources. Support and help is available.
  • Utilize education and support to work through any personal concerns you may have regarding supporting transitioning employees. Supporting al lemployees equally is a legal responsibility.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Dani Kimlinger, Ph.D., MHA, SPHR, SHRM- SCP and Patrick Hiester, LPC

The MINES Team

 

[i] Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. Data Demonstrate Need for Federal Law. By Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely. June 2, 2011

[ii] 37 Shocking LGBT Discrimination Statistics. Brandon Gaille. January 14, 2015.

[iii] The Transgender Community by the Numbers. Marie Claire. Kenny Thapoung

[iv] Transgender Workers at Greater Risk For Unemployment and Poverty. Human Rights Campaign. September 6, 2013

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HEALTH INSITE: #POKEMONGO AND HEALTH

Intro

I know there are a TON of articles and posts that have surfaced in these 6 days since PokemonGO was released in the United States. The sheer volume of discussion around this just-short-of-a-phenomenon app is certainly surprising in many ways, though another very popular app that just recently was eclipsed in downloads, Tinder, also got a ton of press at the beginning – mostly for the questionable intentions of its users. In this case, you might be able to make a case for the questionable intent of the creators, but I’ll stay away from either of those as the crux of this post and use it as a jumping off point for what I see as valuable technology for the future of health intervention.

What is PokemonGO

pokemongo3

From NianticLabs.com

Loosely based on “Ingress,” PokemonGO is a marriage between Google spin-off Niantic and Nintendo’s Pokemon company. Both companies have, on their own, somewhat of a cult following at this point. While the platform that enabled Pokemon to flourish, Nintendo, has wider reception, both at this point, are not particularly popular on their own. I was actually never a big fan of either. There may have been Pokemon Pogs when I was growing up, but aside from that, I’m not intimately familiar with either. But this combination of geolocation technology and fantasy are not new at all. In fact, if you check out ARGNet, you will find a number of times when games have moved beyond their stated fantasy world and brought them into the real world. Even Cards Against Humanity’s 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit involved very real things IRL (In Real Life) that helped to solve a massive puzzle by contributing members.

But why is it so dang popular!?!

Simply put: it’s fun to play. In Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken and in her TED talk Gaming can make a better world, she covers why gaming can be so much fun and how it can be used for more than just checking out from reality. For those that don’t know what makes a game, there are 4 rules for game-making:

  1. It has to be fun
  2. There are rules
  3. There has to be feedback
  4. It has to be voluntary

And PokemonGO handles these splendidly. If you are able to suspend seriousness and simply play the game, you get the cute characters of Pokemon as if they are in your own world. And then you have to interact with them. There are rules and while you don’t necessarily know them as a newbie, you pick them up rather quickly because there is a lot of feedback as you fail. And voluntary? At over 50Mb to download, significant battery management, dedication of time to the task, and a VERY serious draw on device memory, you’re making a conscious decision to volunteer your time to the goal “gotta catch ’em all.”

How does it work?

Relying on Niantic’s successful incorporation of layering fantasy graphics on Google’s mapping technology, your movement within the real world is translated to the world of PokemonGO. With real world locations acting as stops, real world walking moving you toward Pokemon, and real world feedback as you navigate around obstacles to find these critters, the technology is immersive while being a bit of a “screen suck.” You swipe and click the screen throughout the game to engage different activities (preferably once you’ve stopped moving!) and try to level up through the game.

A word on design

Despite the fact that there are no real instructions on how to use the game, it is incredibly easy to use and intuit as to the next thing you need to do in the game. In the case that you get jammed up, you can always talk to a friend about what they have experienced. And that conversation results in extended conversations about what you’ve seen, done, and enjoyed; even sharing what your highs and lows have been.

Laying the fantasy world on top of the real world allows for the interaction between real and false worlds to transcend the experience of the individual. While it is not necessarily a new technology, it certainly hasn’t been used to this level across a population of people. Look no further than the people walking around parks to see how pervasive this game has become.

Security

Besides the clear security issues that one might expect with an app that logs one’s location, we’ve seen articles that highlight a number of, sometimes false, security concerns that may or not may reveal private details about someone. For example, Instagram’s geotagging feature might reveal that the user is nowhere near home; meanwhile, there have been users that have been vandalized by their Uber driver because they were recently driven to the airport.

While there is only one clear security issue derived by the PokemonGO app, other than the iOS opening that created access to Niantic for the complete control of the users’ Google account (which was quickly remedied within the first five days of operation) PokemonGO does not have the hallmarks of issues, inherent to the app, that many others have had. The one condition to this that I would offer is the use of Lures at Pokestops, which allow for control over the fantasy world for other players as well. This is intended to allow you to attract Pokemon and potentially meet other people, but as you can imagine, that might cause a problem if someone wanted to maliciously use that tech to lure users more than Pokemon. You can’t see other users. You can’t lure those users (unless it’s discovered that incense works beyond the user – which, as of yet, it hasn’t). And until you can hack the database, which, as far as I, know never happened with Niantic, the users are relatively safe.

Health hazard or opportunity

So what are the real opportunities or hazards for this app. Truth is that we’ll likely see more and more stories about the extreme situations like a robbing in O’Fallon, IL that used the technology to target individuals (disproved in this case but could have been a Lure) and a young woman finding a dead body near a stream near her home. But truth is that this has created an engaged population, regardless of age, that is regularly walking through areas that they don’t regularly. And is that bad? We live in a country that is SO LARGE that we don’t inhabit more than 90% of the mass, and yet we have SO many opportunities for exploration for a nation of explorers.

Maybe it is. There are maybe some places that we don’t go and that’s okay. But for the large majority of people playing this game, it seems that it runs through the normal course of daily activity, or just slightly more.

What can it potentially do?

Gamification

Without going too deep into what the values of using gamification are here (feel free to read more here), it is certainly becoming more commonplace to bring this theory into regular technology for deeper interaction with users. The reason that gamification can be such a powerful tool in the capture of behavior change is that it seemingly separates the activity’s goal from the activity’s work by creating an intervening level of excitement with the user. This is done by initiating what is known in psychology as Flow.

figure1

From Gamasutra.com, link below

Flow is the state where the skill meets the difficulty that the user is presented with in a maximally optimal position to engage.

Augmented Reality

One of the best arguments for, and against, augmented reality that I’ve seen is nicely packaged in the form of this short film:

While there are many opportunities that augmented reality potentially brings to the table with regard to the mundane (paying your tab at a restaurant, preparing food, even exercising like PokemonGO has been credited with) there are also potential dangers to these augmentations. With regard to PokemonGO in its current version there’s certainly no actual human interface except through the handheld device. While it can influence behavior by incenting the user to do one thing or another, it cannot override human decision making. Yet.

But let’s set aside the potential for danger for a moment to consider how immersive PokemonGO has become for its users and how another user interface might have a significantly decreased reliance on the “phone” to play the game might actually allow for it to become more of a background activity, rather than what one is actively doing. In PokemonGO, the user is staring at a screen trying to find where the leaves are moving and that’s partly because of the limited amount of time most devices can actively “play” the game. But if, say with a device like Google Glass, you could be hunting Pokemon all day long? What if, rather than having to seek out Pokemon in a thirty minute “hunt,” you were hunting all day? Tracking steps all day to incubate eggs? Regularly checking into PokeStops and learning about those locations?

There are certainly risks, and those need to be mitigated. But there’s definitely a lot more opportunity too.

Teams

When you are strong enough to actually do battle at a gym, you pick one of three teams to join. These have their own internal meanings to the game and once you’ve joined a team, you can rely on those other team members for support in controlling gyms and help with training your Pokemon.

One thing that is currently lacking in this first version of the game is the ability to bring in one’s pre-existing social network. Because you must log into the game with your Gmail account or a Pokemon.com account, the audience is potentially limited when it comes to mining the available social network data that might be available with, say, a Facebook login. Then you could invite your friends to join your team in the search for Pokemon. You could actually provide each other with tactical and strategic support in quests as well as provide emotional and physical support in reaching goals. Our social networks are significant in our health decisions, and forcing users into only having the option of the three team options in the game – which are highly contrived and not very useful on their own, so far as I can tell – there are additional opportunities for increasing the effectiveness of the platform for health behavior generation.

Socio-environmental disturbance

One thing that is for sure: there are a lot of people I’ve watched over the past few days playing this game. Will it last? I’m not sure. But watching two people who are running around a park together while staring at their phone certainly acts as a pattern interrupt for me. I’ve watched as someone stared at their phone and walked around corners, and down streets, trying to engage the PokemonGO world largely oblivious to their surroundings except for what is represented on the screen. And when you see someone doing that, it definitely has a similar impact to the way that we all responded when Bluetooth headsets and wireless earphones became popular for holding mobile phone calls in the public.

Yes, it’s a pattern interrupt. And yes, it was extremely annoying when phone calls made it out into the general public, seemingly creating dialogue that only existed in the speaker’s head. But that has become so normalized now, I can’t imagine there won’t be a possibility of a similar normalization of that activity. And once normal, adoption will likely go up, not down.

Why is this important?

BmsB9w6 - ImgurThese are not the Pokemon you seek

While the PokemonGO craze has blown away the expectations of the game-makers, and frankly any Ingress user is probably also doing the, “I was geocaching before it was cool” thing right now, this does start a discussion about how we can better leverage the technology that is already available to us to change our behaviors in small, although ultimately significant, ways.

Just the beginning…

…but an important one. Critical events like this are rare in helping to shape how we want our world to look. Each of us has the capacity to impact the way that we want to engage with our communities and our technology. What do you want your world to look like? Or, more precisely, what do you want which of your worlds to look like?

To our health,

Ryan Lucas
To stay ahead on topics related to this, follow me on Twitter @dz45tr

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Total Wellbeing: July 2016

 

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July 2016: Financial Wellbeing

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piggy bank brownWelcome to the July issue of TotalWellbeing! This month it’s time for everyone’s favorite topic, Financial Wellbeing. Smart, informed decisions are the key to building a financial foundation that you can grow from. Spend, save, and invest in smart ways. Be critical of information sources and be sure people you talk to have your best interest in mind. Be patient, save where you can and we promise small steps now will add up down the road. To help we have provided a retirement calculator and links to a community-based service-trading site to help you leverage your skills and save a buck while you’re at it. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Much more information on a variety of topics is available on MINESblog. Here you can expect blogs, articles, and tips provided by members of the MINES Team. Last month was Pride Month and we had a great article on how employers can support their transgender employees and make sure they are providing a safe and accommodating environment. We will continue to post regular and relevant material here so follow us if you’re not already.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: FinancialWellbeing and the Future

Financial Wellbeing is about making informed choices and building a foundation that you can grow from. It is important to consistently make the best decision possible with the information you have. That said, you also must make sure the information that you are basing your choices on is quality information and not coming from somewhere that does not have your best interest in mind. Even financial advisors can sometimes give poor advice or have ulterior motives, so take anything you hear with a grain of salt until you can do your research. Be smart, be patient, and don’t outspend your means.  Over time you will slowly but surely put in place a financial foundation that you can further build upon and use to perpetuate your life.

Tips for you:

Financial planning is unique for everyone. Different income, circumstances, and goals mean everyone needs something a little different. There are self-help tools and calculators all over the place to help you analyze and plan. Charles Schwab offers one such tool on their website to help plan for retirement and offers financial planning if needed.

Check It Out Here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

When we think of buying power, most people think of tangible assets such as money and items of value. But what about skills, knowledge, and expertise? Are these not valuable too? What if we could trade these things to others in exchange for their skills, knowledge, and expertise? Well you can! Simbi.com hosts a whole community of thousands of people doing just that. Think you have something to offer? Check it out!

See What Simbi Offers Here!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Total Wellbeing: June 2016

 

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June 2016: Occupational Wellbeing

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Death_to_Stock_Photography_BodyTruths_9Welcome to the June issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we discuss Occupational Wellbeing. We’ve all heard the concept of work/life balance before, but when you think about it, isn’t work part of life? In fact, many of us spend a substantial amount of our lives at work. This way of looking at it highlights the importance of supporting ourselves and our goals while at work rather than just putting our lives on hold when we clock in every morning, or night depending on your schedule. Maintaining perspective on your ambitions and goals while at work is critical to maintaining occupational wellbeing and avoiding burning out. Look for opportunities at your job to grow and support your mind and body. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

MINESblog saw some interesting posts last month, it being Mental Health Awareness Month and all. We looked at the mentality and systemic causes of bullying and why it is important to treat even bullies with empathy. Next in our latest Psychology of Performance post we explored the critical interplay between innovation and maintenance within an organization and how our assumptions on these concepts need to be updated. Finally, we discussed the importance of family involvement in the therapy of children with a mental health diagnosis.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Environmental Wellbeing and the Future

Occupational Wellbeing is about balance, usually between work and life, but life doesn’t stop when you arrive at work and start again when you go home. To properly support occupational wellbeing many of us can’t afford to put our life on hold while at work. Think about ways to develop yourself while on the job. Ask yourself in what ways your job can help you learn new skills, how you might be able to connect better with co-workers, and identify opportunities to support your health and wellness in other areas while at work. Stay connected with co-workers to avoid working in a secluded environment if possible, set goals you can achieve at the workplace to work towards in order to give yourself something to strive for both personally and professionally. Stay connected with the outside world as well. While on break, check in on family members or take a moment to yourself to read, play a quick game, or study something new you are learning. Make the most of your time while at work as well as at home and you will be more satisfied with both.

Tips for you:

Making work/life balance work for you is important. No two people have the same set of circumstances and demands, so figuring out what works best for you is crucial. Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time, and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

Watch Talk Here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

If you are successful and happy that is a great thing. You know what else is great, when those who know what it takes to be happy and successful share their knowledge and help others achieve. A great way to do that is through mentoring. Did you know that through www.Micromentor.org you can sign up to help mentor young professionals and help them get a leg up in their careers? If you’re a young professional, you can find a mentor here, too! Check it out!

See how you can help!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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The Importance of Family Therapy for Children with a Mental Health Diagnosis

Kids Hands

1 in 5 children between the ages of 13 and 18 will be diagnosed with a serious mental illness.  Once a child has been diagnosed with a mental health illness it is important that the child is not only seeing a therapist individually, but all the members of the family are also participating in the therapeutic process with the child.  Studies have found that there are greater and longer lasting improvements with unwanted symptoms and behavioral issues when the child’s family and/or the people in the child’s life like grandparents, teachers, coaches, etc. get involved in the treatment process.

Family therapy, otherwise known as systemic therapy, focuses on the child’s whole system rather than individual behaviors. In individual therapy, a counselor will take the child out of their familiar environment, treat their symptoms, and return them back to that same environment without even addressing the child’s surroundings and how those surroundings may be impacting the child.  In family therapy however, the work is done within the child’s environment including important people in the child’s life.  The area of focus in family therapy is on the child’s interpersonal relationships, communication styles, and interactions with others to promote long-term changes that ultimately improve resilience, fosters support networks, and improves family functioning.

Family therapy is not only proven to be effective when helping a child with a mental health or behavioral issue, it is also a chosen mode of treatment for addiction, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Some families might have negative connotations surrounding therapy, and may have some reservations about participating with their child because of the common misconception that they will be blamed for their children’s symptoms. In reality the family can be the solution if they are educated on how to best handle the mental illness by giving them:

  1. An awareness of family patterns
  2. An ability to work with children in relation to their parents
  3. An understanding of their family history, traditions, and the impact thereof
  4. Community resources they may not have been taking advantage of
  5. Ways to support each other
  6. Coping Skills

If you or your child has been seeing an individual therapist for a mental illness or addiction, and you have not seen or felt improvement in symptoms, consider family therapy.  Bringing loved ones into treatment with you not only allows them to be educated about your mental health diagnosis or addiction, but will teach them how best to support you.

More information about family therapy can be found by clicking the links below.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/about-family-therapy/

http://www.webmd.com/balance/family-therapy-6301

 

To your wellbeing,

Alea Makley, MA, MFTC

Clinical Case Manager

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Psychology of Performance #56: Innovation and Maintenance

Man having an idea!

Our businesses and as us as individuals have expectations, beliefs, and assumptions that if we don’t innovate (or as individuals, have new achievements and personal bests) we will lose business, lose ground against the competition, lose our position, and just plain lose in life. Farnam Street (newsletter@farnamstreetblog.com) has many resources on this topic and how these beliefs and assumptions affect performance. This week it highlighted an article by Andrew Russell & Lee Vinsel called Hail the Maintainers.

https://aeon.co/essays/innovation-is-overvalued-maintenance-often-matters-more

This article is a wonderful resource and stimulated my thinking for this blog post.

The assumption is that if business does not innovate, disruptive events can occur that will reduce performance, up to and including, the end of the business. Russell and Vinsel noted that innovation has become what psychologists would call an embedded, unchallenged assumption.  They go on to state that innovation is a small percentage of the time and activity of most businesses. What is actually the case is that many aspects of performance are focused on maintenance. Those who do the maintenance, the day-to-day tasks, recalibration, and incremental improvements deliver consistent results for their customers and clients. They are able to continue and perform day after day. A key element is improvement versus innovation. What does improvement mean for your business performance?

On an individual performance level, it is important that we do our own personal maintenance. This involves getting adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and connecting moments. This also implies avoiding behavior patterns that detract from maintaining ourselves optimally such as smoking, over eating, working too much, and others.

On an individual performance level, we are faced everyday with maintenance and recalibration choices. Our self-talk related to these choices — our beliefs and judgments about these choices — influence our ability to stay within an optimal maintenance range. This is a complex range of behaviors and attitudes, not very amenable to all-or-none thinking. “Good enough,” “just show up,” “do your best, forget the rest,” and  “soft face, calm interior” are a few handrails that can be used to override thoughts and judgments that may interfere with individual performance.

My dear friend, colleague, and business partner, Dr. Richard T. Lindsey, used phone cords as his metaphor for the importance of maintenance. His mission was to straighten all the phone cords that were tangled as a picture of maintaining our tools and gifts for optimal performance. He has been so successful that most of our phones no longer even bother having cords! !

There are events such as new laws, new technology, and new delivery models that are innovative and affect performance of business and individuals in dramatic ways. These are game changers, however, they are often not category killers.  On the other hand, the majority of  businesses and individuals that deliver consistently good service and products continue to perform in their sectorsWhat are the high performance markers for your organization? These indicators would include: profit margin, cash reserves (how long is your runway if a disruptive event occurred?), debt, cash flow, positive culture, organizational life span challenges and resolutions, clear organizational structure with bench strength and lines of authority,  leadership that has clear vision and ability to execute, along with long range cognitive complexity, and finally the organizational ability to identify and make incremental changes as well as remove constraints in work processes and flow.

Individually, we also have high performance markers. What is your overall health level? Have you been healthier this year than last year? How is your daily energy? Is it improving or declining? What are your markers on endurance, strength, flexibility, and your immune system? Are your finances better or worse this year? How are your interpersonal relationships?

Whether organizationally or individually, noting the tension between innovation and maintenance can be an important awareness that allows for mindful and intentional management.

Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion!

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

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Empathy for Bullies

Kick Me

We have all grown up with at least one kid in school whose main goal in life was to terrorize our classmates in any and every way possible. Some of us feared this kid. Some of us hated this kid. And for the rest of us, there was likely a level of indifference for this kid because, for some reason, we managed to stay out of sight enough to not be one of his victims. In any case, we definitely didn’t want to be one of their targets.  But how many of us can say that we had an ounce of empathy for the class bully? I know I never did. Any time something unfortunate happened to this bully, such as getting a referral to the office or getting suspended, there was always this feeling of redemption and that justice had been served! There was a sense of relief. That is, until the bully returned to school….

Bullying has become a pervasive part of our school communities. The bullying epidemic has become so pronounced that anti-bullying campaigns and programs have been forged to help protect the victims of bullies. But, what about the bullies themselves? How are we addressing the deeper rooted issues that cause these children to violate the boundaries of their peers? Quite often, behind every bully is an even bigger bully. Bullying behavior is learned and most bullies are being bullied themselves. In addition, it is often likely that bullies are suffering from some type of mental health or learning disability, which can impact their cognition, their ability to accurately interpret social interactions and cues, and their ability to properly identify and effectively communicate their feelings. When the consequences for bullying behavior are reactive rather than proactive, we find ourselves unintentionally perpetuating the bullying cycle. This in turn makes it difficult to be tolerant of, and patient with, children who engage in bullying behavior.

We start to label these children as “bad children.” We write them off and decide their fates for them because we are unaware of how to support them. The first way we can show empathy for bullies is to separate the child from the behavior. There is no such thing as a “bad child.” There is only bad behavior. Another way we can find empathy for bullies is to find out which positive adult role model the child likes most (i.e. school staff, family member, community member, etc.) and use that relationship to foster positive behaviors and interactions with others. Also, try and recognize and acknowledge any positive or desired behaviors, no matter how small or insignificant they may be. Positive reinforcement can go a long way. These are, by no means, a cure all for the bulling epidemic that is happening in our society. However, these are a couple of helpful examples that may enable us to have more compassion and empathy for bullies.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Ashley Wiggins, MSW

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Total Wellbeing: May 2016

 

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May 2016: Environmental Wellbeing

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photo-1428604467652-115d9d71a7f1Welcome to the May issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we set our sights on Environmental Wellbeing. Most of the time we ask you to be mindful of the present, to be in the here and now. While the present is important it is also imperative to consider the downstream consequences of our choices. Never is this truer than with our environment. When we talk about environmental wellbeing we are talking about the wellbeing of all the places we live and function in. This can include our homes all the way up the Earth itself. We feed back into these environments in negative and positive ways. For instance we cut down trees for materials but we also plant trees to help rebuild forests or make our neighborhoods beautiful. It’s more than balance because we need to be doing more good than harm. We all need to look at how we can live greener and ensure our environments remain healthy places for us to work, play, and live. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Head over to MINESblog and check out MINES’ tribute to National Stress Awareness and National Poetry Month. We posted some poems that are sure to help you de-stress and maybe even help you get some creative energy flowing while you’re at it.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Environmental Wellbeing and the Future

Environmental Wellbeing is interesting in that when thinking about the environment it is critical to not only think about the present but to focus on the future as well. We always preach about being mindful and in the moment but our environments don’t change moment to moment based on our moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Our environments — ranging from our immediate surroundings such as work or home, to our bigger environments like our cities, national parks, and oceans — take years to make significant changes. So it is with this forward-thinking mindset that we must treat our environments with the respect and care necessary to cultivate happy, healthy environments for ourselves and for future generations. Pick up trash where you see it, support legislation that focuses on sustainable food and energy sources, and just be mindful of the personal impact that you make every day. It’s not easy but if we all practice this sort of care we will all be healthier, happier, and better off in the long run and so will our environments.

Tips for you:

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to go green and save green at home and at work. Check out the 10 great ideas WorldWatch.org has to help you live a little greener one step at a time.

See list here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

If you haven’t heard of the Litterati movement you should check it out. Litterati is a global social media movement that utilizes an app and hashtags (#litterati) to identify, map, and collect litter around the world as users photograph themselves picking up litter around their communities. Anyone can do it, it’s fun, easy, and a great way to get involved with a global cleanup effort.

See how you can help!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Happy National Stress (and Poetry) Month!

shakespeare_william

You may or may not know that April is National Stress Awareness month, but on the flip side it is also National Poetry month (and for those trivia fans out there this month will also mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death). This is a nice juxtaposition if you ask us because it allows MINES the chance to bring you some stress-reducing, wellness-inspired poetry in the honor of these two great topics. Enjoy!

Haiku anyone?

Busy mind inside

Raging like a waterfall

Calmed by a deep breath

One more?

Always know that you

Are never alone, because

We are here for you

How about a Limerick?

An employee was once caught in a jam

Suffering stress like a final exam

They picked up the phone

And upon hearing the tone

Called the employee assistance program

And in the spirit of Shakespeare himself

A wellness sonnet:

Work/life balance can force you to juggle

Between fam’ly and work time can be rare

If you find that you have the same struggle

Do not forget there are people that care

Seek out the ways that you can vent your strife

Good food, good friends, or just a stroll outside

These can help calm the rough waters of life

Feel free, seek peace in ways that you decide

But don’t despair; worry can take its toll

Just say “goodbye” to your mental cargo

Sometimes the stress in life you can’t control

Patience, with time, you learn to let it go

Breathe deep, unwind, your stress you will succeed

If not a place like MINES is what you need

We hope you enjoyed, and remember that being creative, for example by writing, drawing, painting, writing music, and any other creative, productive activity, is great for your mind and overall wellbeing and is a great stress reducer. So get out there and create, we can guarantee you will be happy you did.

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: April 2016

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

April 2016: Intellectual Wellbeing

Get Involved!

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Welcome to the April issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we are bringing you resources to support your Intellectual Wellbeing. This time around we ask that you take a look at how technology impacts your life, specifically your intellect. Like many things, technology is a tool that can be used or abused. In a world of mobile apps, reality TV shows, and video games, the key is making smart choices. Choose a puzzle game that will work your mind rather than a mindless shooting game. Choose a video to watch that aims to educate rather than the latest celebrity fail video. Today’s technology and flow of information allow us to transfer knowledge and learn faster than any generation of human beings before us. Make sure to take advantage of this fact and make your next Internet search one that will teach you something you’ve always wanted to know, and then keep going. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

We hope you saw our posts on MINESblog last month. In the spirit of March’s turbulent weather our first post looked at weathering conflict in the workplace where we presented some of our workplace conflict stories and analyzed how management may have been able to achieve a resolution. Then towards the end of the week we turned our attention to Role of ADA, FMLA, Mental Health Accommodations and Employee Performance, which provided a good overview of one of this year’s hottest Human Resources concerns.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Intellectual Wellbeing and Technology

A popular criticism of technology is that it is helping make us lazy. Is this true or does it really all come down to how we choose to utilize technology? Sure, our reliance on tech devices such as “smart” phones may mean people remember fewer phone numbers by heart and spend too much time in front of a screen, but at the same time our access to the internet anytime, anywhere means we have more information at the tips of our fingers at any given time than ever before. Please use this to your advantage and learn whereever and whenever you can. Don’t get lost in the sea of information flowing around, use it to find new and exciting things and expand your mind as you navigate a landscape of capabilities never before possible thanks to technology. Or just go play level 214 on Candy Crush, it’s up to you.

Tips for you:

As MINES has consistently stated, you need to nurture your brain and engage in lifelong learning as much as possible to get the most from your intellect. To help, why not utilize a device most of use every day, our phones, and find games that challenge your intellect. While some mobile games help you tune out and shut off your mind, the right game can help you engage your brain and practice things like memory, hand eye coordination, and more. Check out what tomsguide.com thinks are some of the best brain games out for mobile devices.

See list here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

Intellectual wellbeing on a community level has been the concern of the public library system for decades. People often associate libraries only with books, but as technology has evolved so have they. Libraries are now a major source of electronic media and internet access for thousands of people. This access is an important public resource for research, job searching, private study, and entertainment. Help support your libraries through donations or volunteering and support your communities’ oldest intellectual resource.

See how you can help!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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