Turn Your Day Upsy-Daisy

Today is National Upsy-Daisy Day, which is a day all about using positive psychology to find ways to laugh, improve the quality of your life, and have fun, according to National Day Calendar. So, what does Upsy-Daisy mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Upsy-Daisy as an expression of “reassurance typically to a small child when it is being lifted”. So, in essence, this day is about finding ways to be lifted in your everyday stressful life.

Children and Gratefulness are key

Our culture tends to forget to take a step back and be grateful for each day we live. Even when things go wrong or seem hopeless, taking a moment to recognize one good thing that happens today or finding a small way to help improve your day (or someone else’s), will help you physically feel better and will help improve your emotional resilience. Children are great examples of this. Their ability to smile right after crying, their desire to be adventurous and experiment (and be ok when things don’t go as planned), and their perseverance to thrive in their current circumstances are some great examples of what we can learn from them. Take a moment to think how you can use flexibility and gratefulness in your present circumstances to help reassure and re-align your mindset to be positive. Look for a way to not only lift your own spirits up but look how you can help others feel uplifted and supported.

Focus on your Wellbeing

Each month, MINES writes on the various aspects of wellbeing in our Total Wellbeing Newsletter. We look at one aspect of wellbeing each month. This month we are looking at intellectual wellbeing and next month will be about social wellbeing. I think that this subject of looking inward and finding ways to be happy is very important especially in regards to your overall wellbeing. If you are able to “feed” and “support” your whole wellbeing, you will be a healthier and happier person overall. So, in celebration of this day, try to find one aspect of your overall wellbeing (Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Financial, Occupational, Environmental, Social, or Spiritual) to work on and look how you can use your talents to help lift someone else up.

How to use Positive Psychology

According to Psychology Today, Positive Psychology is “the study of happiness” and focuses on “how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled”. Martin Seligman, is a popular psychologist who has spent his career looking and reviewing what Positive Psychology is and how to use it in your everyday lives. He looks at how we can foster positive attitudes towards one’s subjective experiences, individual traits, and life events (Seligman, 2014). So, while you are grasping ways to be less stressed or overwhelmed, consider taking a step back to look at how you respond to each experience and see if you can adjust your personal bias towards that experience. You may be amazed at what you learn about yourself and the situations that you find stressful. Once you are able to be mindful of what you are doing daily, start finding at least one thing to be positive about with each situation/experience you are in.

Being Upsy-Daisy at MINES

At MINES, we are working on using this principle of being authentically happy and mindful of our perspectives by asking everyone to answer at the end of the day how their day went. This simple question allows you to take that step back and think of how your day is going and if there is anything that anyone could have done to help make it even better. We also try to make sure to engage our employees through a few different wellbeing initiatives once a month which allows for the re-focus on ones’ health and overall wellbeing/happiness that is needed in our busy lives. By doing this, we are able to be a part of Health Links as a Healthy Business Leader, which is a privilege.

Smile and Go Forth!

Even if your company doesn’t have a wellness benefit or if you are not able to do something all together, there are plenty of things you can do on your own. One of the easiest things you can do to be positive, even when you don’t feel like it, is to smile. There are several studies that show that when a person is truly smiling, it affects certain muscles that signal your brain to send out more endorphins which will help you be even happier. Smiling is also shown to boost your immune system which can help you live longer. What more reasons do you need to start smiling more?

I hope that these tips will be helpful for you and your wellbeing! Happy Upsy-Daisy Day!

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

The MINES Team

 

References

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upsy-daisy

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/positive-psychology

Seligman, M. E.P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction (pp. 279-298). Springer Netherlands

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/11-facts-about-smiling.html

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Total Wellbeing: June 2017

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

June 2017: Intellectual Wellbeing and Estate Planning

Get Involved!

Welcome to the June issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. This month we hope you will think about how you can creatively expand your knowledge and skills, particularly in the arena of Estate Planning. Taking time to focus on your estate planning is a great way to stretch your intellectual side and planning for the future will help not only you, but those that love you as well.

For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below or check out our latest infographic on the importance of Estate Planning. Always feel free to print these resources and post them around if you feel they would be helpful.

Mental Health Awareness month was a busy month on MINESblog. First of all, in case you missed them please take a look at our Mental Health Awareness statistics as well as our collection of helplines and resources. Next, we had a post on staying aware of your own mental health even when facing life’s distractions such as a new born baby. And then in honor of our veterans on Memorial Day, we posted about veteran’s access to mental health services and stigma.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. To be notified when we post more resources and articles make sure to subscribe to MINESblog. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: What does Estate planning have to do with Intellectual Wellbeing?

By exploring your intellectual wellbeing and finding ways to expand your breadth of knowledge and skills, you are setting yourself up for success. If you are able to learn something new each quarter, you will be able to supply a need either in your home life or at work. And in turn, you will feel better about your skills and hopefully less stressed overall. Learning can include expanding your vocabulary, revisiting a subject you know a little about, or even discovering the details about your local neighborhood birds. One area that is often overlooked when you think of learning something new is related to planning for your future; specifically creating an estate plan and will.  There are so many options out there when it comes to estate planning, most people don’t know where to start or how to go about it. This month is a great time to research and learn about the best practices that come with estate planning, along with taking the time to see what other skills you can look at developing throughout the next several months.

 

For example, here are some great steps on how to expand your verbal intelligence.

Expand Your Verbal Intelligence

Tips for you:

Take the time to do a will or trust for yourself to protect the rights of your family or loved ones if something should happen to you. There are simple do-it-yourself wills you can find online or Personal Advantage or meet with a lawyer to set one up. Check out this month’s webinar to learn more about life planning options for a disabled family member, whether it is making sure they are taken care of in your estate plan or making sure their estate plan is set up to preserve their assets.

Check out the webinar 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:

This month look at how you can expand your knowledge and skills within your community. Check out your local community’s website for classes you could take or find a way to use your skills to help someone in your community.

Click here to find a place to use your skills near you!

We’re happy to announce that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has been redesigned and is better than ever. It still has tons of the same great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Estate Planning, and now has a new look, easier navigation, and works great on mobile too. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer or email us and we’ll be happy to provide that to you.

Check Out PersonalAdvantage 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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Psychology of Performance #62: Veteran’s Mental Health, Memorial Day and President Trump’s Stigmatization During Mental Health Month*

*This blog has nothing to do with party affiliation, it is about leadership, modeling, and stigma and its consequences.

President Trump has made stigmatizing comments related to mental health during Mental Health Awareness month (May 2017). This is unacceptable leadership behavior on many levels. As the Commander-In-Chief of our armed forces, he has now sent a message to our active duty personnel and veterans that it is ok to call people “nut jobs” and other derogatory names related to mental illness, psychological stress, and behavioral problems. The irresponsible nature of this during Mental Health Awareness Month, and right before Memorial Day when we honor those who have served our country, now sends a message to our active duty personnel and veterans that they should not seek help or they will suffer social or job-related consequences.

Why is this a problem?

You may be wondering why am I making an issue of this? The US Department of Veterans Affairs has the following quick facts (not fake news, just the facts).

  • In 2011, more than 1.3 million Veterans received specialized mental health treatment from VA for mental health related issues.
  • The Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research, Invisible Wounds of War, 2008 noted that of the 1.7 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 (20%) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.
  • The American Psychological Association has identified the critical need for mental health professionals trained to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Please review this commentary. http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/military/critical-need.aspx

The commentary goes on to note:

  • suicide rates are increasing for returning service members;
  • unemployment rates for veterans outpaces the civilian rate;
  • brain injuries are linked to PTSD;
  • female veterans are particularly likely to suffer from mental health issues related to “military sexual trauma” (20%);
  • many in need (about 60-70%) do not seek help;
  • stigma associated with mental illness in military communities; and
  • long term consequences of unaddressed mental health needs.

 

Leadership and Stigma

It is well established in the psychological literature that social learning through the modeling by others has an impact on subsequent learning and behavior. When President Trump engages in direct insults to people while using derogatory mental health terms, his subordinates, employees, constituency, and his military receive the message that he is modelling that implies that having a mental illness (caused by serving our country) or stress (caused by serving our country) means you are less of a person, not competent to work, is something to be ashamed of, and should be kept a secret. Furthermore, it gives others permission to act in a similar manner further pushing those who are concerned about seeking help away and reinforces the stigma in the military and in society. Finally, his comments about grabbing women’s genitalia that came to public awareness while he was a presidential candidate further erode female military personnel’s safety in their own units when twenty percent (20%) have already experienced “military sexual trauma”.

Psychology of Performance

Employees’ performance can be negatively impacted by “bullying behavior”, or demeaning comments about their illnesses. It is exacerbated when leadership models this behavior because then it becomes acceptable with no organizational accountability. The consequences are lowered productivity, increased absenteeism, presenteeism, and increased medical costs. The cost of untreated mental illness to employers, families, and society is significant. President Trump’s behavior as a leader in this area is concerning and needs to stop.

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, I ask you to remember those who served and honor those who are still alive by letting them know the pain and suffering they experienced can be healed if they have such symptoms. They deserve our support, compassion, and gratitude. There are many resources available to them, encourage them to use them. Finally, stand up to those such as our President and Commander-In-Chief who model unskilful and unwholesome behavior.

 

Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion!

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., Chairman and Psychologist

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Mental Health Awareness: As Told by a New Dad, who is Mentally Unaware

I was told the birth of my daughter would have significant effects on my sleep schedule, social schedule, and life in general. One can never truly understand what that means until one is in that situation. Needless to say, our newborn baby, while we love her dearly, has caused my wife and I to change some things in our lives, if only temporarily. One of those things that have changed is our sleep (or lack of) schedule. I’ve always thought I was quite efficient at functioning with little to no sleep. Having certain sets of life circumstances… think long nights in Vegas, middle of the night hiking trips, and overnight flights across the globe… I always saw myself as someone who can manage without sleep, and still have the ability to be aware of not only my needs but other people’s as well. With this new experience of fatherhood, I’m learning that long nights in Vegas and long nights with a crying baby are two drastically different experiences. Being a new father has also made me realize how unaware I can be of my own mental health. I find myself thinking mostly about my new baby and my wife, and what their needs are, and by the time I realize what I’m needing, it’s too late and I’m in a crabby mood.

Thinking more about this made me realize how easy it is for us to lose track of what we’re needing, as well as other people’s mental health needs. As a therapist, I like to think that I am usually good at being aware of others’ needs, understanding what kind of support they are seeking, and encouraging them to pay attention to their mental health. However, when a big, life-changing event happens, or when we get wrapped up in our day to day lives, it’s easy to lose focus of what we may be lacking emotionally, and what we need to “fill up our tank”.

Because of how easy it has become for me to lose awareness, particularly on days after a very long sleepless night, I’ve started a new habit. Every day on my way home from work, after I exit on to a certain street, I use that time to check in with myself and ask myself how things are going. That exit is my signal to make myself aware of anything I may be needing.  As I work to cement this new habit into a daily ritual, I will also start to look at what strategies I can employ and how I can adjust my perspective so I won’t be burnt out or be frustrated at my darling daughter.

What is your “exit” on the way home from work? What is needed to keep your “tank” full? I encourage you to take a moment and make yourself aware of what you may be needing and how you’re doing. It doesn’t take much time and it sure beats waiting until you’re emotionally exhausted to realize you’re struggling. Once you find your “exit” and know what you need to do so you don’t get burnt out, take the necessary time to find what strategies you can employ and how you can make this a new habit.

Here are some identifiable warning signs that you be close to burning out to watch for along with some self-care tips.

Warning Signs

  • Increased illness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Your mind feels fuzzy
  • You feel stressed all the time, along with increased anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment or pleasure for working, successful completion of projects, or even being with friends and family.
  • You are crabby, grouchy, or just not in a good mood
  • You forget appointments, due dates, and possibly even social events.
  • You have chronic fatigue

Self-Care Tips

  • Just say “No”- It is ok to decline a new project if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Take time to relax. If you need assistance with this try guided meditation, massage, or even yoga.
  • Make sure you take the time to fulfill all 8 areas of your wellbeing on a regular basis to help you overcome burnout and eliminate some stressors.
    • Physical- sleep, eat, exercise enough.
    • Spiritual- keep an eye on what you value and what your purpose is and make sure you do that activity often.
    • Intellectual- Find an activity that is interesting to do- something to stretch your imagination, creativity, and make you use your brain in a different way than you do every day.
    • Financial- Try using a financial calculator or meet with a financial advisor to discuss your personal situation. Talking about your finances and knowing what you need to accomplish to be financially stable is a good starting point to feeling less stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out.
    • Social- Even if you don’t feel like you have time, make time to be with friends and family so they can support you in your goals, or babysit your child so you can be with your partner alone.
    • Emotional- Stay positive. Find something positive each day to focus on- your daughter is healthy, you have a job etc. If you struggle with this, look up how to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.
    • Environmental- Your environment includes your social, natural outdoor, and built environment. Take time look at your surroundings and maybe check out that store or museum you always drive by because you are too busy.
    • Occupational- Take 5 minutes of your day to talk to a co-worker to learn from them, connect with them, and see how you can support each other at work.

We all have these areas that we need to fulfill in order to be successful, less stressed, and energized to face the next day and adventure. I hope with these tips and reminders, you can quickly recognize when and how to fill your “tank” and be able to handle late nights and responsibilities that we all have. And don’t forget to find that “exit” so you are reminded to take the time to do these things and be mentally aware.

As always if you need help with any of this or just need to talk, please use the resources that are available to you. If you have an Employee Assistance Program at work don’t hesitate to call them. If MINES is your EAP give us a call anytime. It’s free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day. You can reach us at 1-800-873-7138.

 

 

To Your Wellbeing,

James D. Redigan, LPC

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: May 2017

 

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May 2017: Spiritual Wellbeing and Happiness

Get Involved!

Welcome to the May issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. This month we are not only looking at the importance of happiness and your spiritual wellbeing, but celebrating Mental Health Awareness. Keeping your mental health in mind is key to all areas of your wellbeing. So, while we take the time to look at how addressing your spiritual nature or expanding your sense of purpose is a good way to hone in on being happy, keep an eye for other great tweets, blogs, and great information coming your way all month long!

For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below or check out our latest infographics. We have one on some important mental health awareness stats and another full of important mental health resource contacts that we encourage you to print and post where people can see it in case they need to access help.

Mental Health Awareness month will be a busy month on MINESblog. To start off we have a post on Mental Health awareness and some good resources to keep in mind. Stay tuned as we will be discussing mental health awareness all month. To recap last month, we saw posts on National Walking Day,  a word on National All is Ours day, and finally a post about how Curiosity did not Kill the Ferret discussing pets and how we can all learn a little life lesson from our furry, scaly, or feathered loved ones.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. To be notified when we post more resources and articles make sure to subscribe to MINESblog. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: How does Spiritual Wellbeing relate to Happiness?

When you look at what makes you happy, it general is connected to your sense of purpose in the world, and your concept of purpose forms your spiritual wellbeing. So if you are struggling with your place in the world or knowing where your inner self wants to be, you will probably be struggling with how to stay positive and feel happy. This month take the time to think about what you want to give back to the world and what you can do to accomplish those goals and fulfill your purpose. By starting there, you are starting (or redefining) what your adventure through life is and where it will take you. We can all make a difference and can find ways to support our inner needs and desires. By being connected and truly knowing what you want to gain out of life, you are setting yourself up to find ways to be fulfilled and happy, even when things may not go according to plan. Research from numerous sources shows that regardless of the spiritual orientation, spiritually aware people are happier and have stronger coping skills than their unaware or unfocused counterparts.

This month check out these 7 tips for Happiness for more great reminders on how to focus on being happy.

Tips for you:

Finding something positive in every negative situation will help you focus inward and on being happy.

Check out this webinar to learn more about how to bring more happiness to your personal life.

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:

Oftentimes your journey to spiritual wellbeing will lead you to be and learn among others. Your community can help shape who you are and how you react to life. Take the time this month to talk to your personal community and see how you can help someone along their spiritual journey to find their purpose or to help someone find happiness.

Click here to find an activity near you!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Change Management. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer or email us and we’ll be happy to provide that to you.

Check Out PersonalAdvantage 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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Mental Health Awareness Month 2017

BeAware

As you may or may not know, May is National Mental Health Awareness month in the United States. Here at MINES improving services, knowledge, and awareness around mental health issues, and providing solutions to these issues is our business, our specialty, and our passion. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Mental Health Awareness Month is important to us as it allows us an opportunity to jump into the national conversation around critical behavioral health topics on a national level and help the fight to increase awareness and decrease stigma around mental health.

Importance

To shed some light on why this is so critical, consider the following statistics:

US General Stats:

  • 1 in 25 adults are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 1 in 5 are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness
  • There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and specific phobias to name a few. Collectively they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
  • Approximately 10.2 million adults in the U.S. have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
  • Serious mental health illnesses cost people $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year in the U.S.
  • Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.

Men:

  • 3% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 14.3% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
  • Men die from suicide at twice the rate as women.
  • 6 milling men are affected by depression per year in the U.S.
  • The Top 5 major mental health problems affecting men in the U.S. include: Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis and Schizophrenia, and Eating Disorders.
  • Men are significantly less likely to seek help for mental health issues than women. Causes for this include reluctance to talk, social norms, and downplaying symptoms.

Women:

  • 5% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 21.2% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
  • 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year. Roughly twice the rate of men.
  • Although men are more likely than women to die by suicide, women report attempting suicide approximately twice as often as men.
  • Many factors in women may contribute to depression, such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences (e.g. premenstrual syndrome, childbirth, infertility, and menopause).
  • Fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care. And Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time.

Kids:

  • 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; 75% by the age of 24.
  • 20% of 8 to 13 year of age in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Girls 14-18 years of age have consistently higher rates of depression than boys in this age group.
  • Nearly 50% of kids with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.
  • LGBTQ adolescents are twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBTQ youths.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.

This month from MINES

All throughout this Mental Health Awareness Month, MINES will be tweeting out stats to stoke the conversation and resources to help those that may not know where to go. We will also be sharing thoughts, resources, and insight from different members of the MINES team around some of today’s important behavioral health issues right here on MINESblog. So please follow if you are not already, and feel free to share with anyone you think may benefit from the information. And if you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please encourage them to reach out to one of the resources above to find the help they need. And as always, if MINES is your Employee Assistance Program and you need help, information or just need to talk, call us 24 hours a day at 1-800-873-7138.

Resources

Keep the conversation going

As always we ask that you don’t let the conversation end with the end of the month. We don’t have to wait until next year to keep talking about Mental Health especially when there are so many people out there in need of help and information. Keep good track of your own health and wellbeing, don’t be afraid to seek help if you need to, and assist others by talking to them and sharing information and directing them towards care providers that can help them.

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane,

The MINES Team

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Curiosity Did Not Kill The Ferret

From celebrating pets to ferrets, zoos, and dolphins, April is an animal lovers’ dream month as we celebrate National Ferret Day on April 2nd, 2017, National Zoo Lovers Day on April 8th, National Pet Day on April 11th, and National Dolphin Day on April 14th.

As I snuggled up with my business of jills (my group of female ferrets) during National Ferret Day, I thought about what lessons ferrets can teach us as a society. I submit to you that there are several key characteristics that ferrets, along with our other furry, feathered, and scaly friends, have that we could develop more extensively in ourselves.

Curiosity

Ferrets are phenomenal animals to own and watch as they test their limits and expectations with everything they encounter, not to mention their boundless curiosity. Whenever they come across something they would like to have as their “treasure” and they haven’t seen it before, they perform a ritual of tasting, circling, poking with their nose, and if the “treasure” passes their test, they then determine the best way to move it to their stash. No object is too heavy or bulky and everything is up for claiming. I cannot recount how many times my left shoe, box of garbage bags, or napkins have gone missing no matter how high or hidden they are.

What if we took lessons from this, and approached each new task, co-worker, or call and found a way to use your skills to test new things and find ways to make it your own? Ferrets both in the wild and as pets look at the world as endless opportunities to explore everything around them. Take time to be curious about new systems at work or about your newest co-worker. Talk to them about where they come from and what their experiences are. By developing new skill sets and relationships, you are ultimately setting yourself up for success both professionally and personally.

Intelligence

Besides being incredibly curious, ferrets are very intelligent. They can sense danger ahead of time and are attuned to human emotions. They know the difference between my left and right shoe, they can be potty-trained, and can do obstacle courses. They are ever learning new ways to get to where they want to go and they aren’t discouraged when they don’t “know” something. They simply observe what happens when they do a certain activity and try it differently if it doesn’t get the desired results they wanted.

Can you imagine how much life would change if we open our minds up and allow our brains to be re-wired to change our biases and perspectives on life? We could accomplish so much more as a society if we could just switch off our prejudice and focus on our common goals. So how do we use this knowledge about ferrets? The next time you are angry about how you were treated by your co-worker or boss, step back and filter that experience through their eyes. Do you think it was intentional or could they have been busy and not realized what they did or said could have triggered you? If you do that with every situation instead of automatically having assumptions, you will start to see the world differently and maybe you will be able to explain what about the incident made you angry so your co-worker and boss can try to adjust their actions.

Companionship

My ferrets, like most animals, are social creatures. They seek out attention and want to have a community. They don’t shy away from being around others or seek isolation 100% of the time. Ferrets tend to want to be around their own kind, whether they are sleeping, hunting, or committing larceny. My ferrets sleep in the most awkward positions on top of each other and don’t seem to mind as they are near each other. If you remove one of them, the other will wake up and want attention too. Now I may never have seen my ferrets hunt, but I have watched wild black-footed ferrets hunt and it is very similar to when my ferrets are up to their thieving ways. Cooperation is key.  They know that between the two of them they can figure out how to climb the cabinet to get that hidden bag of potato chips or how to move a pair of crutches from the closet to under the couch.

We should try to do this as well. Not the team larceny of personal property, but the seeking out of companionship and friendship. Don’t isolate yourself. Take that 5 minutes to talk to others at work, go out to lunch, or discuss what is going on. Surround yourself with supportive people and lean on your friends and family when times are tough or when you want to share your success and laugh.

Final Thoughts

Animals have lots of lessons they can teach us. From their character traits to their social interactions, if you pay attention to them, you can see an unbiased version of what it means to live contently, take risks, and thrive on adventure. Take a minute the next time you are at the zoo, outdoors, or cuddling with your favorite furry, feathered, or scaly friend, and thank them for showing you how to live. Enjoy your animals as I know I will be enjoying my beloved teachers. And don’t forget to give them a special treat to say thank you on one of these fun “holidays”.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

The MINES Team

 

http://www.petdayusa.com/

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Psychology of Performance #61: National All is Ours Day Celebrating Appreciation of Nature!

“National ‘All Is Our’s Day’ can be looked at as a time to reflect on all of the beauty of nature and all the wonderful things in life.  All the natural wonders of the world are there for all to enjoy.  Become aware of all of the beauty in your surroundings.  All of these spectacular gifts we have been given are shared by all.” http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-all-is-ours-day-april-8/

This is a great time to reflect on the psychological and health benefits of being in nature. The benefits extend to our performance in all areas of life. There is research that suggests that walking in nature reduces stress, reduces the risk of cancer and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, reduces anxiety and depression symptoms, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and is linked to longevity. (Source: https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/about/programs/gsv/pdfs/health_and_wellness.pdf )

Furthermore, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation listed the following benefits:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves mood
  • Increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increases energy level
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves sleep (Source: dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html )

These studies mentioned are focused on trees and forests. However, many of the benefits accrue being outside regardless of environment or climate, including parks in urban areas (assuming air pollution is at a minimum).

To enhance your experience outside, there are several mindfulness exercises that you can practice while being outdoors. Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay as people know him, and many others have written about these exercises. I have provided a partial list for you to try.

  1. Mindful Walking: This is a wonderful meditation for moving and mindfulness in nature.
  1. Thich Nhat Hanh mindfulness video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms6EylTW-2o This is literally a video of one of his talks, so be patient and allow a couple of hours to watch it. Also, remember this is about mindfulness, not religion, just in case you have an initial reaction to it.
  1. ‘The interdependence of all of us and the earth’ meditation. Thay suggests we can meditate on the interconnections of ourselves and the earth through mindfulness. (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/zen-thich-naht-hanh-buddhidm-business-values ) “Breathe in, be aware of your body and look deeply into it, realize you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth.” (https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/realize-you-are-the-earth-thich-nhat-hanh/ )
  1. Nature Meditations: These meditations focus on the experience of nature, sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. (http://www.meditationoasis.com/how-to-meditate/simple-meditations/nature-meditations/ )
  1. Mindful Eating Meditation: This meditation focuses on eating, food, and the interconnection of all required in nature and our lives for us to be able to practice the mindful experience of eating. http://www.gaiam.com/discover/412/article/zen-your-diet/

Mindfulness can enhance our experience of nature, which can enhance our health, which can enhance our performance in all areas of our daily lives. We only have this moment, be present with it…mindfully.

 

 

Have a day filled with mindfulness, the benefits of nature and extend kindness to all you meet.

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D. Chairman, and Psychologist

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National Walking Day and Your Heart

National Walking Day/American Heart Association

Originally founded as the “Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease” in 1924, the American Heart Association (AHA) is the United States’ largest volunteer organization battling heart disease today. Today, the AHA sets the standard for many of the basic life saving and disease preventing standards like Basic Life Support certification and the training and proper application of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The AHA also operates an affiliated organization, the American Stroke Association. In 2006, the American Heart Association put together the very first National Walking Day to spread awareness of heart disease and the importance of daily activity to our health. Currently, the 1st Wednesday of every April continues to be “National Walking Day” and should be a day that we all take into consideration as we look at our daily activity and heart health. It is a day that should act as a reminder that if we want our hearts to stay healthy and our bodies to stay mobile we must get out and move. This April 5th get out and walk and let it be a day that either supports the already healthy habits that you incorporate into your life or let it be the first day of building good habits into your routine while getting away from some of the bad ones.

Building good habits while eliminating bad ones

One thing that we can’t escape is that humans are creatures of routine and habit. We like our daily groove when it works and we hate the daily grind when it works against us. While it can be very difficult to remove the groove and grind from our lives, one thing we can do is slowly change or modify pieces of it to support our goals one chunk at a time. Much of our routine is based on habit, of which there are good and bad habits. The trick to encourage, support, and reward the habits that make a positive impact on us to reinforce and continue that behavior. On the flip side, ignoring, discouraging, and being mindful of the bad habits will help to remove the self-destructive behavioral from our lives. This is easier when you have a good or healthy activity ready to take the place of an old bad one. An example of this may be to take a walk when you would normally sit and play a mobile game during your break at work. Or maybe have a healthy snack in place of your trip to the vending machine. The two don’t need to be related either. For instance, if your goal is to reduce the amount of time you spend online (bad habit) you can use pretty much any positive use of time (good habit) to utilize your time that you would have otherwise been wasting.

Taking walks and being active physically is very much a habit. It’s one of those things that may be hard to start doing but after it becomes part of your routine you will begin to look forward to, enjoy, and miss when your schedule prevents you from being able to partake.

Benefits/Risks

Walking at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels.
  • Prevent weight gain and lower the risk of obesity.
  • Improve your mental well-being.
  • Increase your energy and stamina.
  • Improved circulation.
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer, and colon cancer.

Risks of being inactive:

  • Increased risk of heart disease.
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure.
  • Increased risk of obesity.
  • Increased risk of blood clots in older people and those with clotting issues.

We could go on and on with the benefits and risks here but I think you get the idea. Basically, everything that being active helps you with, being inactive increases the risk of. This is pretty straightforward so I will spare you any more lists. What we all need to understand is that our bodies are designed to move, to be used, and if we don’t use it, we will lose it. Of course, activity isn’t all there is to it as we need to fuel our activity with the right fuel to keep us going as well. There is no real secret to eating heart and body healthy foods. You can research for hours trying to find diet secrets and magic foods but the truth is health foods have always been right in front of us and we have always known that they were good for us. We’re talking about vegetables here, and fruits (watch the glucose), and whole grains and complex carbs. The American Heart Association suggests the following guidelines:

You may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have minerals, protein, whole grains and other nutrients but are lower in calories. They may help you control your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes:

Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available.

Getting Started/Resources

Listed below are just a few resources to get you started with some basic information on heart health, finding a trail or walking path, and ways to support your walking community.

At this point, we’ve covered what National Walking Day stands for and why it’s an important symbol of health and wellbeing. We’ve also gone over some diet and exercise basics, and what you need to know to get started on a basic walking or workout routine. Armed with this information we hope that you can now start new, healthy habits that support your own heart health and spread awareness to others to help your social network and community become better educated on the importance of heart health in the spirit of National Walking Day.  Now get out there, have fun, and be well!

 

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

 

Sources

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WMbndjsrJpg

Move More in April. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Move-More-in-April_UCM_448665_Article.jsp#.WMblOjsrJpg

The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp

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Total Wellbeing: April 2017

 

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April 2017: Physical Wellbeing and Grief/Loss

Get Involved!

Welcome to the April issue of TotalWellbeing! If you have been following TotalWellbeing you know that every month we focus on one of the 8 Dimensions of Wellbeing. This month we will discuss the effects that grief and loss have on your physical wellbeing. At the same time, we will look at how your physical wellbeing can be a crucial step in successfully working through the stages of grief. Everyone experiences loss and grief differently, but regardless of how you process your loss, keeping up with your physical wellbeing is important.

For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below or check out our new infographic here!

Next, make sure to catch up on your MINESblog reading because we covered a few important topics over the last month.  Our founder, Dr. Robert Mines provided his perspective around eating disorder awareness week which was February 26 – March 4th. Next, our team member Raena Chatwin explored how you can use imagination and exploration to find joy at work and in all that you do. And finally, to get primed for our talks about grief this month we put the spotlight on grief and the difference between healthy and unhealthy grieving.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. To be notified when we post more resources and articles make sure to subscribe to MINESblog. See you next month!

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: from your Emotional Wellbeing to Managing change

When you are feeling down, it can be hard to take the time to exercise or eat properly. However, it is even more important during this time to eat healthily and work out the stress so you can feel better. During exercise, you are given an opportunity process what you are going through and work through the emotions that come along. By focusing on your physical wellbeing during a time of grief and loss, you can ensure that you are not staying in bed and are sticking to your routine, which will actively lead you to be around others who can help you cope with the pain and suffering that comes with grieving a loss. Even if you don’t feel like doing much, try to exercise each day. Take care of your personal needs and eat healthy so that you have the strength to deal with your loss and your other daily responsibilities.

This month check out this link to see some easy exercises you can do.

Tips for you:

Focus on your physical wellbeing and use that as a tool and motivator while you are navigating the stages of grief. Choose to use your exercise time to reflect about your loss and what you can take away from this loss.  Check out this webinar for more about grief and loss.

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:

You probably know a co-worker, friend, or family member that is dealing with some type of grief. Take a moment to connect with them to see how you can support them through this time. Maybe even suggest taking the time to walk or work out with them to help their physical wellbeing at the same time. Or you consider running or walking in a marathon to support a cause and be around others who have or are struggling with their own grief and loss.

Click here to find an activity near you!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, an online benefit available through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Change Management. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer or email us and we’ll be happy to provide that to you.

Check Out PersonalAdvantage 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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