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Don’t Feed the Trolls: Why You Should Ignore Those That Just Want to Get on Your Nerves

This morning…

As I am sure a big a percentage of us do, I began this morning by perusing the headlines and reading a few articles while I prepared for the day. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but depending on the content of the article sometimes, especially in our current political climate, I find it irresistible to scroll down to the comment section to see what people are posting and saying. Why do I do this? Is it because I want to see what intelligent discord is happening without me? Maybe. It is because I feel I will gain some sort of invaluable insight into what I’ve read through the opinions of others? Probably not. Or is it because I have some sort of morbid curiosity with the inevitable flame war that I know will no doubt be taking place? Yeah, that must be it. However, in my comment scanning tendencies lays an element of self-sabotage to my emotional wellbeing as it relates to my harmony with the online community because within the mild-mannered comments of reasonable people lay Trolls waiting to sow their special brand of discord amongst the exchanges.

But what is a troll? And why is it important to be aware of what they do so that you don’t take the bait? Because falling into a “conversation” with an online troll is not only a waste of time, but can also negatively affect your mood and overall wellbeing. So, what can we do to counter these on-line fire starters? Easy, ignore them and never, ever under any circumstances, attempt to feed them.

What is a Troll?

First, let’s discuss what exactly an online troll is. Wikipedia defines a troll as “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.” That’s right, these trolls are scanning the same articles and getting involved in the same comment sections as you but with the sole purpose of ticking people off. Trolls are fairly obvious most of the time. With over the top comments, or completely ridiculous rhetoric it should be easy to see them coming. However, when certain lines are crossed and certain topics are tread upon, it can be extremely difficult to ignore them.

There is not just one type of troll either. They come many forms including trolls that specialize in insults, name-calling, profanity and racism, and anything offensive that they can think of. These guys border on the edge of cyberbullies and are probably the worst of the bunch. Next, you can have trolls that love to argue and just never seem to let something go until they are satisfied they have had the last word. The list goes on including trolls that are offended by anything and everything and will paint you as the bad guy no matter what you say; trolls that think they know it all and can’t help but correct you in any manner of grammar, statistics, or anything you think you know better than they do; and trolls that will simply say a single enraging comment and then recede into un-breaking silence to watch the enraged responses pour in. Regardless of the type of troll you’re up against it, your best defense is, again, DON’T FEED THEM!

Don’t Feed Them!

Now that we know what a troll is, let’s talk about why we shouldn’t ever feed them. To feed a troll is to take their bait, usually an inflammatory comment, and reply to them. This can be irresistible. They can’t truly believe what they wrote, can they? Maybe if I can just reason with them or give them some facts I can change their mind… No! This is exactly what they want.

Typically, a troll’s comments have no real reason behind them other than to get on your nerves or offend you in some way. For this reason, ignoring them can be tricky, however, especially if they make you angry. It’s like when someone tailgates you or cuts you off in traffic. It can be very hard not to get angry at the person who just disregarded your safety to gain a few seconds of time in traffic. But as tempting as it is to yell and scream out your car window at them, or use less than kind hand gestures, it goes without saying the safest and most reasonable course of action is to let them pass, take a deep breath, and be on your way without escalating the situation. Just as it’s natural to be angry when someone puts you in danger while in traffic, it’s natural to want to argue your point of view when you disagree with someone especially on a fundamental level. However, it’s impossible to win an argument with someone who’s only goal is to oppose your own.

Why Do They Get on Our Nerves Anyway?

So even if we know what a troll is and what their objective is, why is it that we still allow these nasty little things to affect us? One reason is that we tend to take even anonymous criticism personally. I mentioned cyberbullying earlier, and like bullies do, it can feel like we’re being picked on and being singled out in front of the rest of the comment section. In this case, it is important to remember that it is nothing personal, you simply happened to be the one that took the bait and subsequently suffered the obnoxious wrath of the would-be troll. We also tend to be defensive about things we believe in and often you are probably reading an article or browsing content about issues or topics you are interested in, care about, and are passionate about. And when someone comes along and starts spewing negativity in the face of these things you care about, it is hard not to get defensive. Counter this by keeping in mind that the troll does not know who you are, where you come from, or what kind of person you are. They only know what you type back to them, so the less you give them the better.

Another reason Trolls’ comments can bother us is that we forget that what they are saying is just their opinion, or fabricated all together with the goal of pushing our buttons. If we let ourselves think that an online comment is a broad opinion or fact and not just the misguided thoughts on one individual, it can lead to putting more weight into the hurtful comment/content then it merits. This concept has broader implications as well, especially relevant to the increasingly polar appearance of the US population. Often, the loudest voices online are coming from the smallest sources leading us to think that these small extremes make up a bigger percentage of the population than they really do. This is critical to remember if you are bothered by things you read online as you need to keep in mind that the most vocal people are often on the far ends of the spectrum, the most pleased or most outraged, the “extremes”. The people in the middle rarely make as much noise even though they make up the majority. This concept can be seen in anything from online comments to political rallies to restaurant reviews.

You’ll be better off, trust me!

The only true way to counter a troll is to ignore them. By doing the digital equivalent of walking away from a confrontation, you not only prevent them the satisfaction of letting them know they got to you, you also limit any affect the would-be troll may have on your mood or day. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction to respond, take a deep breath, and move on. It will allow you to get the negativity out of your mind and out of your day as soon as possible and allow you to focus on more important things, like the interactions and relationships that you have in real life such as friends, family, and co-workers. These are the people you care about and that care about you. You value their opinions and they value yours. Don’t waste time thinking about the trolls that like nothing more than to undermine anything you would express to them.

I wish you happy web-surfing, enjoy what you read, enjoy your exchanges with reasonable users online, and if you come across a Troll, whatever you do, don’t feed it.

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team


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Why the Groundhog is a Pessimist: Or How I Learned to Stop Hiding from My Shadow

groundhog-629863_960_720Last week it was that peculiar time of year where we watch a furry little rodent, made famous by the infamous Bill Murray movie, pop out and either rejoice in the delight of incoming spring or run back into the ground prepping for 6 more weeks of impending winter, all based on whether or not it sees its shadow. Well, I don’t know about you but that raises some questions for me. First, why retreat from the winter weather, doesn’t the groundhog ever go skiing? Couldn’t the groundhog just have come out facing the other way? And lastly, why does the groundhog have to be so pessimistic? Before we look at some of these a bit deeper let’s discuss why this is relevant in the first place. I think that there is a little groundhog in all of us and when things get a bit gloomy they will pop their heads out and react in either a positive or negative manner. Whether we run in fear of 6 more weeks of winter or come out and face the world with optimism is up to us.

What is the groundhog scared of anyway?

Of course by now you’ve realized that we are talking about more than just a groundhog’s shadow here. The shadow really is anything that might represent unknown situations, new paths in life, or adverse situations that we may be worried about that may be stressful or undesirable like a lost job or medical procedure. Like the winter months, uncertainties and uncontrollable circumstances are unavoidable. These are the shadows in our lives and how we learn to think of these shadows can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a positive mindset and continuing on with our lives productively and without causing ourselves undue stress. While it is natural to face challenging situations with caution, you must not let the need to be careful and thoughtful lead to fear and anxiety. Instead it is important to focus on what you can control and let logic, mindfulness, and confidence guide your thoughts because by letting go of what you can’t control you give yourself less to worry about that can’t be helped while more energy is spent on matters you can actually impact in a positive way.

Look at the bright side

Being optimistic is all about maintaining focus on the good in our lives while letting go of the bad. This sounds simple but as most of us can agree this can sometimes be very difficult to achieve. With the right tools and a little practice it is totally possible. Your mental state and perception can have a profound effect on how you feel physically and emotionally – affecting things like how much energy you have, how motivated you are to do physical or strenuous tasks, or how much anxiety or grief a negative interaction can create. To combat this, it is helpful to set your expectations in a positive manner by imagining positive outcomes rather than always feeling the worst will happen. Try using positive self-talk to promote good thoughts that bolster your confidence. This includes internal phrases such as “I can do it,” “This will work,” and “Everything will be okay.” These may sound cliché but it is important that we have these positive expressions in our repertoire to act as a counter to the negative thoughts that can creep into our minds in order to give you a way to balance out the nature of thoughts that may be passing through your mind at any given moment.

If anxiety, worry, or fear are a common occurrence you can help break your mind of these habits with practice. Working on being proactively mindful throughout the day can help with this. There are many ways to do this and it is important to figure out what works best for you because there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to positive thinking.

To get you started here are a few ideas. Practice meditation or just some mindful breathing exercises for a temporary respite from your day. Find quiet spots where you can spend a moment or two to unwind and take a few deep breaths during your routine. If you have more time you can schedule in regular meditative or mindfulness practice. While tough at first, meditation becomes easier. For starters you can try a mindful breathing exercise. To do this simply close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly making each inhalation and exhalation last 4-6 seconds. Count the seconds in your head or out loud if it helps and make sure to focus on each breath as it flows in and out. You will slow your heart rate and begin to relax. I recommend doing this for at least a minute but go for as long as you want as the longer you practice this the more at rest you will feel. This is a great way to wind down at night before you go to sleep as well.

This next one is a tip that a counselor once recommended to stop negative thoughts, or all thoughts really, if you are feeling overwhelmed. This may sound odd but what you do is dunk your face or even your entire head in cold water. What this does is provide a shock to your system that acts as a thought interruption and force some reallocation of blood flow. This will help distract your mind from negative thoughts you may be dwelling on and reset your fight or flight response. Again this one may sound uncomfortable, but trust me, when you do it your anxiety will definitely feel less overbearing.

Here at MINES there is an exercise that we ask people to do when we are teaching our clients about optimism and positive thinking. First thing you need to do is find a partner as you will need two or more people. Next, think of a challenging situation or instance that would normally trigger pessimistic thoughts or negative thinking. Share your thoughts, pessimism, and reasons behind them to your partner(s). Your partner(s) then challenge your beliefs or thoughts about the situation. This exercise is designed to show you how different perspectives can be had around the same situation and to challenge the basis of negative thinking. Another benefit of this group dynamic is that you get to share your worries and thoughts, more often than not finding that others share similar feelings. This creates a sense that you are not alone which helps create another source of comfort.

Don’t Run from Your Own Shadow

It’s important to understand that a lot of our negative assumptions are rooted in habit, otherwise it’s easy to place blame on yourself which is counterproductive. And just like any bad habit it will take some determination, mindfulness, and patience to break. Always keep in mind that you are not alone in your efforts. Reach out to friends, family, and co-workers and help each other challenge negative thinking. We hope that some of the tips and techniques that we talked about here will help you stay positive, and if your employer has an EAP like MINES don’t hesitate to call them up and talk to someone that can help you with your goals. Continue to practice challenging your negative thoughts and maintaining an optimistic outlook and we are confident that regardless that the groundhog saw their shadow this year you certainly won’t be the one to hide from 6 more weeks of winter.


To Your Wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While breast cancer is a year around killer, October is a crucial month for fundraising, information distribution, community support, and many other crucial functions that help keep research and the search for better treatment, and one day a cure, possible. With this post I hope to give a brief snapshot of what a diagnosis of this terrible disease can mean from both a patient’s and caregiver’s view, as well as provide resources that you can use this month and onward to provide support, gather information, and help yourself or others that may be dealing with cancer in their lives.

Resilience in the Face of Diagnosis

A serious diagnosis brings with it life-changing implications both for the person receiving the diagnosis as well as their loved ones. This beginning phase that starts at the diagnosis is commonly known as the “crisis phase.” This is where emotions like fear and anxiety are most prevalent and panic can ensue. But time is of the essence here as it is often necessary to move fast as doctors plan and prepare your treatment options. Therefore it is imperative to remain resilient in the face of diagnosis so that you can think clearly and react quickly. During this initial time the best thing you can do is ask questions and remove unknowns so that you can start to generate realistic expectations of the treatment process and the disease itself. If you are the loved one or caregiver of someone that is facing cancer or some other serious diagnosis then this responsibility may fall on you.


Of course the person who receives the diagnosis is hit the hardest by cancer, but the impact does not end there. Spouses, friends, family, and co-workers are all affected as well. Some of these people may find themselves in the role of caretaker in some capacity or another.  Caretaking can be an extremely hard job in both a physical and psychological sense, and in order to keep up their own wellbeing caregivers need to make sure they are practicing good self-care as well or else they can face adverse health effects and may find themselves suffering from burnout. Around this time last year we discussed self-care tips for caregivers who are caring for a loved one that has been diagnosed. If you or a loved one is currently in this tough, but crucial, caregiver role please take a look at our post here.

Knowledge is Power

Regardless of whether you are in the patient or caregiver role, knowledge is power. One of the best things you can do to prepare for dealing with a deadly disease is know your options and become familiar with those that can help you. Below we have tried to give a good balance of resources that are a great start if you are looking for information, support, or are looking to get involved with the cause. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are tons of great resources out there. On that note please keep in mind that an Employee Assistance Program, like MINES provides, is a great source of support that is easy to access and free if your employer offers it. If you are not sure if you have an EAP, make sure to ask Human Resources for information.


American Cancer Society


Family Caregiver Alliance

Cancer Care

Support Events

Making Strides Events

The Rest of the Year

This October is sure to be filled with fundraisers, awareness campaigns, charity contributions, and screening reminders. As for the rest of the year please make sure to remain vigilant and proactive. Do the standard self-checks on a regular basis, make those screening appointments with your doctor, and be mindful of your wellbeing year-round, early detection can make all the difference for many potentially terminal diseases. With that said here’s to all the women and men out there fighting the good fight for themselves or their loved ones, and here is to an October full of support, hope, and progress.


To Your Wellbeing,

– Nic Mckane

The MINES Team



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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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Breast Cancer Awareness: Tips & Self-Care for the Caretaker

Taking care of the ones you love

Often times, people who step into a caregiving role for one reason or another, are inexperienced in this critical role. There are a lot of unanswered questions: How do you talk to someone who has just been diagnosed? How do you support them in the best possible way? And one of the toughest questions: how do you take care of yourself through all of it? It is natural to want to help your family and friends, especially when one of them has been diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer, these are people that you love and cherish. In order to help them most effectively it is important to go into a caregiving role with specific goals and expectations in mind.

What to say to a recently diagnosed loved one?

So what do you say to a loved one that has been recently diagnosed with cancer or another life threatening disease? The answer is, surprisingly, not much. To avoid being overbearing it is important that you make sure your loved one knows that you are there for them but only as much as they need or want. Educate yourself about the diagnoses and the type of cancer/disease that they have so that you can understand what they are going through. Avoid using that knowledge to offer unwanted advice by insisting they try this or that, just because you read about it online. Oftentimes the best thing you can do is simply spend time with them and share their feelings by offering a shoulder to cry on. Avoid being judgmental or being overly optimistic by saying things like, “you’ll be fine,” or “you’ll get better, don’t worry about it.” These sorts of things can make them feel like you don’t actually understand the gravity of the situation or understand their feelings; instead, simply assure them that you are there for them.

Here are some “do says” and “don’t says” from to get you started:

Some options to help show your care and support:

  • I’m sorry this has happened to you.
  • If you ever feel like talking, I’m here to listen.
  • What are you thinking of doing, and how can I help?
  • I care about you.
  • I’m thinking about you.

Some examples of phrases that are unhelpful:

  • I know just how you feel.
  • I know just what you should do.
  • I’m sure you’ll be fine.
  • Don’t worry.
  • How long do you have?


Support them

Care-giving can be a long, difficult road, so it is important that you are prepared and know the best, most practical ways to help and support your loved ones. First, as mentioned above, it is critical that you research their cancer diagnoses, treatment courses, side-effects, and anything else that you may be concerned about. This will help you be a more effective support source. Once you have a better understanding of the situation you can help your loved one seek out the best treatment, with the direction of their doctor of course. Rely on the experts but use your education to ask good questions to manage expectations on treatments and to know when a second opinion on things may be appropriate.

Aside from helping with the logistics of care, you can also make a huge difference by offering help in other areas of their lives. To make things easier, instead of simply telling them that you are there if they need anything, take the burden off of them and offer to do specific things they may need. These can be things like offering to walk their dog, do the dishes, go to the grocery store or pharmacy for them; be specific and timely and you will be a huge help to them without being overwhelming.

Make sure that you are truly present for them. Offering company and a way to take their mind off of their condition is also critical. While nothing you can say or do will cure them or make their treatments any easier, having someone that is there to talk things through and to gain emotional and spiritual support from can make all the difference. It is also important to try and take the attention off their condition from time to time, while supporting their wellbeing. Think about exercising with them to the extent that they are able, make time to watch a movie or play a game together, or do whatever other activities they are able to enjoy without over-exerting themselves. And most importantly try and make them laugh. Being light, silly, and breaking the serious tone can work wonders by creating fond memories together and maintaining a positive outlook day to day. Another important goal to all of this is to make things as normal for them as possible. Do not treat them as though they are fragile creatures. They are the same person that they have always been to you; make sure to remind them of that.

Support yourself

Being a caregiver or go-to person for someone with a chronic illness, especially for a loved one, can be extremely draining, both physically and emotionally. It will be critical that you take care of yourself as much as you take care of your loved one. The most common areas were caretakers’ wellbeing is affected include; trouble sleeping or finding time to sleep, poor eating habits and lack in meal preparation time resulting in less healthy diet, lack of time to exercise or lack of motivation to be active, being unable to stay in bed when sick, and also the failure to keep up on their own medical needs and doctors appointments. All of these can be detrimental to your personal wellbeing so it is imperative that you take steps to limit your stress and maximize your self-care as much as you are able.  Some ways that you can manage this include asking for help. Don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance now and again. Be specific in how they can help you and let them decide what they are willing and able to do for you. Even little things like someone willing to cook a dinner for you or the one you care for once a week can make a big difference.

Sleep is another huge concern. Remember that if you are sleep deprived you not only become a less effective support-giver, but you actually can become a danger to yourself and the ones you care for. Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep. Ways to help with this include setting a maximum amount of time that you can spend with your ill loved one. You may feel the need to be by their side 24/7 but that is just not realistic. Remember that you are human and need to take care of your own needs as well, as much as you would like to be superman. Set sleep goals and take a nap or go to sleep early if you are feeling tired.

Do not feel guilty if you need to re-energize by taking time for yourself. It is not a selfish thing to still engage in your favorite hobbies, social activities, and exercise routines. Setting goals is a good way to accomplish this. List them out if you have to but make sure that you are still striving for things in your own life. Set certain exercise goals, or goals for a certain number of hours of sleep each night. By making time for yourself it will not only give your mind a break, but will make you a more effective and energized source of support when you reconvene with your sick loved one.

Don’t forget that while you may be thinking about your loved ones’ care and doctors visits, do not let yourself forgo your own care. Annual exams with your physician, dentist visits, prescription regimens, and any other care you normally undergo is still just as important as it was before your loved one was diagnosed. Aside from just being important to maintaining your own health, seeing your doctor also affords you an opportunity to seek their professional opinion on how to limit stress, improve your diet, and otherwise limit the impact of the caretaker issues that you may be dealing with.

Finally, remember that you are not the only one that is going through this dire situation. There are many other people that may be in the exact same situation as you. Don’t be afraid to seek out social groups either locally or online. Be open-minded to going to a support group to connect with others that can lend an ear or even a helping hand. It also helps to talk with people who have experience dealing with the same issues as they can understand what you are going through better than most others and could even be the source of some meaningful new friendships.

Saying goodbye

Through this whole process it is important to accept the fact that some people get better and some are not able to recover. Your loved one may be on the road to recovery and will one day be all better; but, in some cases death is inevitable and it’s important to be prepared to say goodbye. Grief, when dealing with a long term illness, is a lot different than that of a sudden death, primarily because there is period of time where there is an expectation of death. In their book “Saying Goodbye,” Dr. Barbara Okun and Dr. Joseph Nowinski detail the grieving process from diagnosis to death in 5 phases:

Phase 1: Crisis

This stage begins with the diagnosis of the serious or terminal disease. A crisis is created in the lives of those involved. Anxiety and fear are the most prevalent emotions during this phase. The best thing to do in this phase is to remove as much of the unknown as possible by researching the disease itself, treatment options, and what to expect throughout the rest of the process.

Phase 2: Unity

This stage is when the person who was diagnosed and their friends and family accept the situation and begin to come together and define their role going forth. It is important to define what the needs/capabilities of each person is and be open and honest with all involved.

Phase 3: Upheaval

Upheaval occurs as the life changes brought on by the situation begin to create issues and difficulties with in the social circle of family and friends. Frustrations, guilt, and resentment can surface creating animosity between friends and family members. During this stage it is important to maintain open communication and try your best to let go of negative feelings as they arise.

Phase 4: Resolution

This stage occurs once the ill person has reached a point where recovery is no longer an option and death becomes a reality. Family members and friends begin to accept the reality of the situation. This is where the real grief starts and various people will have a stronger reaction than others. It is important to let everyone grieve in their own way and not pass judgment. This phase is important in that it may be the last chance to resolve issues between yourself and the dying, recall good memories of the times you spent together, and to say any last words you have before they pass. Seize the opportunity when you can.

Phase 5: Renewal

The final stage begins after the person has passed on, usually at their funeral. This can be an extremely confusing time as everyone grapples with the reality of what happened and their own mixed emotions. But this is the time where you can begin to try and focus on the good times you spent with them, and decide how you will remember them and honor their life in a positive light.

Source:  Saying Goodbye by Barbara Okun, Ph.D. and Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. by arrangement with Berkley Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc, Copyright © 2011 by Harvard University.

These descriptions are just a brief overview. For a full description of the phases please visit

Whew, okay heavy subject I know, but it is one that we could all face at some point in our lives. If you or someone you know is dealing with this in their lives and needs help, please seek out support groups online or at a local cancer center, or consider seeking professional counseling. If you have an employee assistance program through your employer, it can be a great resource that can provide guidance, help finding information, and referrals to counseling.


To Your Wellbeing,

-Nic Mckane



American Cancer Society


Family Caregiver Alliance

Cancer Care

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TotalWellbeing: January 2015

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January 2015: Be Aware of Your Physical Wellbeing

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Wellness through Awareness!

Happy New Year and welcome to the January issue of TotalWellbeing! To start the year off right we wanted to introduce you to the new layout of TotalWellbeing. This year we will focus on one of the dimensions of wellbeing per month and focus on being aware of wellness in your everyday life in order to keep your minAd on track and your body in balance. This month we focus on the ever important realm of Physical Wellbeing. Keeping your body healthy is one of the most basic elements of healthy living and is at the very core of keeping yourself at an optimal level of wellbeing.  To explore this dimension more closely please read The Path, below.

Last month on the MINES blog we saw some excellent content from our experts here at MINES. With the New Year upon us, we posted some great ideas to help you be successful with your resolution in 2015 and beyond. We also highlighted a very generous program that a client of ours utilized to bring a little extra holiday joy to their employees who needed it.

In the spirit of awareness, this year we want to hear from you, yes that’s right, you! Please send any inspiring stories, wellbeing techniques that you use, or any other fantastic ways you’ve found to stay mindful and balanced to or just click one of our Share buttons. Not only will the best wellbeing stories each month be featured in the quarterly BalancedLiving Magazine but authors may also receive a $5 gift card! Don’t miss out and share today!

And as usual make sure to follow us on our blog and LinkedIn showcase pages to make sure to get all the resources we have for you in 2015.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path

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Physical wellbeing, a concept that pretty much every one of us has thought about from time to time. Whether you run, do yoga, hike, or bike to work, we have many options in front of us to help keep our bodies healthy. If you already exercise, that’s great, and as the year progresses we will bring you resources to help challenge yourself further. If you haven’t started yet, don’t worry, we will help you get off to a great start down the road to wellbeing this year. Because if you take care of your physical self, the mental part of your wellbeing will benefit and help you become happier and more well-balanced as a result.

Healthy Eating

Physical Wellbeing Resources:

Better your understanding of the benefits of physical activity with this CDC article on physical health!

Read Article Here

Engage your body with these perfect workout routines for people on the go by!

Full Recipe Here

New! Chakra To Your Senses New!

Many cultures believe in Chakras (shock-ras) which are, simply put, energy centers in your body that govern various aspects of your physiology. We will stay away from the spiritual aspects of these and instead focus on the concept behind them to bring you more ways to nurture you body as well as mind. Click here to see a complete list of the 7 chakras and their properties.

Chakras to nurture this month: Root and Solar Plexus

In order to support your physical well being it will be important to be aware of and nurture your Root and Solar Plexus Chakras. Your Root Chakra, located in the base of your spine, acts as your storage for physical vitality and can be nurtured through keeping yourself physically active and choosing activities that stimulate creativity. Your Solar Plexus Chakra is located in your upper abdomen and is connected to self-confidence and self-esteem; choose fun social activities that keep you moving, like dancing, to nurture this part of yourself. Now get out there and have fun and be well!

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 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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TotalWellbeing: May 2014

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May 2014: Intellectual & Financial Wellbeing

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The More You Know!

Welcome to the May issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we will continue to focus on Intellectual wellbeing while bringing things back full circle by re-introducing one of our first topics of the year, financial wellbeing. Finances and intellect have a complex relationship that is difficult to discuss fully in a short amount of time and without looking at many aspects of the society in which we live, but we will do our best to look at the connection on a micro as well as macro level.

As always we had a lot of information coming from the MINES team last month. We saw the latest look into the complex world of how your decisions regarding your privacy play a key part in your health and the health of others. We explored how positive thinking and social support can help you overcome adversity. And of course the latest edition of Bridging the Gap helps tie the whole first quarter of 2014 together. We have lots planned coming up, so as usual we encourage you to head over to our blog to check out the latest updates, and let us know what you want to see from MINES.


To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Heart Blue

The Connection:

Intellectual & Financial Wellbeing

The connection between intellectual and financial wellbeing is a cycle that needs constant attention and if leveraged correctly can lead to increased opportunity and happiness in all areas of your life. As you gain experience and knowledge, you have the chance to work smarter rather than harder in order to grow your career, financial independence, and gain more time to enjoy what you love most in life and focus your mind where you please.On the flip side of things, people who are constantly struggling with making ends meet may not have time to properly educate themselves and may live with very high levels of stress.On the micro, or individual level, this has a drastic influence on one’s quality of life as well as their family. On the macro, or societal level, this has huge implications in the widening wealth gap between classes.

Intellectual Wellbeing

Financial Wellbeing

It’s Never Too Late to Learn New Things!


Family Financial Problems

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It is important to learn new things. Weather it is something useful, something interesting, or just something fun, learning is an invaluable activity that should be done over your entire life. To help do just that, try a free course from where you can take courses and earn certificates in a variety of topics from cooking to exploring quantum physics!

To read the full article, click here.


It’s obvious that your financial situation can affect your happiness and wellbeing, but what about those around you? Understanding how financial decisions can affect your family is critical, and to help here are some tips from that shed light on the many connections between the ones you love and your financial standing.

To read the full article, click here.

 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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Bridging the Gap #2

Here at MINES we all hope that the first quarter of 2014 has been going great. We know time tends to fly when you’re busy, and this year has been a no exception, but we hope you’ve had time to find balance, and have used the resources that we have brought to you over the last few months to help with that. But no worries if you haven’t had time to catch everything coming from MINES this quarter. To catch you all up we will first review what we’ve been up to since the start of the year, and then we’ll preview a bit of what you can expect from MINES going into the spring and summer months.

First, let’s clarify our goal here: with “Bridging the Gap” we hope to make the connection between our wellbeing topics, and how they relate to both each other as well as your daily life, unmistakable – helping to bring the bigger picture of overall wellbeing into focus.

During the first quarter of 2014 we introduced our first 4 wellbeing topics as well as brought you blog posts from a variety of MINES’ experts. Let’s talk about those wellbeing topics first.

In January, we began the year with aspects of wellbeing that are always on peoples’ minds right after the holidays, financial wellbeing and occupational wellbeing. As the New Year begins, it is a time for review and realignment, and with this we felt it was important to bridge these particular topics as a way to focus on the balance between financial stability, job satisfaction, and their effect on overall happiness. February we looked at occupational wellbeing, this time with a connection to emotional wellbeing. Our goal with these topics was to focus on the interconnectivity of job satisfaction and one’s state of mind, showing that all work and no sense of accomplishment can indeed make Jack experience symptoms of burnout. Then in March we once again delved into the realm of emotional wellbeing. This time, however, we looked at how finances affected overall wellbeing and state of mind and proved that stability and good planning definitely buys more happiness than riches.

Now if you’re reading this you are probably familiar with our blog. This last quarter saw a lot of great information being shared from MINES.Over the past few months we have seen several posts from Dr. Robert Mines, CEO and psychologist. His posts have touched on such critical topics as chronic illness, mindfulness, and the importance of positive mind states. Coming from the world of organizational psychology, our BizPsych consultants shared success stories which helped showcase what it takes to strengthen resilience and bring a team together in hard times. Next up our expert case managers helped break down psychological aspects of financial wellbeing, and we still have ¾ of the year left!

Moving right along, let’s look at some of the resources you can look forward to over the next few months as well as the fresh ideas and articles coming to our blog. We will continue to explore emotional connections as we unveil the next wellbeing topics; intellectual wellbeing and social wellbeing. Now I don’t want to share too much about these just yet but as we explore these topics and how they interact within our daily lives, our hope is that by highlighting these connections it will help everyone make more sense of what contributes to their own wellbeing and make achieving balance in their lives that much more of a reality.

Excited yet? We are!With so much to share we hope you’ll stay with us and continue down the path of happiness, wellbeing, and balance. As always please don’t hesitate to comment on this post or any other. You can also email us at:, and let us know what you like, questions you may have, and what you’d like to see us discuss in the future. See you next time!

To your total wellbeing

-The MINES Team

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Psychological Aspects of Financial Wellbeing

There are countless resources online that give advice on how to budget, how to get out of debt, how to save, how to invest, and so many more topics on money and finances. The interesting question, then, is why is money still such a difficult issue for people?  Why don’t we all feel financially confident and successful, all the time?

At first glance, money and wellbeing (one’s state of overall health, across all components of life) may not seem to go together. However, there are numerous psychological components associated with people and their financial wellbeing. The broad categories include brain chemistry, the behavioral economics of loss aversion, family views of money and what it means, and personal beliefs regarding money, its meaning and how to manage it. There are also many others that will not be addressed in this blog.

The neurochemical elements related to money have to do with brain changes related to spending money versus saving money. It is well documented that when people act on urges for immediate gratification (i.e., I need those shoes NOW!), they activate specific chemical “pleasure centers” in the brain, which can cause them to have stronger, more frequent urges to repeat the gratifying behavior.  Some people have a more difficult time delaying gratification than others.  This experience alone accounts for significant differences in people who are able to save: they are able to study instead of play, achieve higher levels in education and subsequently higher levels of income, which can be tied to money wellbeing later in life. People who routinely act on spending impulses often run up debt, have cash flow problems and subsequent stress related to these situations. Other neurochemistry-related conditions that negatively affect financial wellbeing include addiction (to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.), which often includes diverting money to support those immediate gratification demands of addiction with corresponding money problems.

The area of behavioral economics includes a significant body of research related to factors of influence and people’s decisions about money and subsequent financial wellbeing. For example, most people would rather not lose money than take the risk of getting more money. This was played out again in the last recession, when people pulled their money out of a market that was dropping in prices, bonds paid virtually nothing. Yet people who had cash and were risk-aversive did not reinvest ended up missing out on 70-200% returns in stocks over the next few years. Those who thought bonds were safe ended up losing money against inflation, even as low as it was during that time. This clearly had an impact on financial wellbeing.

Family views about money are passed on in the form of modeling, messages and social influence. For example, a family that views money as a typically scarce resource that should be shared equally will expect family members who do succeed in attaining higher levels of financial wellbeing to subsidize them. This can create family stress if the individual who has the money disagrees with the others’ beliefs about it. There is case after case of lottery winners suddenly being contacted by family members they had not heard from in a while asking for money. There are also a number of lottery winners who went bankrupt. Some of the reasons for this can be traced to family views about money, a feeling or belief that they did not deserve it, not knowing how to manage it, and an inability to tolerate the social isolation of being in a different economic stratum than their extended family, among other elements.

Individual beliefs about money play an important role in financial wellbeing. How people think about money plays out in their everyday decisions. If one cannot see their “future self” clearly, they may have difficulty saving or participating in their employer’s 401K. Those who do have a clear view of their future self generally find it easier to save and invest systematically. Some people have “all or none” beliefs about money. If they have it, they spend all of it.  If they were going to save, and spent it instead, then they say they will start tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow never comes because they repeat the same sequence the next time. This is in contrast to people who view money with more complexity, who are able to allocate money to budget categories, and value the practice of paying themselves first (saving) versus spending.

What can you do to build your awareness of the psychological aspects of financial wellbeing, and make them work in your favor?

  1. Spend time becoming aware of your thoughts and beliefs about money. Where did you learn them? How do they serve you? How do they positively or negatively impact your financial wellbeing?
  2. If your neurochemistry is part of your financial wellbeing in a negative way (addictions, impulse control) consider seeking professional help.
  3. Identify your family patterns related to money. How do they enhance or detract from your financial wellbeing? How do you feel about what you learned or did not learn from your family related to money?
  4. Become aware of external factors related to behavioral economics that lead to risk-aversive versus “irrationally exuberant” decisions.

To Your Wellbeing,

Mines, R.A., Stone, W.C., DeKeyser, H.E.

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Total Wellbeing: January 2014

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January 2014: Occupational and Financial Wellbeing

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Happy New Year!

Welcome to the January issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we want to help you kick off the New Year the right way. Plus, what better time than now to introduce what’s new for this year?

Our theme for 2014, TotalWellbeing, has been designed to help bridge the gap between your potential, and actual, wellbeing.  By keeping employees informed, we will supply the knowledge necessary to support healthy lifestyles in order to be well in both body and mind.  With this idea of the mind-body relationship at the forefront, our topics will focus on the 8 dimensions of wellness: Physical, Occupational, Intellectual, Environmental, Financial, Social, Spiritual, and Emotional Wellness. Each month we will explore how different aspects of wellness are connected to each other and more importantly how they apply to you so you can achieve balance and promote your own Total Wellbeing.

These will also be posted on our blog each month.  So, if one of the topics appeals to you or you have interest in joining a conversation with others about the topics in each monthly communication, feel free to comment or rate these on our blog!  We look forward to hearing from you!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Connection: Occupational & Financial Wellbeing

If you’re getting this email, it’s because you have a job since we send these out through your employer.  How are you approaching your work?  If you’re working there, hopefully you enjoy your job or career, but how does that job or career help you achieve your own financial goals?  What is the next step for you with your current employer?  What professional goals should you set to be a better or more effective employee?  What would it mean to take that next step in your career?

Occupational Wellbeing

Financial Wellbeing

Creating Job Satisfaction

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Financial Wellbeing Tips

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Job satisfaction doesn’t just come from how much you make or how exciting your job is. The mindset in which you approach your job and your day to day attitude can make the difference between loving your job and dreading it. Learn how to get the most out of your job and enhance your job satisfaction.To read the full article, click here. Whether you have short term or long term goals, these simple tips from will teach you new ways to protect your financial investments and help you worry less and save more.To read the full article, click here.
 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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