Posts Tagged wellbeing

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

For National Eating Disorder Awareness Week this year, we wanted to highlight a local community member and eating disorder awareness advocate, Amy Babich. Amy was gracious enough to provide us with her thoughts, experience, and resources to help others that may be struggling with an eating disorder. Amy’s insights are below:

This week is NEDA Week, a.k.a. National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and every year I make it a priority to openly discuss this deadly disease that is often left in the dark. Unfortunately, it seems that unless a celebrity addresses the topic, or an extremely severe case finds its way to the media, eating disorders are rarely talked about. This makes them more stigmatized, underfunded, and a seemingly ‘less important’ mental health issue.  Also, the lack of discussion and education about eating disorders can make it much more difficult for those struggling to seek help.

The Facts

  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest overall mortality rate and the highest suicide rate of any psychiatric disorder.
  • Eating disorders have very low federal funding, totaling to only $28 million per year. *To give you an idea of how limited that amount of research money is, Alcoholism: 18 x more funding ($505 million), Schizophrenia: 13 x more funding ($352 million), and Depression: 12 x more funding ($328 million)
  • Every 62 minutes, at least one person dies from an eating disorder.
  • There are more eating disorders than just anorexia and bulimia; there is also EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), orthorexia, ARFID(avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), and diabulimia.
  • Only 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder will receive treatment in their lifetime.
  • Insurance companies’ often refuse coverage for eating disorder treatment. *Based on level of care needed, treatment costs between $500-$2,000 PER DAY.

My Own Battle

It took me many years, and numerous rounds of treatment, to get to where I am today: recovered from anorexia. I wanted to start by saying that so that people can realize if recovering from an eating disorder was as simple as “just eat your food,” it wouldn’t have taken 4+ years, 3 different facilities, and 8 admissions to do so. For me, my eating disorder was a slow suicide, and one of the many self-destructive behaviors I engaged in. It wasn’t about the food, and if you ever are to hear anyone talk about eating disorders, they’ll also tell you the same.

Recovery didn’t come until I really wanted it, which took much longer than the people who were by my side through it all had hoped, including myself.  What it really took for me to choose recovery was a very serious medical complication. In my last relapse, I had a seizure on my best friend’s floor at 2 a.m. The seizure was caused by refeeding syndrome, which is a life-threatening reaction that the body has when it is severely malnourished, then suddenly increases its food intake.  Unfortunately, it took me losing complete control over my body to want to take back control of my life; and as strange as it may sound, I am so grateful for that seizure, and truly don’t know if I’d be here now, had it not happened.

Because of the struggles I have endured, I am an advocate for eating disorders, mental health, the LGBTQ+ community, women, and children. I believe whole-heartedly that I am here on this earth to let people know that they are not alone.

To Those Struggling

There is help out there, and it’s okay to ask for it. That’s why things like eating disorder treatment facilities, programs, and specialized therapists exist. Know that you are worthy of love, happiness, and freedom and that you are not alone. Asking for support takes a great amount of strength, so please try not to look at it as a weakness. Recovery is possible, and this big, beautiful, chaotic mess of a world needs you.  Stay strong, and keep fighting.

Resources

NEDA Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-223-5001

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

 

 

With wishes of happiness & health,

Amy Babich

Final thoughts from MINES

Eating disorders are serious. Please don’t wait to reach out if you need assistance. Employee Assistance Programs like MINES are here to provide resources and guidance to make sure you get the help you need. We are always here to talk. Please call us at 1-800-873-7138 if you or someone you care about is struggling with an eating disorder, depression, or any other work/life issues that you may need help with.

Sources:

https://www.aedweb.org/index.php/education/eating-disorder-information/eating-disorder-information-14

http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

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Total Wellbeing: February 2017

 

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February 2017: Financial Wellbeing and Internet Safety

Get Involved!

8-ux-pitfalls-to-avoid-in-mobile-app-designWelcome to the February 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 review how internet safety can affect your financial wellbeing. These two topics intersect and influence each other on many levels and it is important to occasionally review where they may conflict and what you can do to protect yourself. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Speaking of internet safety, did you know last Saturday was National Data Privacy Day? If you have been keeping an eye on MINESblog you may have seen our own ideas around data security and the importance of being diligent with your information written by MINES’ own security officer and CIO, Ryan Lucas.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message, and 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 Internet Safety Influences Your Financial Wellbeing

Whether you do all your shopping online, are a nominal internet user, or are a parent, internet safety is important. Not only is it important to take note of when you give out your personal information, it is important to take time to reflect how you spend your money online. With less and less people balancing a checkbook, it has become much easier to lose track of where your money is going and to catch mistakes when they happen. Whether you allow things to be paid automatically online or you allow websites that save your credit card information, it has become easier to spend more money without realizing it. You also need to be careful about what websites you allow to have your information so that your information isn’t stolen, which can severely impact your financial wellbeing. If you are a parent, you need to be aware of how your child is spending their time online and how much information they are sharing. A teenager may not think it is a big deal to share that your family is leaving town but if the wrong person finds out, you may be robbed while you are gone.

There is good news! By using websites and Wifi networks that are secured, it is possible to have stronger and safer financial wellbeing. By having quick access to your financial statements, being able to autopay or receive instant reminders to pay your bills, you can feel more confident in your financial status and reduce stress when it comes to trying to keep track of your financial wellbeing. If you are confident in your internet safety and do everything you can to protect yourself, the financial freedom the internet provides you is exhilarating and freeing.

 Check out these resources to help you hone your internet safety skills.

Tips for you:

Did you know the “S” in the URL stands for secure? Next time you are online, look at the URL (web address) to see if the site you are visiting is secured before you put your personal information in. You will know the URL is secured if the URL starts with “https://”. If the site you are visiting just says “http://” it is not a secured site and you should be careful about giving any personal information on there.

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, think about helping out a third world entrepreneur start their business by providing capital for their business even if it is a small amount. Just remember to be careful anytime you give your financial information out over the internet. Check out this website and look for ways you can help in your community https://www.lendwithcare.org/.

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Retirement Planning. 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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Total Wellbeing: January 2017

 

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January 2017: Occupational Wellbeing and Retirement Planning

Get Involved!

 

death_to_stock_communicate_hands_1Welcome to the January 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 year will be looking at these dimensions in conjunction with a monthly topic and how those two things vary in our communities. This month we will hone in on Retirement Planning and how different people may view how to go about that and how planning for your retirement affects your Occupational Wellbeing. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Last month MINESblog saw two important posts that we hope you found useful. To recap, in case you missed them, we talked about Colorado Gives Day which is an annual charity day that supports Colorado non-profit organizations that do great work all year around. If you missed it but still want to donate head over to coloradogives.org to see how you might still contribute. Next, we know that the holidays can be a stressful time of year so we posted a guide to find joy amidst all the holiday madness.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message, and 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 Retirement Planning Affects Your Wellbeing

Did you know that almost every country has some form of pension and social security benefits whether it is government funded or paid into by the employee? It is pretty incredible to think that so many countries see the importance and value of planning for the time when you will no longer work, either voluntarily or due to circumstances out of your control. Italy even has an elective residency visa that is generally used by foreigners who are retired and want to live in the Italian countryside. So how are you preparing for your retirement? Whether you are at the beginning or the end of your career it is important to your overall wellbeing to think about and find ways to start planning for retirement. Your occupational wellbeing is an important aspect of this. If you prepare for your retirement, you will feel happier as you get closer to that point. You will be able to focus your energy for your occupational wellbeing toward other work related issues rather than having to scramble that last year before you retire or feeling like you will never be able to retire.

It is never too early to start preparing for your retirement. Check out these resources.

Tips for you:

Talk to your co-workers or Human Resources and see what they have done to start preparing for the future. It is never too late to start that 401k or talk to a professional about it and you might have some great resources available at work.

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, think about contacting your local shelter or organization and helping others work on their occupational wellbeing, whether it is helping them write a resume, coaching them on interview techniques, or helping them develop computer skills. Use your individual skill set to help someone else take a step toward keeping their occupational wellbeing strong and healthy. Check out this website and look for ways you can help in your community here!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here, along with some articles and assistance for Retirement Planning. 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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Total Wellbeing: November 2016

 

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November 2016: Social Wellbeing

Get Involved!

 

death_to_stock_communicate_hands_4Welcome to the November 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 turn the magnifying glass to Social Wellbeing to discuss the influence social connections have on one another. Being aware of this influence is very important as the more we understand just how much our family, friends, co-workers, and other people in our lives actually impact our behavior, the better we can pick and choose good habits to emulate from others, and which behaviors to avoid. Likewise, no one wants to be a bad influence, so be aware of your impact on others and avoid conducting yourself in ways that may leave a negative impression on them. This is especially true with children, as their young minds are much more malleable than an adult’s and you never know where they might pick up behaviors from. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Last month we saw MINESblog cover Breast Cancer Awareness month with a post that looked at awareness, resilience, and resources for anyone whose life has been impacted in some way or another by cancer. Not our favorite topic to cover but one that can critically impact many dimensions of our wellbeing.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message, and 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: Social Wellbeing and Influence

One of the most important aspects of social wellbeing is the influence that others have on us, and conversely, the influence we have over others. As with most things this influence can be overt or subtle, good or bad, and purposeful or accidental. The key is being aware of this influence and making the most of it. This awareness brings with a degree of control over the external influences you let affect you as well as the influence you present to others. It is up to you to use this social influence to better yourself and others. The concept of a role model is the ideal example of this. We look up to role models and let their influence shape certain aspects of ourselves while in turn we are role models ourselves for those that look up to us.

Tips for you:

Maintaining healthy social connections can benefit your wellbeing in many ways. Take a look at an article over at Psychology Today that looks at the various impacts your social connections may have and examines 3 categories of social connectedness around life’s various relationships.

Check Out the Article 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:

Social influence often has the strongest hold over us when we are young and beginning to learn how the world works. This is the reason it is so critical to present a good example for young children. One way that we can help influence these impressionable young minds for the better is with community driven programs designed to help children strive and learn what they need to get ready for success in school and social activities. One such group that is making an impact is Early Milestones Colorado. Head over to their site to learn more about what they do and how you can get involved with the cause.

Check it out here!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here. 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.

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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Total Wellbeing: October 2016

 

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October 2016: Emotional Wellbeing

Get Involved!

 

death_to_stock_photography_bodytruths_7Welcome to the October 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 it is time again to look at emotional wellbeing and how your emotional state can affect other facets of your overall health. Certain things like motivation, enjoyment of activities, eating habits, and social interaction, just to name a few, are all things that your emotional state can impact. If you are aware of this interconnection then you can begin to leverage your other wellbeing dimensions to lift your spirits. For instance you may find getting some exercise helps alleviate some anxiety, or how going out with friends may help with any stress you may be feeling. We know that it might be hard to put yourself in a mindset to be productive, but trust us you will be happy you did.  For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

September’s MINESblog posts covered a couple topics. To help you celebrate Labor day, our first post talked about being mindful of your free time and gave some tips on how you can keep unplanned events and bad moods from getting in the way of your relaxation time. Next, on a much more serious note we took Suicide Prevention week as an opportunity to provide some important information on warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help someone you think might have suicidal thoughts. Keep in mind if you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression, and you don’t know where to turn.  You can always call MINES, we are here to help.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message, and 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: Emotional Wellbeing and Your Body

As we typically like to point out here at MINES, coins have two sides and it is important to look at both. In this case, heads, as in your head, can experience some negative emotions and with those comes some risk depending on how you choose to handle these feelings. Just as positive mindsets can invigorate you and boost things like confidence, ambition, and desire for social activity, negative emotions can deplete your energy and ambition. This can cause you to be less active, eat less healthily, and socialize less, all of which can lead to your negative emotions perpetuating themselves. But that’s where the other side of the coin comes in. This emotion-driven energy dynamic goes both ways. Activity in the other wellbeing areas such as exercising (physical wellbeing), meditating or relaxing in your preferred method (spiritual wellbeing), and even going out with friends (social wellbeing), can make you feel more productive, boost your endorphin production, and help you see things from a different perspective. These proactive activities improve your mental wellbeing meaning the next time you feel down, resist the urge to shut down. Instead get up and go do your favorite activities and get some fresh blood to the brain and we guarantee you’ll begin to feel better.

Tips for you:

Your emotions can impact your physical health in many ways. Luckily there are just as many techniques and daily activities that can help you maintain your health while keeping your emotions in a healthy space. Take a look at what FamilyDoctor.org says about your emotion’s impact and tips on improving your overall emotional wellbeing.

Check Out the Article 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 is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to help support awareness, funding for research, and support to those who are dealing with this devastating disease, Making Strides is hosting walks around the country. If you want to get involved and help in any way you can check out the link below to locate an event near you.

Find an Event Near You!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here. 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.

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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Suicide Prevention Week 2016

Suicide is non-discriminatory; it affects everybody regardless of gender, race, class, or age.  According to the World Health Organization, 1 million people attempt suicide per year, yet it’s still not commonly talked about.

A person who is contemplating suicide is in so much pain that they do not see any other feasible options.  Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems; the effect reaching far beyond the person who takes their life.

Suicide can be a symptom of depression; however depression is a treatable mental health illness that affects many people.   Many people may struggle with feelings of sadness and hopelessness but never act upon suicide.  Suicidal thinking is complex, so it is important to understand the warning signs to understand if the person needs immediate help.

A person who is struggling with suicidal thoughts may not know how to ask for help, they just want to stop hurting. You might feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject with someone you suspect may be suicidal, but talking openly about it, responding quickly, and offering support, can save their live.

Recognizing these signs and using the resources below may help you prevent someone from completing suicide:

Warning Signs:

  • Isolating behaviors, withdrawing from family and friends
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Decline in work or school performance
  • Being bullied
  • Recent death of a loved one
  • Increased mood swings
  • Decrease in activities
  • Giving away possessions
  • Change in sleep or appetite
  • Chronic mental illness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Acting impulsively
  • Seeking out lethal means
  • Having a plan
  • Having intent

Suicide Prevention Resources

National Resources:

Denver Metro Area Resources:

Hotlines:

Text Lines:

  • Text “GO” to 741741

 

To your wellbeing,

-Alea Makley, MA

Case Manager

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: September 2016

 

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September 2016: Physical Wellbeing

Get Involved!

Man and Woman in Lotus Pose

Welcome to the September issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we circle back around to Physical Wellbeing. In February we talked about goal setting. How have yours been coming along? If you’ve found it hard to stay motivated you’re not alone. To help with this, look to friends and family for encouragement and shared goal setting/achieving. Feed off of each other’s achievements and hold each other accountable for getting out there and working towards your objectives. To make it even more fun check out the community resource section below for some great apps to help keep track of your activity and compete against your workout buddies! For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Last month on MINESblog we were in the Olympic spirit. There were certainly some amazing performances this summer in Rio from all around the world. Our CEO, Dr. Robert Mines couldn’t help but examine the psychology behind Olympic athletes and the immense pressure they have to endure while preparing for and competing in the games. In a second post, Dr. Mines also explored the importance of curiosity and its role in intelligence and life-log learning. If you like what you read, there’s always more great posts coming up so make sure to subscribe.

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

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Spiritual Wellbeing and Perspective

Last time we talked about physical wellbeing we looked at goal setting. We asked you what do you wanted to achieve, and how you planned to reach those goals. We hope that you were able to go out and set those aspirations for yourself, but now we ask another question. What will keep you striving to achieve what you set out to do in the long run? The key behind this question is motivation. Motivation, like most aspects of wellbeing, is a personal concept that is most definitely not a one size fits all sort of thing, and staying motivated can be just as hard as the work itself. The good news is that you do not have to go it alone. One of the greatest sources of motivation are the other people in your life. Strive to find the family members, friends, and co-workers that may also have some goals and hold each other accountable for achieving them. Ask each other how it’s going, give encouraging words, or even use an app to track progress and have a little competitive fun trying to outdo one another. Remember to keep the competitiveness on the light side. The goal here is to encourage and have fun so that you enjoy reaching your goals as well as watching other reach theirs.

Tips for you:

Are you looking to make your occasional strength class or Sunday spin session a regular ritual? Many casual exercisers want to sweat more often, but they struggle with finding the workout motivation to make fitness a part of their daily routine. Check out dailyburn.com’s motivation tips to give yourself a boost when you feel like you need a little extra pep.

Check Out Tips 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:

Social media and social apps make it a breeze to keep in touch with those you care about in your life. It’s great to be able to send someone a message or find out how they’re doing with a few swipes or key strokes. But did you know that social apps also make it easy to share each others’ workouts, goals, and activity? It’s a great way to stay motivated, have fun, offer encouragement and be encouraged, and maybe get a little competitive in the process. Don’t know where to start? Check out Active.com’s review of the 16 best fitness apps of 2016.

Read Review Here!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here. 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.

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 #58: Curiosity and Knowledge

I just finished a thought provoking and assumption challenging book, Curiosity, by Ian Leslie. I hope you get a copy and read it in its entirety. This blog addresses some, and  not all, of the important information presented in the book.

The tag line on the cover directly implies that performance is impacted by “the desire to know and why your future depends on it.”

Leslie describes three types of curiosity. “diversive curiosity” is the restless desire for the new and the next. Think scrolling through your cell phone apps such as facebook, twitter, emails, wordpress, and news feeds, while spending very little time on any one piece. The value of “diversive curiosity” is that it helps the exploring mind find the new and the undiscovered. Its ultimate value is helping us be curious enough to learn futher about a subject, to do a deeper investigationThe second type of curiosity is “epistemic curiosity.” It is a “quest for knowledge and understanding, it nourishes us. This deeper, more disciplined and effortful type of curiosity” is the focus of the book ( prologue, p.xx).

The third type of curiosity is “empathic curiosity.” This is “about the thoughts and feelings of other people. It is distinct from gossip or prurience, which we can think of as “diversive curiosity” about the superficial detail of others’ lives. You practice empathic curiosity when you genuinely try to put yourself in the shoes – and mind – of the person you are talking to, to see things from their perspective… (p.xxi).”

The relevance for psychology of performance in business is far reaching. Given the complexity of our business environments, advances in science and technology, and the exponential growth of knowledge. Organizations and individuals who are not curious will become obsolete or become further and further behind compared to those who embrace epistemic curiosity and life-long learning.

Leslie does us the same service Malcom Gladwell and other synthsis writers do by diving into the scientific literature behind the statements in the book. One area that is concerning is the role of core subject knowledge and the ability to be curious. Schools who teach process skills without content knowledge produce students who are less capable of the creative, cross-discipline insights and thinking required to solve the complex and diverse problems we are faced with. This body of research is counter to what has happened in many schools across the country. One has to have information in order to know whether one wants to be curious and learn more about it.  Leslie’s handrail was “knowledge loves knowledge.”

He adds an interesting case study related to Disney and Pixar concerning then-CEO of Disney Michael Eisner and co-founder of Pixar, Steve Jobs. Leslie looks at an interesting quote from Jobs stating that as Pixar was the creative organization producing one money making film after another while Disney was the distributor, Eisner only spent a little over two hours at Pixar rather than learning how Pixar was doing what it did and taking it back to Disney. Finally, after Eisner and Jobs left, Disney bought Pixar. If someone is out-performing you as an organization or individually, being curious as to how they are doing that could be a good process to go through rather than avoiding it, resting on the status quo, or other reasons for not learning more.

Leslie discussed breadth versus depth in knowledge and the need for both. He uses the concept of a “foxhog” (p.152). “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing” (p.151). A foxhog is one who combines deep knowledge of a specialty with broad understanding of other disciplines. Leslie also pays tribute to one of my favorite business people and writers, Charlie Munger, who is exemplary in his pursuit of knowledge outside of his field and in learning useful mental models from other disciplines. From a psychology of performance point of view, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet have performed at high levels in their field for decades.

In order to improve your performance over your lifetime, be epistemically and empathically curious, be a lifelong learner, apply what you know, and take action!

 

Please have a day filled with loving kindness and extend compassion and sympathetic joy to everyone you meet.

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

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Total Wellbeing: August 2016

 

 Total Wellbeing Icon

August 2016: Spiritual Wellbeing

Get Involved!

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Welcome to the August issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we talk about Spiritual Wellbeing. This topic can be hard to define as it often means different things to different people depending on values, goals, beliefs, and background. But there is one aspect of Spiritual wellbeing that is common to us all and that is the drive to accept ourselves, the world, and our place within it. If you are feeling out of sync with yourself or the world around you it is important to take the time to meditate on the issue(s) that may be affecting you. While it is never a good idea to dwell on negative feelings, it is important to understand why we may be feeling them so that we can make changes, refine our values and understandings, and ultimately bring ourselves back into alignment so that we can feel better and move forward. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Much more information on a variety of topics is available on MINESblog. Here you can expect blogs, articles, and tips provided by members of the MINES Team. Last month you may have heard about a little game called PokemonGo. In case you didn’t notice it has been quite the social phenomenon, and we couldn’t help but look at some of the wellness and social psychology implications of the game, so check out what Ryan Lucas, our Manager of Engagement & Development, had to say about this latest craze. And of course we will have some more great articles coming up so make sure to subscribe.

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

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Spiritual Wellbeing and Perspective

To be at peace with your surroundings you must first be at peace with yourself. This is no secret.  If you are stressed, distracted, or otherwise out of alignment with yourself it is hard to focus on your day-to-day life. You may find yourself unable to enjoy certain activities, find it hard to focus at work, or find your productivity slipping, all because there is something on your mind that is distracting you, or making you question your values or purpose. When that happens it is important to take the time to self-reflect and think about why you feel this way. To help bring yourself back into a place where you feel satisfied and fulfilled on a spiritual level, it is important to take time for yourself. Relax, seek to define or re-define your values, think about how those values guide your actions in your day to day life, and consider how you can refine the aspects of your life that you can control and let go of the things that you cannot such as the values and actions of others, or the state of the world as a whole. Come to terms with these things and it will be much easier to come to terms with yourself and find inner-peace.

Tips for you:

One of the key ingredients to Spiritual Wellbeing is self-acceptance and mindfulness. The ability to be self-aware without being overly critical of yourself can be tricky but not impossible. The key is to get above the negative thoughts in your head that are keeping you from being fully present in the moment. Don’t try to stop negative thoughts, as that is almost impossible, instead simply try to accept them and let them pass without affecting you. Use these 8 techniques for self-acceptance to help practice.

Try the Exercises 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:

While Spiritual Wellbeing focuses on looking within, we can’t truly be at peace with ourselves unless we understand our place in the world around us. It is important to remind ourselves from time to time how we work within the grand scheme of things. A great way to do that is to get out and interact with other people and at the same time find purpose for ourselves by helping others. Volunteering and helping with community-based events is a great way to do this. Volunteermatch.com makes it easy to find opportunities in your area where you can reach out and make an impact in your own community.

Find Opportunities Here!

Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here. 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.

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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HEALTH INSITE: #POKEMONGO AND HEALTH

Intro

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

What is PokemonGO

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From NianticLabs.com

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

But why is it so dang popular!?!

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

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

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

How does it work?

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

A word on design

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

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

Security

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

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

Health hazard or opportunity

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

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

What can it potentially do?

Gamification

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

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From Gamasutra.com, link below

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

Augmented Reality

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

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

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

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

Teams

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

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

Socio-environmental disturbance

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

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

Why is this important?

BmsB9w6 - ImgurThese are not the Pokemon you seek

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

Just the beginning…

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

To our health,

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

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