Monday, November 30, 2015

Happier and Healthier Holidays


Focus on the Meaning of the Holidays
·         Celebrate the spiritual meaning                         
·         Observe your faith traditions
·         Attend holiday concerts, plays and cultural events

Change Stressful Traditions
·         Share meals and fun activities with loved ones and friends
·         Be creative in developing new, manageable ways to celebrate (gifts, decorating, entertaining, worship, foods, etc.)
·         Make celebrations special and meaningful to you and family

Redefine and Manage Gift Giving
·         Spend within your means; refrain from using credit
·         Give gifts of skills and talents
·         Give of yourself by volunteering or visiting someone, lonely or ill

Take Care of Yourself
·         Maintain a healthy dietary exercise and rest regimen
·         Avoid excess drinking
·         Take breaks and get down time
·         If down or depressed, reach out to social supports
·         Set healthy boundaries; Keep from overextending yourself

Saturday, October 31, 2015


RELAX, RESTORE AND RE-CHARGE: Reducing Stress and Increasing Well-Being
Stress is a part of life. When we experience prolonged, negative stress, we risk suffering physical illness and emotional distress. We may not be able to eliminate all forms of stress. However, we can better manage it and reduce its harmful impact by changing attitudes and behaviors. Engaging in relaxation and self-care is a powerful way to increase our well-being. Below, are effective stress reduction techniques across various domains. 
Commit to relax,restore and recharge by adding a practice from each of the following domains.
Spiritual Relaxation:
  •  Praying
  •  Meditating and Practicing Mindfulness
  •  Reading or listening to inspirational and motivational messages
  •  Sitting Still and Reflecting or Listening to Oneself
Physical Relaxation:
  •  Deep Breathing
  •  Exercising (all forms, including walking, dancing, stretching, working out, running, playing sports, etc.)
  •  Yoga and Tai Chi
  •  Eating Well (nutritiously and in a balanced way)
  •  Getting Sufficient Sleep
  •  Getting Physically Pampered (i.e. manicures / pedicures, massage, sauna or steam room, etc.)
  • Nurture Your Senses (enjoyable experiences through sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch)
Intellectual or Mental Relaxation:
  •  Reading
  •  Intellectually Challenging Games (i.e. Scrabble, crossword puzzles, Sudoku)
  •  Engaging in Artistic and Creative (i.e. painting, sewing, needle crafts,   music, etc.)
  • Writing and Journaling 
  • Traveling (either locally or to exotic destinations) to see something new
Emotional Relaxation:
  •  Focus on the present and refrain from focusing on the past or the future
  •  Treat yourself as a high priority and your needs as important
  •  Have fun and enjoy the moment
  •  Laugh and find humor in life
  •  Adopt a reasonable, realistic, loving and compassionate attitude toward yourself
  •  Experience and Express Gratitude (focusing on what is going well vs. the problems)
Social and Interpersonal Relaxation:
  •  Surround yourself with positive, caring, and encouraging people
  •  Set and respect healthy boundaries, by not taking on others’ problems and burdens
  •  Reach out to healthy social support when you experience problems (listening is powerful)
  •  Engage in healthy and balanced helpfulness, generosity,sharing and kindness

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to Be Happy!!!

Happiness is an emotional state. characterized by a preponderance of positive emotions, as opposed to negative feelings. Definitions of happiness encompass  concepts such as contentment, satisfaction, joy, peace and excitement.  When we are happy, we feel good, experience an overall sense of well-being and are likely to strive for and achieve success.  Therefore, happiness has significant benefits and enhance the quality of our lives.

Here are ways to achieve happiness:

Nurture Your Total Self, Across All Dimensions
Take good care of your spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs.

Make Quiet Time for Yourself
Engage in self-reflection and listen to your inner voice.

Have Fun
Laugh; Enjoy simple pleasures; Explore your interests.

Set Healthy Boundaries and Limits
Say, "No", to unreasonable demands; Refrain from overburdening yourself.

Live in the Present
Accept that you cannot change the past or predict the future.

Set and Strive Toward Reasonable and High (not perfectionist) Goals
Aim to experience a sense of achievement and feeling proud of your accomplishments

Be Authentic and Live with Integrity
Live according to values, standards and morals that allow you to feel good about yourself.

Validate Your  Feelings
Recognize your emotions; Treat them with importance; Address sources of unhappiness.

Exercise Your Autonomy
Feel in control of your life; Embrace your power to choose your actions and thoughts.

Practice Gratitude
Recognize and appreciate what is good and working well in your life.

Cultivate and Nurture Positive Relationships
Surround yourself with positive and supportive persons; Demonstrate caring and generosity.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Balancing Work and Life

 Recognize that Work is What You Do, Not Who You Are

We live in a society that places a high premium on a strong work ethic. For many, work is a significant and healthy source of a feeling of accomplishment and purpose. Unfortunately, too many persons struggle with striking a healthy balance between work and a personal life.  This results in stress and burnout,  that research shows has negative impact on our health, our happiness and our relationships, including those with our children. Therefore, it is important to recognize when work is consuming us; to understand the reasons we may work excessively; and to engage in behaviors that enable us to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

You may be a "workaholic" with difficulty achieving healthy work - life balance if you:

  • Define your personal identity and sense of self-worth by your work
  • Have difficulty making time for healthy self-care, such as
    • Exercising
    • Eating in a nutritious manner
  • Frequently feel fatigued with low energy
  • Often display irritable mood and short temper
  • Experience frequent signs of physical tension and stress, such as
    • Headaches
    • Gastro-intestinal problems
    • Muscular soreness and tension
  • Have limited social interactions and experience strained relationships, due to limited time
  • Engage in unhealthy behaviors to reduce stress, such as excessive alcohol use

Here are ways to create healthy work-life balance:

  • Create a boundary between work and your personal life by:
    • Learning to say "no" to excessive requests that spill over into your personal life
    • Limiting work activities to work hours 
    • Leaving work at a reasonable hour
    • Turning off electronic work related devices when not at work
  • Utilize healthy time management to 
    • Prioritize the important activities
    • Plan leisure time and rest
  • Be purposeful about having down time
  • Take time out for healthy self-care, such as exercise and eating nutritiously
  • Take time to do fun, relaxing and enjoyable activities (hobbies, vacations, etc.)
  • Negotiate and utilize flexible options within your work (compressed schedule, comp time,   tele-working, etc.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding and Pursuing Your Career Passion

Do Work That You Love and Love the Work You Do  
How to Follow Your Career Passion

When we do work we love and love the work we do, we feel:

  • Stimulated
  • Motivated
  • Excited
  • Fulfilled
  • Valuable
  • Confident
  • Purposeful
  • Authentic
  • Joy
  • Inner Peace
  • Accomplished

Discover your career passion. Here are some helpful ways:

  • Recognize what appeals to you in terms of interest and curiosity
  • Notice the topics you enjoy talking about, learning about, and exploring
  • Identify your talents, abilities and those skills that come easy to you
  • Pay attention to what you gravitate toward in your free time
  • Notice those things that feel effortless and easy
  • Recall what you wondered or dreamed about as a child
  • Recognize what feels like a good fit
  • See what generates excitement 

Nurture and pursue your career passion

  • Eliminate your fear of failure by exploring what you enjoy
  • Allow yourself to be creative to determine ways to earn income pursuing your passion
  • Shut out discouraging and negative evaluations of others
  • Focus on your unique path and purpose, instead of comparing yourself to others
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive and encouraging persons
  • Give yourself permission to do that, which feels in line with your talents and interests
  • To acquire experience, consider initially volunteering doing what you love
  • Be willing to further your knowledge, expertise and credentials to do what you want

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Turn Off and Tune In:  How to Get In Touch With Yourself

Many of us struggle with balancing the demands in our lives.  A particular challenge is that of work / life balance. Our high tech age often leads us to constantly feel "on" and to feel the pressure of having to respond immediately.  Due to the ease of electronic communications, we can easily experience overload and therefore the ravages of stress. 

 Americans are generally hard workers and work a great deal. We tend to glorify multi-tasking and often take pride in feeling as though we are successfully handling several things at a time.  This sometimes leads to overloading ourselves, which results in experiencing undue stress and feeling overwhelmed.  When this happens, we pay a cost with our mental and physical well being. The impact of excessive and negative stress on our physical health is well known.  To name a few, stress leads to muscle tension, increased blood pressure, decreased immune functioning and ability to fight disease and fatigue.  Emotional costs of stress include irritability, anger, depression and anxiety.  Studies emanating from neuroscience demonstrate the benefits of relaxing on our brains.  Our brains function most efficiently when we are in a relaxed state.  In light of this knowledge, it behooves us to exercise our power and choose to engage in ways to achieve balance in our lives.

Below are ways for us to achieve healthier balance that can promote our well being and happiness.

Stop, Turn Off Your Electronic Device and Take Time Out to:
  • Personally Reflect on Ways to Balance your Life by Addressing and Monitoring Areas of::
          Personal Development and Growth
  • Be Still and Get Quiet (Mindfulness)
  • Journal About Thoughts and Feelings
  • Have Fun by Engaging in Enjoyable Activities (i.e. hobby, creative expression, etc.)
  • Nurture Your Senses (touch, smell, hearing, vision and taste)
  • Laugh

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Decrease Depression and Increase Happiness

Preventing and Managing Depression: Increasing Happiness
By Diane Kern, Ph.D.
Strategies Linked to Prevention of Depression
  •        Proper Nutrition:  A balanced and healthy diet
  •                Regular Exercise
  •                Regular Sleep Schedule and Adequate Rest
  •                Reduction and Elimination of Unnecessary Stress
  •                  Social Support: Interaction with Family and Friends
  •                  Having Fun and Participating in Pleasurable Activities to Boost Your Mood
  •              Self-Soothing Practices: Nurturing Your Senses and Experiencing Well Being

Ways to Lessen Negative Impact of Depression Include 

  •             Early Intervention and Treatment can help keep early stage symptoms from worsening
  •              Long-term treatment and maintenance can help prevent relapses

Strategies Related to Happiness, Satisfaction and Well-Being:  Psychology Today, Aug., 2013 

  •               Engagement in Enjoyable Activities, Accompanied by Some Level of Curiosity
  •              The Ability to Incorporate Reality Without Getting Caught Up in Negative Details
  •               Mutual Celebration of Each  Other’s Successes and Joy Without Envy
  •               Ability to Tolerate Some Negative Emotions Without Allowing Them to Dominate
  •              Adjusting and Shifting Emotional States in Line with Various Circumstances
  •              Balancing Pleasure and Purpose: The Ability to Sacrifice Short Term    Pleasures                  StriveToward One's Values Based Aspirations and Goals


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