Why Inhaling Lavender or Coffee Effects Work

Why Inhaling Lavender or Coffee Effects Work

Inhaling scents directly effects moodiness. A scent like coffee may become a game changer in the workplace. Yet, which scents are truly helping or hindering work? Unity, health, and confidence may be produced by just one scent. We may create a common place by using external factors because they effect each of our internal factors. This second annual bean report in celebration of Easter reveals inhaled effects from the scents of lavender and coffee. A bean and a bud captures the essence of Easter in a variety of ways. The emphasis here is the need to do: plant it to produce. Did you know 'GIG' is the acronym for 'Good Is Ground'? Similar to beans and buds, when the terrain is fitting the crop produces. Scent aids in changing behaviors. A drafted scent can produce improved performance. Within your office are scents producing something in each person. Exactly what? Find out with a workplace study. Use half ounce or larger glass jars and fill one with coffee beans and...
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Workforces Creating Value Do Habits

Workforces Creating Value Do Habits

Gallup reported 68% of United States employees in 2015 were not engaged. As a result employees are not doing their work. Workforces creating value do strengthening activities. So, their work ethic, work style, habits and routines are naturally creating organizational values. Observing others doing brings opportunities to understand their values. Therefore, it strengthens team-based performance, and also company-wide inclusivity and diversity. Thakor’s Competing Values Model describes four strategies for creating value: control, compete, create, and collaborate. These are all active processes; and, described respectively as doing things right, doing things fast, doing things first, and doing things together. As much as possible, do with an upstream focus. “Upstream” is a concept from public health. It means starting at the source. Getting things right from the start and preventing problems from arising later, downstream. On-site Health Clinics and mono tasking are two strategies ripe for Doing Upstream. On-site Health Clinics “We’ll keep you well, and, by the way, if you get sick we’ll take care...
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Eighteen Tips to Be Resilient for Healthier Holidays

Eighteen Tips to Be Resilient for Healthier Holidays

Holiday's are here! To support the cause of avoiding ditching healthy me-time, play-time, and we-time we're dishing eighteen tips to be remarkably resilient. RAINY DAYS MAKES WAY FOR INDOOR PLAY Who said it has to be sunny to move and shake over the holiday? Holidays aren't an every day thing so be inventive. Turn up the music, look at your furniture with beginners mind, and let the laughter begin! If being indoors makes you want to eat more check this out to undo that mode of operation. WORK MAY BE FAMILY TIME Maybe its siblings or perhaps a foe but seeing that person an opportunity to put on your bravest coat of grace. Put on their shoes for a moment to empathize they have relationship demons just like everyone else. Check out these six ways to come out as the survivor.   FLYING SOLO IS OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH We get it. Not everyone has a party or people to share the holiday with. See this as an ultimate reward...
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Why I Look To The Trees For Design and Health Continuity

Why I Look To The Trees For Design and Health Continuity

Today there is an absorbent amount of information readily available for whatever issue is at hand. People are becoming more specialized and willingly ready or already sharing what they know. Since childhood, I look to the trees for continuity. Last year I heard Ed Catmul say "art is about seeing," as he explained how he created a culture without a power structure to eliminate barriers to truth. "You have to go (through failure) to get something you don't know." Trees communicate design intelligence. We see their uniqueness, alive or rotted, and hear them when it's windy. They morph into numerous shapes that range from solid to thin forms. Trees give and support my ability to be creative. Often their waste is the expense for my ideas to become tangible. Trees resemble their health. They endure seasons while stretching upward and outward. Trees withstand beastly spiders or engraved sentiments. A tree may quit producing fruit but continue to live or be cut while it's healthy for a...
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These Three Fuels Improve Performance Abilities

These Three Fuels Improve Performance Abilities

It's the start of one of those Monday's that requires concerted effort to do things. There's the smell of coffee lingering mixed with the aroma of fresh bagels beside the buffet of several cream cheeses. Noise levels heighten as peers huddle to collaborate. The smartphone chimes with each email and text message. Recently we did an experiment with octane types used to fuel an SUV. Every vehicle manufacturer identifies what octane is optimal for vehicle performance. The SUV's manufacturer recommended 91 octane. With 89 Octane the fuel burned faster then what 93 provided. The recommended premium octane proved to save in gas efficiency at four more miles per gallon. Certain body fuels have greater performance efficiency. Our body fuels on fiber, protein, fat, physical activity, and sleep but it also desires alternatives. Choosing fuel for the body is energy delegated towards hormone, neuron, and cell production. Different blood types, DNA, and genes require fuel knowledge for which products energize and maintain body performance. PHYSICAL MOVEMENT There...
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Three Elements Directly Effecting Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Three Elements Directly Effecting Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Each workplace has cultural norms including expectations and commonalities. One example is in certain seasons or holidays productivity slows. Managers might reduce work expectations because they anticipate employee's performance to change. Productive employees anticipate performance changes because they are skilled managers of their behaviors. Performance is interdependent on six behaviors: physical, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional aspects. When behavior management is performance outcomes weaken through presenteeism and absenteeism. Presenteeism The result of an employee showing up to work despite a condition like illness, injury, or anxiety is loss in productivity, workplace epidemics, poor health management, and exhaustion. A cultural norm of open and frequent manager-employee dialogue will reduce presenteeism's effect on productivity. In 2003 the total cost of presenteeism in the US was $150 billion per year. Pain and depression are two conditions raising costs above that of employee absences. Self-advocacy is a skill categorized as an emotional behavior. Body knowledge advances one's ability to apply and advocate health needs which significantly reduces the severity of illness....
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Vanilla Is The New Superfood

Vanilla Is The New Superfood

Some of us at GIG have nixed sugar in support of improving performance. Seeking ways to get that 'sweet' something took a turn. It's not out of craving but joy. Jelly Belly's and licorice jelly beans are ultimate favorites. It's nearly impossible to push these past loves out of memory. Grocery stores stock end caps with every brand, flavor, and comic character. Matters get worse Easter season. Then...we rediscovered the vanilla bean. Immediately we dug into research about this saving sweet bean. Vanilla contains chemicals called vanilloids. They reduce inflammation. Stress causes inflammation which reduces mental performance. When stressed the body naturally releases an inflammatory protein (cytokine) to signal systemic inflammation behavior to other cells. Inflammation reduces brain function. The compounds in vanilla reduce stress when in its most natural state – pods or powder. Consuming vanilla in its natural state boosts mental performance.  Buy a pod for the slow scrape of its inner-powder. Add flavor and brain-boost to coffee, yogurt...get creative! Heck, you don't need to add it...
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Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

How do your thoughts articulate each moment you experience? “I'm confidently griping the handle of this heavy meeting-room door, stepping into this meeting that will shape and sharpen feelings of fulfillment in my life.” Thoughts vividly characterize the body's experience. Our body senses every tiny thing before describing it with words. This phenomenon directs behaviors. The brain encodes then decodes sensory stimuli then informs the nervous system how to respond. It then links to our subjective frame of mind. Since we're creatures of habit everything we currently avoid was first formulated through an unpleasant past experience. Behaviors demonstrate how the body stores then processes sensations into action. Awareness of your unique sensory response, understanding metaphors, your internal dialogue, and an abstract representation of your self mediates behavior response. How do you discover your unique sensory response? Step One: Be intimately involved with your body.  Awareness of the level of sensitivity you have is significant to understanding your behaviors. For example, you can’t stand tags on your shirts....
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What to Do With That Busy Mind That Disrupts Performance

What to Do With That Busy Mind That Disrupts Performance

Awareness determines how time is spent. Behaviors are a reflection of brain activity. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman researched this phenomenon and summarized that  "even in the absence of time pressure, maintaining a coherent train of thought requires discipline." How does the brain get disciplined? Changing a busy brain with rampant, scattered thoughts towards attending to immediate surroundings, internal cues, and relational patterns is effortful work. Awareness improves intellectual behaviors. In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman continues, "People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgments in social situations." Each of these indicate an inner-dialogue that excludes a mature sense of automatic behaviors and the act of regulating them. Awareness of natural and built environment factors, as well as body capacities within are additional sense factors suppressed by cognitive busyness. "Memorizing and repeating digits loosens the hold of System 2 (awareness) on behavior, but of course cognitive load is not the only cause of weakened...
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Seven Screen-time Strategies to Reduce Health Conditions

Seven Screen-time Strategies to Reduce Health Conditions

For many working people, staring at a computer for several hours is the norm in the workplace. That means, hours of screen time not including late night television binges, texts to friends, or surfing the net for recipes. Some side effects of all this time spent with our eyes on screens include: eye strain, headaches, or vision changes. If continued long term it may lead to health conditions type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. Screen time usage strategies: Meet in an environment that supports active listening in place of texting; be certain all screens are at least 20-40 inches away; invest in anti-glare screens; observe routines to identify if a screen is even necessary; use an app, like Moment, to track your phone usage; take eye breaks...walk away from your screen for at least 20 second breaks every...
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Losing Things Anxiety

Losing Things Anxiety

While on a laidback visit with family in Delaware, I came to a hard realization.  Something was not working. I was losing items left and right.  I was losing things like my jacket, the dog dish, and my glasses.  It was a wakeup call.  I became aware things needed to change because I knew it was my anxiety creeping in. Slowly, I put the pieces together to try and wrap my head around this. You would’ve thought that would be obvious after being on my sixth pair of sunglasses and looking at a jewelry box filled with missing earrings.  However, some lessons take longer to learn than others. Keeping track of things can be a full time job.  Luckily, I surround myself with very observant people and a boyfriend who always checks the couch cushion before we leave. Talk about context, environment, and space recently led me to a new approach.  Change the environment and you change your behavior. Simple. Sign me up! Exploring what that looks like definitely...
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How Design Sensibility Impacts Performance Outcomes

How Design Sensibility Impacts Performance Outcomes

Dancing without music may appear as silly or odd. Dancing needs guided rhythm and music ignites an internal rhythm that may be expressed with movement. Design Sensibility unites mediums with sensations for best performance. The ability to improve performance through responses to sensations, complex emotional or aesthetic influences through the use of context, occupation and sense factors is design sensibility. Performance barriers may exist and misguide behavior responses including attention or situational discernment. Design sensibility offers the ability to detect an issue, identify an issue, then solve the issue. When athletes strengthen skill they first recognize their weakness. Scientists identify that when performance focused attention is externally rather than internally then performance is enhanced. If a sprinter's speed weakness then with design sensibility they may ignite a mindset to 'imagine the ground as a hotplate' in place of 'striking with your forefoot'. In parallel, an example to strengthen performance skill may be a mindset 'imagining words are ten dollars a piece' in...
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Dialogue in Life

Dialogue in Life

When we think of dialogue we think of conversation.  However there is another way to use this word? WholeBeSM toolkits uses dialogue for triggering design sensibility. The universal root + definition of Dialogue GREEK | dia {through} legein {speak} a discussion between two or more people an exchange of views - opinions or ideas Louis Kahn said, "You say to a brick, 'What do you want, brick?' And brick says to you, 'I like an arch.' And you say to brick, 'Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.' And then you say: 'What do you think of that, brick?' Brick says: 'I like an arch.'" Dialogue in life is listening and sharing.  It is receiving, considering, and reacting to information. When relationships fray, tension occurs. In these moments dialogue empowers or weakens the situation. There are different ways to exchange or recognize ideas and objects. You can visually recognize a chair.  You look at the material, color, texture.  By sight, the conversation...
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Gestalt Principles in Daily Life

Gestalt Principles in Daily Life

Gestalt isn't a regularly used term. Out WholeBeSM method repeatedly engages design sensibility to enable stress management. The following definitions explain why gestalt is so important and meaningful in your everyday life. The universal root + definition of Gestalt GERMAN | gestalt {form, shape} In 1920, German psychologists used this term when describing something that is greater or different than the sum of it's parts. Something that is unexplainable through depiction of it's parts. Unified in physical, psychological or symbolic elements to create a whole Charlotte Bunch once said, "Feminism is an entire world view or gestalt, not just a laundry list of women's issues." Artists and designers trigger "gestalt sightings" of something that isn't finished. However, your mind still connects it.  An example is: conn_ct_d   Your mind fills in the blanks. Our mind identifies a missing link and then completes it. This is something our  senses naturally do. Gestalt principles in daily life include continually filling in those blanks through being aware of...
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Live and Learn

Live and Learn

To say, 'live and learn' is all toooo cliche, yet so true! Here's an example of a recent teachable moment plus five steps to reduce being unaware of what life may be teaching you. It began with how often I use my pool. You see, I moved into a new place just over a year ago.  Initially, I envisioned living near the ocean with a roommate to balance out the cost of additional preferences. I ended up with a better option: my own space with a pool. It took me nine months to use it! Now, this is odd because one way I calm myself is by touch, so my quick go-to may be a soft blanket, a hug or a bath.  Daily I gazed past the function of the pool with eyes only of admiration for its beauty. There was no thought to jump in when stressed. That is, until last week. The day after my blissful dip I couldn't help to question this blind...
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Loyalty in Life

Loyalty in Life

The word "loyalty" has deep roots. "Loyalty in life" involves perception and emotion. It's similar to allegiance and includes a sense of duty. At times our behavior isn't loyal to our values. Like snapping at someone you love because you are sleep deprived or hungry. This is an example of how loyalty can waver due to poor self-regulation. Sleep is one of the first things to go as a result of job deadlines, travel or family obligations. Anxiety becomes the antagonist to lack of loyalty! GIG Design's WholeBeSM process recognizes the following six core aspects: Physical Occupational Intellectual Spiritual Social Emotional The first step is to recognize your self-regulation issues. Loyalty in life directly affects your health, your relationships, and your success. Design Sensibility is taught with our WholeBeSM Toolkits. Read more about our services. //  ...
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Synesthesia in Everyday Life

Synesthesia in Everyday Life

Who uses the word synesthesia? What does it even mean? Our WholeBeSM toolkits teach living with synesthesia for triggering design sensibility. Below is our explanation of the meaning of synesthesia: The universal root + definition of Synesthesia GREEK | syn {together} esthesia {to perceive, feel} a phenomenon in the ability to receive dual sensory impressions where one sensory organ stimulates another. terminology to describe an effect by using cross sensory domains Michael Haverkamp on Synesthesia "If the texture feels rough, I see a structure in my mind’s eye that has dark spots, hooks, and edges. But if it’s too smooth, the structure glows and looks papery, flimsy." Synesthesia in Everyday Life Cross opposites and life gets interesting. Imagine the following: loud yellow; rosemary comb; quiet triangle. Synesthesia in everyday life leads an imagination to revolutionary measures. Synesthesia can be like chocolate snowcaps. To get the sense of synesthesia learn Design Sensibility through our WholeBeSM Toolkit and coaching with the Equip Package. photo courtesy of @tangojuliet...
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Alone Time

Alone Time

While driving down I-90 with the music low, I took in everything new. Then I watched the yellow line patterns and the steady row of trucks chugging along.  It went from feeling fresh to quickly becoming monotonous. I grew eager to just be home. In that moment, I felt for those traveling as part of daily life - whether long trips on the road, maybe flying or just a timely commute. Over the past two years this has been the norm for my fiancé.  Fortunately, he handles this well because he connects quickly with new people and takes time to explore new places. Upon returning home, people often ask about stories from his travels and new experiences. More often than not in relationships in which one travels, other people tend to overlook the person who is holding things down at home.  I realized, with my fiancé being gone for two days now, I had done that myself. I wasn't thinking about the person at...
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Morning Crazies

Morning Crazies

Planning what I wear to work has been harder over the past year. With shared spaces, what should easily be a 15 minute or less routine, often becomes a hunt.  Where did my favorite top go? Running between laundry baskets or digging into drawers is not uncommon.  I know my role with morning crazies requires a change in multiple areas: environment, obtaining specific items, senses, attitude. Consider reorganizing closet space The closet situation is not working out.  Hangers are a desired item in this bedroom.  I thought back on a time when this was not an issue. Picture a large closet with a glowing light filling it.  That closet brought about borderline morning miracles on a daily basis. Clothing Simplicity The next area to tackle was my mind.  Was my desire to switch it up with too many options an overwhelming pre-coffee decision?  This led me to a concept I haven’t previously explored: uniforms.  Not the traditional stark uniform but a few simple, interchangeable working outfits. I...
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This Chemical In Your Body Increases Creativity

This Chemical In Your Body Increases Creativity

  Science supports the ability to further improve creativity throughout our life span. Harvard Business Review defied disciplined routines to encourage creativity as the core to doing things efficiently and effectively. Creativity will "deposit confidence in our cerebral bank accounts," according to Forbes. It's a myth a person doesn't have a creative ability. The body produces a chemical for the brain and nervous system to communicate. Serotonin regulates sleep, body temperature and libido. It also increases creativity. The production of serotonin increases when: exposed to bright light, engaged in frequent exercise, diet including chickpeas and wild seeds in place of meat proteins, and self-induced changes in mood. Questions to Ask: What resources are used to maintain efficient and effective performance in your work tasks? What is the primary way you would increase serotonin production? On a scale from 1 (least) to 10 (greatest) is being...
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Six Key Employee and Workplace Contextual Elements

Six Key Employee and Workplace Contextual Elements

There are workplaces with a culture expectation of work tracked by shift hours or a behavior standard to cover all tattoos. A workplace belief and custom may be whispering through cubicle workstations. These are examples of contextual elements in the workplace. Context is one of three performance factors used to improve performance outcomes. Contextual elements identify opportunities for education, employment and economic support as accepted by the culture in which one is a member. Context is one of three performance factors to divide performance into behavior-specific elements. The elements categorized as contextual include: expectations of culture, personal beliefs and customs, behavioral standards, demographics, stage of life and history, and relationship to time.   Occupation and sense are the additional factors to organizing performance elements. The context factor digs into workplace policy and procedures, as well as the employee's present state of workability, perspective, and values. When employee...
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One Free Performance Resource For The Active Listener

One Free Performance Resource For The Active Listener

Often it is unsettling to listen to the ache in the voice of a peer sharing sorrowful or traumatic news. The pain conveyed in their dilemma may even be palpable. One effective way of coping as an active listener is meditation. The health benefits of meditation continue to flood data supporting how it is a necessary resource for developing brain function. Meditation supports emotional regulation because it functions as a brain support for coping with dilemmas including: pain tolerance, emotional control, feelings of tension, external distractions, fear of unknowns, physical issues, absenteeism, and awareness of genetic diseases. Questions to Ask: How is quiet time incorporated into the work day? What resources may support incorporating meditation into each day? Why might active listening to the mind be a support for reducing...
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How to Overcome Saying Yes When Desiring to Say No

How to Overcome Saying Yes When Desiring to Say No

Does your 'no' mean no? Does your 'yes' mean yes? Oh, I've been here.  In fact, I just recovered from this. When in the throws of life, action may readily happen before time allows deep thought about the implications. Rest assured, this is normal and happens to us all. Confusion may set in, but what we choose to do in the midst of it will determine the affect on all of our core aspects. Yet, this spiritual aspect is worth nestling into. Articulate 'no' as a full gestured no and yes as 100 percent yes. In the book Boundaries the authors offer nine questions to consider. Questions to Ask: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, money? Why do I feel guilty or...
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Talking to Yourself Will Develop Performance

Talking to Yourself Will Develop Performance

First mail out those letters sitting on the table, complete the employee evaluation, and prepare for the meeting. Then think about my purpose in this job. Those thoughts became words quickly without hesitation one day. I didn’t even realize I had said them until they were muttered. Reassuring, focusing words leads to true responsiveness. Talking to yourself throughout the day is not abnormal. In fact, there is even a term that defines this phenomenon known as private speech. We often learn to do it as kids. Kids talk to themselves while playing.  It serves as an important part of their development. As we get older, it allows us to cement memories or visualize what we are thinking. Buy carrots for the soup. Oh those keys..hmmm. Private speech helps us socially. When we come up with responses to a person that we met that day, it allows us to use that comeback the next time we see them. I’m swamped – let’s meet at noon.  Other times it could be used as a comfort...
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5 Ideas To Endure Sitting At A Desk For 8 Hours

5 Ideas To Endure Sitting At A Desk For 8 Hours

As I was whistling-while-I worked today, an alarming thought gave me pause: could I survive sitting eight hours at a desk? Today was a good day because I didn't sit.  I accomplished all of my things-to-do from my list of the things I love-to-do, moving about creatively and solving problems. Without movement, interaction, and creative thinking I lose energy and interest.  Pamela Crooke at social thinking recently shared this about what my brain might weigh-in on this matter: Our brains are pretty resistant when it comes to changing something we’ve done for awhile or something we find pleasurable. In fact, a professor from Stanford recently published a book on willpower and describes the brain as something that operates on the levels of “I will”, “I won’t”, and “I want” (McGonigal, 2012). If you think about behavior change in your own life, this makes a lot of sense. The “I want” part of our brains, or the midbrain, is actively seeking our desires while the...
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How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Hot coffee is one of my favorite ways to start the day.  I love the routine of it, the smells that fill the kitchen and the way milk twirls, turns about until mixed. But the longer lasting reaction is a little more complicated.  I have begun to notice that the effects of coffee, i.e. flying through the fastest workday feeling, also comes with some side effects.  After a few sips, I begin to lose touch with my body and ultimately with where my personal sensory needs are at. Benefits of Self-Regulating: Increasing your focus to what requires your attention To further take care of yourself and your present needs To be able to engage in meaningful life activities Ability to deal with difficult situations that arise Know yourself better. Prevent. I typically become easily overstimulated by noise and too much visual information at once.  If I am able to realize this, then I can easily take a break at my desk with the door closed, or go for...
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Work May Trigger Repetitive Conflicts

Work May Trigger Repetitive Conflicts

Work behaviors are a distinct part of you. We may have control over our home environments but our work environments are a collaboration of peers. The workplace has a culture of unwritten values creating its community. Regardless of who or what sets the cultural tone, there will be things that trigger you out of your control into an unhealthy zone  (CompPsych 2013). There are strategies to prepare for this. Its those other ways you occupy your time that directly effect your behaviors. Sleep is one statistically proven strategy (Foster 2013). What other ways do you occupy your time? Play, the commute to work, or self-care routines are some.  When we walk over the threshold into the workplace we bring all of life's current events with us. This is natural with health consequences if avoided (Duke 2006). Relief to exist in the workplace includes evolving and creating strategies unique to your needs. The body functions to take in information, process it, then...
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Six Creative Ways To Invest In a Joyful Day With A Dreaded Commute On The Horizon

Six Creative Ways To Invest In a Joyful Day With A Dreaded Commute On The Horizon

Once I striped away the spite from a new, yet tedious commute to my weekday routine the challenge was to plan carefully - given traffic, traffic cones and added coffee stops along my route. Yes, some days it is plural. Temporary living conditions includes a culture where long commutes are the norm rather than the exception. I find this unfortunate. Getting my brain relaxed about the commute each day helps sustain energy.  With every sunrise I start anew and there is no cookie cutter answer. Although there are creative ways to invest in a joyful day with a dreaded commute on the horizon. Here are six: NPRs Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! quizzes contestants on weekly news. Hilarious! Ask Me Another shares Puzzles & word games, including limericks. I heart NPR. Listen to new music and pay attention to the rhythms, words, and instruments involved. The new notepad for ideas or...
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Sensation to React

Sensation to React

Being sensory defensive is a behavior response to stimulus - like noise, visual cues, textures, or touch. Certain stimulus may create barriers to performance. Occupational therapists are trained to identify ways to modulate the body or modify an environment for reducing the ugly effects or sensory defensive behaviors. We receive sensory defensiveness certification once we learn how to identify unique strategies that may change reactions to stimulus. Role-playing scenarios provides compassion for individuals struggling with defensive behaviors. One challenge was to lead a peer outdoors. Over ten minutes their eyes remained closed while the leader had free reign to command them to reach, stoop, step...any action to challenge a sensory experience into feeling lost or without defense. The central nervous system gives the body an ability to sense the respond. Responsive behaviors are to foster feeling safe and comfortable. Coping techniques adjust feelings of fear or anxiety towards the sense of being calm and in control. Forms occupying work spaces may directly effect open or...
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Distraction Coping Strategy To Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed

Distraction Coping Strategy To Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed

Grounding is a distraction coping strategy that changes inward focus outward. Two of the three ways involve what's in your line of sight or objects you are in direct contact with. It anchors the mind to present realities. This coping strategy works best before or just when emotions begin to feel overwhelming. People who practice this strategy use one of three methods that works best for them: mental, physical, or soothing. Each offers about ten tactics to build outward focus. Rate your emotional pain and current mood to begin any of the three methods. Keep your eyes open to scan your immediate surroundings. Visual aspects of Grounding are more prominent in the mental and physical methods. A soothing plan may be a safe retreat, like a pedicure or a hot shower. Mental grounding may include environmental descriptions that are simply and swift like identifying letters on a board. Physical grounding requires safe places for touch, joint impact,...
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8 Easy Freebies For Guaranteed Body Support At Work or For Travel

8 Easy Freebies For Guaranteed Body Support At Work or For Travel

Adjusting to work conditions as a telecommuter has its challenges. Good fortune may bring a flat surface wide enough to support a laptop. Typically, its propped across the legs with occasional havoc if they're crossed. The back bumper of a car may become a chair. A work surface may be the cost of a warm beverage. Sometimes the price jacks-up when there's the unfortunate parking ticket. Of course, there is that occasional back corner desk that costs musty smells from trash-worthy office furnishings. A spirited stress-less performance while on the road depends on adaption.  This doesn't mean to desensitize postural or mental supremacy. These costs become epidemic to musculoskeletal disorders to the spine or hips or suppressive anxiety beatings. The occasional is an exception but retirement may span into later years if hospital bills or absences from poor work conditions deplete savings accounts. Here are 8 easy freebies guaranteed to unburden and support the mind and body when working or traveling. No new furnishings or equipment required to do these. Frequent...
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The Wellbeing Tactic of Conserving Energy

The Wellbeing Tactic of Conserving Energy

Last night my brother-in-law asked my opinion on the blueprint for their kitchen. It's naked to the studs with an open map to plan task paths. We moved the location of light switches, refrigerator, dishwasher and talked through the ergonomics of a built-in nook. The emphasis here wasn't only ergonomics but their lifestyle, functionality and how to best conserve body energy . Built-in environments benefit from incorporating the wellbeing tactic of conserving energy.  This strategy reduces the onset of fatigue. Energy Conservation Techniques (ECT) prevent illness and injury. This occupational science study shares successful outcomes for a group who implemented ECT through occupational therapy guidance. Below are four principles the UofM Inpatient Acute Care team endorses: PACE Stop. Rest before you get fatigued.  It is easier to recover your energy by avoiding to work until fatigued.  Practice abdominal breathing during rest breaks.  Inhale through your nose while expanding your belly and exhale through your mouth while relaxing your belly. PLAN Before initiating an activity develop a plan. Include every detail. Include how much...
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Color and Pattern Relationship to Life Experiences

Color and Pattern Relationship to Life Experiences

The human eye can see over 7 million colors. Visual stimulation is fascinating.  On top of that, we can see patterns (2D) and texture (3D).  Plus, wall colors and patterns can really change a room’s atmosphere. Colors such as sage green and soft blue are particularly calming to me. Perhaps, these colors remind me of a green grass knolls and the endless blue sky. Neutral colors in particular can calm your senses as well.  In contrary, colors such as bright red, orange, electric (neon) yellow or pink may be quite exhilarating. I like wearing these colors to work out. Not to mention, it might prevent a car from hitting me when I'm on the road.  Polka dots, contrasting checkered bright colors can be very alarming or alerting.  There are patterns that can even trick our minds into thinking that the room is spinning. When you need to wake up or chill out then change out your computer wall paper. Consider to make this...
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3 Ways to Meditate

3 Ways to Meditate

Have you ever tried to sit still and be still? It’s actually pretty challenging to achieve. Aim for an absolute absence of thought, stopping all the noisy “mind chatters” or “inner voices”. Whether it is a bustling day with children running around, an endless to do list, stressful day at school or work, or simply feeling anxious, meditation may be a good tool and skill to stay centered, to feel grounded, or to find balance in life. It doesn't always happen, but people may even transcend their minds or experience enlightenment through the process. For people who are starting out to meditate, it is recommended that you sit in a quiet place, preferably dim, to dull out all the other senses. Tailor sitting or sitting in a lotus position on a meditation cushion, yoga mat or simply sitting on the floor is good enough. Just make sure you are comfortable.  Now close your eyes and totally relax. Here are three ways to meditate: 1. Focus on your...
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One of These Three Stress Responses Will Empower You To Boost Performance

One of These Three Stress Responses Will Empower You To Boost Performance

While sitting at your desk, working in the kitchen...in every task and environment your senses are bombarded. All information comes to us through sensory input. An average of 2,000 bits of information per second enters our brain (Willis 2009). Although, everyone processes through this information differently. Our senses first sift through all of it before it even reaches our awareness.  Neurologically our body organizes then attempts to adjust its reaction to an impulse. Modulation provides a behavior that safely adapts to the stress of change with less risks on health. Everyone responds to stress differently. Knowing how your senses respond may empower you to boost performance: Some of us are hypersensitive or sensory over-responders, in which we react to sensations faster and stronger than those with normal response levels (Reynolds and Jane 2007).  These aren't willful, but automatic and unconscious physiological responses to sensation. Questions to ask: Is high activity the preferred daily pace? Is there impulsiveness in behaviors? Are there...
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Try These Five Breathing Boosts To Overcome Feeling Tired or Burned Out

Try These Five Breathing Boosts To Overcome Feeling Tired or Burned Out

Sigh. Not a word muttered, yet a deep exhale is serious communication from the body. Over ninety percent of my clients need to be re-educated on breathing due to poor oxygen intake or poor energy conservation. It's time to breathe. Harvard Health claims "reawakening (breathing) allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms." In times of stress or pain deference we unknowingly hold our breath. This brutal beating ages us. Try these five breathing boosts to overcome feeling tired or burned out: Take a Deep Breath offers the science of breathing. Breath Focus is an excellent reference on relaxation offering one to ten minute techniques. When the ideal environment isn't available for you to relax, your imagination always is! Harvard Health's 10 minute relaxation technique may guide you through a thoughtful process into your imagination.  That image, object - your 'go-to' places can be used without delay, any time, no matter how much time is available. The idea is this: incorporate relaxation into your day.  Shift a reactive measure into...
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How Sounds Reclaim Life, Boosts Performance, and Surrenders Agony

How Sounds Reclaim Life, Boosts Performance, and Surrenders Agony

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.  BOB MARLEY Our inner ear provides us with a lot of information about the world around us. This sound travels through the ear by means of the auditory nerve, then to be processed by our brain. Even if we were blindfolded, we would be able to identify if we were in a large stadium versus a small confined room based on the sounds and how that sound travels through space. Music has the ability to produce an orienting response. Sounds reclaim life, boosts performance, and energizes perception. Picture grandma dropping a pan and automatically everyone in the room turns to see what it is - they orient towards that sound. Although we usually view loud noises as environmental noise pollution other types of more organized music have the ability to provide us with an orienting response in a more subtle way. When feeling sluggish, anxious, or overwhelmed it is common to go into...
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Undo Cruel Food Obsession. Seize Life With These Five Tactics.

Undo Cruel Food Obsession. Seize Life With These Five Tactics.

The day began with a mess of disorganization. Our team was out of synch and it cost valuable time. Every hour that morning another issue arose. The climax was financial catastrophe! This stress lead the team to emotional behaviors which created a different kind of work. Internal body regulating and mind work. The challenge was to remain calm through it all. Being overwhelmed with stressful feelings causes confusion. Emotions are a vital part of us to sort through problem-solving.  Suffering rears emotions from childhood experiences then initiates personal boundaries - healthy or unhealthy. Our primal instinct is to act for safety in seeking feelings of comfort. Feelings are stimulated by our senses. Our behavior is the reaction. Often people express a reaction by being "full of" an overwhelming feeling. "I'm full of excitement!" or "I'm filled with sadness." Feelings fill bodies in the same way food fills the stomach. In 1863 Americans attested that soulful meant they were 'full of feeling'. A half decade later it meant...
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Health Significance of the Fall Season

Health Significance of the Fall Season

The fall season begs for the sight of leaves changing color, cool air and sweaters. In warmer climates fall nods to seasonal produce, like pomegranates, brussels sprouts, and pumpkins.  Everywhere, school buses and shorter days hint to a summer gone. The health significance of the fall season lies in transitioning. Change may take form as a battle of self-control. Since transition is adjusting to change like paying heating bills, eating starchy foods, or rising earlier to miss heavy traffic it may bring feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, sadness. Food may be your friend for transitioning to change. Since food is a daily relationship it may be a simple starting point to attend health significance of the fall season. Consider incorporating these three categories of food into your balanced diet.  ALERTING FOODS For those of you that may feel sluggish, energize with crunchy foods (Allen 2012). You know...those afternoons that are difficult to get through because mornings require new adjustments to changes like sunlight, temperature,...
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Everyday Functioning For Kids and Adults With Sensory Concerns

Everyday Functioning For Kids and Adults With Sensory Concerns

Life is constantly changing around us.  Things like the temperature, lighting, and noises are always being processed.  Although a lot of this happens on an autonomic level, for persons with sensory processing concerns, standing still can be overwhelming and effect everyday function. Occupational therapist Catherine Armani-Munn, MS OTR/L explores the challenges of everyday functioning for kids and adults with sensory concerns. Bethany: What year & where did you graduate? Catherine: I graduated from Keuka College in a 5 yr masters program.  My undergrad was in Occupational Science and in 2010 I graduated with my masters in Occupational Therapy. I also got a minor in ASL (American Sign Language) in college which has helped me a lot in the field, especially working with the autism population. Bethany: What is  your background and what areas do you specialize in? Catherine: I have worked for several different school districts specializing with children with autism. I have also worked in preschools for the deaf and hard of hearing where I communicated...
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Texture Helps Us Make Sense of Our Environment

Texture Helps Us Make Sense of Our Environment

  Since being sold in the 1990s, the family farmhouse has changed hands twice and continues to be renovated. My German relatives originally came to NY in 1904 to start a farm and family.  This last week I was able to go back to visit with my Yaya (grandmother) and boyfriend.  All the memories of the interior were vivid but there was no longer that physical reminder.  Outside, the barns still stood but were certainly in a further state of collapse and seemed so much smaller compared to my memories. Over a diner breakfast, Yaya reminisced and mentioned that her favorite rooms in the house were her bedroom and the kitchen.   As she talked about why, she consistently got hung up on the feeling of the quilt, lighting, the kitchen mat she stood on while doing dishes, and the grooves in the wallpaper.  She also revisited some family traits – “The garage is made from wood from the toilet (outhouse)! They just...
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