Why Inhaling Lavender or Coffee Effects Work

Why Inhaling Lavender or Coffee Effects Work

Occupational
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…
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Workforces Creating Value Do Habits

Workforces Creating Value Do Habits

Workplace
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.…
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Wellbeing Design Diary: Sound

Wellbeing Design Diary: Sound

Design Diary
What's one sound that doesn't persuade you to look up from a task? Wellbeing design addresses sounds that distract and motivate. After all, our sensations are a necessary support. Design Sensibility aligns sensory desires with goal achievements. One distractive sound addressed in recent years is smartphone notifications. How do you react when your favorite song is played? Or when a person is shouting from anger? Wellbeing improves through sound factors. Julian Treasure identifies how sound effects our physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavior responses in his brief TED talk The 4 ways sound affects us. Additional  supportive research identifies changing, modifying, and masking sound agents will improve productivity, health, and wellbeing. Sound is found to effect all human achievements because or body responds to it in negative or positive ways. Diary Laughter…
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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

Design Diary
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…
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Which of These Fuels the Ability to Focus?

Which of These Fuels the Ability to Focus?

Physical
It's the start of one of those work day's that required every effort to make it to the gym. There's the smell of coffee lingering at work mixed with the aroma of fresh bagels beside a buffet of cream cheese choices. The apples don't have any odor but their shiny appearance jogs memory of the juicy crunch behind it's skin. Which of these fuels the ability to focus? Recently we did an experiment with the various fuel octane types used to fuel the SUV. The manufacturer recommended 91 octane. With 89 Octane the fuel burned faster then what 93 provided. The recommended premium octane proved to save in efficiency at four more miles per gallon. Every vehicle manufacturer identifies what octane is optimal for vehicle performance. Claim your stake as being…
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How Do You Know If An Employee is Lazy or Value-driven?

How Do You Know If An Employee is Lazy or Value-driven?

Workplace
Every culture carries undertones of expectations or commonalities. For example, where there are four seasons it's common that productivity slows during summer months and the days between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. Businesses reduce expectations with anticipation their employee's work performance will change. Is this a wise approach to managing production?  When we narrow productivity to the individual's responsibility of managing their daily performance we factor in basic quality of life choices. Lifestyle includes physical, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional aspects. Maintaining productivity within these six lifestyles simplifies with cultural support. An emotional example is when a culture shares a common language that invites fear responses. Under all circumstances this reduces the manifestation of workplace harassment. Presenteeism may appear as laziness. The result of an employee showing up to…
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Eighteen Tips For A Remarkably Healthy Memorial Day Weekend

Eighteen Tips For A Remarkably Healthy Memorial Day Weekend

Occupational
The holiday weekend is here! Does that mean scrap your healthy lifestyle? We're dishing and digging into our blog and Pinterest archives to share eighteen tips for a remarkably healthy Memorial Day weekend. Below are three awareness tips within the six lifestyle goals we collaborate with our Clients on. 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. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Free yourself to jump on the bed or couch. Every so often isn't…
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Vanilla Is The New Superfood

Vanilla Is The New Superfood

Physical
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…
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Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Emotional
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…
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Active Listening in Cultural Differences

Active Listening in Cultural Differences

Social
Right in the the middle of an important task that has a deadline you get interrupted by your Fellow. What do you do? This scenario begs for the least amount of listening. Some may just use a body gesture, like a hand in the air without diverting the eyes from task. This action isn't a normal listening behavior. Active listening in cultural differences fosters healthy relationships. C'mon, giving the hand is on the selfish side of relaying information. (Grohol 2013) One might hope those that interrupt would pause in anticipation for a body gesture of approval. This isn't always the case. This is a social dilemma which happens in a variety of occupational scenarios. Let's look at an example of cultural diversity when in play - like a break from work…
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Eyes on Screens

Eyes on Screens

Occupational
This last week I've spent more time on my computer than usual.  I have certainly felt accomplished but after a few days in a row, I realized my eyes hurt.  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 can be eye strain, headaches, or vision changes. If continued long term it can lead to potential health risks. Below are some strategies for screen time usage: CONTEXT Connect -meet in an environment that supports listening to a person instead of texting; be certain any screen is at least 20-40 inches away; invest…
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No Means No; Yes Means Yes

No Means No; Yes Means Yes

Spiritual
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. No means no; yes means yes. Several years ago, I wrote down nine questions the book Boundaries nudged me to consider. 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…
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Talking to Yourself

Talking to Yourself

Social
First mail out those letters sitting on the table, make dinner, and take the dog out. Then think about the rest of my life. Those thoughts became words quickly without hesitation one day. I didn’t even realize I had said them until they were muttered. They were reassuring, focusing words that lead to true responsiveness. Talking to yourself throughout our 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. Sometimes it helps us socially.  When we come up with…
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Cultural Context

Cultural Context

Spiritual
Is it difficult for you to perform at your best while working at the office? This was my experience at an internship. It was customary for employees to work by shift and to keep the environment conservative. The standards in the culture was a quiet work space. However, I thrived around moving bodies and sounds of life. Customs, beliefs and behavior standards are just a few cultural contexts. Activity patterns, expectations, ethnicity, values, political aspects are also included.  The premise of cultural context includes opportunities for education, employment and economic support that are accepted by the society in which one is a member. Work as an occupational therapy practitioner has guided me to understand my sensory self - or how my sensations respond to stress. I'm aware that I have low arousal.…
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Regulating Your Own Emotions

Regulating Your Own Emotions

Emotional
Within hours of drafting this, the emotional stories from those I love fell on my heart. It's unsettling to listen to the ache in a loved ones voice. The pain conveyed in expressing their dilemma is palpable. How do you help? If it's your emotional dilemma, what do you do? Strip those pre-conceived ideas of meditation to fully understand the health benefits. Research continues to flood us with data on necessary development of our brain function. Meditation supports regulating your own emotions by helping the brain handle various dilemmas like the following: pain tolerance, emotional control, feelings of tension, external distractions, fear of unknowns, physical issues, absenteeism, awareness of genetic diseases. For emotional wellbeing consider how and what you invest your time and resources in. These add up as ways we medicate suffering or celebrate purpose. The investments to medicate with 'things' pays out…
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Increase Your Creativity

Increase Your Creativity

Physical
Do you believe it's possible to reduce or increase your creativity? Recently a friend challenged me to try the following formula: 30+ minutes of movement + outdoors + listening solely to the sounds of the natural surroundings = a boost of creativity by 90%! Initially, this came as no surprise. Does it to you? Research continues to prove that we can enhance our natural creativity. In addition to regulating sleep, body temperature and libido, Serotonin is also proven to increase creativity.*  Serotonin levels increase with exposure to bright light, exercise, diet (chickpeas and wild seeds vs meat proteins), and self-induced changes in mood.** My friend's formula falls right in line with these four natural ways to get a creative boost. So, why is it important to increase your creativity? Harvard Business Review…
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Sensibility

Sensibility

Spiritual
Have you danced without music? Recently, in the midst of what I hoped to be a long pause with online radio, I continued to dance without music. My hope was 'my sensibility will improve'. Just what is sensibility? It's the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences. A lack of sensibility may impede performance with misguided responses, lack of attention, or situational discernment. So how does one strengthen sensibility? When athletes strengthen skill they first recognize their weakness. Scientists have proven that when a performer focuses attention externally rather than internally then performance is enhanced. If it's a sprinter with a speed weakness then their mindset is 'imagining the ground as a hotplate' not 'striking with your forefoot'. In parallel, an example to strengthen a work…
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Morning Crazies

Morning Crazies

Design Diary
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…
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Losing Things Anxiety

Losing Things Anxiety

Design Diary
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…
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Awareness of the Passage of Time

Awareness of the Passage of Time

Intellectual
Awareness of the passage of time will determine how you spend your time. "Even in the absence of time pressure, maintaining a coherent train of thought requires discipline." Awareness of the passage of time requires intellectual work. It's easy to get distracted by your surroundings. The above is a quote from the book "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. His research (identified as 'system 2') on awareness shines light on why we make certain decisions. Kahneman writes, "People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgments in social situations. Memorizing and repeating digits loosens the hold of System 2 on behavior, but of course cognitive load is not the only cause of weakened self-control. A few drinks have…
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Dialogue in Life

Dialogue in Life

WholeBe Toolkit
When we think of dialogue we think of conversation.  However there is another way to use this word? WholeBeSM Performance uses dialogue to trigger 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…
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Gestalt Principles in Daily Life

Gestalt Principles in Daily Life

WholeBe Toolkit
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…
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Live and Learn

Live and Learn

Physical
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…
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Loyalty in Life

Loyalty in Life

WholeBe Toolkit
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.…
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Synesthesia in Everyday Life

Synesthesia in Everyday Life

WholeBe Toolkit
Who uses the word synesthesia? What does it even mean? The WholeBeSM method teaches 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.…
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Alone Time

Alone Time

Design Diary
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…
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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

Occupational
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…
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How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Physical
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.…
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Work May Trigger Repetitive Conflicts

Work May Trigger Repetitive Conflicts

Workplace
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…
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The Value of Using Sick Days For Emotional Wellbeing

The Value of Using Sick Days For Emotional Wellbeing

Emotional
Through great adoration of my genealogy I commonly seek what the Dutch culture does in situations I'm faced with. The recent flu shot requirements in health care led me searching. The question here is what's the most effective way to prevent getting the flu? Illness arrives from a poorly kept immune system. Stress management, healthy diet, adequate exercise, an invigorating social life are excellent flu prevention tactics. The Dutch weigh in: "Loneliness could perhaps be overcome if the elderly helped pre-school children with language impairments improve their reading," was drafted into legislation as a proposal then posted in the Volkskrant newspaper. "Or a retired accountant in a wheelchair could help out at the local council's debt advice service." (the Telegraph) The Telegraph's Bruno Waterfield informed readers that Dutch health minister Martin van Rijn drafted…
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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

Design Diary
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…
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Sensation to React

Sensation to React

Occupational
Sensory Defensiveness results in behaviors that create barriers to lifestyle performance. Occupational therapists are trained to reduce its ugly effects. At a Sensory Defensiveness certification we used role-playing to gain compassion to this behavior. We were challenged to lead one of our peers around the conference grounds for a total of ten minutes. The peer had to keep their eyes 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. Humans have the ability to sense then behave through actions for safe, healthy cope techniques with all feelings. What we choose to put into our space may have a direct effect to being open or defensive (Cox, Burns, Savage 2004). It varies with each person.…
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Distraction Coping Strategy

Distraction Coping Strategy

Emotional
Have you used a distraction coping strategy? Grounding is a healthy technique 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. People who practice this strategy use one of three methods that works best for them: mental, physical or soothing. Each uses roughly ten tactics to build outward focus. First, rate your emotional pain and current mood. 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…
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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

Occupational
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…
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The Wellbeing Tactic of Conserving Energy

The Wellbeing Tactic of Conserving Energy

Physical
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. Clients that incorporate Energy Conservation Techniques (ECT) prevent illness and injury. This occupational science study shares successful outcomes for a group who implemented ECT through an OTs 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…
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Color and Pattern Relationship to Life Experiences

Color and Pattern Relationship to Life Experiences

Design Diary
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…
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3 Ways to Meditate

3 Ways to Meditate

Physical
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,…
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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

Occupational
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 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,…
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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

Emotional
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…
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How Sounds Reclaim Life, Boosts Performance, and Surrenders Agony

How Sounds Reclaim Life, Boosts Performance, and Surrenders Agony

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

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

Physical
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!"…
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Health Significance of the Fall Season

Health Significance of the Fall Season

Physical
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…
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Everyday Functioning For Kids and Adults With Sensory Concerns

Everyday Functioning For Kids and Adults With Sensory Concerns

Social
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…
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Texture Helps Us Make Sense of Our Environment

Texture Helps Us Make Sense of Our Environment

Design Diary
  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…
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