How To Stimulate Meaningful Performance Choices

How To Stimulate Meaningful Performance Choices

Choosing day-to-day activities become a quality of life that is meaningful to you. Occupational Therapists facilitate performance goal setting for achieving a desired quality of life. This includes leisure activities that are meaningful. Whether your leisure activity be cooking, painting, dancing or photography they stimulate meaningful performance. Leisure occupations improve performance through periods of rest to recuperate from taxing work roles. Meaningful choices become therapeutic to daily performance. Below are photos to provide examples of things that are meaningful to me. In the Chinese and Japanese Culture pentagons are symbolic for the 5 elements of life: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. I chose succulents and air plants as my subject because these plants are very resilient to changes of the environment. Sunset over Elliot Bay. Seattle sunsets are beautiful. I remember the exact moment where I had to stop and take this photo because it gave me peace in the moment of chaos. The scene was just that perfect blue monochromatic frame. All I...
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The Power of Walking

The Power of Walking

Let's rewind to early morning this last week. Imagine being shaken awake for a sunrise walk. A walk! Initially, I was startled but threw my shoes on and made my way outside anyways. While walking through the park, looking at the trees and the pond, several things changed. My outlook towards the day was suddenly one of adventure and my body felt restored and recharged. I took a few deep breaths and kept walking along, taking in my surroundings. The power of walking and not only walking but walking outdoors is correlated to enhance overall well-being (Bratman et al 2015). Unfortunately, even just walking has to be built into our day. But what if we change our outlook on being outdoors and even walking. There's opportunity. It could be included in our commute (Martin et al 2014), our meetings, our new happy hour, after dinner with friends and family, catching the sunrise or sunset. The journey really does begin with one...
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How Light May Improve Sleep and Overall Health

How Light May Improve Sleep and Overall Health

Light may lull the troubled sleeper right to sleep! Prior to the discovery of electricity, light from the sun controlled sleep-wake cycles.  Artificial light disrupts this natural rhythm, not only in our external environment but also inside our bodies. Questions to Ask: Are you aware of outdoor lighting conditions? What effect does indoor lighting have on you? Do you feel sleepy when it gets dark outside? What time do you shut off electronic screens (TV, phone, computer)? The Circadian System Our circadian system controls the processes within our body that follow a 24-hour cycle: hormone regulation, body temperature, and sleep/wake cycles. How Light Affects the Circadian System A collection of cells called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) send signals throughout our body to help regulate us to our 24-hour day. Light travels first to our retina, then to our SCN, and ultimately to the pineal gland, which releases melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel...
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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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Sharpening Abilities and Skills

Sharpening Abilities and Skills

Stories of heroism often begins with a disadvantaged person who appears to be approaching an unthinkable or uncontrollable situation.  The characters in those stories typically overcome the obstacles to achieving that thing they are seeking. What is one situation you feel is a disadvantage? Change is inevitable. So, let the air out of your tires to move under that bridge that appears as an obstacle to getting to the other side. Use your number one strength to overcome the following obstacles: You have arthritis in your fingers, knees, and neck. A natural disaster destroyed everything you own. The person you trust the most confessed they abused a child. Questions to Ask: How did your ability prevail in each these scenarios? What motivates you to move forward through what appears as a disadvantage? What current resources are most likely underutilized for the ability to overcome a...
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Performance Growth Once Boredom Is Detected

Performance Growth Once Boredom Is Detected

Boredom is an experience many people avoid. This clinician researched "doing, being and boredom" in 1,500 young subjects. His summary: they were bored 42% of the time with only 10% of their time being spent doing 'productive' work. The difference appeared to be how the recipients used their time: passive leisure self-care education, and labor force. In the Lego Movie the characters created an activity because they became bored in their relationships. Angry Dad hated his son's creativity. It interred with Dad's idea of play. At the end of the movie Dad identified his idea of being playful was a still scene of perfection. The son's idea of play was doing play. Once Dad understood the difference between their play perspectives his compassion moved them from a relationship that idolized boredom to one that appreciated doing and being creative play. Creativity engages doing play and being open to learning, caring, and alternative work behaviors. Questions to Ask:  ...
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The World Is Changing and So Must Our Classrooms

The World Is Changing and So Must Our Classrooms

The world is changing and so must our classrooms. Teachers, designers, and the like, have taken a critical eye to classroom aesthetics. Learning and teaching styles have shifted from a desk style to active movement and virtual problem solving. Thanks to entrepreneurs, our academics now include blended learning, diverse charter schools and various home schooling approaches. Let's take a peek into how future thinkers turned teachers provide education think tanks to hold together all learning styles. Below is an offering of Silicon Valley's most recent academies and customized programs: Academies Brightworks Kids do any activity that is mind-expanding, including welding and filming movies. Gever Tulley has a goal of 70 to 80 students in future academic years, which is variable due to parents acceptance of unconstrained environment, with grades and tests replaced by high expectations.   San Francisco Schoolhouse The school building is a synagogue but 'school' is a one-room micro school with the teacher-student ratio is 2:5. A mom turned sour at the sticker price of...
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Why Destructive Behaviors May Be Performance Supporting Tactics

Why Destructive Behaviors May Be Performance Supporting Tactics

Celebrating meeting a deadline met or coping with managerial tactics arouses feelings. Sensations become acute in these and numerous other performance moments. What is heard and seen are most discussed but there is also smell, tactile, exertion, instinct, and taste sensations. The exertion of heavy feet walking through an office or facial hair petting are two sensory tactics that calm the nervous system. The comfort of a soft-foam, fabric covered chair to sit in verses a firm, swivel seat may improve one's ability to focus on research work. Alternatively, the motion of rocking and swiveling may distribute sensations for reducing anger while in an emotional overhaul. Salty or sweet tastes often and unknowingly provide hormone or body chemistry support. All these pleasure-seeking sensations are coping strategies for managing feelings that directly effect the nervous system. Each response must not be too quickly classified as destructive or unhealthy if the central nervous system had the ability to speak with words. Sensory patterns may change with...
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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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Earth Sets A Standard To Our Indoor Experiences

Earth Sets A Standard To Our Indoor Experiences

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of earth tones is: any of various rich colors containing some brown. This past week I drove across the country from Lake Havasu City, AZ back to upstate NY.  Despite the overflow of boxes, a hermit crab cage and toiletries from the backseat, we had an amazing trip.  The outside scenery flew by and changed frequently from day to day; everything from the desert to a slow and steady rain cloud that followed us.  We finally drove into New York in the middle of the night with nothing but black surrounding us with a soft hue of the moon covered by clouds. On The Drive, I realized how visually influenced I am.  It sets the tone for everything to follow.  The sight and sound of rain makes me want to hibernate in a big bed with nothing but books and steaming tea.  Whereas, the sights of green make me open windows, long to feel every muscle...
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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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Six Ways to Be Brave With Siblings

Six Ways to Be Brave With Siblings

The sibling bond is instrumental to health. According to the Prevention Research Center: in childhood and adolescence, siblings spend considerable time together, and siblings' characteristics and sibling dynamics substantially influence developmental trajectories and outcomes. A friendly acquaintance is much more tolerable than a sibling acquaintance. There's no history of who made dad angry! So, how do you get to know your siblings? There may be an early relationship history with less contact once in college. I've been utterly appalled to witness the power of family maliciousness at times of trauma or illness. Standing over a loved one being aggressive or violent is poor support during hospitalization. Are you resentful of your sibling? A worthwhile mental health question is: am I holding a grudge? Make a list to confess the anger. I keep an ongoing list then cross off grudges when they are resolved. It's silly some of the memories that surface but imperative to critical healing. Forgive daily. Commit to minute by minute forgiveness. The Journal of Behavioral Medicine sites an emerging study on...
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Clarity On The Meaning of Wellbeing

Clarity On The Meaning of Wellbeing

What do you consider being well? Is it the ability to run a 5k? To take your dog for a walk? To play with your kids? To sit outside? Wellbeing is all those things. It goes beyond those healthy resources to living a meaningful, full life. It covers having symptoms, signs, maybe even a disease which may require treatment.  But it also includes being mindful, aware, educated and achieving growth to who you want to be on a daily basis. I remember as a kid always wanting to strive for a vibrant life when I grew up.  This included being outside, being active, having close friends and family and learning as much as I could about the world around me.  Those little insights I had at a young age have helped me shape my ideas of wellbeing.  Now having shared time with a variety of people, I have come to recognize the importance of being well and ultimately where it could take me. Questions to Ask: ...
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Relaxing is Healthy

Relaxing is Healthy

How often do we need to remind ourself that relaxing is healthy? It's an activity worthy to schedule. Europeans do. They shut down businesses for up to 6 hours after noon. Sweden recently introduced a six hour working day (Matharu 2015).  Leisure is one way we occupy our time within those everyday life activities (AOTA 2014). This occupation is a role that holds significant value to work, household management, education, socializing, etc. Questions to Ask: How many times in one day is their a period of relaxation? Is it counterproductive to relax for five minutes an hour during a work day? What is involved in a period of relaxation? Does periods of relaxation cause the feeling of restlessness, as though it's 'waisting time'?   A recent study of 600,000 global men and women found those working 55 hours or more had a 33% greater risk of a stroke.  A visually inviting green space, a...
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How To Quit Smoking

How To Quit Smoking

Smoking isn't healthy but it kept me sane. It was a deadly habit but it helped me thrive professionally, socially and oddly enough, athletically. I loved to smoke and didn't attempt to quit until the day I stopped 'cold turkey'.  The miracle in this was I lost the urge to smoke but I gained a body that was unable to cope with stress. What I did: smoke to cope. Our hormones are what regulates stress. Everyone doesn't have the same hormone secretion so our level of what is stressful can vary. This is significant to how an individual will react within the fight-or-flight response. How to quit smoking is similar to unravelling a ball of yarn from a neatly organized ball. My late teens, twenties then just into my thirties were thrilling because of my best friend, Cig A Rette. Always faithful and satisfying but equally costly and smelly. I didn't care about that because I was after the calm, filling effect nicotine...
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