Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

sunrise shining through trees with snow on the ground

Whether you love the wintertime for the beauty and possibilities that a fresh snowfall brings, or dread it for the cold temperatures and less daylight, it is important to give some thought to your wellness plan this winter. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Take time to be still. Learn to keep calm and be mindful in the present moment.
  • Do one thing at a time. Instead of trying to manage multiple tasks simultaneously all day long, give yourself the ‘brain break’ of doing just one task at a time. It’s harder than it sounds! During the writing of this article, I had to close my email, silence my phone and I still had 6 ‘distractions’ from my own thoughts that could have caused me to start working on multiple things. Instead, I made a note about each item to complete later.
  • Take a technology break. The constant notifications we get from all our electronic devices make it difficult to focus and be still.
  • Create something new! This could be a piece of art, a musical number, a new recipe. The act of creating can light up other parts of your brain that may be yearning for use.
  • Practice self-care. There is no substitute for eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. Give your body what it needs.
  • Find ways to relax. Try meditation, yoga, massage, or take a walk in the woods.
  • Get outside. There is no substitute for natural light. If you work during the day, try to go for a walk during a break or lunch. Find a winter outdoor activity you enjoy like walking, hiking, tubing, ice skating or snowshoeing.
  • Invite the birds into your yard. Did you know that bird watching can help you feel more relaxed and happy? Providing bird seed and a heated water bath is sure to attract feather friends.
two birds at a bird feeder in the snow
  • Get moving. Physical activity works your muscles and expends energy. Exercise not only makes us stronger, it improves mood. Try a new type of indoor exercise like tai chi, pilates or line dancing.
  • Connect with others. It’s natural for some people to want to ‘hibernate’ during the winter. It’s important to connect with others. Make a date with a friend or family member.

For more ideas, check out these articles on finding joy in winter and beating the winter blues. Set a goal yourself this winter to be well. What is one small change you can make?

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewer: Christine Kendle, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Tuscarawas County, kendle.4@osu.edu

References:

Lobb, J. Opt Outside to Beat the Winter Blues. Live Healthy Live Well, The Ohio State University. 7 Jan 2021.

Powers-Barker, P. I Can’t Control the Winter Weather. Live Healthy Live Well, The Ohio State University. 24 Jan 2022.

Stanton, L. Wonder and Wander in Nature this Winter. Live Healthy Live Well, The Ohio State University. 30 Nov 2021.

Read Full Post »

Dark snowy night with trees covered in snow
Photo by u0422u0430u0442u044cu044fu043du0430 u0427u0435u0440u043du044bu0448u043eu0432u0430ud83cudf52 on Pexels.com

One of my favorite things about the winter are the snowy days and nights. I’ll put on my cross-country skis and go out for a few hours, not see a car in sight, and appreciate the silence. I feel sometimes like I’m in the wilderness during a snowstorm, and there is something very relaxing about it. The ephemeral darkness and silence of a snowstorm should be taken advantage of, as these qualities have health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Too much noise and light can be detrimental to our health and well-being.

Noise pollution is common if you live in the cities or suburbs, or next to a busy road if you live in a rural area. Noise comes from traffic, sirens, industry, construction work, and can come from our own homes including our TVs, phones, radios, appliances, etc. What are some of the health consequences of being exposed to too much noise? Research suggests that too much noise can promote hearing loss, tinnitus, and hypersensitivity to sound. It can also cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep disturbances, stress, mental health and cognition problems, including memory impairment and attention deficits, childhood learning delays, and low birth weight.

Conversely, there are many health benefits to silence; it lowers your blood pressure, decreases your heart rate, steadies your breathing, reduces muscle tension and increases focus and cognition. Silence can also help us have more profound thoughts, stronger relationships, increased creativity, and improved communication skills.

What can you do? Try to sit in silence and practice mindfulness one minute per day and build up to twice a day once you are comfortable. Some people are really challenged by this, especially if they are used to noise, or being on their phones. Extroverts might have a harder time with this than introverts. Eventually, build up to 15 minutes per day, and you will feel calmer and more relaxed. You could also try going for a walk alone without music, staring out the window and watching birds, or drinking your morning coffee or tea without your phone, TV or other devices.

Author: Dan Remley PhD, MSPH Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, remley.4@osu.edu

Reviewer: Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60@osu.edu

Sources:

Stephanie Dutchen. Harvard Health. The Effects of Noise on Health. Accessed on 12/12/22 at https://hms.harvard.edu/magazine/viral-world/effects-noise-health

Cleveland Clinic. Health Essentials. An Ode to Silence: Why you Need Silence in Your Life. Accessed on 12/12/22 at https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-need-more-silence-in-your-life/

Patrice Powers-Barker. An introduction to Mindfulness. Access on 12/12/22 at ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5243

Read Full Post »

The sun shining behind a tree in winter.

The Winter Solstice occurs the moment the sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, which is the maximum tilt away from the sun. The significance of this event is that, in terms of sunlight, everyone living in the Northern Hemisphere experiences the shortest day and longest night of the year. This typically occurs around the 21st or 22nd of December every year.

In meteorological terms, the Winter Solstice marks the official start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the Winter Solstice will take place on Wednesday, December 21st (at 4:48 PM to be exact).

Here are four ways you and your family can observe and celebrate the Winter Solstice, indoors and outdoors:

Winter shadows in the snow.

1. Look At Your Shadow
If it is a sunny day, go outside around noon and check your shadow on the Winter Solstice. Even better, measure your shadow and remember how long it is. You can measure your shadow on other days of the year, but it will never be as long as it is on the Winter Solstice. This is because the sun is at its lowest point in the sky and therefore, casts the longest shadows of the year. Visit this NASA link to see a beautiful image that shows how the sun moves across the sky throughout the year and creates a fascinating pattern called an analemma.

2. Attend a Winter Solstice Celebration
Many parks, nature centers, and other outdoor venues hold Winter Solstice events. For example, in southwest Ohio, Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve holds an annual sunrise celebration. On the morning of the Winter Solstice, the sun strategically rises through a gap in the Fort Ancient earthworks. In central Ohio, OSU Chadwick Arboretum hosts an annual candle-lit labyrinth walk in the evening. For events close to you, try a quick internet search to find a Winter Solstice celebration near you.

3. Read About the Winter Solstice
Make a trip to your local library to find children’s books about the Winter Solstice. Snuggle up, light a fire or a candle, drink hot cocoa, and read a book together. Some book suggestions are:

  • The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer
  • The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
  • The Solstice Badger by Robin McFadden

4. Rest and Reflect
Paying attention to nature and the four seasons is a healthy way to be mindful. It gives you an opportunity to be fully present in the moment and recognize that life is about change. We change and the seasons change. Pausing to recognize the shift that occurs at the Winter Solstice can connect us to the people, traditions, and memories that have come before us. The cold days and the long nights are perfect for rest, reflection, and setting your intentions for the new year and the next season of life.

Wishing you a wonderful and cheerful Winter Solstice! May the coming days bring warmth, light, and peace.

Winter Solstice Greetings image

Written by: Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County, powers-barker.1@osu.edu.

Sources:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2007, June 17). Astronomy Picture of the Day. https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap070617.html

Stanton, L. (n.d.) Mindfulness. Ohio State University Extension, Warren County. go.osu.edu/mindful-warren-co

Stanton. L. (n.d.). Nature matters. Ohio State University Extension, Warren County. go.osu.edu/nature-matters

Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E. & Richardson, M. Mindfulness and nature. Mindfulness (9), 1655–1658 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0883-6

Photo Credits:

© Björn Buxbaum-Conradi. Sun shining behind a tree in winter. Adobe Stock.

@ Lizzy Komen. Winter shadows in the snow. Adobe Stock.

@ Teddy and Mia. Winter Solstice greeting. Adobe Stock.

Read Full Post »

Little boy with brown hair wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt running though a sprinkler. 
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Actor, Leslie Jordan shared in his book, How Y’all Doing?, “Happiness is a choice. Happiness is a habit. And happiness is something you have to work hard at. It does not just happen.”

Is this true? Can you coach yourself to be happy(ier)? According to Drs. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, who coined the term Positive Psychology in 1998, yes you can. By focusing on “strengths and behaviors that build a life of meaning and purpose…emphasizing meaning and deep satisfaction, not just on fleeting happiness,” you can work to enhance your happiness through gratitude (Psychology Today, 2022).

Gratitude is strongly associated with one’s level of happiness. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis (Harvard Health, 2021).

Black sign with white letters that says "Good Vibes Only" 
Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash
  • Keep a gratitude journal. There is no right way or wrong way to journal. List the people, places, and things for which you are grateful, or write about them in a story-telling fashion.
  • Write letters and thank you notes. When you express your gratitude by writing a letter, you are being an active participant in your happiness, investing in seeking out the goodness and joy that surrounds us.
  • Thank someone mentally. If you are on a time crunch and don’t have time to write a personal letter, just thinking about the person or action you are grateful for helps to maintain the pattern of reflecting on the positive impacts on your life.
  • Practice mindfulness. According to Psychology Today, “Monitoring your ongoing experience may make you feel happier by helping you slow down to appreciate things or to notice more of the happy things that are going on around you.”
  • Count your blessings. Spend just a few minutes each day listing all the blessings you have encountered. Cultivating this state of appreciation creates the habit of focusing on what you have rather than what you do not.

You do have the ability to impact your overall level of happiness! Practice the simple steps of gratitude on a daily basis and see if you find more contentment, joy, hope, and happiness in your life!

Sources:

Azar, B. (2011). Positive Psychology Advances, with Growing Pains. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/04/positive-psychology#:~:text=Positive%20psychology%20%E2%80%94%20a%20term%20coined,the%20cover%20of%20Time%20

Carter, C. (2005). Count your blessings. . Greater Good in Action: Science-based Practices for a Meaningful Life. Retrieved on December 12, 2022, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/count_your_blessings

Greenberg, M. (2020). The Surprising Reason mindfulness makes you happier. Psychology Today. Retrieved on December 12, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/202001/the-surprising-reason-mindfulness-makes-you-happier

Harvard Health. (2021). Giving thanks can make you happier. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Retrieved on December 12, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier#:~:text=In%20positive%20psychology%20research%2C%20gratitude,adversity%2C%20and%20build%20strong%20relationships.

Jordan, L. (2001). How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived. Harper Collins Publishers; New York. ISBN 978-0-06-307619-8

Psychology Today, (N.D.). Positive Psychology. Retrieved on December 12, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology

Sutton, C. (2019). Letters of Gratitude: How to write a message of appreciation. Positive Psychology.  Retrieved on December 12, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/gratitude-messages-letters-lists/

University of California, Berkeley, (2022). Gratitude Journal. Greater Good in Action: Science-based Practices for a Meaningful Life. Retrieved on December 12, 2022, from https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/gratitude_journal

Written by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County 

Read Full Post »

A bird on a snowy tree branch.

Winter is right around the corner. It is important to focus on yourself and your wellbeing. During the colder months it gets darker sooner resulting in people spending more time indoors with limited social and physical activity. Establishing a self-care routine is one way to reduce these issues and stressors.  

Self-care is the act of taking care of one’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You may be asking, “Why is self-care important?”. Self-care is a great way to relieve stress. Poor self-care can lead to poor health. The establishment of self-care lies in realizing your body’s needs.

It is important to create a self-care environment. Follow these tips to spruce up your environment.

  1. Buy candles, rooms sprays, or essential oils with scents that relax you.
  2. Select a mug or a cup that is comforting to you. Enjoy the moment with tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.
  3. Keep a stash of beauty and health products such as sugar scrubs, bath bombs, masks, and lotions.
  4. Keep comfort foods or baking items on hand to cook for those moments of culinary self-care.
  5. Keep coloring books, journals, and art supplies available so creative self-expression happens easily.
  6. Don’t forget to use the simple art of moving, stretching, and walking to awaken and soothe your body.

Self-care routines should be adapted and changed for different seasons. Self-care helps to keep us happy and healthy daily. Here are some tips for self-care during the winter months.  

  • Transition from summer routines to meet the needs of the winter months.
  • Bundle up with warm clothing.
  • Make the most of the sunlight to prevent Seasonal Affective Disease. Try opening your curtains, windows, or blinds to let in natural light.
  • Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Try including yoga, shoveling snow, and gyms to remain active during the winter months.
  • Try to keep a daily routine. A consistent sleep schedule is important.

Resources

Combs, S. (2022, February 3). Self-care tips in the winter months. Outreach Health. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://www.outreachhealth.com/2022/02/self-care-tips-in-the-winter-months/

Landgraf, B. (2022, February 2). The ultimate winter self-care guide. Carex. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://carex.com/blogs/resources/the-ultimate-winter-self-care-guide#step2

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Self-care tips during winter. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201912/self-care-tips-during-winter

Written by: Megan Taylor, FCS/4-H Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Union County, taylor.4411@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Mackenzie Mahon, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Clermont County

Read Full Post »

Woman cooking with a skillet, surrounded by thought bubbles including the phrases "Small bites", "Slow down:", "Remove distractions" and "Use your senses".

What exactly is mindfulness? The definition would include a description of being conscious and aware or fully aware of yourself in the present moment. Therefore, mindfulness can also be incorporated into mealtimes. As the holiday season has commenced and festivities surrounding food are plentiful, practicing mindful eating can help you get through the feasts, focusing more on how you feel rather than what you are eating.

Unlike typical diets, mindful eating focuses on the sensual awareness and experience of food rather than restricting or removing it. Practicing mindful eating is about becoming more aware of your eating habits and listening to signals the body provides, such as feelings of hunger, fullness, and satiety. When practicing, you consciously choose to be fully present with your meal—paying attention to the process of eating and how you feel in response, without judgment. Eating should be a pleasant experience, and meals should be enjoyed, especially during the holidays. Mindful eating encourages you to be fully engaged during mealtime, allowing the moment and food consumed to be savored and reducing the negative feelings associated with restricting or overeating.

While the chaotic holiday season can frequently lead to binge eating, overeating, and stress eating. However, if you allow yourself to be fully present at mealtimes, you will be more likely to appreciate the food on your plate, take more time to eat, and be more in tune with the body signaling its satiety. If you are interested in the practice, consider the following techniques gathered from research on mindful eating:

  • Eat slower – take more time to chew and take breaks between bites to evaluate your feelings and thoughts on the meal.
  • Eat away from distractions such as the television or other electronics – distractions can cause mindless eating. Removing them can aid in determining triggers and allow for reflection.
  • Become aware of your body’s hunger cues and let those guide your choices on when to begin and stop eating – our brains may not signal fullness for up to 20 minutes, so take time to determine your level of satisfaction before going back for seconds or dessert.
  • Use all your senses when eating – focus on the appearance, smell, and flavors of all foods you eat to appreciate the nourishment you are providing your body.

Besides promoting better enjoyment and appreciation for food, mindful eating has been proven to aid in weight management and provide various health benefits. Studies have also suggested positive outcomes for those with chronic disease and eating disorders, but practicing mindfulness is advantageous for everyone!

Trying anything new for the first time can be difficult. Mindful eating is a practice that requires patience and continuous training to develop, but there are resources available to help you progress. While beginning your practice of mindful eating to prepare for seasonal gatherings is an ideal starting point, you will likely develop long-lasting skills and habits that will benefit you long after the hectic holiday season ends.

Sources:

Cleveland Clinic. (2022). What is Mindful Eating? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/mindful-eating/

Mathieu, J. (2009). What Should You Know about Mindful and Intuitive Eating? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(09)01699-X/fulltext

Nelson J. B. (2017). Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes spectrum: a publication of the American Diabetes Association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556586/#:~:text=Mindful%20eating%20(i.e.%2C%20paying%20attention,carbohydrates%2C%20fat%2C%20or%20protein.

Written by Kylee Tiziani, Bluffton University dietetic intern, with edits by Jennifer Little, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Hancock County

Reviewed by Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Wood County

Read Full Post »

Paper turkey with words written on paper feathers

November is National Gratitude month and with Thanksgiving quickly approaching we often take time to reflect on aspects of our lives for which we are grateful. Every year in November my cousin’s family creates a paper turkey of gratitude. They do this every evening before dinner with the family and any guest, writing what they are thankful for that day on a paper feather and add it to Mr. Turkey. The end result is a fantastic visual representation of the family’s gratitude. The practice of gratitude leads to a variety of positive outcomes. I challenge you this year to express your gratitude not just on one day, or for one month, but throughout the year.

Author and researcher David Horsager, says the single greatest commonality in happy people is gratitude. Furthermore, those that are thankful are more content and fulfilled.

Other benefits of expressing gratitude:

  1. Builds stronger relationships
  2. Increases positivity
  3. Decreases anxiety
  4. Improves physical and psychological health
  5. Enhances empathy
  6. Reduces aggression
  7. Improved self-esteem

Gratitude can be an example of a mindfulness practice. “Mindfulness means paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn. Here are a few tips to practice gratitude as mindfulness:

Open journal with pencil
  • Observe – when do you say thank you is it reactionary, as an afterthought, an expression with emotion and sincerity.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Journal – note 3-4 items you are thankful for monthly, weekly, daily.
  • Create a collage – pictures or items to express your gratitude.
  • Gratitude flower or tree – write out something you are grateful for on a paper leaf or petal and create a design. Like my cousin’s paper turkey.
  • Reflection or guided gratitude meditation.

Written by: Laura Halladay, NDTR, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Greene County

Reviewed by: Megan Taylor, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Union County

Sources:

Allen, S. (2018, March 5). Is gratitude good for your health? Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health

Giving thanks can make you happier. (2021, August 14). Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Horsager, D. (2020, November 25). The greatest secret of the magnetic person. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://trustedge.com/the-greatest-secret-of-the-magnetic-person/

Oppland, M. (2022, August 06). 13 most popular gratitude exercises & activities. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/gratitude-exercises/

Thrive tip: Well-being through the practice of gratitude. (2022, February 06). Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://hr.wustl.edu/well-being-through-the-practice-of-gratitude/

Picture Credit:
Paper Gratitude Turkey provided by Jill Dow
Journal Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Read Full Post »

The holidays were always a big event in my family with lots of food, fun and family togetherness. I never realized how much time and effort it took my parents to get ready for the holidays until I had a family of my own. The weeks leading up to the holidays can be stressful, so here are three simple ideas I do to help prepare and I hope it helps you too.

Declutter and Clean

Over the course of a year, we gather a lot of junk that takes up space. Before cleaning, consider purging instead of jumping right into cleaning. During November, I take time each day (only 20 minutes a day) to declutter my desk, small closets, and even the refrigerator to make room for holiday foods. Seeing a clean space feels very motivating! Once decluttering is done, let the cleaning begin! You don’t have to tackle everything but basis like dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the toilets can be done in a short amount of time.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen usually becomes more important during the holidays since we spend time baking and cooking. If you will be preparing this holiday season, consider making a menu, then create a list of everything you need before making a trip to the grocery store, saving both time and money. Check your cupboards to see what items you already have! For more tips on planning for the holidays, here is a great, 30-minute webinar.

Decorating Main Spaces

Finally, it’s time to decorate! I tend to feel overwhelmed with this task and began decorating only the main living and dining areas. The bedrooms usually get a holiday throw pillow or blanket and a candle. In the kitchen I use seasonal dish towels and placemats. And of course, my holiday wreath on the front door!

The weeks ahead can be hectic. Following these simple tips and being mindful of your time beforehand can help ensure that you will be able to enjoy your family time together.

Written by Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by, Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

Barledge, L., Gallup, S., Lowe, J. (2022). Webinar. Set the Table: Plan for Both Wellness and Savings. Webinar: https://go.osu.edu/giftsweb2.

Carter, S. (2017).  Stretch Your Time and Money This Thanksgiving. https://livehealthyosu.com/2017/11/13/stretch-your-time-and-money-this-thanksgiving/

Center for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/cope-with-stress/

Marrison. E. (2021). Homemade Cleaners: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/11/01/homemade-cleaners-healthy-wealthy-wise/

Read Full Post »

Do you ever wonder why many doctors and dentists’ offices have an aquarium in their waiting areas? No, it’s not because doctors and dentists all happen to be hobbyists; it’s because there’s some evidence that aquariums have a calming effect and improve moods. Calm patients make easier patients, especially for a dentist! Aquariums have many potential health benefits including:

  • Improves mood
  • Reduces pain
  • Improves nutritional intake and body weight
  • Improves loneliness
  • Improves anxiety, relaxation and stress

One study found that increasing the amount and variety of fish in an aquarium was associated with greater reductions in heart rate, greater increases in self-reported mood, and higher interest. 

Aquariums can be expensive though depending on the type. They range from the inexpensive such as a simple bowl with goldfish to the most expensive option of a large saltwater aquarium with beautiful tropical fish, coral, and other sea creatures. There is also a brackish aquarium which contain fish and animals found in coastal rivers where there is mix of fresh and saltwater. Many pet stores can help you decide which might be the best option for you.

Depending on what you decide you will most likely need (besides the aquarium), lighting, a pump, a filter, a heating device (if tropical), rocks, gravel, and some cleaning equipment. If you go with saltwater, you will need a salt, a hydrometer, and possibly chemical testing equipment. Saltwater and brackish fish and sea creatures are also the most expensive and least hardy, but they are also colorful and interesting.

In any event, do some research if you think it might help you or your family become healthier!

Author: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD. Associate Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County

Sources

Cracknell, D., White, M. P., Pahl, S., Nichols, W. J., & Depledge, M. H. (2016). Marine Biota and Psychological Well-Being: A Preliminary Examination of Dose–Response Effects in an Aquarium Setting. Environment and Behavior, 48(10), 1242–1269. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916515597512

Clements H, Valentin S, Jenkins N, Rankin J, Baker JS, Gee N, Snellgrove D, Sloman K. The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2019 Jul 29;14(7):e0220524. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220524. PMID: 31356652; PMCID: PMC6663029.

Read Full Post »

Fall is a beautiful time of year to get out and enjoy all the sights, colors, and sounds of nature. All of this can be a treat for our senses. Connecting to your senses can be a simple way to reduce stress. Tapping into all five senses can immediately provide calming and healing powers.  Incorporate one of these sensory experiences into your day and enjoy finding something new about fall to love:

people walking in woods

Vision:

Have a scavenger hunt: look for items found in the woods or at a park, in your neighborhood, or stay in your own backyard.

Create some art: make a nature rubbing with paper and crayons. Collect interesting items such as bark or leaves and place them under the paper and rub them on top with a crayon.  Consider placing interesting leaves in a bowl or vase and enjoying for the season or arranging them in a frame.

Smell:

Pay attention to the new smells that come with the season. Bring your attention to the grass, flowers, and air of fall. Notice the difference between a sunny and rainy day and talk about these with your children or grandchildren noting the differences they perceive.

Taste:

Fall offers a variety of new taste experiences, including pumpkin, cinnamon, and more. Pay attention to how these seasonal flavors make you feel.

Touch:

Fall can provide new and exciting textures to explore. Grasses have different and new textures as the season changes. Acorns, leaves, bark, moss, pinecones, feathers, and more can all have interesting textures to explore.

Sound:

Crunching leaves, new bird sounds, and others can contribute to the exciting sounds of fall. Take some time to simply sit and observe the unique sounds of the season.

Try taking a sensory walk incorporating all these senses and enjoy the multi-sensory benefits of fall. Using all our senses to explore a new season can greatly enhance the experience of fall and provide fall memories that last!

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension.

Resources:

Globokar, L. (2020, November 27). Learn how reconnecting with your senses helps you to manage stress. Forbes. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lidijaglobokar/2020/11/30/learn-how-reconnecting-with-your-senses-helps-you-to-manage-stress/?sh=32696bec1544

Whitney-Coulter, A. (2022, January 26). Use your five senses to connect with nature. Mindful. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.mindful.org/sense-the-benefits-of-nature/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »