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Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

Christmas Tree

My Christmas Tree

I love the holiday season. The hustle, the bustle, the decorations and most importantly spending time with my family, friends and loved ones. I enjoy making home decor and gifts for others. But….. sometimes I take on a little more than I should and find myself stressed out. I bet I am not the only one who is over-committed.

It can also be common for our health goals to take a backseat to the celebrations and obligations of the season. Do you want some tips and ideas to relax and enjoy the holidays in a healthier way this year? Join the CALM Down for the Holidays email wellness challenge for healthy living tips and encouragement to help you make the most of this holiday season.

The “CALM Down for the Holidays Challenge is an on-line challenge designed to help you explore ways to simplify the upcoming holiday season. Messages will include tips to help you:

  • Find your Quiet Place
  • Reduce Stress
  • Move More
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Explore Gratitude
  • Feather Your Nest
  • Eat Healthy Meals
  • Reflect on Wellness/Self Care
  • Simplify Holiday Routine
  • Improve Sleep Habits

Do you need a little extra motivation to help you get started? Are you stressed for time and need ideas to help you fit activity into your day? If so, join me for this Challenge!

Each week you will receive two free e-communications, containing wellness and reflection tips. In addition, a checklist will be available for download to help participants track their progress. Pre- and post- online surveys collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress. You will also have access to additional information on Blogs, Facebook and Wellness Text Messages.

Interested in participating in this on-line challenge? 

Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/calmpick18You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of November 19th. While Facebook™ will be utilized; participants only need to have an email address.

Sample of Challenge Check Off

Challenge Check Off

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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Happy BirthdayWhen it comes to birthdays, people seem to have mixed emotions.  Kids look forward to turning a year older, counting down the days until their next birthday and often saying their age with the “and a half” added to it.  Children also look forward to their milestones – becoming a teenager, turning 16, then 18, then 21 – for various reasons.  Eventually, though, the years begin to pass more quickly and the birthdays seem to just keep coming.  As adults, some of us are happy to have our birthday come around again while many would prefer not to think about it.

When a birthday arrives, it may seem like any other day; you have to keep stopping to remember that the day is extra special.  Sometimes you might forget, remembering only when someone walks by you and says “Happy Birthday!”  Because I personally am prone to this tendency, years ago I started observing the week of my birthday and celebrating all week long.  By doing so, I am not forcing myself to cram all my excitement, thoughts, and feelings into a 24-hour period in which eight hours are spent sleeping.

I like my birthday and look forward to it every year. I always have!  How about you? How do you feel about your birthday?  If you’re in the camp that doesn’t like having a birthday and turning a year older, it may be helpful to focus on your birthday as a celebration of another year of life.  The American Cancer Society once had a campaign called “More Birthdays” in which they observed and celebrated years lived well to see a world with more birthdays.

youth-570881_640Taking a positive approach to birthdays in which you express gratitude for your health and life may actually improve your overall attitude and outlook in the days to come!  My close and oldest friend (not oldest in age, but the one I have known since first grade!) and I celebrated our 40th birthdays at a “getaway spa” in another state.  Since the “big ones” get fewer as we get older, we decided to celebrate the decade ones in style, or at least in our own style.  This year my friend and I have planned another “birthday trip” to celebrate turning “50”.

A study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states highlighting time-based landmarks – such as birthdays – may help to motivate positive behavior change and promote success in future-oriented goals.  I started planning my “turning 50 years old” celebration when I was 47 “and a half”.  My plan was to be physically the strongest I have ever been come age 50, even stronger than when I played sports in high school.  I got myself a personal Pilate’s instructor who provided me with a mix of cardio and strength training, and thus I began my journey toward my 50th birthday.  When the day arrived, I had met my goal and made turning 50 years “old” feel like 50 years “young”.

Isn’t that the take away from birthdays – giving thanks and looking forward to celebrating our birth no matter how old we are or where we are in our life journey? Be grateful today for the chance to think about or plan another year. When your next birthday comes around, take advantage of the opportunity to hit the reset button and/or celebrate another year well lived.

Sources:

American Cancer Society (2008). Official Sponsor of Birthdays. http://relay.acsevents.org/site/PageServer?pagename=RFL_CA_Home_Birthdays

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Peetz, J. & Wilson, A. E. (2013). The post-birthday world: Consequences of temporal landmarks for temporal self-appraisal and motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(2), 249-266. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-27895-001

Written by: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, heer.7@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu.

 

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The holiday season is one of the most giving and positive times of the year. Many people have the ‘Spirit of Giving’ during this festive time. The students of Somerset Elementary School are no exception. A few of weeks ago the principal, and some of the students stopped by our office to deliver poinsettias. They were going to businesses and residences in the community to spread some positivity with the flowers and a little note. The students of Somerset Elementary; however, have been practicing positivity for a couple years. They piloted the Positivity Project for Northern Local School District last year. The district implemented the project in the other two grade schools this year due to the great results from Somerset Elementary.

The visit from the students inspired me to encourage others to be more positive. Overall, I tend to be a positive person, but positivity does not come naturally for everyone. Some people have to work harder at it, but we all can become more positive with some small changes. To become more positive, try some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Identify areas to change.Positivity Project

Check yourself.

Be open to humor.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Practice positive self-talk.

With practice, you may be able to develop a more positive attitude and become less critical of things around you.

There are many health benefits  to having a positive outlook/attitude for you. These may include:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk for heart disease
  • healthier weight
  • better blood sugar levels
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress
  • greater resistance to the common cold
  • better psychological and physical well-being
  • better coping skills during stressful times
  • longer life span.

One study showed that the most optimistic group of women had a nearly 30% overall reduced mortality compared to the least optimistic group.

Gratitude can also help with developing a more positive outlook/attitude. People who are more grateful tend to have a more positive demeanor. If we can continue the practice of gratitude that many people seem to have during the holiday season all year long, it may help us to become more positive overall. The week after our office received the visit and the flowers from the students, I walked over to the school to deliver a Thank You note to the principal to share with the students. I wanted to make sure that the students understand that their gesture was appreciated and acknowledged. I will be sharing this blog with the principal as well so that he can show the students how they were my inspiration for writing it. The simple gesture of positivity by them, has already spread beyond their little school and town.

When you find yourself struggling to be or to remain positive (as we all do at times), remember Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sometimes just re-framing the situation can help us to see things in a more positive light.

Comment on your favorite tips to stay positive.

 

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

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Photo Credit:  Debbie Goodrich, Office Associate, Perry County OSU Extension.

Sources:

https://posproject.org/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/12/optistic-women-live-longer-are-healthier/

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

References:

Bryan, Jeff & Erwin, Mike (2017). #OtherPeopleMatter, The Positivity Project.

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 18, 2017). Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) News in Health (August 2015). Positive Emotions and Your Health Developing a Brighter Outlook.

Feldscher, Karen (December 7, 2016). How power of positive thinking works, Harvard Gazette.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking (2016). Pursuit of Happiness, Inc.

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Branson Treber Jr. Life is short, sometimes shorter than we think. Forty one years ago this New Year’s Eve, my father died at age 52 of a heart attack. This was especially traumatic for me; I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. As you can imagine, it was a difficult time for my mom, sisters and grandmother.

Every New Year’s Eve, I remember my father’s passing and take time to reflect on the past year. It is a good time to let old grudges go and reflect on the positives in your life. This tough life lesson helped me realize that life is short, and we should do our best to be optimistic and positive even during tough times.

As we begin 2015, perhaps you will decide to “forgive” an experience that is holding you captive. According to WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget you may receive health benefits by forgiving the person such as lowered blood pressure, a stronger immune system and reduction in stress hormones.

Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Hope College states that “Forgiveness does not involve a literal forgetting. Forgiveness involves remembering graciously. The forgiver remembers the true though painful parts, but without the embellishment of angry adjectives and adverbs that stir up contempt.”

Here are some tips to help you let go of past hurts. These tips are from Frederic Luskin, PhD, of the Stanford Forgiveness Project.
• Start a “gratitude journal” or write down one thing each day that you are grateful for. It is fine to start with small things that you are grateful for – you may find this practice helps you focus on all the positives in your life.
• Practice stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, relaxation, yoga, or meditation. These practices may help you reduce your stress levels and develop a calmer attitude.
• Can you “rewrite” the story so that it is framed in a more positive light? This practice sometimes helps us move forward on our forgiveness journey.

Other things that may help you in the New Year include reconnecting with old friends or family members. Write that letter or thank you note to someone you have been meaning to contact. Write in a journal the positives from the past year. Reflect on the highlights and milestones. Each year, write down these milestones for your child, parent, family or friend. Your family will appreciate that you took the time to write about these precious memories.

Want more ideas for 2015? Check out this website for timely tips and suggestions: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Sources:
Valeo, T., Reviewer Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, University of California at Berkeley http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Patricia Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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