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. Creative wellbeing 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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Reclaim Joy In A Jubilant Quality of Life

Reclaim Joy In A Jubilant Quality of Life

WholeBe Toolkit
Below is a testimony 180 days following GIG Design's support... One of the reasons why I moved to the Pacific Northwest is because of the trees. Trees are everywhere - both beautiful and relatable. A tree must have been meticulously chosen for the WholeBe Toolkit. Its a visual metaphor that returns as a wellbeing tool to help one envision themselves at their greatest potential. I never thought of comparing myself as a tree. Organically, humans and plants are built so differently, but who's to say we can't learn from one another. Each gives in the exchange for being alive. One example is carbon dioxide gives fresh air to breathing plants; plants generously exchange it with oxygen for us. This is one magnificent exchange that is quick to forget. When I look…
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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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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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Respond to Anger with Kindness

Respond to Anger with Kindness

Occupational
We are unique! Our behaviors respond in different ways. At work leaders may tell you to respond to anger with kindness.  Effective communication is often interpreted as kindness. Put down the mental shot gun of using feelings about the subject, current mood, and impressions to achieve this (Kahneman 2011). Begin with understanding one's true nature. We respond with harmony or discord. Understanding one's personality and temperament helps develop healthy relationships. It enhances goal achievement. It enables you to respond to anger with kindness! If knowing one's true nature sounds like a winning solution to you, below is personality and temperament descriptives. Personality A collective of an individual's attitudes, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, social roles and other individual traits that are innate, predisposed and endure over a long period of time. We recharge one…
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Here’s One Way To Avoid Injury in Pilates

Here’s One Way To Avoid Injury in Pilates

Physical
A few months back I shared my new adventures and history about Pilates, found here. So far, I really enjoyed my classes. However, due to the price and my hectic schedule, I opt to do my basic Pilate’s exercises independently. Once you have the foundation of pilates nailed fitness goals may take off with the use of a ball, mat and props for the full Pilates work out. However, I do recommend taking a few classes first before you take off on your own. This helps avoid muscle strains or engaging wrong muscles when moves are practiced incorrectly.  I hadn’t realized that I had been doing my sit-ups wrong until I took the first Pilate’s classes. For the love of saving money here's one way to avoid injury in pilates when practicing…
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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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Why Self-monitoring Is Most Important to Measure Responsiveness

Why Self-monitoring Is Most Important to Measure Responsiveness

Emotional
A thirty-one year old Client was being supplemented by three liters of oxygen 24 hours a day. One day the tank wasn't turned on for the first thirty minutes of our time together. This occurrence is equivalent to a healthy body surviving one day on three ounces of water - including shower water. Have you heard of a pulsoximeter? It's a handheld device that hugs a finger tip to measure the percentage of oxygen in your blood stream. They are everywhere in the health care industry but used most often for those that require oxygen supplemented. The body's oxygen saturation is adequate for the organs to thrive when it registers above 96%. Oxygen reduces pain, nourishes blood, feeds your immune system, keeps your brain healthy, provides energy...only to name a few…
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These Easy Breathing Patterns May Instantly Reward Aging

These Easy Breathing Patterns May Instantly Reward Aging

Emotional
Right now the rose garden bares full, velvet red roses. They're irresistible to pass by without stepping off the path for my nose to gracefully greet them. Overtly fragrant. This was the one time today I noticed myself taking a deep breath, otherwise my deep belly sigh is a witness to fatigue or that feeling of being overwhelmed. Attention to breathing in moments to sigh or smell refreshes focus to body stress. Breathing is recognized in naturopathic remedies, yoga, and meditation. Medical practitioners frequently encourage their patients to breath deep in order to reduce or eliminate pain. Notice one practice is for skill and the other is prevention. Occupational therapy practitioners are enthusiasts of energy conversation techniques or ECTs. One ECT is breathing. Approximately 9 of 10 people I work with daily reduce…
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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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Cure Motion Sickness Instantly With This Controversial Remedy

Cure Motion Sickness Instantly With This Controversial Remedy

Occupational
In my recent travels, I discovered that I had motion sickness.  It surprised me to learn the onset of this phenomenon can be during adulthood. People who were sensitive to motion sickness at a young age may grow out of it. I’ve always been able to handle roller coasters, swings and even cruises. Everyone of course has different thresholds. It wasn't until the speedy and rocky speedboat the other week nailed me.  I was nauseated and dizzy. Typical motion sickness! I had to remedy the situation since I knew I had 2 more hours to go until I reached port. Cause There are multiple sensory systems that register movements including inner ears and eyes. Also included is something called proprioceptive input which is the sensory feedback in your joints that…
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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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12 Posture Tips To Energize, Add Grace, Ease Aging

12 Posture Tips To Energize, Add Grace, Ease Aging

Occupational
Growing up I always remember my mother saying “Stand up straight!” or “Sit up!”  I certainly always tried to be conscious of this – especially since I only reached a maximum of only 5’ 4”.  My sister who hit an early growth spurt was a little more defiant. She hunched, slouched and bent over to be the height of her friends in photos and to meet classmates eye-to-eye. Now that wisdom has set in, I understand my posture will energize, add grace, and ease my aging process. Here are 12 posture tips I share with my clients. Posture portrays a lot. Postures often are circumstantial. Playing with kids versus meeting a new business partner secures a difference. Centering yourself during meditation is genuine posturing. Physical body appearance may portray confidence,…
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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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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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Food Can Be A Trigger

Food Can Be A Trigger

Physical
It is that season when there is always something baking in the oven or a tea kettle boiling for tea or cocoa. Family mealtimes are emphasized and social gatherings are regularly scheduled. The work offices are stocked up with cookies or treats in shining, foil wrappers. Holiday treats and celebrations bring a sense of community, nurture our bodies and feed our soul. But what about those who have difficulties or disordered eating habits? The increase in food can be a trigger or stir up anxieties. Recently, I found out a person very close to me was having such difficulties.  She reported always having such emotional pain followed by physical pain of overeating and then ultimately this effected her self-worth.  This was difficult to discuss and shows bravery on her part.…
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How To Stop Pathetic Future Meltdowns From Stress

How To Stop Pathetic Future Meltdowns From Stress

Spiritual
She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. -Elizabeth Edwards Spreading newspapers and pulling out handfuls of goopy seeds are the welcomed precursors to carving a pumpkin.  Next, time will be spent together at a large table, calling dibs on a favored leg or wing to eat while simultaneously someone slowly carves the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The next two months holds such focus on others: giving presents, cooking and creating New Year’s resolutions to better ourselves, the community and the organizations we believe in.  Carving time in our schedules for ourselves quickly goes by the wayside. It is easy to schedule a massage or a hair appointment and denote that time as “me time.” Often it is spread out,…
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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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