Let It Be Meaningful To You

Let It Be Meaningful To You

Design Diary
There's a choice to pick activities that are meaningful to you. Occupational Therapists often create goals for work life balance. Choose leisure activities that are meaningful. Whether your leisure activity be cooking, painting, dancing or photography, let it be meaningful to you. Here's an example of some photos that I had taken recently. I took photos that are meaningful to me and find it very therapeutic. Life starts somewhere. [caption id="attachment_5237" align="aligncenter" width="287"] This photo was taken at a local Seattle farmer’s market (Fremont) where artisans created these beautiful pentagon potteries to hold the plants.[/caption] 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…
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Lighting Conditions

Lighting Conditions

Occupational
My best friend is a lighting genius. Wherever we go, he is certain to make spot-on, insightful observations of the lighting.   He also has a keen ability to capture light in even the simplest of photos taken on his phone. Light was never something I paid much attention to. I knew that I loved to take outdoor breaks throughout the day, but I attributed the invigorating feeling to fresh air and soaking up some Vitamin D from the sun. Then, last year I found myself in a job where I spent a lot of time on the computer. I was in a tiny room with drawn blinds. The only source of light came from the undersurface of cabinets anchored above our work desks. For the first time in my life, I was…
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Design The Will to Act

Design The Will to Act

Intellectual
Occupational therapy practitioners are found in a variety of industries outside of health care, including automotive, architecture and non-profit sectors. Jim Burns is a major in the U.S. Army as well as chief of O.T. at Evans Army Community Hospital in Fort Carson, Colorado. He quoted Max Depree to support his opinion of what the key aspect of leadership is: selfless service. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality; the last is to say ‘Thank you.’ In between the two, the leader must become a servant. MAX DEPREE Burns integrates an abridged version of the U.S. Army's leadership development philosophy, which he goes into more detail about in his article about defining reality.  His philosophy includes seven values: Discipline, Motivation, Altruism, Physical Fitness, Continuing Education, Creativity, Respectful. Within these values he emphasized behavior patterns, goal setting, and communication. Each requires…
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Aesthetics and Functionality

Aesthetics and Functionality

Emotional
Do you believe what you see may change behavior?  Aesthetics engage our sight. We may identify with its beauty, coziness, charm. These words prime feelings.  Feeling that 'sense' of beauty responds with behaviors like hugging, tasting, smelling, or jumping up and down. There's a flip side. Sight also triggers behavior responses for safety, avoidance, or adversity. Cozy to one may be a deep-seeded threat to another. Interior design is an ideal way to nourish desires. When rooms or offices are designed without the user, it fragments personal needs based on opinions on aesthetics and functionality. Designer's opinions are helpful to convey a feeling, a 'look', and to support the functionality of a space. Pinterest, Houzzz, and  blogs may be helpful resources to piecing together a design plan. There's a story people buy…
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Being Over Stimulated

Being Over Stimulated

Spiritual
How would you rate your driving skills? It's such an intense task. Cars driving directly at you or whizzing beside you. The speed. Oh! The interesting signs or the shops. The interesting people on city sidewalks. In the past, I raved about my driving skills.  Honestly, they are just down right average. While driving, I'm intrigued at what surrounds me so I weave. I know I do this and sometimes I give myself mental warnings. Sometimes. Yet, there are times my curiosity drives me! Not only do I weave while driving the car but I do the same in my day to day tasks. For instance, today at the grocery store. I started to browse magazine ads, stared at new items, and then smelled every single rose to find the most fragrant ( the largest white…
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Interior Design for Positive Aspects

Interior Design for Positive Aspects

Spiritual
The first reflection of a person is said to be witnessed in a still, calm body of water. Following, craftsmen caught onto the fact that a polished stone, like copper and bronze, provided much sought after mirrors for grooming. Today the task of mirrors reaches beyond your reflection to reflect your best self in metaphor or form. Reflection also takes shape as a thought, value or goal. When your arrow aims at healthy roles, habits and performance, then design your environment to support following through at your very best.  Steelcase recently blogged on their 360 Research page that wellbeing is systematic and holistic. "The team went on to conclude that the places where people come together to work can be designed to have a positive impact on a variety of dimensions of worker…
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Creating Routines in your Life

Creating Routines in your Life

Intellectual
Creating routines in your life is important.  It is something I have been slowly integrating into my life. I am curious by nature.  Therefore, I tend to drift off the path more often than I should. It brings initial excitement but results in suffering. I know that, for better or for worse, routines promote commitment.  At times, it may be cultural or temporary.  However, routines are patterns of behavior that are observable, regular, repetitive and provide structure for daily life.* In this Psychology Today blog, the author presents how people often change in unpredictable ways over time.  "Ultimately, of course, we bear the responsibility for who we are. But the way we influence who we are isn't by simply deciding to be different. We have to be clever. We have to pull levers—arrange positive influences—that actually…
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Wall Alerts

Wall Alerts

Intellectual
I don't know about you but when I need to change without waiver I need the end goal to be on repeat in my mind. To do this I surround myself with what will inspire change. The first time I knowingly created wall alerts was when I was in middle school. Every inch of my walls were covered with images and words that inspired me to be more creative, to be more healthy.  Perhaps,  not the most glamorous work of art at the time but I genuinely reached my heart through various mediums to gain loving self-support towards change. Thirty years later I still do this because it works! Creative wall alerts may be designed unique to your need and style while exploring the use of a variety of mediums.…
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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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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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Communicate Face to Face

Communicate Face to Face

Social
A psychologist wrote about the healthy aspect of a parent not listening to every kiddo's imaginative story-telling moments. He said the brain functions best when it isn't multi-tasking. Children have a lot of stories that take time away from the to-do list. Kids and parents often have the same voice inclinations, too. Mistaking siblings voices may occur when in a different room or by phone. In communication, do you easily recognize people's voices? Our ear's physiology is fascinating. It holds the smallest bone in the body. Sound separates into vibrations by hair fiber movement. Each ear has a relay station that splits into two pathway's to filter sounds. The paths cross hemispheres to recognize, distinguish, and filter auditory information. Sound localization, pattern recognition, timing, and balance are main processes of the ear.…
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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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Lifestyle Impact

Lifestyle Impact

Physical
Consider this: your daily lifestyle begins and builds upon what you see and seek. Do you agree? If yes, you are in the company of medical generalists such as family practice physicians and pediatricians who graduated from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. The American Medical Association is on board with ACLM's mission to change daily living patterns and habits that support improvements to our health. Occupational therapy practitioners also agree. Traditionally our focus includes preventive contexts of daily activities, habits, patterns and routines. Lifestyle impact exceeds co-dependency on self-help books or eastern medicine. Our idea here is first a genuine self-assessment of your senses to benefit healthy lifestyle impact. This can be accomplished through the sensory impact of the products and spaces you use. Know your behaviors then begin…
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Beauty in Life

Beauty in Life

WholeBe Toolkit
The idea of beauty is subjective.  WholeBeSM teaches the idea of beauty as a trigger to design sensibility. The universal root + definition of Beauty LATIN | bellus {beautiful, fine} an aesthetic allure in the harmony of color, form, shape a particular pleasurable advantage or item Helen Keller said, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart." What you perceive as beauty is a direct result of your senses. They peak a dialogue between sights, smells, and sounds. It is arousal following a  harmony within.  It's achievement of gratification by the senses. Beauty in life is unique and individualized.  It is most often interpreted visually.
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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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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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Break It Down Logic

Break It Down Logic

Occupational
Storytelling works together well with designing. Openly sharing experiences on paper or with people adds dimension. When details are disclosed about how something came to be we create intimacy with the listener. This enables long-term improvements to mood and health (Pennebaker, 1997). Vulnerability forms. Words shape into octaves, fragrances, or whatever sensation the Storyteller forms. Trauma creates stories. Every human has words untold, stories bound to their bones by their brains. Aging is the framework of un-silencing those believable forms that words created. The mind and heart seek health by being a Survivor, not a Victim (Grossman, 2006). Are you a Survivor? If so, you're breaking down step-by-step actions which is key to Post-traumatic Growth. Tasks include performance demands on our body, relationships, and community. A simple task like recycling involves few…
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The World Is Changing and So Must Our Classrooms

The World Is Changing and So Must Our Classrooms

Intellectual
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…
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Relationship Is Based On Respect Not Power

Relationship Is Based On Respect Not Power

Intellectual
Healthy relationships rely on effective communication strategies. The most effective communicators are also good listeners (Zemke et al 2000). With objective communication a relationship is based on respect not power, manipulation, or punishment. Below are objective communication examples. Effective communication tactics enable us to be better listeners while we help our client's achieve their goals. RESPOND EMPATHETICALLY Listen with full attention, eye contact and body language Acknowledge feelings with a word Give their feelings a name. Reflect back their feelings Give them their wishes in fantasy Start with an empathetic word ("this is tough/sad/too bad") and then ask gently, "what are you going to do?" or "What can you do?" Deliver empathy and state the limit ENGAGE COOPERATION Non-productive: blaming and accusing, name calling, threats, commands, lectures and moralizing, warnings,…
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Base Color on Emotional Solution

Base Color on Emotional Solution

Emotional
If you have the time, go to Google Images to search 'earth tones'.  The top 10 images include graphic design, tile, fabric, craft ink, stamp ink, fine art, a social website, makeup, and the Earthtones CD cover is, of course, earth tones. Creative use of color may be one tool to living healthier. Here are five considerations to base color on emotional solutions. When it comes to bedroom design, the Home Buying Institute says, "Earth tones are always a safe color that will appeal to the majority." The San Francisco Gate nods to this idea, including that "earth tones are frequently used in craftsman, bungalow and modern architecture. Light earth tones in shades of sand or beige help a small bedroom look larger and brighter." In fashion, earth tones are ever present. They…
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Earth Sets A Standard To Our Indoor Experiences

Earth Sets A Standard To Our Indoor Experiences

Design Diary
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…
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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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Selflessness as Free Medicine

Selflessness as Free Medicine

Occupational
When you get stuck in a rut and are so so stressed out how do you feel? At a pivotal point in my life ten years ago my feelings kicked me into action mode. I believed the stride required being alone but chose environments that supported healthy healing to cope through the stress. Loneliness lengthened my healing process. We are relational beings. Once I learned a method to break down self-judgement and shame I slowly invited others into my life. This action taught selflessness. Lets look at how research supports selflessness as free medicine to mind, body, soul. Giving or sharing is an innate feeling (Brown 2003). Like all other behaviors it requires acting on the feeling over time to become a skill, habit, pattern. Sharing space with others improves the…
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Create a Trust Environment

Create a Trust Environment

Intellectual
I remember what I was wearing, the room I was in, the furniture, the color...the smells. Past memories surface when least expected. In a fleeting moment confusion may occur. The mind races towards how to direct behavior. A task or person may trigger past trauma, pain, or uneasy sensory memories. Aware or not, everything registers in to the brain as a memory (ASA 2014). So colors, objects, people, patterns - anything in the line of sight (and peripherally), smell, taste - all registers as 'data'. The brain organizes this information to use as a response behavior. Trust is included in the life memory bank. Comfort, safety, restful environments or things are included as trustful. This intellectually driven method aids to establish trust. Conflict resists trust. The brain organizes conflict into 'fight'…
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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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What Is The Culprit to Behaviors You Want To Stop?

What Is The Culprit to Behaviors You Want To Stop?

Emotional
History is an incredible occurrence that shapes everything to stand with remarkable uniqueness. How often do you stop to consider something or someone's history? An example of a 'something' are words. Vocabulary history is acquired through selective listening and reading or engrained through cultural norms. The history of common words - like connection, originated with different spelling (connectere) then morph from their homeland (Latin - connexio) into new cultures (English - connect). In consideration of the history of 'someone' a form of history measurement may be through behaviors. Behavior responses may change as demonstrated by designs preferred, the slang spoken, the people or cultures valued for purposeful sharing. Behaviors lead to daily choices and then return as life history. The history of brain growth shares commonalities with the life of the 'something' and 'someone'…
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