How to Energize Body and Mind with Spirituality

How to Energize Body and Mind with Spirituality

Spiritual
The stigma behind spirituality is a alive and strong. People suggest avoiding conversations on religion but spirituality is a health resource. More medical professionals are discussing spirituality with their patients to energize body and mind needs. Pain, stress, and trauma effects mind, body, and soul. Wellbeing is an active process to increase awareness and make choices toward a successful existence. This process includes: eating, movement, satisfaction, enrichment, creativity, motivation, purposefulness, community, awareness, and acceptance. Unlocking the essence of each life experience rewards wellbeing improvements. "The experience of 'madness' can include a profound experience of connection and spirituality; oneness with nature; and the meaning and purpose of life," says founder of The California Mental Health and Spirituality Initiative, Jay Mahler.  Reverend Laura Manusco sighted the most common questions she hears: "Why me?"…
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Why Becoming Easily Distressed and Distracted Is Solvable

Why Becoming Easily Distressed and Distracted Is Solvable

Workplace
Does it seem there are more days then less when someone (maybe yourself) is avoiding activities to cope? Behaviors from being easily distracted and distressed have been researched since the 1960's with intense focus on the central nervous system's response to sensations. The results are a failure to modify sensory intake sufficiently and perceptual instability. In today's workplace health and wellbeing services are becoming more necessary. According to 2012 Aflac Workforces Report of 6,100 United States workers, those receiving health and wellbeing services reported a higher level of job satisfaction, feel happier with their employer, and are more satisfied with their overall benefits. Millennials are redefining what health and wellbeing means with 55% agreeing a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. Sensations are mind fuel. Stimuli enters the body as…
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Have You Seen Sensory Integration Improve Work Results?

Have You Seen Sensory Integration Improve Work Results?

Workplace
Recently I watched this hilarious story that James McAvoy shared on the BBC Graham Norton Show. In his attempt to vulnerably communicate to a recipient who spoke a different language he appeared to confess the forbidden. If you have seen or experienced sensory integration improve work results then James' experience is relatable. Sensations are like languages. Sensations affect the end result. Check out this list of sensory scenarios. When laying in bed while reading a book you become sleepy. When you smell coffee you want to taste it or become alert. When you put on formal clothing you become empowered. Every body has a unique inner-dialogue between sense and perception. Similar to a foreign language, an experience to one person is likely completely opposite to another but it's within the same…
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Think of Your Health As If It Were Your Employee

Think of Your Health As If It Were Your Employee

Occupational
Following 173 pages of short stories, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki instantly empowers.  At the time I read this finances were strained but there was a quick reveal for motion into better health by page two. Robert's first proficient fact: schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, not money or finance. Where the reveal occurred was as Robert shared the difference between two influential men to his upbringing. One, a father-figure he began to model. The second, his natural father who was loving but had a different way of living than the other. Robert compared the influence of his two fathers: ...one dad had a habit of saying, "I can't afford it." The other dad forbade those words to be used.  He insisted I ask, "How can I afford it?" One…
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What No One Tells You About Your Cravings

What No One Tells You About Your Cravings

Physical
Do you have an insatiable drive for enhanced experiences? This magical central nervous system response coined in the occupational therapy field as Sensory Craving, may also bring distress. Over the past 20 years I've facilitated sensory needs for the mild to severe cases in adults and children. Fortunate for me...because I'm a mild Sensory Craver. I've witnessed the havoc and joy in managing sensory responses. Craver's desire the excitable - blinking lights, rollercoasters, or a lifestyle like being an entrepreneur or overextended work loads. Adversely, there's also the need to continuously be engaged. For sanity sake a body needs it's rest! The superior advantage of the central nervous system is it triggers behaviors that appear as natural cravings. An example of a craving is body exertion through movement. Pushing, pulling,…
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A Seamstress Exhibiting Stress In The Workplace

A Seamstress Exhibiting Stress In The Workplace

Workplace
GIG Design's team discussed observations of a seamstress exhibiting stress in the workplace. Observations of the work environment included details of the lighting, noise, temperature, and peer engagement. The work space is an open area of approximately thirty seamstresses, all sitting at a sewing station actively engaging in production of a product. Observations of the seamstress were noted to be signs of distress as exhibited by facial expressions, frequent posturing with head tilted into hand through elbow support, uncharacteristic pauses of production. Following a lifestyle profile and sensory assessment she identified as under-responsive to sensations. Under-responsiveness This form of regulating the nervous system is categorized by muted, delayed responses, and low sensory registration. This individual passively regulates their nervous system, has a high threshold to sensory stimuli, and passively reacts to sensations.…
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Values Far Exceed Predictability When Without A Smartphone

Values Far Exceed Predictability When Without A Smartphone

Design Diary, Social
People spend a great deal of time in front of a television, computer, and cell phones.  I’ve been cutting down on the usage of technology for the last few weeks, but find myself craving to use my smartphone.  When it was unavailable for 2 weeks something felt like it was missing. Land line phones, emails and others smartphones allowed me to go about my everyday life. Rarely did I complain. It was odd that people I see daily questioned when I would get my smartphone back. It was also an inconvenience for those frequent smartphone correspondents.  Not knowing what time I’d be home for dinner, whether the dog had been walked, or to plan for activities required more organization. A plan was necessary for those moments we were out of touch…
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Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Emotional
How do your thoughts articulate each moment you experience? “I'm confidently griping the handle of this heavy meeting-room door, stepping into this meeting that will shape and sharpen feelings of fulfillment in my life.” Thoughts vividly characterize the body's experience. Our body senses every tiny thing before describing it with words. This phenomenon directs behaviors. The brain encodes then decodes sensory stimuli then informs the nervous system how to respond. It then links to our subjective frame of mind. Since we're creatures of habit everything we currently avoid was first formulated through an unpleasant past experience. Behaviors demonstrate how the body stores then processes sensations into action. Awareness of your unique sensory response, understanding metaphors, your internal dialogue, and an abstract representation of your self mediates behavior response. How do you discover your…
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Reacting to Stress

Reacting to Stress

Physical
This past weekend while on a walk my converse slipped on a bank covered with wet leaves. Friends and I had a good belly laugh due to the sight and unexpectedness of it all.  If I relived that experience with out my friends beside me I wouldn't have laughed. As an infant we learn how to protect our body from falls, how to react to words or people's tone of voice, and how to interact while in different moods. These are all learned behaviors. Reactions to stress stem from learned childhood behaviors. Let's use stairs as a metaphor.  To our physical needs we need to balance on one foot in order to lift the other in motion upward or downward. Eventually both feet land on one surface. Much the same,…
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Distorted Thinking

Distorted Thinking

Emotional
Have you been educated on what a healthy relationship is? My parents modeled valuable aspects but they didn't sit me down as teachers of Relationships 101.  When I decided to research what 'healthy from the inside out' meant, I began to experience what healthy relating is. Healthy begins with an honest self assessment. It requires being prepared because it is a life-long journey. I say this because it takes work, time and awareness to identify then replace distorted information that your mind believes as truth...but it can be done. There are many layers to living honestly but here I expose a near-time experience known as distorted thinking. Author and professor Benjamin K. Bergen explains in his book Louder than Words that we simulate experiences, actions and performances in our mind through a scientifically…
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No Means No; Yes Means Yes

No Means No; Yes Means Yes

Spiritual
Does your 'no' mean no? Does your 'yes' mean yes? Oh, I've been here.  In fact, I just recovered from this. When in the throws of life, action may readily happen before time allows deep thought about the implications. Rest assured, this is normal and happens to us all. Confusion may set in, but what we choose to do in the midst of it will determine the affect on all of our core aspects. Yet, this spiritual aspect is worth nestling into. No means no; yes means yes. Several years ago, I wrote down nine questions the book Boundaries nudged me to consider. Can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? How do I answer someone…
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Seeking Pleasure or Avoiding Pain

Seeking Pleasure or Avoiding Pain

Emotional
The influence of our senses supports our need to cope and celebrate life. We don't need a doctor to prescribe certain sensations. What's needed is simply observing our behaviors when seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. Through childhood I walked hard and loudly. I sucked my thumb while twirling my hair.  Comfort equated to being tucked in tightly or to be nestled up in a corner. I loved forts. On the swings or playground bar I hung upside down. I excelled in sports requiring heavy muscle pressure like softball, volleyball, and soccer. All those pleasure-seeking sensations were coping strategies to manage feelings that I was told by my elders were bad. Each was a simply way to respond to what most wouldn't classify as dangerous. Although, my nervous system recognized them as…
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When Asking a Question

Social
I found myself in several situations this past week where I paused after speaking with someone. Suddenly, I wanted to know their story.  How they overcame and where they persevered.  Often, it seems a snapshot is all we get.  Pausing before venturing into deeper waters, sensitive to their time or hardships. I have been told that I ask questions others may not. For example, “What’s in your hands?” to the man in front of me at lunch.  “What is home to you?” to a friend moving across the country. Initially, I think of the long line of slightly nosey ladies in our family and the people standing next to them that shake their head slowly.  But these questions have power. So where is the line drawn between nosey and curious in relationships? Like so many areas…
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Growing Through Boredom

Growing Through Boredom

Intellectual
Boredom is something not everyone experiences. When you do, are you able to create your own activity? An occupational therapist 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 appears to be how the recipients used their time: passive leisure self-care education, and labor force. Do either of these sound like how you use your time? Lack of challenge is the underlining issue. The Lego Movie is a good example of creating an activity, plus a relational challenge. Dad is angered by his son's choice of an activity he created. It is at the expense of the Dad's play activity. We learn Dad created this activity for being perfect. Son created this…
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Surprise Behavioral Health

Surprise Behavioral Health

Occupational
Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow says, "You are more likely to learn something by finding surprises in your own behavior than by hearing surprising facts about people in general". Do you adapt well to surprises? What is your reaction when you drop a glass and it shatters on concrete? Your response is the focus to this question. It may bring out your inner three-year old behavior from the first glass you broke.  It may bring about the angst of a tedious cleaning process you don't have time for. Either instance likely defines the remains of a day. Anger, fear, stress, or anxiety following a surprise affects every organ in your body as well as everyone surrounding you (Siegal and Bergman, 2006). How do you change your behavior following a surprise? Kahneman…
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Moods – When can you be the real you?

Moods – When can you be the real you?

Emotional
Are you 'tired' and you can't nap in the middle of work hours? Are you 'hungry' and you can't eat in class? Are you 'irated' while you are in a traffic jam while trying to drop your kids off at school? We identify these scenarios of time, place, and body response as elements to lifestyles. Genuine feelings may be masked when its perceived the mood doesn't fit the time or place. There are environments where stress increases if feedback is honest instead of agreeable. Mood is subjective. Emotional responses may be genuine with practice, time, and awareness to body responses. Skilled active listeners and emotional well individuals are aware of genuine and false emotional responses. Sensory sensitive human beings are roughly 20% of the population (Acevedo 2014). Those who rarely trust…
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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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Live and Learn

Live and Learn

Physical
To say, 'live and learn' is all toooo cliche, yet so true! Here's an example of a recent teachable moment plus five steps to reduce being unaware of what life may be teaching you. It began with how often I use my pool. You see, I moved into a new place just over a year ago.  Initially, I envisioned living near the ocean with a roommate to balance out the cost of additional preferences. I ended up with a better option: my own space with a pool. It took me nine months to use it! Now, this is odd because one way I calm myself is by touch, so my quick go-to may be a soft blanket, a hug or a bath.  Daily I gazed past the function of the pool with…
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How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Physical
Hot coffee is one of my favorite ways to start the day.  I love the routine of it, the smells that fill the kitchen and the way milk twirls, turns about until mixed. But the longer lasting reaction is a little more complicated.  I have begun to notice that the effects of coffee, i.e. flying through the fastest workday feeling, also comes with some side effects.  After a few sips, I begin to lose touch with my body and ultimately with where my personal sensory needs are at. Benefits of Self-Regulating: Increasing your focus to what requires your attention To further take care of yourself and your present needs To be able to engage in meaningful life activities Ability to deal with difficult situations that arise Know yourself better. Prevent.…
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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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Sensation to React

Sensation to React

Occupational
Sensory Defensiveness results in behaviors that create barriers to lifestyle performance. Occupational therapists are trained to reduce its ugly effects. At a Sensory Defensiveness certification we used role-playing to gain compassion to this behavior. We were challenged to lead one of our peers around the conference grounds for a total of ten minutes. The peer had to keep their eyes closed while the leader had free reign to command them to reach, stoop, step...any action to challenge a sensory experience into feeling lost or without defense. Humans have the ability to sense then behave through actions for safe, healthy cope techniques with all feelings. What we choose to put into our space may have a direct effect to being open or defensive (Cox, Burns, Savage 2004). It varies with each person.…
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Facts About The Relationship Between Stress and Sleep

Facts About The Relationship Between Stress and Sleep

Physical
Neurosicentist Russell Foster nailed the facts on sleep in his most this TED talk. His advice rings true and in line with wellbeing education and strategies we facilitate. Sleep rebuilds bodily needs that logic is unable to do. Here are Foster's facts on sleep: Retaining information while sleep-deprived creates a self-battle - 'smashed' is how Russell described the war. Sleeping enhances creativity because while sleeping that function is strengthened (creativity = problem-solving). What we burn up during the day is restored while we sleep. What we burn up during the day is restored while we sleep. It's worth re-typing. Fatigued brains crave strategies to wake it up like drugs or stimulants. Caffeine represents the stimulant of choice across much of the Western world. The other stimulant is nicotine. Fueling a waking state with…
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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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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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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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