SLCo Healthy Lifestyles Blog
Health Hub Non verbal Communication and Social Wellness
One of the dimensions of wellness that often gets overlooked
is our social health. Research has shown
a strong correlation between health and social relationships. Benefits include:
- Increased quality of life
- Increased years of life
- Decrease risk of cardiovascular conditions
- Decrease risk of depression
Check out this video about the benefits
of social relationships and health
This upcoming holiday season provides us many opportunities
to socially interact with others around us.
Whether reconnecting with family and friends or creating new
relationships, communication skills play a crucial role in accurately conveying
and understanding what is being communicated.
We often recognize verbal communication but adding the crucial aspect of
non-verbal communication can enhance our social experiences.
Dr. Edward G. Wertheim authored The Importance of Effective Communication and explained that
non-verbal communication can effect overall communication in 5 different ways:
- 1.Contradiction: they can contradict a message the
individual is trying to convey
- 2.Substitution: they can substitute a verbal
message. For example, a person’s eyes
can convey a far more vivid message than words do
- 3.Repetition: they can repeat the message the
person is making verbally
- 4.Complementing- they may add to or complement a
verbal message. A pat on the back in
addition to giving praise can increase impact of the message.
- 5.Accenting: they may accent or underline a verbal
message. For example, pounding the table
can underline a message.
Communication is critical to our social health and wellness. It can also affect our mental and emotional
health. Understanding the impact of
verbal and non-verbal communication can enhance both our listening and speaking
skills. We will be able to effectively
share our thoughts and messages and allow others the opportunities to do the
same. As mentioned earlier,
relationships can be created, enhanced, or even repaired through effective
non-verbal communication. Below are some
common non-verbal communication methods from helpguide.org, a group that
focuses on mental health and well-being:
- Facial Expressions- Can you recognize your own
as well as others facial expressions?
- Body Movements and Posture- What message is your
body conveying through standing, sitting, etc.
- Eye contact- Where are our eyes drawn during
- Touch- How do you react to touch? How would your
listener react to touch?
- Space- Do you feel bombarded while trying to
communicate? Can others recognize you are communicating?
The understanding and awareness of non-verbal communication
can change your lifestyle. It can also help you better understand who you are
and how you interact with others and your environment. As you practice these skills, be mindful of
your progress and the growth of others because sometimes what is being said
isn’t what is really being communicated.
Check out our Healthy Holiday Tracker for more ways to
enhance our social health
Image Credit: Be
Inspired to Achieve
Image Credit: Lily
Music and Health
MUSIC AND HEALTH
The technological advances of modern times have allowed us
access to endless avenues of information and entertainment. As our lives increase in complexity, we can
simplify our perspective by relying on our technological advances to connect us
with a remedy that is familiar to us, music.
THE FEELING OF MUSIC
Music has a way of invoking feelings, inspiring imagination,
and calming the mind. Many memories are
connected to melodies and tunes.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music has the
ability to facilitate communication and expression that, at times, cannot be
expressed with words alone. Various
senses are stimulated in response to music are related to familiarity,
predictability, and a sense of security.
These stimulations can aid in emotional health and wellness through the
reduction of stress and tension and an increase ability to reshape perspective
A MUSICAL CONNECTION
Whether from popular
artist or cultural tradition, music is a way to convey messages and bring
people together. The art of making music
can be largely inclusive of many people, perspective, and thinking styles. Music can be a bridge that creates and
strengthen relationships. No matter your
perceived musical talent level, there are music related activities that you can
participate in, try a few of these:
- Play music from various sources ( vinyl records,
cassettes, CD’s, mp3’s) with a group of friends and find commonalities and
- Sharpen your skill at a musical instrument by
trying to teach someone else the basics
- Find those who you can play/sing with and enjoy
- Attend concerts and shows that highlight
familiar and new music
MUSIC ON THE MIND
According to the National Institute of Health, there is
growing research on the positive physiological effects of music on the
brain. The brain converts music and
sound into electrical signals, which allow different parts of the brain to
respond to the auditory stimulation.
Research has shown that the medial prefrontal cortex, responsible for
memory and emotional response, show increase activity with music present. This is encouraging due to the fact that, in
Alzheimer’s patients, this is one of the last regions of the brain to deteriorate,
explaining the link between Alzheimer’s patients being able to remember songs
and melodies. Music can be another tool
to deal with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive degenerative conditions.
Gratitude Health Hub
As Thanksgiving Day approaches many of us grow weary of the
word gratitude. We are bombarded with messages about the importance of being
thankful from our friends, family and the media. However, don’t be quick to
write off this advice. Emerging
research about the subject is revealing a multitude of benefits associated
with practicing gratitude in our daily lives. Healthy Lifestyles would like to
encourage you to begin your gratitude practice earlier this year and reap the
What is gratitude?
Put simply, gratitude
is being thankful. However, the term holds a deeper meaning in regards to
mindfulness. According to the Yale
Center for Emotional Intelligence gratitude is a state of mind that arises
when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself.
Some people or experiences are easier to be grateful for than others. The
important thing to remember about gratitude is that it does not depend on your
life circumstances. There is always something to be grateful for because even
bad experiences help us learn and grow. Gratitude is unlike other emotions
because it is a feeling that you can tap into at any time.
What are the health benefits of gratitude?
Practicing gratitude is great for both mental and physical
health! Dr. Robert A. Emmons and other researchers in the field have found that
gratitude increases feelings of happiness other positive emotions while
decreasing anxiety and depression. Gratitude is also a great stress management
Not only does gratitude increase our feelings of well-being,
it is also associated with better physical health. According to Emmons,
individuals who practice gratitude generally participate in other healthy
behaviors including physical activity, healthy eating and regular doctor
check-ups. Gratitude is also linked with optimism, which has been shown to
boost immune system functioning.
How can I begin practicing gratitude?
Like yoga or
meditation, gratitude is a skill that can be practiced. Begin by simply
observing the things in life you can be grateful for. These may be little
pleasures, joyful events, or even unpleasant experiences. Then, take a moment
to acknowledge or reflect on these things. There are many
ways to perform this step! Just a few examples include writing in a
gratitude journal, composing thank you notes, meditating or talking with a
Organic Or Not
There are a lot of mixed messages and opinions when it comes to organic produce, making it difficult to form our own opinions – especially when it can impact our health and finances. So what exactly does an organic label on my produce mean? Why is it more expensive?
Is organic actually better for me? For this month’s Health Hub we will lightly skim the surface of this extremely deep and complex issue to help clarify and reduce some confusion.
To be labeled organic, farmers must follow a set of
certification standards defined by the USDA (including soil and water quality, fertilization, and pest control methods), as well as be able to pay for the annual certification. These organic farming standards are mainly for ecological balance and conservation of resources and biodiversity - which
is a fancy way of saying it’s good for environmental health. In short, organic farming practices are believed to be better for the environment than conventional farming.
Organic produce is generally more expensive to buy at the store than conventional produce due to the expensive farming and handling practices required – unfortunately some of this cost is passed on to the consumer. However, many local farmers will even practice organic farming standards but do not pay the organic
certification fees to the USDA, so ask your local farmer about their practices.
Currently there is
no evidence that organic and conventional produce differ in their nutrient content. The main health concern – and most debated - is regarding the use of
pesticides. For produce growing plants a pesticide is a chemical used to protect from insects, weeds, diseases, and fungi. Now do not assume that just because organic produce has different health and safety regulations that non-organic produce
doesn’t have them at all. The FDA and EPA both play a role in ensuring that “residues of pesticides in foods
are not present at levels that will pose a danger to health”, for ALL produce. Contrary to popular belief, organic farmers do in fact use pesticides; they are just more limited in the types and amount they can use. Both organic and nonorganic produce can have residue from
pesticide and other spray treatments. Although neither will ever make it to the shelf of your grocery store if it exceeds government safety thresholds, it is always a good idea to wash and scrub your produce.
Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen
If you are
interested in purchasing organic but can’t afford to buy everything organic you may consider the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty
Dozen”. These lists, created by the Environmental Working Group, are intended to help us know which kinds of produce tend to have the highest (dirty
dozen), and lowest (Clean 15), amount of pesticides.
Regardless of your personal choice between organic or conventional produce, the experts still agree on one thing – Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important in
promoting health and preventing disease.
Vaccines Aren't Just For Kids
Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)
Smallpox was one of the most devastating infectious diseases ever known
to mankind. Sometimes referred to as the
red plague, smallpox was responsible for an estimated 300-500 MILLION deaths in
the 20th century alone. Fortunately for us, due to the development
of a vaccine and effective immunization campaigns, smallpox was declared
eradicated in 1979. The month of August
has been dubbed as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) to highlight
the value and importance of current day immunizations.
An important step in protecting against disease
A vaccine works by imitating an infection so the body can prepare for
and recognize exposure to the real infection in the future. Think of it as a fire drill, we practice our
response to an emergency before it actually occurs so we can be better prepared
to handle the real thing. In the immune
system’s case, it now has a supply of everything it would need to fight off the
real infection, this response is called immunization. A
vaccine cannot actually cause the virus it is imitating. Occasionally,
there may be minor fever like - symptoms after receiving a vaccine which is
normal when the body’s immune system is called into action.
Getting your vaccinations is one
of the most effective tools available to prevent infectious and sometimes
deadly disease. In addition to your individual protection, the increasing the
percent of people in a community who are vaccinated can decrease the ability
for the infectious disease to spread.
Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives
Birth – 6 year old
Preteens and Teens
The Flu vaccine is most well-known because
it is administered yearly, but there are many different vaccines recommended
throughout different stages of our lives.
Although we will not cover a complete list of all the vaccinations
currently recommended, the following will links will show which vaccines are
recommended and when we should get them:
course the safest bet will always be to consult with your physician to help
ensure that you are current with the recommended vaccinations. By speaking with a medical doctor one can
learn more about and potentially eradicate rumors and misconceptions regarding
vaccinations. As August is National
Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), this would be a great time to ensure you
are up-to-date and protected for a safer and healthier future.
NIAM Toolkit - National Public Health Information
Coalition (NPHIC).(2014). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from https://www.nphic.org/niam
Smallpox. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox