Happiness is...

What people believe forms what they achieve. (1) What you believe shapes what you achieve. We create our own reality. Because we create our own reality, we can change it.

One of the most difficult truths to swallow is: I can change … that we do not have to remain as we have always been.

YES. You CAN change.

Believing that we can change puts us in control of our lives. It elevates us. It makes us better regardless of the “arena” (i.e. work, school, home, neighborhood) we are in. Seeing that we can change frees us to act, to keep making decisions. Our vision is clear – we can see how our actions have a direct effect on outcomes in our lives. We have greater control over our stress. We are happier, more motivated and more successful. (2)

Many messages in life are subtly whispering in our ear that we are stuck – you are what you are, you’ll never changeyou can’t lose the weightyou’ll never conquer your anger...

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One of the MOST overlooked mental health habits...

...is getting enough sleep at night.

Skimping on your Zzzz’s can leave you feeling emotionally vulnerable and opens the door to negative thinking. Insomnia messes with our brain, making it difficult for us to regulate our emotions and think clearly. A good night’s rest on the other hand, builds emotional and mental resilience.

Clinicians now view sleep deprivation as a factor leading to poor mental health, rather than just a symptom of it. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for things like anxiety and depression (1) - two mental health concerns that are on the rise.  

The effects of inadequate sleep can be felt by all ages – children, the middle-aged, seniors, etc. According to the American Journal Pediatrics, “Adolescents who get less sleep than they need are at higher risk for depression, suicide, substance abuse and car crashes. Evidence also links short sleep duration with obesity and a weakened immune system." (2)


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How to Avoid Wintertime Illnesses

Sickness. While it may be fun as a child because it allows you to watch TV in bed, being sick as an adult is an entirely different story. Work, school, family life, and home responsibilities don’t stop. Most of us have to get up and push through our busy schedules regardless of how we are feeling.

If you stop to think about it, most of our sick days occur in the wintertime. Here are several theories behind why we often become sick during winter (1):

  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year…….for viruses! Viruses tend to enjoy cold, dry climates often found during wintertime.
  • More Time Indoors. With the cold weather, we tend to remain indoors with the windows sealed tight. The closer quarters leaves us breathing in each other’s air and exposes us to more germs.
  • Less Sunlight. During the wintertime, there is less sunlight and less sunlight leads to lower levels of melatonin and vitamin D. These lower levels compromise our...
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6 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

mental health well-being Feb 01, 2019

It’s February and that time of year when things start to drag. There are no more holidays to look forward to (except Valentine’s Day and that doesn’t really count when you are single). It is dark and cold outside. Sunshine and summer seem forever away. Taxes are beginning to hang over our heads. The list goes on...

With the things that are and are not happening during this time of year, it can be difficult to keep our mood up. With that in mind, here are 6 ways to help you combat the Winter Blues:

  1. Go for natural light. When you wake up in the morning open your blinds and curtains. Natural light can influence the production of vitamin D and melatonin in our body which not only affect our mood, but also how tired we feel.
  2. Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural mood-booster. It releases those feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Beyond boosting your mood, exercise can also build your self-confidence and provide that good...
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Be gentle.

self-care well-being Jan 18, 2019

For a majority of my life, my dad’s hands have been rough with calluses. In the wintertime the skin was often dry and cracked from the cold. Occasionally his hands were stained from the projects he was working on at the time – green from working on the lawn mower, black from fixing a car, brown from weeding the garden.

Regardless of their state, I could always feel a power and strength in them. A strength in his safe grip, their ability to carry and lift literal weights in my life as well as figurative ones. A power and comfort in them from the generosity of his spirit – his willingness to serve and be there whenever I might need him. Even a strength in their gentleness.

One of my earliest memories is of him braiding mine and my sister's hair after we took a bath. Those were the days when his t-shirts fit us as “nightgowns.” :) After our bath he would very carefully brush out our wet tangles then, just as carefully braid our hair into a short, simple...

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Do you UNDERSTAND the benefits of REGULAR exercise??

exercise well-being Dec 06, 2018

Exercise is one of the BEST things you can do for you - your body, your health, and your life.

While teaching a gym class on Monday I [Rachelle] heard someone say, “I eat clean so I don’t have to [do cardio].” That comment has been eating at me since. Still cringing. Because...exercise is one of the most important lifestyle choices we can make!

If, perhaps, you have found yourself thinking, “I don’t need to be active”, it is time to revisit the why’s of exercise.

If instead you are like me and periodically find yourself in an exercise slump, use these why’s to rediscover your motivation and find new meaning in movement.

Exercise, a.k.a. "physical activity", strength and aerobic training, movement, etc., 

  • Strengthens the heart. Did you know your heart is a muscle? The most important muscle in your body, in fact! Your heart contracts 100,000 times a day to push roughly 2,000 gallons worth of blood...
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Why Am I So Tired?

well-being Oct 31, 2018

Have you been feeling overly exhausted lately? Fatigued before everyone else seems to be? 

Let’s compare our body to a car and talk about some of the reasons we can feel tired all the time.

Not Exercising Enough

You know how cars don’t run that well if they just sit around and are never driven? Our bodies are the same. We don’t perform at our best when we don’t get enough exercise.

Likewise, if we run ourselves too hard we will also be fatigued. Cars that are driven too hard and not properly cared for (oil changes, tune-ups etc.) don’t last or perform their best. 

Not Eating Right

Unhealthy eating behaviors can also aid in feeling fatigued and tired all the time. Think of a nice mustang. Would you expect it to perform the best if you shoved pizza and a ton of desserts down it? Of course not!

Not Having A Consistent Sleeping Schedule

I know, it’s hard to get enough sleep…much less a consistent sleeping schedule! However, our bodies...

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As Dangerous as Smoking Up to 15 Cigarettes a Day

mental health well-being Oct 11, 2018

Investing in your social network is one of the greatest investments you can make for your health.

Your social network leads to greater well-being and less stress. It’s also an antidote for depression and aids in high performance.

Social networks don’t only reduce your stress and anxiety, but they also reduce your loneliness. Both actual and perceived loneliness are associated with a greater risk for early death.*

Research from Brigham Young University professors Timothy Smith and Julianne Holt-Lunstad reveals that loneliness and “a lack of social connection can be as dangerous to your health as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”

Professor Timothy Smith (counseling psychology professor) said “Overall, people understand that some factors predict death, but what they haven’t understood is that social factors are even more predictive of death than things like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels. People find this surprising but...

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Sincerity Over Ability: Did You Know This About Thank You Letters?

well-being Sep 26, 2018

Recently I read an article about a study that shows “people miscalculate the benefits of writing to someone to express gratitude.” This article focuses on an interesting aspect of human nature.

Often when we go to write a thank you letter or do anything to express gratitude, we measure our ability to do the task and not the sincerity behind it. The result? We don’t feel adequate to express our gratitude and often don’t engage in the behavior to do so.

Researchers found that people who write thank you letters underestimate the happiness the letter will bring to the recipient. They also overestimate how awkward the recipient will feel receiving the letter.

We tend to judge ourselves on our own ability to perform a task, not the sincerity behind it.

How would our lives change if we focused on the sincerity behind our actions and not our abilities to perform? Would we express more gratitude? Would we try harder to take...

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Help Prevent Prescription Painkiller Abuse

well-being Sep 06, 2018

Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages AND are a LEADING cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. The good news is everyone can help prevent injuries. One leading injury in Utah is prescription painkiller abuse. 

Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Prescription painkiller overdoses are a growing problem in the United States, especially among women. About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose - more than 4 times as many as back in 1999.

In Utah, 24 individuals die from prescription drug overdoses every month - more than the number of deaths from firearms, and motor vehicle crashes in Utah. From 2012-2014 Utah ranked 4th in the U.S. for drug poisoning deaths.

 How to Reduce the Risk of Prescription Painkiller Abuse:

  • Make sure all medications are stored out of reach of kids and visitors.
  • Keep an inventory of what medications you have, where they are located, and how many pills are left. If any medications/pills are missing...
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