Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning.

Winter Wellness Bingo Challenge

2018The Wellness committee is offering Winter Bingo as our next healthy challenge! All faculty and staff are invited to participate in the challenge the month of January. There are 24 health and wellness activities for you to choose from. You are able to pick the day in which you complete each activity, and only one activity is allowed per day. To qualify for a chance to win a prize, a minimum of 20 activities must be completed within the month of January.  Please click here for the Winter bingo card: http://www.uwgb.edu/UWGBCMS/media/hr/Wellness%20Items/Winter-2018-wellness-BingoCard.pdf

SnowmanWinter Bingo begins January 1, 2018 and ends January 31, 2018. Completed forms can be e-mailed to the Wellness committee at wellness@uwgb.edu or hand-in to the Human Resources front desk in the Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 710 by Friday, February 9, 2018.

Challenge your co-workers to join in the fun and do some of the activities together!  Share pics of you and your co-workers completing the activities by emailing them to wellness@uwgb.edu.  Begin the new year by making healthy choices and then enjoy your increased energy level, positive outlook, and improved health in 2018!

 

December Wellness Webinar: Celebrate with Energy and Cheer

The holidays are fast approaching and you might be feeling excited and anxious at the same time. Past experience shows you head back to work after the holidays feeling a bit drained instead of energized. Join us for this webinar for tips on truly celebrating with energy and cheer through the New Year.

Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2017HolidayShopping

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735

No need to RSVP – just mark your calendar to join us, and bring your lunch!

You could also participate in this webinar at your workstation if you prefer – please visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars to register.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

November Wellness Webinar: The Greatness of Gratitude

NovWebinar

Before you dive into the turkey or turn on the game, don’t forget to count your blessings. When you focus on the good things, your upbeat attitude helps fight stress and depression. Research shows that practicing gratitude may also improve your social life and enhance your physical health. Join us to learn more.

Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735

No need to RSVP – just mark your calendar to join us, and bring your lunch!

You could also participate in this webinar at your workstation if you prefer – please visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars to register.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

 

How much do you know about Mindfulness?

 

Take this Mindfulness Quiz from StayWell to find out!

A. Mindfulness is:ManStanding

  1. A cultural belief that is only practiced by certain groups of people
  2. A practice that cannot be learned or taught
  3. Analyzing thoughts in order to change them
  4. A medically approved practice that enables individuals to systematically reduce and manage stress

B. Which of these statements is false?

  1. Job stress alone is estimated to cost US industry more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, medical, legal, and insurance costs.
  2. 80% of people who have taken mindfulness programs are unsuccessful.
  3. Stress is the causative factor of illness underlying more than 70% of all visits to the family doctor.
  4. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and depression-related symptoms by 60-70%.

C. Some benefits of mindfulness are:

  1. Strengthens immune system
  2. Improves cardiovascular health
  3. Builds resiliency
  4. All of the above

D. People who participate in mindfulness programs:

  1. Must eat a specific diet
  2. Wear special clothes
  3. Are business professionals, hospital employees, military personnel, schoolchildren, and athletes
  4. Have to be perfectly serene and peaceful

E. What are some experiences a person may have when practicing formal mindfulness?

  1. Fall asleep
  2. Have lots of thoughts
  3. Experience restfulness
  4. All of the above

F. The ability to pay attention correlates to a person’s performance and effectiveness.  Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention to:

  1. Only the things that matter to us
  2. Our aches and pains
  3. The moment-to-moment daily activities with nonjudgment
  4. Thoughts about the past and future

G. The benefits of mindfulness are shown physically, mentally, and emotionally. Which one is NOT a benefit of mindfulness?

  1. Improved brain functionPortal
  2. Ability to rehash the past and rehearse for the future
  3. Greater concentration and focus
  4. Gives more meaning and purpose to our lives

H. To begin a home mindfulness practice, it is suggested to:

  1. Sit quietly for 5-20 minutes while focusing on the breath
  2. Sit in a perfect cross-legged yoga position
  3. Light candles all over the room
  4. Play devotional chanting music

Answers: A – 4; B – 2; C – 4; D – 3; E – 4; F – 3; G – 2; H – 1

How did you do?  Are you interested in learning more about mindfulness?  There are some great resources on the StayWell portal!  To access the StayWell portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program. To check out the mindfulness resources on the StayWell portal, please click on “Programs” after logging in, then scroll down to “Mindfulness Collection” and click on “Learn More” (image at right).  You will see the 21-day Meditation Experience with helpful videos to watch each day to improve your mindfulness!

Quiz from The StayWell Company, LLC

What is Mindfulness and What Does it Mean?

Stones

Mindfulness is defined as being present in the moment in a nonjudgmental way. Becoming mindful in our lives expresses itself in multiple ways:

  • Being aware and accepting of present experience
  • Bringing focus, awareness and attention to the present moment
  • “Single-tasking” rather than multi-tasking
  • Being wholeheartedly present here and now
  • Appreciating the present moment rather than wishing it away
  • Being attentive to what you are doing rather than operating automatically
  • Nurturing attitudes of acceptance and non-judgment, which adds warmth, friendliness and compassion

You can practice mindfulness in almost everything you do.

Informal Practice – involves reminding ourselves throughout the day to focus our attention on whatever is happening in the moment, which increases our ability to respond effectively. A simple example is becoming more mindful of our movement, which may lead to taking the stairs instead of the elevator or bicycling instead of driving.  Practicing mindfulness in this way involves experiences like:

  • noticing the sensations of walking when we walk
  • noticing the taste of our food when we eat
  • noticing the clouds and the trees as we pass them
  • noticing the feel of soapy water on our hands when washing dishes
  • focusing our attention on our friends and family when we’re with them

Opportunities for informal mindfulness practice are infinite.  At every moment, when it’s not necessary to be planning or thinking, we can simply bring our attention to what is happening in our sensory awareness.

Formal Practice – involves setting aside time to go to the mental “gym.”  Unlike informal practice, in which we’re accomplishing another task while practicing mindfulness, formal practice means dedicating a period of time entirely to cultivating mindfulness per se.  Mindfulness meditation is a formal practice that has been studied scientifically.  This practice involves choosing an object of attention such as the breath or another sensation and returning our attention to that object each time the mind wanders. Through this formal practice we develop a degree of concentration that allows us to focus closer attention to any physical or emotional sensation, such as an itch, ache, sound or feeling. Regardless of the object of attention, we practice being aware of the present experience with acceptance.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Do you ever find yourself worrying about the future, feeling angry or sad, feeling guilty or ashamed, getting upset about physical pain, or just feeling bored or stressed?  Sometimes the feeling is more subtle and you may just feel “out of sorts.”  There may be times when you get taken over by anxiety, depression, addictions, pain or other stress-related symptoms that make it difficult to function.  Emotional suffering comes in all forms.  Mindfulness is a way of relating to life that holds the promise of both alleviating our suffering and making our lives richer and more meaningful.

The point of being mindful is to develop a close relationship with your own mind. You become more familiar with what you are thinking and feeling, and less reactive to the thoughts, emotions and cravings you have.  Mindfulness is a practical way to develop our ability to see the world around us more clearly and understand ourselves and others better, so that we might live a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Mindfulness practices have been around for thousands of years.  Research in the past twenty-five years has proven that mindfulness can help people with a vast range of emotional and physical disorders, which has led many people from all walks of life to be more open to the practice including hospitals, businesses, governments, athletes, schools and the military.

Stress has been cited as a cause of more than 70% of all family doctor visits for illness and 66% of Americans report having trouble focusing at work because of stress.  Job stress costs U.S. industries more than $300 billion per year.  These costs include missed work, employee turnover, decreased productivity, and medical, legal and insurance costs. Mindfulness programs have been shown to help reduce many stress-related symptoms and improve overall health, including outcomes such as the following:

  • 80% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease
  • 83% improvement in decision making skills
  • 60-70% fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression

Benefits of Mindfulness

Meditation practice can yield all of the following benefits:

  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Balanced hormones
  • Improved digestion
  • Help maintain weight
  • Increased ability to relax
  • Reduced fatigue and anxiety
  • Increased energy
  • New coping skills
  • Better brain function
  • Sense of calm
  • Decreased depression
  • Help with relationships
  • Enhanced listening skills
  • Focus on goals and meaning
  • Resiliency

Just how can the simple practice of mindfulness provide all of these positive benefits?  Paying attention to the present moment can improve the functioning of the body and brain in two specific ways. Mindfulness:

  1. Helps You Be Less Reactive – When you slow the mind, you think more clearly.  You respond thoughtfully instead of simply reacting.  Many people use the same coping mechanism over and over, repeatedly reacting the same way without thinking.  Although this coping mechanism may be a healthy one, such as choosing walking or jogging rather than food or alcohol when frustrated, being mindful allows you to be intentional about healthy choices.  Being mindful also helps you be more aware of how you unconsciously and consciously react to stress so you can find new ways to deal with the situation.
  2. Helps Relax Your Body – Short-term effects of mindfulness on the body are similar to the benefits of relaxation. When you are in a mindful state, you experience a decrease in perspiration, a slower heart rate, and changes in alpha waves in your brain.  These physiological changes are evidence that your body is going into relaxation mode. Your body can’t be relaxed and stressed at the same time so, when you are relaxed, you think more clearly and tend to make wiser decisions.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

5 Steps to Mindfulness

  1. Find a quiet place free from distractions and sit upright in a comfortable position.bench
  2. Decide how many minutes you have.  You may want to set a timer to keep track of the time.  Begin with 5 minutes and ease into 20-30.
  3. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  Continue to focus on your natural breathing pattern at a relaxed pace, inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
  4. When your mind wanders from the breath, simply return your attention back to your breath.  Anytime the attention drifts away to a thought or distraction, gently guide focus back to your breathing.
  5. When the time is complete, remain sitting comfortably with your eyes closed.  Take a deep breath as you slowly open your eyes.  Have a restful moment before resuming activity.

Could Mindfulness Help You Control Anxiety?

Inhale, then exhale, focusing on your breath. Place a mint on your tongue, and pay close attention to the taste.

These types of exercises promote mindfulness. This state—in which you observe and accept the present moment—may reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder, among other conditions. Other effective treatments for anxiety disorders include counseling and medication. Mindfulness training may be combined with these approaches to ease stress and worries.

In a recent study, seven weeks of mindfulness training reduced anxiety in women with fibromyalgia, who are prone to developing anxiety disorders. And in a review of 19 studies containing almost 500 participants, researchers noticed similar soothing results.

Mindfulness means learning to focus and stay in the present moment. Especially if you have an anxiety disorder, your thoughts may still scatter or race. But instead of being distracted, you’ll learn to let them exist and take their natural course.

With practice, you’ll start accepting and tolerating your fears and worries, rather than trying to actively push them away. Noticing and stepping back from your thoughts may help you let them go.

Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

Being Mindful at Work

Help

Think you’ve got to bend your legs like a pretzel and sit for hours to achieve mindfulness?

Think again. This once obscure Buddhist concept is growing in popularity—no yoga mat required.

The timing couldn’t be better, either. Recent research indicates we’re more stressed-out than ever. In fact, stress rates have skyrocketed in the past six to seven years, a timeline that roughly corresponds to our ability to “hyper-connect” to work via smartphones, says executive coach and American Management Association expert Scott Eblin, author of Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative.

The Gift of Presence

Mindfulness can get us back to center. At its heart, mindfulness is observing what is happening in the present without calling it good or bad. Observing without judging keeps us out of a past we can’t change or a future we can’t control.

When we practice mindfulness at work, we think more clearly. We respond rather than react. We take events less personally. We make better decisions. In short, our brains slow down. We reduce our stress levels while simultaneously increasing our effectiveness.

Stretch

Learn to Be Mindful Without the Mat

The latest research shows you can gain mindfulness benefits anytime. Here are a few activities to get you started according to Scott Eblin.

  • Take a walk. Walking’s repetitive motion immediately relaxes you, says Eblin.
  • Stretch. Step away from work for several minutes. Roll your shoulders, reach for the sky, and get your blood flowing. Remembering your body brings you back to the present.
  • Lunch well. Enjoy the tastes, textures, and smells of your food. Avoid junk food, which can hurt your brain and disrupt your focus.
  • Breathe. Put your hand on your belly and take three deep breaths, Eblin suggests. Increasing oxygen and the moment-by-moment awareness of this most basic life-sustaining act will help bring you back to now.


Article from The StayWell Company, LLC

 

June Wellness Webinar: Mindful Mess or Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Working. Fix-it projects around the house. Errands. Groceries. Cleaning. Helping family members. Yard Work. Working out. Cooking. Bills. Bills. Bills. Oh, and maybe a little bit of fun.

Is this enough to cause you to feel frazzled and worn out? Join this webinar to get a new perspective on mindful living and learn how to approach each day with mindfulness. We’ll also review the NEW Mindfulness Collection resources available on the portal in June!

Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Cofrin Library, 7th floor, room 735

No need to RSVP – just mark your calendar to join us, and bring your lunch!

You could also participate in this webinar at your workstation if you prefer – please visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and go to Webinars to register.

Wellness webinars highlighting various health and well-being topics will take place the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All webinars will be recorded and available to Well Wisconsin Program participants on the wellness portal after the event date.

To access the wellness portal, you must be an employee, retiree, or enrolled spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Public Employers Group Health Insurance Program.

Mindfullness Challenge – Tai Chi Classes!

MindFull

To promote a culture of well-being and help us be more mindful at work, Tai Chi classes will be presented to UWGB employees by Green Bay Tai Chi on the following dates.  Please note that there is a maximum of 10 attendees per class, so pre-registration is required, and will be capped at 10 people.  All classes will be held at 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. in the Mauthe Center.

  • Wednesday, May 3rd
  • Wednesday, May 10th
  • Wednesday, May 17th
  • Wednesday, May 24th
  • Wednesday, May 31st

Please click on this link to register for the classes: http://uwgreenbay.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0TdXqTSM2wXTd3v

The instructor has suggested that attendees wear loose fitting clothing and gym shoes.

A big THANK YOU to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) for their wellness grant to UWGB to fund the entire cost of these classes, so there is no charge to employees to attend!  Another big THANK YOU to the Richard Mauthe Center for co-sponsoring these classes!

Please contact the Wellness Committee at wellness@uwgb.edu or ext. 2203 if you have any questions.

Mindfulness Classes

MindFull

Did you know stress rates have skyrocketed in the past six to seven years, a timeline that roughtly corresponds to our ability to “hyperconnect” to work via smartphones?* Being mindful in our daily routine can help us reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and control anxiety. When we practice mindfulness at work, we think more clearly. We respond rather than react. We take events less personally. We make better decisions. In short, our brains slow down. We reduce our stress levels while simultaneously increasing our effectiveness.

“Relaxation” – this was a suggestion from a UWGB employee for what topic the Wellness Committee should focus on next.  Two-time NFL MVP and Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows the importance of relaxing and being mindful. Practicing mindfulness can improve many aspects of your daily life, and implementing mindful practices in your routine might be easier than you think!  RELAX

To promote a culture of well-being and help us be more mindful at work, the following meditation and Tai Chi classes will be offered to UWGB employees this spring!  A big THANK YOU to the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) for their wellness grant to UWGB to fund the entire cost of these classes, so there is no charge to employees to attend!  Another big THANK YOU to the Richard Mauthe Center for co-sponsoring these classes!  All classes will be held at 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. in the Mauthe Center.

  • Monday, March 13th – Meditation with Aguas Buenas Botanicas
  • Monday, March 20th – Meditation with Aguas Buenas Botanicas
  • Monday, March 27th – Meditation with Aguas Buenas Botanicas
  • Monday, April 3rd – Meditation with Aguas Buenas Botanicas
  • Friday, April 7th – Meditation with Instructor, Reed Hardy
  • Friday, April 14th – Meditation with Instructor, Reed Hardy
  • Friday, April 21st – Meditation with Instructor, Reed Hardy
  • Friday, April 28th – Meditation with Instructor, Reed Hardy

Please click on this link to register for the classes: http://uwgreenbay.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1RDH7wyV8TIaahL

Did you miss the first class or forgot to register?  No problem!  Just show up and join us!

Tai Chi classes are available as well!  Please click on this link for more information: http://blog.uwgb.edu/hr/2017/04/mindfullness-challenge-tai-chi-classes/

We all have stress in our lives.  Regardless of the cause, your body’s reaction to stress can make you more likely to get sick.  So finding ways to de-stress is important to your health.  Mindfulness can be the key to slowing down and enjoying the moment.  Please consider taking advantage of this great opportunity!

* Quote from Scott Eblin, Author of the book Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative

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