The buzz of energy around New Year’s health resolutions has come and gone. No reason to be discouraged; we still have 11 more months to keep trying.
What I have learned from interviewing people over the years on goal setting is that unrealistic expectations can often deflate the
momentum of initial motivation. Successful goal achievers who do make it to a desired endpoint get there not with magic, but with a formula of the basics—time, patience, repetition, and support. World Fitness Calculator and Superbetter, tech tools based on simple health principles can help boost your body-mind wellness goals for the year.
The gentle, meditative, paced movements of Tai Chi hold promise as a path of restorative exercise for those struggling with mobility challenges. A widely practiced Chinese martial art, Tai Chi improves balance, aids in stress relief, and promotes circulation of the "chi" (energy) - a therapeutic effect common in eastern healing modalities yielding balance in the body. The Arthritis Foundation sponsors a unique Tai Chi program, Sun Style, created by Dr. Paul Lam. This program is composed of a series of movements tailored to the needs of persons diagnosed with arthritis.
Each time I attend a live musical performance, I am always awed by the soul-piercing effect of music on the audience, be it jazz, blues, gospel, rock, or classical. I witness how music moves the listener spurring relief, joy, play, or an escape into imagination.
Earlier this summer, I visited the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy and spoke with director,
Dr. Alan Turry, on the healing aspects of music and the unique treatment approach of the center.
“Pull on a single thread in nature, and you will find it
attached to everything in the universe,” says the naturalist John Muir. These words came to mind when I recently discovered the cinematic artwork of mouth painter, Moses Hamilton, 37, who lives in Kauai, Hawaii.
Capturing subjects ranging from the mundane to the transcendent, Hamilton’s paintings draw the viewer into the breathtaking landscapes of Hawaii and tell a moving visual story of the island’s people.
Spit it Out, an award-winning documentary codirected by Jeff Shames and Jonathan Skurnik, follows the poignant journey of Jeff Shames in his efforts to find self-acceptance as a stutterer.
In one of the delightful opening scenes, Shames is attending a workshop at a conference held by Friends, a support organization for children who stutter and their families. The children are outdoors ready with their speech monsters in hand, an art exercise depicting their struggles with stuttering. “We need to show them who is the boss of our talking!” says the group leader. “Put your speech monster inside the rocket!” The kids crumple up their speech monsters, dump them into a rocket, and blast it off into space, giving back the power to the children.
Am sending my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all who are affected
and struggling with the difficult events of this year. Here is a link from
PBS parents on how to talk with kids about traumatic news events ...
Talking with Kids about News - Strategies for Talking and Listening
Are you a sensation seeker, or do you prefer a low key evening with quiet music playing in the background? Decoding our sensory style is the subject of a fascinating book, Living Sensationally: Understanding Your Senses, by Dr. Winnie Dunn, Chair and Professor of Occupational Therapy at University of Kansas Medical Center. Dunn's research on sensory processing disorders indicates that people fall into four categories of sensory styles: seekers, sensors, by-standers, and avoiders. In a recent conversation, I spoke with Dr. Dunn about the broad applications of her work.
“People with sensory processing disorders may be more sensitive to sensory input, but we are all wired to have idiosyncratic reactions to sensory experiences - sound, touch, taste or smell,” notes Dunn. In families, finding creative ways to respond to such needs of children can alleviate unneeded emotional suffering. Dunn provides the following example, “At a family gathering, a child with autism may want some time away from the group due to over-stimulation of social energy. Guests present can understand this as a sensory need versus another thing wrong with the child," she advises.
Last year, while working on a coping series for the American Brain Tumor Association, I learned of the Bloch Cancer Hotline in Kansas City, MO. The hotline was founded 30 years ago by Richard and Annette Bloch after Richard Bloch’s diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. Richard experienced many challenges in negotiating his cancer care. With a second opinion and perseverance, he survived for many years after his diagnosis. This personal experience prompted Richard and his wife to dedicate their life’s work to giving hope to cancer patients.
Each day, we humans participate in a common activity—the ancient craft of storytelling. Reading the daily paper, watching movies, or catching up with friends—sharing or listening to stories is at the heart of our nature. But can telling your story have benefits for your health? “Yes, most definitely,” says Paul Browde, actor, psychiatrist, and narrative therapist, “it made all the difference to my health and life."
Sharing the healing power of storytelling is a narrative exercise that Browde and his fellow actor Murray Nossel, an academy-nominated documentary filmmaker, have engaged audiences in for the last 14 years through Two Men Talking, a live unscripted performance that has been showcased to acclaim in New York, London, and South Africa. On stage, the two men explore a variety of stories: growing up white, Jewish, and gay under apartheid in South Africa; homophobia; racism; AIDS; and most importantly, their friendship and the passage of time.
The outpouring of emotion for the recent passing of tech genius, Steve Jobs, is validation of how much the magic of digital devices has become a central part of our daily lives. Phones and tablets are lifestyle managers, offering apps that help with organization, planning for dinner or checking one's budget. Jobs will be remembered as a central inspiration for the digital age, but how people continue to make creative use of digital technologies is the post-Jobs story.
Bridging Apps is a innovative web community of parents and professionals who seek to share information on ways to use educational/therapy apps on the latest technology devices—iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android and others—to support developmental learning goals for people with disabilities.
I am a freelance writer whose work covers
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My current areas of curiosity are
stories on creativity,
technology and health.
My freelance projects include writing and social media consulting.
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