Travelling Health Fair
By Colin Hearne on February 4, 2014
Legend tells us that Valentine’s Day came about when a Roman, set to be executed for his religious beliefs, sent a love letter to his jailor’s daughter, who had visited him during his confinement. It is said that he signed the letter from your Valentine, forever chiseling the phrase into history as a symbol of kindness, compassion and love. Although the truth behind the Valentine legend is murky, it does emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and – most importantly – romantic figure, and as a result has made February a month to share aforementioned kindness, compassion and love. The heart has become a central symbol of all of these.
Is this good for us?
It can feel good to be the recipient of a kind word or offer of help from a friend or colleague. Acts of kindness, compassion and love not only make the world a better place, but bestowing them on others reflects back on us – improving our mental and physical health, boosting our self-esteem, and allowing us to communicate better with others. People who perform acts of kindness would agree that it makes them feel good to be kind to others.
What the studies say
Research shows that not only can kindness, compassion and love make us feel good, but can also have significant physical and mental health benefits.
Some examples are:
- Researchers from the Universities of California, San Diego, and Harvard found that when people benefit from kindness, they ‘pay it forward’ by helping others who were not originally involved. When people in the study were given money to help someone else, a domino effect occurred, causing each person’s generosity to spread to three people, then to nine people, and then to still others in subsequent waves of the experiment.
- Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at Stony Brook University in New York, found that feelings of love trigger the brain’s dopamine-reward system. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter that affects pleasure and motivation. It is activated in many people, for instance, by winning a lot of money or taking stimulants. Put simply he found that love invigorates us
- Researchers at Harvard University showed a film about Mother Teresa’s work among the poor in Calcutta to 132 students. They then measured the levels of Immunoglobin A (an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity,) which showed markedly increased levels in all test subjects. In other words, purely witnessing compassion has the power to boost our immune system.
- Practicing small acts of kindness can help you become a happier, and the boost in mood can stay with you for months, according to research from York University. More than 700 people took part in a study that charted the effects of being nice to others, in small doses, over the course of a week. Six months later, participants reported increased happiness and self-esteem.
- The act of compassion triggers activity in the parts of the brain involved in pleasure and reward, according to researchers at Emory University.
Feel the glow
In the spirit of the story of Valentine’s Day, here are seven ways you can bring a warm glow to your own heart, and bring more meaning to the lives of others.
- Smile more often: Something as simple as a smile can create a connection with others and leave both parties feeling happier. Smiling and saying hello to people doing their job can make all the difference in how that person views his or her profession.
- Give compliments: A sincere compliment can turn a person’s world around. By making it a habit to give at least three sincere compliments a day, we can acknowledge the good in others and we can start to see the good in ourselves.
- Send thank you notes: Often, we are so busy that we don’t take the time to properly thank someone who has done us a good turn. A short hand-written note can be a pleasant surprise to receive; so too can a note letting someone know how much you appreciate them.
- Volunteer: By giving your time and energy to causes that you believe in, you are making a difference in the world. People who volunteer their time tend to be happier.
- Practice patience. Allow someone to get in line in front of you in a checkout line or in traffic.
- Give little gifts for no reason: People love to receive thoughtful gifts (whether purchased or handmade) when they aren’t expecting it. You can even give a gift to a stranger by donating items to a local charity for distribution.
- Kindness on a budget. There are many ways to show kindness without breaking the bank. Leave an extra-large tip for the busy wait-staff, pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive-through, or put money into someone’s parking meter that is about expire. Giving anonymously is guaranteed to make you smile.
(Source: Homewood Health)
Start the kindness by taking care your own heart. Sign up for the 2014 Travelling Health Fair at UBC. This year’s dates are Feb. 20th in Henry Angus Room 254, and Feb. 25th in Neville Scarfe Building Room 1005, 9am – 4pm.This year will focus on Cardiovascular Health. For more information click here or call 604.827.3047. Space is limited so register early.
By Colin Hearne on February 4, 2014
This month, UBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Benefits team has a great line up of sessions focused on a wide variety of topics from suicide prevention training to parenting skills and time management. Join us and take a few moments to build new skills, boost your health and to reflect on how you face the day. (Courses are at the Point Grey campus unless otherwise indicated)
QPR Gatekeeper Training: February 11th@ 9am-11am
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – Three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people are trained in CPR and the Heimlich Manoeuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide, and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. At this seminar you will learn how to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide, the common causes of suicidal behavior, the warning signs of suicide, how to Question, Persuade and Refer someone who may be suicidal, how to get help for someone in crisis, and gain familiarity with referral resources both on and off campus. For more information or to register, click here.
Time is a precious resource. Once it is used up, we can never get it back. We’ve all heard the phrase “time equals money”; in a work setting this can sometimes literally be the case. We require balance in our lives so that we meet both our job requirements and our personal needs. How can we manage our time at work so that we are satisfied and successful? This session will explore some answers to these questions. For more information or to register, click here.
The prospect of talking to your children about sex and sexual health can be a difficult one, often made more challenging by personal discomfort, lack of education or shame. This conversation does not have to be feared or avoided. Why not arm yourself with knowledge, age-appropriate information and fantastic resources? At this session, you will learn how to speak to your children about comprehensive body science and sexual health information and how to start and continue this lifelong discussion. You will also take away a helpful formula for answering questions and learn about some fantastic resources for both parents and for children of any age. Help provide your children with the tools to keep themselves safe and to make healthy and informed decisions. For more information or to register, click here.
This year, UBC’s Travelling Health Fair will focus on cardiovascular risk and heart. As part of the fair, participants will receive the following services: Blood pressure measurement; Body Mass Index (BMI – height & weight) and waist measurement; Cholesterol measurement (a small finger prick); Calculation of heart disease risk (Framingham score); Counselling and interpretation of results; and Recommendations to optimize your heart health. Services will be provided by licensed pharmacists and pharmacy students from the Pharmacists Clinic at the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Please note the specific locations and dates as the Fair takes place at both the Point Grey and Hospital locations. For more information or to register, click here.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based educational program that reduces stress, cultivates physical and mental health, and promotes balance and well-being. Mindfulness is a basic human quality, a way of learning how to pay wise attention to what is happening in your life. The practice of mindfulness reduces reactivity and promotes greater connection inwardly and outwardly. MBSR@Work specifically focuses on integrating the practice of mindfulness in the workplace to promote effectiveness, teamwork, and communication. The Mindfulness@Work Six-Week Program begins May, 2014, at UBC. Attendance at this orientation is mandatory to register for the Six-week program. Click here for more information and to register.
Take a time-out from work for your mental and physical health! Join your campus colleagues for a lunch -hour walk on Mondays and Fridays. Monday’s group leaves at 12:30 p.m., while Friday’s leaves at 12:10 p.m. outside the General Services Administration Building (GSAB). All abilities welcome. For more information, call 604-827-3047, email email@example.com or click here.
Join the UBC Meditation Community, which holds weekly sessions from September through May. Click here for more information.
Posted in Colin Hearne, EFAP, Events, Mental Health, Physical Health | Tagged Mindfulness, Parenting, parenting tips, QPR, sexual health, Suicide prevention, time management, Travelling Health Fair | Leave a response