Take These Steps Toward Happiness

Take These Steps Toward Happiness

Do you have a coworker, friend or family member who is an absolute joy to be around? Are there people in your life who deal with challenges with a smile and a can-do attitude? Happy people work on their thoughts and actions to create and maintain their happiness. You can, too.

If the idea of working on one more thing makes you feel weary, consider this: happier people tend to be more productive. 

Ready to work on taking your happiness to a higher level? Start by investing more time in your relationships, experts say. Seeing family and friends on a regular basis and having a good marriage promote happiness.

A study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics found that a better social life can be worth more than an additional  $130,000 a year in terms of life contentment, while actual changes in income buy little happiness. 

Ready to take more steps to become happier? Cultivate contentment with these HAPPINESS tips:

Have a sense of humor. The ability to laugh can see you through adversity.

Appreciate what you have.

Pay it forward. Helping others makes you feel better about yourself.

Participatein physical activity to relax, fuel energy and fight depression.

Identify and express your feelings. Practice gratitude and generosity.

Nourish relationships with your family, friends and others in your support network.

Enjoy life. Savor it. Align daily activities to fulfill your passions and purpose. 

Seek solutions. The ability to adapt to changing conditions is critical.

Stay optimistic. Frame events in a positive way. Keep positive company.

Happiness is not just a destination. It’s a journey. Enjoy the view.

Robin Farmer is a freelance content specialist with a focus on health, business and education. Visit her at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com. 

Busy Schedule? Try HIIT

Busy Schedule? Try HIIT

Did you pick up some extra pounds over the summer? Are you less than enthused about pursuing another workout regimen? Consider high-intensity interval training [HIIT], which involves short bursts of intense exercise to burn fat fast, strengthen your heart and preserve muscle.

And there is even more good news about HIIT. Not only do you exercise for a short duration; HIIT burns fat even after you finish your workout. Score!

So how does this top fitness trend for 2014 work? You must push yourself 100 percent for about 20 or 30 seconds, followed by a 10-second recovery period.  Start off with one or two higher-intensity intervals during each workout. As your endurance improves, challenge yourself to vary the pace.

Whether you’re a veteran exerciser or a newbie, HIIT provides these benefits:

  • Spend less time to burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you will burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes each time.
  • Improve your cardiovascular system. As your cardiovascular fitness increases, you will be able to push your heart rate high during workouts. This means shaving time off a 60- or 30-minute routine or maintaining the pace and burning more calories. 
  • Fit HIIT into a busy schedule. Only have 20 or 15 minutes to spare? That’s enough time to turn up the intensity of your exercises. 
  • Use your body weight instead of equipment. Do a walk/jog or run combo or squats, sit-ups and lunges. No special equipment is needed, just your own body.

If interval training sounds like it’s worth a try, talk to your medical provider if you have not been regularly exercising or a health condition exists.

With the holiday season a few months away, now may be the time to pursue a different kind of workout to get different kinds of results. Let us know how you are doing!

Robin Farmer is a freelance content specialist with a focus on health, business and education. Visit her at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.


Dealing with Dysfunctional Coworkers

Dealing with Dysfunctional Coworkers

Does your workplace have coworkers who complain constantly, fail to pull their weight or behave as drama mamas? You are not alone. Dysfunctional employees are everywhere and they can make the workday extra stressful.

Whether you are dealing with a self-promoter, gossip master or lazy lug, you still need to deal with them in a professional manner.  Don’t respond to their pleas for help or dramatic antics. Chances are they will not change their behavior. But you can control how you react to toxic personalities.

Here are four common types of dysfunctional employees and ways to work with them without losing your cool:

  1. The self-promoter.  Everyone enjoys tooting their own horn. But sometimes a coworker will take credit for another person’s work. Your best bet is to say on top of your work and not get sucked into a game of one-upmanship.
  2. The Lazy lug. This person is a drain on productivity and morale. And usually pretty disagreeable when caught not working. Enlist some allies and address the person directly. Or else continue picking up his or her slack.
  3. The saboteur. This person enjoys seeing others struggle or fail. He or she may have been passed over for a promotion or bonus and feels justified in not being a team player. Always have proof of what you have done in case this person tries to blame you for mistakes.
  4. The Drama Master.  Everything that happens to this person is earth-shattering. If there is a major disagreement on the job, this person is in the middle. Your best bet? Do not engage.

The good news is that by controlling your behavior, you set an example to others on what to do to create a healthier work environment.

Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, business and education. Visit her at www.robinfarmerwrites.com.


New Website Helps Nurses Provide PTSD Care

New Website Helps Nurses Provide PTSD Care

Do you know the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]? Do you know who is at risk? Are men and women at equal risk of developing it?

If you find yourself struggling to answer these questions, consider checking The PTSD Toolkit for Nurses, www.nurseptsdtoolkit.org, a new interactive resource designed by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

The American Nurses Foundation (ANF) recently announced the launch of  the toolkit to help civilian registered nurses better assess and treat PTSD in veterans and military service members.

An estimated half million veterans and military service members suffer from this mental health condition that is triggered by a traumatic event, such as exposure to combat, violence, natural disasters, terrorism and accidents.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, experts think PTSD occurs:

  • In about 11-20 percent of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom).
  • In as many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans.
  • In about 30 percent of Vietnam Veterans.

PTSD symptoms include angry outburts, trouble sleeping, and other negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

PTSF can affect anyone, and women are at greater risk. Sometimes symptoms are hard to identify. The website provides an e-learning module to build assessment and intervention skills, so nurses can treat and refer military members and veterans for help. It also includes videos and an interactive game to practice your assessment and referral skills.

Nurses are often the first point of contact when veterans and military personnel seek medical help. PTSD can be treated and cured. This toolkit can help you immediately recognizie symptoms, and intervene to help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life.

Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, business and eduucation. Visit her at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.


Dealing with Workplace Gossipers

Dealing with Workplace Gossipers

Regardless of their age, gender or position, gossipers on the job share the same goal: to use “information” to feel more powerful than their targets. What can be frustrating are their methods.

Sometimes the gossip is elusive, crafted in a hint or casual reference. Sometimes it is directly stated. Whatever the delivery, gossip can undermine a person’s credibility and add to on-the-job stress, something nurses always need to reduce.

Most gossipers are attention-seekers. In confidential tones, they will often share more personal details about someone than you are comfortable with. Their information may or may not be true. But if you weigh in, they leave with even more ammunition. 

So what do you do the next time the workplace gossip heads your way?

Consider taking these actions to stop gossipers in their tracks:

Avoid information exchanges. Every tidbit delivered comes with a price, as this person will use your response to spread more gossip.

Deal with the rumormonger. Talk to the person directly and let it be known you are not interested in hearing or repeating destructive or non-productive talk about your colleagues. Be direct, firm and polite.

Ask the person to clarify his or her comments. Ask specific questions, which gossipers tend to avoid, as they often like speaking in vague terms. Some gossip may contain a kernel of truth that is surrounded by rumors and errors.

Change the subject. Nothing ends gossip quicker than not listening to it.

Say you will repeat the information shared with you with the intended target. 

Help the gossiper. Find out what is bothering him or her to the point that they engage in such negative behavior. 

Address the topic of gossip in a meeting. Discuss how harmful hints and innuendos can damage one’s reputation and confidence.

Keep confidential business to yourself. Knowing who to trust on the job is not always apparent.

Another reason to avoid engaging in gossip? You could be the next target.

Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, business and education. Visit her at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.