Health, Self-Care

Returning To The Senses

It’s said that the average human being experiences anywhere between 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day. With so much mental stimulus filtering through our minds every hour by the thousands, it’s advantageous to our overall well-being to manage some of this excess noise. Returning to the senses, our body’s five senses, helps manage through the noise.

Observe Your Body’s Senses

With Covid-19 currently in the picture, the majority of us are spending a lot more time at home. This global event has also opened up an ongoing stream of new information that may be contributing to the overactive mind. As countless people have lost their routines, and their sense of contact with other human beings, we can leverage this as an opportunity to begin observing our own relationship with our senses.

The simplest and most effective way to manage the overactive thinking mind is by returning to the senses. We all know of the five senses – there is sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

When we are stuck in the mind, it is often an indication that we are disconnected from what’s happening in the body. It’s in these moments that it’s useful to remember that the clearest path out of the mind is back into the body.

This matters because the state of our health is deeply rooted in how we are engaging with our senses. Overthinking is affiliated with numerous physical and psychological symptoms, and conditions. From headaches, depression, anxiety, stomach issues, and more, there is a direct link between the activities of the mind and those of the body.

This all being said, the environments we spend the most time in contribute to how we feel. While the majority of people today are staying home, it’s a good opportunity to start taking inventory of our sensory experiences.

Returning to your senses

SOUND

Start by considering what kind of sounds you welcome into your space. What ambient sounds are most often lingering in the background? Is the television broadcasting news for most of the day? Can you hear any sounds of nature? The sounds that we allow to project in and around our bodies and homes are not benign. They have impact and ultimately give us energy, or take energy from us. The practice here is to be mindful of the quality of sounds we welcome into our space.

SIGHT

Another practice to evoke the senses is by noticing what is directly in sight. Often much of our lingering anxiety and over stimulation is due to excess screen time, use of bright lights at night, and simply being surrounded around too much stuff. Micro-actions such as minimizing artificial light with candles, organizing our homes, and creating boundaries with technology offers our sense of sight more harmony.

TOUCH

Human contact and our touch sense is also essential to our well-being. This is because our body’s chemistry receives bountiful reward through these kinds of interactions. While physical touch in the days of COVID-19 have shifted momentarily, we still have access to the medicine of touch with loved ones we are cohabitating with, with pets, and of course with ourselves. The skin is our largest organ system in the body, and simple acts of kindness towards it supports optimal function. If you don’t know where to start try massaging your favorite oil to the bottoms of your feet every night for 3 nights, and see if you notice a difference. The feet are gateways to all of our body systems, and a simple massage like this will relax the nervous system.

SMELL

Our sense of smell is also an effective way to influence how we feel on a moment to moment basis. This is because the chemistry of our brain literally changes with the information received from the aroma. Keeping this in mind, consider how you feel when you enter a room and smell fresh citrus, versus the smell of stale dust. We can design our moods and our attitudes with something as simple as adding freshness to the home.

TASTE

Lastly, we have our sense of taste. Although we have to eat for nourishment, we often forget that eating can be a vivid experience that connects us to our aliveness. In times of stress or anxiousness, many also have a tendency to turn to food for comfort – it’s in this way that food is a very emotional telltale subject. This being said, paying attention to how we eat is just as important to our health as what we eat. While many of us are accustomed to tuning out from the food in front of us, we can use eating as an opportunity to further explore with the senses. To do this, we must first slow down and create more space between each bite. Only then will we begin to better listen to the body’s messages. 

Now that we’ve traveled through our five senses, we invite you to put some of these considerations into practice. In a world where we exist so predominantly in our minds, let us return to the body by returning to the senses.

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

By Melissa Aparicio, contributing author

Caring Connections, Self-Care

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

We have passed the Spring Equinox.  The days are growing longer than the nights, the sun is warming the earth, and flowers and animals are returning.  And yet, we humans find ourselves in a unique situation trying to re-find our natural balance in life.  Some are searching for their “new normal.” With so many people under stay at home orders, we are seeing nature is in fact re-finding its balance.  There are animals returning to places they haven’t been in a very long time. The dolphins and swans have returned to the canals of Italy, elephants are roaming free through garden groves in India.  Other changes, like pollution being lowered all over the world because of the closure of factories and people not driving hours to work and home every day are also brightening our outlook about this pandemic.  But what of our own balance? Most of us have had to make major changes to our daily social routines.

Being Social

Being Social

Humans are social creatures.  And with such a task as self-isolation and social distancing being required of us, we find ourselves in new uncharted territory.  But humans are highly adaptable. And people are finding ways to be social even while home and practicing social isolation and social distancing. We are seeing a return of community that we haven’t seen in a very long time, perhaps not since the invention of television. People are walking their dogs, playing with their kids or siblings in the front yard, riding their bikes, and visiting lakes and beaches.  People make it a point to say hi from their porches and introduce themselves from a distance. On a nice day you may see people tinkering in their garage or with their cars, playing cornhole on the lawn, or flying a remote-controlled helicopter. In more rural areas, people have a chance to ride their horses, visit lakes and streams and fish, and hike.  In cities we are seeing folks singing and exercising with each other from their own balconies. Musicians are doing balcony performances. And almost everywhere, family members in different households are video chatting and sending letters to each other.

It looks like we are indeed re-finding our natural balance during difficult times. We are staying connected, staying social, and getting closer, in the midst of social “distancing.”

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Benefits, Health, Self-Care, Unified Caring Association

Moonbeam for Emotions

Moonbeam for Emotions

Moonbeam for Emotions

On the adventure of life, we have a slew of emotions that can be difficult to understand. Unified Caring Association (UCA) has a tool to help us all out: Moonbeam Feeling Pack. Moonbeam is a way for us to begin understanding and harnessing emotions, to reach goals, and to connect with others in new and enlightening ways that can fill out hearts with joy!

Moonbeam Feeling Pack

UCA has a wonderful and caring tool to help us identify feelings. Creative cards depict a range of emotions from sadness to happiness and stressed to enlightened. Moonbeam, the easy-to-remember name of the character, helps illuminate connections between emotions we are having. The deck of cards includes 144 emotion cards with Moonbeam images. This deck has 72 heavy emotions and the corresponding positive emotions to help the user learn how to transmute our emotions. To further assist the user, there is a feeling dictionary with definitions of all the emotions in this deck of cards. When we “face” our feelings, we can use them for good. We can find our way to better self-care, wellness, happiness, and wisdom.

Moonbeam
Moonbeam cards and book

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (E.Q.) is a field of study that can be thought of a lot like intelligence quota (I.Q.) in the sense that we can develop and train our minds to become increasingly smarter and our hearts to recognize emotions. One example  of E.Q. in action is through the ability to keep emotions, like stress, from overtaking or disrupting our lives. With clear understanding of what E.Q. is, we are better equipped to manage life and all stressors it can contain. There are many different models designed by psychologists for emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman’s is the one that is most often referenced. Five key areas of emotional intelligence are outlined as: self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Understanding our emotions ties into self-management. This skill involves the ability to reflect upon your emotions and better make choices. 

Developing E.Q. Through Moonbeam

To help grow caring children, teens, and skills sets like E.Q., UCA’s Moonbeam Feeling Pack is a key resource. This pack is available online in our Caring Community Store. This tool will help develop life skills in communication with others and ourselves. Once we can own and harness these feelings, we can promote healing, authenticity and positivity in ourselves and our caring communities. “Being emotionally smart means being able to feel and deal with emotions [yours and other people’s].” (Unified Caring Association

Developing E.Q. is a lot like meditation, gratitude journaling, or other healthy habits. They all take conscious practice with the intention to better our lives.  Try these steps for 21 days to develop a habit of strengthening your emotional intelligence skills.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

OR at the start of each morning….

Daily Development of Emotional Intelligence

Emotions can be confusing for us in the moment, but with time and practice we can better navigate them. One resource that we can use is the Moonbeam Feeling Pack and Dictionary found on Unified Caring Association’s website. With this tool, we can practice identifying and transmuting emotions while strengthening our emotional Intelligence. Once we begin to understand emotions (ours and those of others) we can more fully and honestly communicate with others, our caring communities, and the world. 

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on Shaping Your Heart, Monitoring Health with Biofeedback, and Appreciation Techniques: Heart-Focused Breathing & Heart-Lock In! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Self-Care, Sharing Caring

Letting Go of Being Good

Letting Go of Being  Good

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.” (Tony Schwartz) There are many things that we all have in common. One thing which we have in common is that we all want to be good people. Our efforts can be seen through reforestation efforts, caring for the elderly, or other self-care techniques like meditation. Recently, we at Unified Caring Association (UCA) watched an interesting TedTalk by Dolly Chugh. A woman who enlightens us to the self-inquiry about what it means to be a “good person,” and how letting go of that restrictive definition can help us grow to become a better person.

The Perception of a “Good Person”

Dolly Chugh mentions at the beginning of her TedTalk that she studies the psychology of “good people.” Dolly says, “Research in my field says many of us care deeply about feeling like a good person and being seen as a good person. The problem is that we may not all have the same definition. Whatever our definition is, that moral identity is important to many of us. Meaning that our perception of ourselves is often differs from that of others. We can have a communication breakdown when there is a misalignment. This misalignment can cause us discomfort. Many of us can get stuck in a rut with this awkward, uncomfortable uneasiness. We want to remain attached to our concept of what a good person is and how we fit that definition. 

Dolly poses a great question, “What if I told you that our attachment to being good people is getting in the way of us being better people?” Woah!  Our definition of a good person often is narrow and impossible to meet. This doesn’t seem fair to others or ourselves. What do we do then? Let go of being this idealistic good person to become a better person. 

Bounded Rationality

The definition of bounded rationality is when our decision-making processes in our minds is limited by sets of information. In addition to this, we have a finite amount of time to process this information to make a decision. Kind of like a shortcut, we can quickly access these concepts and make a decision without even taking time to think about it.  People often hold fast to these parameters and definitions. Sometimes bounded rationality is referred to as a fixed-mindset. The opposite of this is a growth mindset. A growth mindset is where we are open to new parameters, ideas, and concepts in an effort to expand our information and make better decisions.  

Dolly Chugh and her associates took the concept of bounded rationality to define a new stance that they call  bounded ethicality. “We have a human mind that is bounded in some sort of way and relying on shortcuts, and that those shortcuts can sometimes lead us astray … With bounded ethicality, the human mind, the same human mind, is making decisions.” Dolly makes a good point when she continues on to remark, “unconscious bias is one place where we see the effects of bounded ethicality. So unconscious bias refers to associations we have in our mind, the shortcuts your brain is using to organize information, very likely outside of your awareness, not necessarily lining up with your conscious beliefs.”

OK, So Example Time! 

Dolly gives us multiple examples of letting go in her TedTalk, but one stands out to us. If we think about it, we can see the effects of bounded ethicality when we experience conflicts of interest. “We tend to underestimate how much a small gift … can affect our decision making. We don’t realize that our mind is unconsciously lining up evidence to support the point of view of the gift-giver, no matter how hard we’re consciously trying to be objective and professional.” If you accept that small gift that can sway your decision making, you are possibly placing yourself into being less than a good person. Despite all of our efforts to be a good person, we can make mistakes that cause us much strife. “…despite our best attempts, and we explain away our mistakes rather than learning from them.” (Chugh)

Once we make a mistake, we can become defensive because we are uncomfortable with violating our own image of being a good person. We fight to maintain the notion that we are a good person, rationalizing and giving excuses as to why we chose an action that made us less than a good person. “…the latest work that I’ve been doing on bounded ethicality with Mary Kern says that we’re not only prone to mistakes — that tendency towards mistakes depends on how close we are to that red zone [being defensive or angry]. So most of the time, nobody’s challenging our good person identity, and so we’re not thinking too much about the ethical implications of our decisions, and our model shows that we’re then spiraling towards less and less ethical behavior most of the time.” We can see this when we tell ourselves it is ok to have another cookie, it is small, and we have already eaten more than we should have. 

What About if Someone Else Calls Us Out?

Somebody else might challenge our identity as a “good person.” Upon reflection, we can find that we may be challenging this view ourselves. “So the ethical implications of our decisions become really [important], and in those cases, we spiral towards more and more good person behavior, or, to be more precise, towards more and more behavior that makes us feel like a good person.” (Chugh)

Letting Go = Learning

Dolly’s idea when dealing with being bounded ethicality is that we sometimes can overestimate the importance our inner compass when it comes to making ethical decisions. “We perhaps are overestimating how much our self-interest is driving our decisions, and perhaps we don’t realize how much our self-view as a good person is affecting our behavior, that in fact, we’re working so hard to protect that good person identity, to keep out of that red zone, that we’re not actually giving ourselves space to learn from our mistakes and actually be better people.” 

We might expect this to be easy, but often letting go is hard. The definition most of us have for a good person is an either-or. You are either a good person or not, you have integrity or you do not.

To learn and update our knowledge, we often have to go through processes like reading or talking to experts. One process is by learning from our mistakes, and getting better with each iteration. “But when it comes to being a good person, we think it’s something we’re just supposed to know, we’re just supposed to do, without the benefit of effort or growth.”

A Good-ish Person

Dolly Chugh proposes a concept that meets in the middle of the two concepts of a good person and a bad person. This concept is a “good-ish person.” She says, “…everyone just forget about being good people, just let it go, and instead, set a higher standard, a higher standard of being a good-ish person? A good-ish person absolutely still makes mistakes.” This middle ground of a good-ish person allows for a second something we all share, being human, making mistakes, and learning from them. “… as a good-ish person, I’m trying to learn from [mistakes], own them. I expect them and I go after them…As a good-ish person, in fact, I become better at noticing my own mistakes.”

Admitting that you are flawed or made a mistake can place us in a vulnerable position. But it is through reflection during the vulnerability that we can assess our definition of being a good person, the consequences of our decisions, and grow. Eventually we will see progress, growth, and begin to develop a new concept that allows us to get better. 

letting-go-of-being-good-video

We at UCA are always trying to share caring information, resources, and news to our caring community. If you would like to read more about letting go, problem solving, and engaging with our emotions. Or we have daily caring notes on social media (Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter). We are looking forward to sharing the caring post with you!

Caring Action, Children, Feel Good News, Unified Caring Association

UCA Steps Up for Students

Students

When Shasta County Office of Education (SCOE) made a plea for help on social media, Unified Caring Association (UCA) took notice.

Their students were in need of basic clothing items and shoes after the devastating Carr Fire. We knew we needed to help so the team at UCA kicked our caring into action! We immediately sent in a donation for $1000 to purchase shoes for students in need. SCOE administrators used our donation to purchase individual gift cards from local shoe retailers, Payless Shoes and Famous Footwear, and distributed them to the students. Thank you to Superintendent Flores for organizing this caring project!

The Carr Fire was a large wildfire that burned in Shasta and Trinity Counties in California. The fire burned 229,651 acres, before it was 100% contained on August 30 th . Fire destroyed at least 1,604 structures – at least 1,077 were homes.

October 15, 2018 Redding, California

Caring Action, Children, Feel Good News, Unified Caring Association

High School Seniors Shovel Neighbor’s Driveway

High School Seniors Wake Up at 4am So They Can Shovel Neighbor’s Driveway Before Her Dialysis

Rather than sleeping in on a snow day, a group of high school students got together at 4:30 AM so they could make sure that an elderly woman could get to her dialysis appointment.

Brian and Patrick Lanigan are both students at Parsippany High School in New Jersey. They also live next to an older woman who relies on ambulance transportation to bring her to her dialysis treatments.

Brian, an EMT, shoveled his neighbor’s driveway last week in order to make way for the ambulance. The weather forecast changed and called for eight more inches of snow.

The night before the snowstorm, the brothers knew that they had to help their neighbor. Since Brian often works early in the morning, they knew they wouldn’t be able to clear the driveway before the ambulance arrived at 6 AM.

Patrick then pulled out his phone and started calling people on his contact list for help.

The next morning at 4:30AM, four of Patrick’s friends arrived with shovels in hand. Within thirty minutes, they had successfully cleared the driveway.

Patrick’s father snapped a picture of the teenage “snow angels.” He posted it to Twitter, praising the youngsters for their compassion.

It has since been shared by dozens of people, all of whom expressed their appreciation for the gesture.

FeelGood.png
Photo Credit: Good News Network https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/high-schoolers-wake-up-at-4am-to-shovel-neighbors-driveway/
Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Spouses who support each other — Success Inspirers’ World

 

I have seen spouses who don’t support each other, be it with their office work or in business. Instead of supporting each other, they stand on each other’s way. Isn’t this sad? When one person initiates a project, the other will look for a thousand and one reasons to say it cannot work. Instead of […]

via Spouses who support each other — Success Inspirers’ World

Health, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Be Kind — Plants and Beyond

 

~Isn’t that simple? Simply Be Kind. It is contagious. A fascinating feature of kindness is that it self-replicating and inspiring kindness in others. When we ourselves perform an act of kindness, this is likely to encourage others to act in a similar way. One study conducted at Cambridge University found that seeing someone else helps […]

via Be Kind — Plants and Beyond

Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Feel Good Friday: Love Self! —

 

Happy Friday!!! Do you remember when you realized you loved You? Yes, you, yourself. Have you accepted you for you and all that it entails? I’m at that point and it feels good. It’s not easy to do this, but I know that I needed to get to this space because I can’t expect love […]

via Feel Good Friday: Love Self! —