February ’17 Newsletter

Every month Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds & Director Susan Orban likes to connect you with current articles, events, and resources to help you keep your family healthy and informed!

Do you love quizzes?

Here are 14 that offer an “emotional checkup”

Our friends at the Greater Good Science Center (University of California, Berkeley) have put together these 14 quizzes, all based on scientific research, so you can learn more about yourself, your emotional makeup, and how you relate to others.

Several, like the Empathy Quiz, lend themselves to an opportunity to take the test with your child (of a certain age) to start a lively and thoughtful conversation.

Other quizzes ask you about your capacity for forgiveness, gratitude, and compassion. Sounds like fun, yes?

The Greater Good Science Center researches issues surrounding “well-being” and teaches skills to “foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society”. Its website is chockful of easy-to-read but provocative studies, like this month’s “Why We Like Evil”.


Take a pic of your healthy snack

We’re celebrating March as Nutrition Month with a “Snack Swap” photo campaign

The American Heart Association has a sneaky way to get you to replace those sugary drinks and salty, oily chips: it will make you Facebook famous with photos of you making better choices.

The AHA encourages you to

  1.  Swap those nasty foods with better choices. Push away sugary drinks and drink infused (or regular) water instead. Not salted pretzels or potato chips; carrot and celery sticks. Crave ice cream? Try low-fat yogurt, perhaps frozen in an ice cube tray.
  2. Follow Southern New England’s AHA at www.facebook.com/sneheart and www.twitter.com/sneheart.
  3. Post a photo there showing yourself with your healthy snack swap. Be creative. Take photos of vending machines with good snacks. A photo of you tossing junk food in the trash. The family all drinking healthy water.

If you have questions, contact Candace Pierce, Regional Campaign Team Lead.

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3 free webinars from NIMH

Children, teens, and anxiety

NIMH, the National Institute of Mental Health, is offering three free webinars in March and April (among those it offers on a regular basis). All three focus on kids and anxiety.

The webinars are listed on NIMH’s Educational Resources webpage, which itself is a treasury of resources.

March 9      Teenagers and Social Anxiety

March 30     Irritable Kids: What the Research Teaches Us

April 20     What to Do (and Not Do) When Children are Anxious


All the information you need to sign up and sign in are on the Eventbrite sites for each webinar to which NIMH directs you.


Change your brain (for the better) with a good hike 

Study reports that hikes take away obsessive, depressing thoughts 

It’s been an easy winter in South County, but most of us are still longing for green foliage and brown walking paths. Our hearts and minds instinctively know we’ll feel better.

So reports a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study (we’ll spare you the title, but here’s the link) compared people walking just 90 minutes through an urban environment vs. a natural environment. The latter had significantly better results in a part of the brain associated with mental illness. When we walk in the woods, the study explains, our thoughts tend to be positive; the opposite is true in an urban environment.

If you want to exercise your brain, don’t forget that ExploreRI.org lists virtually every marked trail in Rhode Island. And ParkRx, featured in the last newsletter, offers two guided hikes at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month. One takes place at the South Kingstown Land Trust’s Browning Woods Trail. The other hike is on the Westerly Land Trust’s Dr. John Champlin Glacier Park Trail. No registration needed; just show up.

The study was reported by Collective Evolution.

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