Thought of the Month

During this time of year sometimes the answer is to push through that scheduled workout that you don’t feel like doing, and sometimes the answer is to take that nap that you certainly want but don’t feel like you should take.

“Workout or nap”? Attuning and learning to choose well for each situation comes with time and experience.

Comparison and Competition, One and the Same

We exhale comparison because we inhale competition…

This is the current playing field of society in which we live. Competition and comparison are one and the same-insecurity-based, negative and self-defeating. Comparison to others is part of our conditioning. Daily multiple messages are received in this manner. However, you are not powerless, and you can think, unthink, rethink and accept or reject what you will.

In associating with others, one depressing tendency common to the human condition is comparing oneself to others. You will notice that this bad habit is usually unfair and rarely productive. Still, it is almost second nature and easy to do without realizing. Seeing it and stopping the practice takes rethinking and a conscious effort to view things differently, and to therefore approach situations differently with a different perspective. It’s a great time at the beginning of 2020 to begin work on stopping the process of comparing of self to others.

It is definitely one thing I am continuing to work on.

My job as a health educator is to help you sort through the clutter and steering you toward reliable, accurate information while avoiding the industry-skewed and funded or misinformation. There is a lot of it out there. There is a life to live that is yours with happiness to discover. It is easier to be happy when healthy and it is easier to be healthy when you have reliable health information to go with in your own pursuit of happiness. This is information that the preponderance of evidence supports.

Spiritual health, mental health, physical health. That covers a lot of ground. In some ways we people are very similar, thankfully, such as our 26′ small intestine and small, flat teeth. In other ways, thankfully, we are quite different such as in personality types, in preferences of soul food, or for music, movies, plays, pets and concerts.

I saw The Nutcracker over the holiday and loved it as always. Live music, (or live anything) is almost always the best.

Anyhow, finding clarity is part of wellness, so that you can stir your inner musings and cultivate your creature, and he/she awaits awakening with keen anticipation. When you are filled, I submit that you will naturally give to others.

I learned this lesson at some point during my journey. This is one reason why I limited myself on social media. I discovered that it is not social media, but anti-social media.

So much time on social media causes our creature to lose touch with real interaction, missing social cues, body language, facial expressions and voice tones.
Quite often we bump into somebody that we haven’t seen for a while and it is natural to stop and chat to catch up for a bit. Notice that when this happens, and as we catch up, if we perceive the person to be more successful, lucky, etc than ourselves. As they tell us about their family, their house, or vacations, often our first nature is to think: “Man! I didn’t get a cruise to Mexico!” It is a depressing thought indeed; notice your mood and vibe drop as soon as you have that or similar thoughts. That is why we learn and continue to correct those problematic thought processes.

Instead, simply be happy for them. In doing so, you are already on your own path to joy, fun and happiness.

When you find that you are comparing yourself to others, or are feeling overshadowed by others’ successes, you may find it helpful to try the following:

• First and foremost, be happy for the successes of others, especially if it is in person, (such as bumping into somebody). You can actually say it to validate them such as: “That’s awesome,” “good for you,” or, “I’m happy for you.” Say it sincerely. If it can’t be totally sincere, than be as sincere as you can be. This acknowledges and validates them also. If you really are saddened by it, then you can and should do your own reflective work on it while alone reminding yourself to be happy for them and:

• Know that your turn for success is coming. (Staples, O. 2018. Empower Yourself). Why waste energy on the negative fixation of others’ joys and successes? What is stopping you from finding or doing your thing that brings you joy and happiness?

You are completely unique. (Staples, O, 2013.) You will see as I once did that in many ways, in the constant comparing of apples to oranges there is no comparison! Isn’t it ridiculous then that we all still do it. This was so liberating when I finally discovered and accepted this! Everyone has strengths, weaknesses and gifts. I say embrace your own gifts, let them show, and laugh at the weaker muscles. The laughter alone indicates mindfulness, which is the first step to begin rethinking and ultimately changing the bad habits. There you go; not so bad after all ay? “Ay, do they really say ay in Canada?” Is it ‘eh’, or ‘ay’?”

This takes practice, so be patient and kind to yourself as you work through it.
This concept along with others is discussed in my second book: Life Is Conscious. Live with Purpose. Abandon Fear. Coexist.

This is a gourd! If you slow down enough to use your imagination you can see things in its shape. To me it is a reminder that everything is a matter of perspective.
To you what does this gourd resemble?
It is tempting to tell you what I saw and some others, but I would like you to see for yourself without the influence of anyone else because you are unique.

Cheers,

Owen

References
Staples, O. (2018). Empower Yourself.

Staples, O. (2013). Life Is Conscious

Stress R e l i e f

Greetings,

We all need time to escape and checkout from time to time. Weber State University has an eye-opening and life changing cave in the wall. Okay, it’s not really a cave, but with the relaxed subdued lighting and atmosphere, sometimes it felt like one-in a very good and restful way.

Do you ever feel in life that you are living in a battle? Well, welcome to 2019. This is very common and you are not alone; but that’s not how life is supposed to be; for that is not life. For the most part this is perceived, and you have managed to turn on the stress response. An essential part of health and well-being is understanding the stress response and learning ways of coping with and taking charge of it. I recommend Dr. Michael Olpin’s book: The World Is Not A Stressful-Place-

If you’re local to Utah even if not a student at WSU you are welcome to visit the Stress Relief Center. It is free for students, but community members pay a small fee. It is money well spent, however. You are welcome to have tea, try some essential oils, massage chairs and tools, encouraged to take a power nap and/or just sit and decompress for a bit. We all need this and we’re all learning/journeying. This place accommodates that reality. You can get information, location and hours here:
Stress Relief Center at WSU

Also, I highly recommend the class Stress Management, and Mind, Body Wellness even if you’re not in the health education program. Shoot, even if you’re not a student, find a way to take these classes. They provide tools that can be accessed throughout life, and that everyone will be greatly refreshed by knowing them. Further, this is exciting breakthrough stuff! I hope to see the day where other Stress Relief Centers like this and/or workout centers are set up in the workplace, many, most workplaces… “Worksite Wellness” Just imagine the possibilities… The world would become a better place!

What wellness gift will give yourself today? At some point, I hope that one of your gifts will be treating yourself to a visit to a Stress Relief Center.

Enjoy the journey and happy new year!

-Owen

Winter Rest

Greetings,

Have you ever noticed how you feel after driving for a few hours?
Tired! Isn’t that right?

Why is that? You have literally done nothing but sat there while operating a motor vehicle, maybe socialized and/or carried a conversation in the car. Yet, for example after finally getting home from a long road trip you feel very spent. Mentally you have actually been doing a whole lot. Driving involves a constant watch and monitoring; if you’re a skilled driver you are practicing defensive driving, and are always thinking ahead to avoid accidents. Well, over a few hours this adds up! Your brain has had to basically remain in constant hover mode. Your brain was not quite relaxing; yet neither was it engaged in quite the same way as it would be during a cross word puzzle, trying to remember the name of your best friend’s new girlfriend, or any form of problem solving. At least that is the case with mine. You have been ‘hovering’ for a few hours! You have naturally grown tired over that time; not to mention the stress and tension that has accumulated during those hours as you have been watching carefully, thinking ahead and staying alert and prepared. If there were any close calls such as having to slam on your brakes or swerve to avoid a pedestrian on a skateboard that didn’t see you and suddenly darted out in front of you, your stress is all the more. This adds up. Combine this with winter weather of short days and long nights and you understand one dimension of chronic tiredness during the winter time.

One thing I have learned that helps with this is to simply accept winter’s dark chill; that is to slow down my general mode and consolidate and simplify my routine during the winter. For example, I may combine trips and do a few things at once while I’m out so that I don’t have to go out again, or shop for groceries only once a week, arrange things so that I can go out only during day light etc. There is something to be said for preparation and getting things dialed and zipped up before the snow flies. While I wrote about this more extensively in my second book Life-Is-Conscious it is a worthwhile pursuit to play around with ideas and your own schedule to see the ways you can come up with to be more home-based cozy and at a slower pace during the winter. You may notice as I did that all the chasing adds up. The chasing is especially tiring during the winter when we are supposed to be winding down with more rest and relaxation, harmonizing with the reduced natural light; but instead we tend to maintain the same pace, or even rev it up for winter during the holidays. You may find it helpful to make this change at a gradual pace that is comfortable for you, such as adding to it each year making and finding your own preferred rhythms. As always, it is helpful to keep a diary about your progress. You’ll be amazed at the things you discover. Part of well-being is attuning somewhat to the seasons, noticing changes in weather and understanding the impact these have on your mood and general health, and adapting somewhat-making any helpful seasonal adjustments.

Consider the animals and how they adapt to the seasons. Not only is this educational and informative but amusing too. You may enjoy some binoculars and a camera to see what you can find:


Muskrat at the bird refuge

And it’s close relative, here is a photo someone shared with me of a nutria from Oregon:

What is a nutria? That of course. Always food for thought.

If you’re new to this blog, welcome! I write largely from experience and observation, but I’ve studied a lot on my own too. Some posts are random and fun and others are of the utmost importance and seriousness such as this one, APA and everything. Here’s to the studies that one day confirm what I write from observation: (That one journal, 2017). 42 1244-1253
(“That still isn’t right.” 1989). (Which one?)
(That one, get it right, damnit! 2004)

Just kidding only one professor said that to me.
Just kidding again. None of them did, of course not.
-Owen

The Gap

Greetings,

As mentioned in two former posts, I returned to finish the degree that I started a long time ago before that big life detour. The gap in years was substantial and leaves one with more questions for every answer given. Now having my degree it is interesting to look and see the changes that took place within that gap of time.

I was glad to see a large institution such as a university doing their part and taking steps toward environmental responsibility. Weber State University has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. My zoology friend and bird-guru told me that they are even way ahead of schedule! While I haven’t heard, I would bet that environmental responsibility is now likely the standard for universities and if so that is great! This blog is about telling it from experience; I have attended no other universities to compare with, so here are a few that stood out to me during my last few years there: Some of you may recall from the memoir, The-Wellness-Diaries many years ago the significance of the experience while on the shuttle bus. Well, there are now several small shuttles. I was impressed to see that these now run on natural gas and that the full size bus is now electric! This helps to reduce Utah’s air pollution problem, and is at least a small step toward correcting the big problem of climate change.

In my estimation, about 98% of assignments are submitted electronically saving trees and paper. Trees help to filter the air, provide habitat for wildlife, including many species of bird and helps to prevent topsoil erosion. Never forget that taking environmental responsibility has benefits for humanity also including cleaner water and air to breathe when you’re cycling, walking with your children, the dog or jogging. You don’t have to be a hippie or ‘granola type’ to do your part and benefit from improved stewardship.

For the few assignments that still used paper, I found this sustainable paper made from hemp: Sustainable Hemp Paper. I have some! It has a nice look and feel. There are different textures and different types. Maybe the average person doesn’t put in this much energy to buying paper, but I was glad to find some, so I am glad to share it with you! As you know, living lightly on the earth as much as is feasible on this current part of my journey brings me joy. I submit that you will find joy in doing what you can there also. Remember that it’s a journey not a destination, but do enjoy it.

During various university travels (man I’m going to miss that free bus/train pass to pretty much anywhere in the state!) I bumped into a few of you on bad air days and you asked about my pollution mask. Here is the link for those:
Order pollution masks


I got this bumper sticker from a block party from a booth of the sustainability department of my university.

Finally, I was very impressed to be introduced to a brand new idea on campus: (Drum roll)… A Monarch butterfly (important pollinator) habitat on campus! Monarch/pollinator education and conservation. Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that these environmental issues are not important or that they don’t apply to or affect us because they absolutley do.

After you’re cycling, walking the dog or jogging session why not have clean air, pure water, a yard free of carcinogens and naturally grown food? You, your children, and your dogs like clean air, food and water, so it is my hope that we will each do what we can.

Thank you again Weber State for the inspiration and some tasty helpings of hope. Well done, well done.

-Owen

College Collage

Ladies Love Cool O; or at least cool dogs

“You look high as a kite dude.”
“Yep, pretty much, not in that way though haha. After all, at these heights the air is pretty thin and the temperatures are smmmokin hot; even if it was snowing.”

Working at the Stress Relief Center, just how all jobs should be-stress free (the only one I’ve ever had) except when there was a huge line and I had to check in the whole campus (“don’t leave me here alone!”) because everyone else was in class. 😀

“Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies. We were working the whole time Dr. Olpin, we promise!”
… Like I said, don’t ask…
Zoology meetups



He loved it; so did we!

Feeding the Caiman lizards (my favorite) at the aquarium. They eat canned snails!

Survived the group presentation in epidemiology! (The class itself and ecology group presentation too for that matter)

Walking

Celebrate!

That’s a wrap.
Thank you participants and Weber State-woooo-hoo!I hope you can continue the path of your dreams too. Wellness while being mindful of the earth is a key ticket.

Cheers,
Owen

Graduation Anthem


Hi Everyone,

Here is a short post to inform you that I have graduated from Weber State University! My degree is in Health Promotion with a minor in Zoology. This was indeed an exciting day! If you have read my memoir, The Wellness Diairies you will know that this is a big deal. As mentioned in the book, I took university classes here and there while trying to recover from illness, but never finished-until now. This was the college culture I was never able to experience until now. It was very much an adventure even if I finished later than most do in their early 20’s. As they say, it is never too late.

Thank you Weber State and to all those who have offered me support in many ways throughout the last few years during what was the most hectic time of my life taking 12-18 credits at a time.

Concerning the well-being of people and planet, I am proud to have graduated from a university that is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. That is indeed a massive undertaking, but universities have the funds to do it. There are many good things happening such as natural gas vehicles including shuttle buses, local premium bus passes for students and recycling containers everywhere to name a few. This was a boost of hope that I needed to see that large organizations can and do make environmentally responsible decisions.

Thanks for reading. Cheers from here,

O

Gamechangers Film

Greetings,

If you haven’t yet seen the Gamechangers documentary about plant-based athletes, I highly recommend that you watch it on Netflix etc. The film makes some excellent points not only about human health and nutrition, but men’s health, environmental concerns and the environmental benefits of eating less meat and more plant-based.

One of the main points I took from the film is that while these top athletes are extreme examples, men and women breaking records, and setting new standards in cycling, martial arts, power lifting, hiking and football are incredible, anyone adopting a plant-based diet can excel to new heights in their own lives. You don’t have to set world records of lifting 1,224 lbs etc.,(although Kudos to Patrick, was it(?) in the film who did this)!

Eating plant-based, even if not a strict vegan will help you to climb to new heights in your own life.

I could go on and elaborate about my favorite parts of the film, etc and all the parts that stood out to me, (there were many), but I won’t bore you with all that. I’ll let you watch the film for yourself. I highly recommend it, life and world changing food (literally) for thought without a doubt.

Define extreme right? It’s not easy is it. It’s like trying to define normal in a very abnormal world. When I bump into people I know and they ask about the latest in my life, I tell them I’m working nights and taking 18 credits at university this semester, their reply is almost always “you’re crazy.” Well, in their sense of the word in that context, I won’t argue, and I can’t say that I’d recommend 18 credits, and definitely not being this busy for long periods of time. It is a lot at once, but worth it. However, on the other side of that, maybe I’m just a seasoned plant-baser…

If you’re new to this blog, the very foundation of The Wellness Diaries stems from the first book The Wellness Diaries is overcoming what was previously impossible. It is a memoir in which I tell my own part of the story about this and I say that you can do it too, finding your dreams and aspiring to your own new heights, whatever these may be is rewarding, life-giving and fun too. Seems like that was the very message of the film; eat less meat and more vegetables, whole grains, etc. This is the correct diet for humans. Likewise you can climb to new heights, live longer, better, higher and fuller than you ever imagined.

So, with this current schedule, yes I may look hammered some days. It’s not my shop, and I am allowed those hammered-looking days. Thank you to all of you who have hung with me in and out of that. I hope you can hang with me a bit longer and we’ll have some more fun and I will be able to write more often than I have been the past while. Hang tight with me and enjoy the ride. 🙂

After all that, haha enjoy the film!
-Owen

A Sociologist’s Perspective

Greetings,

Understanding world problems is a step toward solving them. I highly recommend the course “Social Problems;” it is very eye-opening. Consulting sociologists in conducting the business of humanity is common sense, but unfortunately this is not so common(Eitzen, D.S., Zinn, B.M., Smith, K.E.,2014.).

Informing yourself is a good practice. Here is an excellent blog: Any Good Thing; A Sociologist’s Perspective

Toward positive change and awareness we go. Remember that “perma-optimism” is at some point a form of denial and complacency. Until humanity reaches that happy and peaceful state, there is plenty to do. Baby steps, and sometimes giant leaps. Neither is the answer to pass the buck and buy into the illusion that you are powerless. Bring the change you wish to see.

Owen

References
(Eitzen, D.S., Zinn, B.M., Smith, K.E.(2014). Social problems, 13th ed.