Healthy "U" April Newsletter
by Reverend Beth O'Malley, McHenry, Dean of the Chapel
The science is clear. Practicing meditation regularly can decrease your stress level, lower your blood pressure and increase your power of concentration and memory. But meditation can also help you connect with the world in positive ways. In an ode to Earth Day, Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D., neuropsychologist, author of Buddha's Brain and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, connects meditation with care for nature and the environment. He states:
"Your brain evolved in three stages (to simplify a complex process):
Reptile - Brainstem, focused on AVOIDING harm
Mammal - Limbic system, focused on APPROACHING rewards
Primate - Cortex, focused on ATTACHING to the things/people that help us feel connected and loved."
Meditation can "soothe the most ancient structures of the brain, the ones that manage the first emotion of all: fear." It also helps the "brain's early mammalian neural systems feel rewarded and fulfilled... by weaving the sense of being included and loved into the primate cerebral cortex."
So how does that science talk translate into everyday life? Here are three exercises Hanson suggests to calm your brain and care for the world:
"For a minute, an hour, or a whole week, touch natural and human-made things around you like you truly cherish them. If you cherished an orange or a cup, how would you hold it?
Protect something from harm. You could save something you might otherwise throw away, from water running in a sink to food in a restaurant. Security is a wholesome aim of the Avoiding system, which is achieved in large part by conserving what we've got.
Pick one thing and focus on helping it grow and thrive. Perhaps a plant, or a business, or a project at a local school, or a collaboration among some friends, or a fix-it repair at home.
At the heart of it, I experience this practice as a matter of our relationship with the world. Do we relate to it as an adversary or distant acquaintance?"
Take some time this spring to get outside and relax in nature. It'll be good for you and the earth.
National Walk@Lunch Day
Healthy "U" invites all members of the campus community to participate in the National Walk@Lunch Day®.
What: The National BlueCross and BlueShield Companies created National Walk@Lunch Day® to improve personal health and decrease the costs of healthcare for employers and employees. National Walk@Lunch Day® is another way to start your new daily walking routine or a positive reinforcement to continue a daily walking routine to help you to improve your health step by step.
When: Thursday, April 25, 2013, Noon - 1:00 p.m.
Where: ALL walkers meet at Alumnae Hall at noon.
Two Walking Options:
1. 45 minute walking path around Baker Park led by JoAnne Bodine.
2. Two twenty minute walking tours in Baker Park which will meet at a midpoint in the park so that the groups can exchange members and continue the walk to complete a total of 40 minutes. Peter Brehm will lead a tour on the history of Baker Park OR Alicia Pereschuk, Lead Wellness Coach for Business Health Services, will lead a tour on walking tips in Baker Park.
Wear your walking shoes, use your sunscreen, and bring your enthusiasm for walking from Alumnae Hall to Baker Park on Thursday, April 25. Water will be available throughout the walking path/tours.
Mindfulness Meditation -
Meditate with Beth O'Malley, on
Mondays from 12:15-12:45
p.m. in the McHenry Interfaith
Prayer Room in the Coffman Chapel basement.
Yoga at Hood
Free yoga classes are made possible by Sol
Yoga. The last Monday yoga class, for this semester, will be held on April 29 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the Dance Studio
in Gambrill Gymnasium. Thursday classes have been discontinued.
Hood Walking Group
- Still Walking on Tuesdays
noon from the plaza
between Alumnae Hall and Hodson, the
group walks for approximately 30 minutes rain or shine. This is a great way to add steps to your daily progress with Fitbit!
Stay tuned for more detailed information on our Hood 5K.
Hope to see you at any or all of these