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WALFWAY HOUSE IN INDIANAPOLIS

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Take Tim Out and Relax

Posted on February 10, 2019 at 10:22 AM Comments comments (4)
Life can be overwhelming at times. No wonder we have a desire to escape "reality" through drugs and alcohol. Try practicing not taking things so seriously. It sounds ridiculous, especially when we are faced with all the troubles of this world. But even by taking 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to take some deep breaths and relax, life's problems may seem less intense. Sometimes it helps to watch a funny movie. Laughter can get you outside of yourself. Be kind to yourself. We are all in a journey.

Gratitude and Positive thinking

Posted on January 27, 2019 at 11:34 AM Comments comments (3)
Depression is often experienced by those in addiction recovery. 
To combat this, try being grateful for even small things in your life.
Also, remind yourself of the good things you have experienced in your life.

Connection of Children to Nature Brings Less Distress, Hyperactivity and Behavioral Problems

Posted on January 13, 2019 at 1:13 PM Comments comments (2)
City lifestyle has been criticized for being an important reason for children being disconnected from nature. This has led to an unhealthy lifestyle in regards to active play and eating habits. Even worse, many young children do not feel well psychologically – they are often stressed and depressed. 16 per cent of preschoolers in Hong Kong and up to 22% in China show signs of mental health problems.
Recent research shows that spending time in nature may bring many health benefits, and many environmental programs around the world are trying to decrease ‘nature-deficit’ and ‘child-nature disconnectedness’ in order to improve children’s health. For example, the WHO, in order to monitor implementation of the Parma Declaration commitment to providing every child with access to “green spaces to play and undertake physical activity”, has set a 300-meter target. Interestingly, 90 per cent of the Hong Kong population lives within 400 meters of such areas. However, despite the extensive, adjacent greenness, families are not using these areas.
“We noticed a tendency where parents are avoiding nature. They perceive it as dirty and dangerous, and their children unfortunately pick up these attitudes. In addition, the green areas are often unwelcoming with signs like “Keep off the grass”, said Dr Tanja Sobko from the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Hong Kong. Until now, it has not been possible to measure connectedness to nature in preschool children, mostly due to the fact that they are too young to answer for themselves.
A new 16-item parent questionnaire (CNI-PPC) to measure “connectedness to nature’ in very young children has been developed by Dr Sobko and her collaborator Prof Gavin Brown, Director of the Quantitative Data Analysis and Research Unit at the University of Auckland. The questionnaire identified four areas that reflect the child-nature relationship: enjoyment of nature, empathy for nature, responsibility towards nature, and awareness of nature.
The study consisted of two parts: the initial interviews with the families and the subsequent development of the questionnaire. Altogether, 493 families with children aged between 2 and 5 have participated in the study. Finally the new questionnaire was tested against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a well-established measurement of psychological well-being and children’s behavior problems. The results revealed that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, & fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Interestingly, children who took greater responsibility towards the nature had fewer peer difficulties. The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in preschool children.
The study consisted of two parts: the initial interviews with the families and the subsequent development of the questionnaire. Altogether, 493 families with children aged between 2 and 5 have participated in the study. Finally the new questionnaire was tested against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a well-established measurement of psychological well-being and children’s behavior problems. The results revealed that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, & fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Interestingly, children who took greater responsibility towards the nature had fewer peer difficulties. The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in preschool children.
The study consisted of two parts: the initial interviews with the families and the subsequent development of the questionnaire. Altogether, 493 families with children aged between 2 and 5 have participated in the study. Finally the new questionnaire was tested against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, a well-established measurement of psychological well-being and children’s behavior problems. The results revealed that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, & fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Interestingly, children who took greater responsibility towards the nature had fewer peer difficulties. The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in preschool children.
The study is part of Dr Sobko’s research-based program Play&Grow, which is the first in Hong Kong to promote healthy eating and active playtime with preschool children by connecting them to nature. Launched 2016, it has so far included almost 1000 families from all over Hong Kong.
The findings have been published in multidisciplinary Open Access journal, PLOS ONE. The new scale has already attracted international attention and is being adopted by universities worldwide including Western Australia and Deakin Universities. In addition, the HKU-developed ‘Play&Grow’ program is also on track to be conducted in Australia.
The next step is to further fine-tune future health promotion/disease prevention interventions, which Dr Sobko and the team are committed to. “We are grateful for the recognition of the Government, which has recently granted significant financial support to this important project”, said Dr Sobko. The new exciting extension of this work is to test the effect of the exposing children to nature and changes in their gut microbiol.

The Mind

Posted on April 17, 2018 at 5:11 PM Comments comments (3)
The mind is like water. When it's turbulent, it's difficult to see. When it's calm, everything becomes clear.

Slow Down

Posted on December 29, 2017 at 2:24 PM Comments comments (0)
During the holiday season we seem to be always in a rush to get things done. Try slowing down. If things don't get done, then they just don't get done. Try to enjoy each moment and let what will be, be.

It’s true – the sound of nature helps us relax

Posted on August 26, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (32)
Researchers at BSMS found that playing ‘natural sounds’ affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and ‘green’ environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and wellbeing, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.
The lead author, Dr Cassandra Gould van Praag said: “We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and ‘switching-off’ which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect. This has been an exciting collaboration between artists and scientists, and it has produced results which may have a real-world impact, particularly for people who are experiencing high levels of stress.In collaboration with audio visual artist Mark Ware, the team at BSMS conducted an experiment where participants listened to sounds recorded from natural and artificial environments, while their brain activity was measured in an MRI scanner, and their autonomic nervous system activity was monitored via minute changes in heart rate. The team found that activity in the default mode network of the brain (a collection of areas which are active when we are resting) was different depending on the sounds playing in the background.
When listening to natural sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an outward-directed focus of attention; when listening to artificial sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an inward-directed focus of attention, similar to states observed in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. There was also an increase in rest-digest nervous system activity (associated with relaxation of the body) when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds, and better performance in an external attentional monitoring task.
Interestingly, the amount of change in nervous system activity was dependant on the participants’ baseline state: Individuals who showed evidence of the greatest stress before starting the experiment showed the greatest bodily relaxation when listening to natural sounds, while those who were already relaxed in the brain scanner environment showed a slight increase in stress when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds.
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