2015 Wellbeing September Community


Giving and Your Community Wellbeing

People with thriving wellbeing are often moved by the impact they have had on another person, group, or community by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, Ph.D. Adapted from Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements

“Give blood. All you’ll feel is good.”

As this slogan from an American Red Cross campaign illustrates, giving is good for both the recipient and the donor. Psychologists have conducted experiments to determine if this Red Cross claim is true and it turns out that this is one slogan that passes the truth-in-advertising test. People reported experiencing increased moods before and after they donated blood.

We often get a sense of joy from giving a meaningful gift to a loved one, but perhaps no gift is as valuable as our time.

At the highest end of the Community Wellbeing continuum is giving back to society. This may be what differentiates an exceptional life from a good one. When we asked people with thriving wellbeing about the greatest contribution they had made in their life, with few exceptions, they mentioned the impact they have had on another person, group, or community. Not only had these individuals made a substantial contribution to something bigger than themselves, but they also had been recognized for their community involvement.

As our research on Financial Wellbeing revealed, donating money results in a greater return for our wellbeing than buying material goods for ourselves. Neuroscientists have discovered that the regions of the brain that are activated when we receive money (based on fMRI brain scans) glow even brighter when we give money. According to Jordan Grafman, a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health, these reactions in the brain “help us plan into the future, feel emotionally closer to others, and give us a sense of reward after a behavior — which reinforces that behavior, making it more likely we will do the same thing again.”

We often get a sense of joy from giving a meaningful gift to a loved one, but perhaps no gift is as valuable as our time. This might explain why some volunteers get a “helper’s high” — they feel stronger, more energetic, and more motivated after helping others even in the smallest ways. When we surveyed more than 23,000 people on this topic, nearly 9 in 10 reported “getting an emotional boost” from doing kind things for other people.

Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements

When we do things for others, we see how we can make a difference, and this gives us confidence in our own ability to create change. Throughout the course of our lives, well-doing promotes deeper social interaction, enhanced meaning and purpose, and a more active lifestyle — while keeping us from being too preoccupied with ourselves or getting into harmful emotional states. Several studies have shown a link between altruistic behavior and increases in overall longevity, and researchers have speculated that this might be due in part to how well-doing inoculates us against stress and negative emotions.

Opting into involvement

When presented with two choices, we tend to select the default option. Even in the case of something as significant as donating your organs, your decision is heavily influenced by whether the system is set up to opt you in or to opt you out. The basic structure of a form, a pre-filled check box, or an automatic enrollment process shapes our decisions a lot more than we realize.

For example, in countries where citizens are automatically enrolled to donate their organs as the default, the vast majority choose to do so. However, when citizens are not automatically enrolled, very few choose to donate their organs.

Opt In vs. Opt Out

Where this default option is set might even determine whether millions live or die each year. In China, for example, more than 1 million people are reported to be in need of organ donations, yet only 1% actually receive the transplant surgery they need. Because of the nation’s organ shortage, four in five people die while waiting for a transplant. The rate of organ donation in China is a mere one-third of one percent. But if every Chinese citizen were opted in to organ donation, the supply could exceed the need.

For the most part, we can set our own defaults — for everything from organ donation to savings plans. But it does require some effort. So we often sit back and let life happen over the course of years and decades. But people with thriving Community Wellbeing find novel ways to opt in to regular donations and volunteering.

People with high Community Wellbeing make their interests known to friends, colleagues, and family members.

One man we interviewed told us he volunteers at organizations that he knows will make specific requests of his time every month, much like a part-time job. One woman holds herself accountable for at least five hours of volunteering per month. Several people described how they give a fixed amount each year or a fixed percentage of their income to community groups.

Some organizational leaders make it easy for employees to have regular contributions deducted directly from their paycheck. Progressive workplaces offer matching company funds for each dollar contributed by their employees. While the ways in which individuals and organizations do so vary, they all establish some kind of mechanism to hold themselves accountable for sustained community involvement.

It’s OK to make it personal

Giving back to the community does not have to be a purely altruistic act. People who make profound contributions to community organizations usually have an emotional tie to the organization’s mission or cause. People get involved because of a parent with a degenerative disease, a friend with cancer, a child with autism, or some other deeply personal connection — it is these connections that spark their interest in the first place. Those with a vested interest actually have more to offer because of all their knowledge and personal mission.

People with high Community Wellbeing make their interests known to friends, colleagues, and family members. Then when the right opportunity presents itself, they are more likely to be called upon, and they get involved. Because this often occurs in the context of a workplace or a religious organization, these are good forums for telling others about your interests.

Sept 3rd Family Fun Night with the Drive

Sept 7th Labor Day Labor Day: What it Means
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
Founder of Labor Day

The father of labor day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
Who do you think is the real Father of Labor Day?

Sept 10 Swap Ideas Day The exact origins of Swap Ideas Day are unknown. However, it is believed that the creator of this day is Robert Birch. This was not his only unusual idea as he is also thought to have invented several other strange celebrations including Lumpy Rug Day, Trivia Day and the bizarrely named Nothing Day.

The idea behind Swap Ideas Day is that everybody gets together to exchange ideas. People celebrate this occasion by connecting with other people to share thoughts and concepts. There are no rules outlining the nature of the ideas to be shared, thus making Swap Ideas Day an ideal opportunity for people to be as creative and wacky as they like with their ideas as well as learning from the ideas of others.

Sept 17th Eat An Apple Day Apples contain no fat, and contain cholestoral-fighting compounds. That’s almost reason enough to love apples, but Eat An Apple Day goes even further to encourage you to celebrate all things apple related. Bake a pie, make a tart, enjoy a crumble or a simple, crunchy fruit treat. Why not take enough apples with you to share at work, at school, or with friends? Alternatively, expand your palette and enjoy something slightly different from the many varieties and types of apples available from around the world.

Sept 21st World Gratitude Day celebrated annually on the 21st September. The celebration of Gratitude Day allows both individual citizens and organization within wider society to celebrate the broad meaning of gratitude in a variety of ways.

The celebration started in 1965 in Hawaii when an international gathering decided that it would be a good idea to have one day per year to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found in the world. Following the meeting in Hawaii, many attendees marked Gratitude Day on 21st September 1966 when back in their own countries. Ever since then, the number of people celebrating Gratitude Day across the world has grown and grown.

A Day For Gratitude The awareness of the benefits of having time in one’s life for gratitude, appreciation and positive reflection have become increasingly apparent. The hope of the founders of Gratitude Day is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contended people.

App: The Dig Local App connects you to the unique culture that makes a city like no other place on the planet- the independent businesses, musicians, artists, non-profits and more. We’re all about keeping travelers, newcomers and locals “in the know” about local restaurants, entertainment venues, craft breweries, outdoor recreation, boutique shops, businesses, places to stay, things to do, art galleries, spas, services, events, festivals, live music and much more.

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Check the dailyScoops often to find out what’s going on right now and where. Share Scoops with friends and on social media. Access interactive maps to get you where you want to go. Switch between cities with one simple tap or click. Supporting the little guy, big time, has never been easier. Find Authenticity with Dig Local. We are currently in four cities, Asheville, NC, Greenville, SC, Chattanooga, TN and Boca/Delray, FL. Let us know where else you would like to Dig Local.

Book: Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup Soup nights are popping up all around the United States as a stress-free way to bring neighbors together. The host provides two or three pots of soup, and the guests bring their own dishes and silverware, and perhaps a salad or some bread. Neighbors get to know each other by name, people of all ages connect and socialize, and the neighborhood becomes friendlier and safer. In Soup Night, Maggie Stuckey offers a practical guide to starting your own soup night group, along with 99 delicious soup recipes and 40 recipes for accompaniments. Buy it on Amazon.

Aromatherapy: Vetiver Oil is Supportive and Grounding The health benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, cicatrisant, nervine, sedative, tonic and vulnerary substance.

If I said that Vetiver is famous all over the Indian Subcontinent, people may not understand what I mean, since many people are unfamiliar with the name. Instead, it is popularly known by the name of “Khus” or “Khus-Khus” and it is extensively used in the perfumes, cooling, food and beverage industries.

The botanical name of vetiver is Vetiveria Zizanoides or Andropogon Muricatus. This grass has a very pleasant, mild, earthy, and musky smell which has a cooling effect on the body and the mind. The dried grass and its roots are used to thatch the side panels of water based room and window coolers, since it cools and adds fragrance to moist air. It is also used to thatch roofs of earthen houses and mattresses. It is also used as curtains on doors and windows, which, apart from cooling and scenting the rooms, keeps insects away. That is why its demand rises excessively during the summer, particularly in hot countries like India and its neighbors.

The essential oil of vetiver is obtained through steam distillation of its roots and its main components are alpha vetivone, benzoic acid, beta vetivone, furfurol, vetiverol, vetivene and vetivenyl vetivenate.Its essential oil is also used extensively in the perfume industries, including perfumes for the body, room fresheners, and coolers, as well as cosmetics, soaps, oils and as a flavoring agent in beverages, sorbets, and food stuffs.

Steelcase Statistic: 300 Billion is the annual cost of workplace stress.