Simple Tips to Be Happier!

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Life can be stressful sometimes where we forget take care of our mind and body. It’s important to always take some time to slow and process what we are going through; whether it is good or bad things. Here are some tips on how you can be happier:

  • Worry less, start doing more! The first steps to do anything is always a challenge, especially if it is out of our comfort zone. Make a list of steps or mini goals to reach your ultimate goal. Try to follow through with by making small actions every day to help you start doing more.
  • Chill your mind! Overthinking won’t do you any good if you don’t break things down into simpler thoughts and see the bigger picture. Whatever that is bothering, ask yourself these questions:
    • How important is it? Is it affecting you in a positive or negative way?
    • Would you prefer talking to somebody about it? If not, writing it down? Put ideas and thoughts onto tangible things if it helps you declutter your thoughts.
  • Exercise can help! Exercise has been studied and shown that it helps reduce stress in your body. Not only is it good to keep up a exercise routine, it also help with your mental health by releasing happy brain chemicals that makes you feel better. After a work out, you’ll feel a lot better than you did before.
  • You’re not in it alone! Tons of people are probably going through similar problems or challenges as you. Take the time to reach out to your social network and resources. Don’t forget that you are not alone and there are always people are willing to be a help and listening pal.

Community Efforts Towards Healthier Living

“Community efforts across the country are improving the health of more people by working with groups that include public health professionals, hospitals, local community members, and more.

By Nolan Ly

A lack of access to healthy living opportunities in communities can affect obesity and other preventable chronic diseases. Learn more about community efforts to support healthy eating and active living: http://bit.ly/2knQTvl” – https://www.cdc.gov/

What are the benefits to a active community?

  • Reduce pollution and trash to the environment
  • Provide social and economic opportunities for the people of the community to collaborate and develop better relationships
  • Support social cohesion, events, and activities

What can you do to take part:

  • Going out to explore and enjoy the community by walking, biking, via other outdoor activities etc., either with yourself, friends, or family members.
  • Volunteering at a community garden to help grow veggies/fruits for the community and learning more about gardening along the way.
  • Educate your family, friends, and yourself on recycling, the benefits to it, and how it’s a little step towards making the Earth cleaner.
  • Volunteer for local parks and recreation centers to support and spread awareness for environmental concerns.

Making New Year’s Resolution Goals

Each year, people make New Year’s resolution goals that they want to achieve for the upcoming new year. It usually is a goal that seeks self improvement or changing things in one’s life. It’s not necessary to start out the years with goals or without, but it is good to at least have some idea of what kind of things you want to do or change either about yourself or your life.

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So what’s the point of New Year’s resolution goals?

  • It serve as a reminder of the goal that you want to achieve throughout the year
  • Motivates you to take action and stay on track with your plans
  • It is small stepping stones that can people take to achieve bigger goals

There are different goals for everyone, but the most common ones are:

  • Lose weight
  • Live a healthier lifestyle
  • Do well in school or go back to pursue education
  • Obtain something important (buying a home, getting a car, obtaining citizenship, etc.)
  • Travel more
  • Save more money

So what actions can you take to achieve your resolution goals?

  • Put a reminder in a notebook, cellphone app, or on a piece of paper on your fridge to constantly tell you what you want to do differently, achieve, or improve on
  • Plan and take small steps first (Putting aside $10 a month can help you buy something more valuable in the future)
  • Think about the reasons why you want to achieve your goals:
    • Is it for self-improvement? What about yourself specifically that you want to improve on? Your sociability/communication skills? Your physical state? Your living lifestyle?
    • Is education important to you? Do you plan to pursue higher education and beyond? What type of field that interests you that would need you to have a certain type of educational background?

Changing Demographic in the US

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“On November 18, the Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) of the National Association of Counties convened in New York City, bringing together county leaders from across the country to share ideas and develop innovative policy solutions to address their most pressing challenges.

Although they represent just 4 percent of the 3,142 counties in the United States, large urban counties (LUCs) — those with more than 500,000 residents — are home to nearly half of the U.S. population. In other words, as the graphic below illustrates, more than 150 million people live in the 133 LUCs in the United States.

So it is no surprise that these counties are at the forefront of the nation’s shifting demographics. As data in the National Equity Atlas show, the face of America is changing: Just a few years from now, the majority of people under the age of 18 will be youth of color, and by 2044 the United States will be a majority people-of-color nation.” –http://nationalequityatlas.org/

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So what can LUCC do to help people develop their fullest potential?

  • Prioritize in hiring for locals and invest in poorer neighborhoods through providing employment and training opportunities
  • Require businesses and companies to have equity benchmarks and hold them accountable for delivering it towards people
  • “Remove barriers to preventive services to improve and safeguard the health of tomorrow’s leaders, innovators, and workers.” – http://nationalequityatlas.org/
  • Ensure that jobs are provided with benefits of health care, paid sick leave, family support, and such.

Winter Activities & Events in Dec | 2016

The holiday season is here and that means there are tons of events occurring everywhere. Do you want to participate in fun winter activities, join a event, or know what’s happening locally? Here are some activities listed of where and what you can take part of:

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  • Ice skate at your local park that has ice rinks. If not, you can try going to a couple locations like The Depot Ice Rink in downtown Minneapolis, Parade Ice Garden, and Wells Fargo WinterSkate in St. Paul.
  • Want to ride train with magical Christmas lights? The event “Santa at Night Trains” is happening between Nov. 5th – Dec 17th from 6PM-PM at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum in St. Paul. Check this link for more info!

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  • Simply enjoy the snow through making a snowman and sledding. Sometimes, the fun is right outside of the door, we only need to go there ourselves. Check ahead of time of the weather so that you can enjoy your time in the snow the most without it being too windy and cold.
  • Check your local community for volunteer opportunities and donation spots. It is the season of receiving and giving love. So you can choose to show your appreciation to your community in different ways.
  • Skiing is another popular activity during the winter season. Locations such as
    Hyland Hills Ski Area, Buck Hill, and Mount Kato Ski Area are great ski resorts to check out.

This Month in Japan | December

Like other countries located around the world, Japan is experiencing winter and celebrate the snowfall in their own unique ways. Despite the oncoming cold weather, Japan is remains a popular destination to travel to during the winter because of the festive events, beautiful sceneries, and amazing shopping experiences. Here are some activities and events occurring in December around Japan:

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  • Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri is held in mid December, usually around Dec 15th-18th. “The On-Matsuri is a festival held at Wakamiya-jinja Shrine which stands in the precincts of the Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine. It was first organized in the 12th Century when an epidemic prevailed, and prayers were offered at this festival for the eradication of the plague and also for the blessing of a rich harvest. This historic festival continues to be one of the largest annual events of Nara Prefecture, attracting a great many tourists.” – https://www.jnto.go.jp/

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  • Sendai Pageant of Starlight is a free illumination event where pedestrians can enjoy the view of tons of LED light bulb to bring in the holiday spirit. It is held outside and throughout the entire month of Dec. “The venue for the light-up is the Zelkova lined boulevards of Aoba Dori and Jouzenji Dori right in the center of Sendai. A good starting point is Kotodai Station at the eastern end of Jouzenji Dori.” – https://japancheapo.com/
  • A event held in mid Dec and again in mid Jan is a flea market where people sell old antiques, toys, food, plants, and fabrics. “Setagaya Boro-ichi is a Tokyo-designated intangible folk cultural asset dating back some 430 years.” – http://www.gotokyo.org/
  • Popular destinations to visit in Japan are Kyoto, Takayama, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Sapporo, and more! These are just a few locations that offers great sight seeing, seasonal food, and famous local cuisines.

Tips for this Holiday!

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1) Keep the focus on fun, not food. Indulge in only the most special holiday treats.  For example in the Chinese new year eve dinner, the dumpling is the most special dish, and when families prepare the dumplings, they will hind the couple coins in the dumplings, who gets to bite on the coins, who will have the best luck at coming year.  It’s fun to eat the dumplings to find the coins, but keep in mind not overdoing it.
2) Staying physically active during the holidays.  A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year.  The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.
3) Toast the new year with just one glass of bubbly.
Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass by.
4) Shop wisely this season. It’s easy to be tempted to buy things that you don’t need that are on “sale” and “clearance”. Best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is:
  • Set a budget to limit your spending on gifts.
  • Make a list of all the people you are going to buy gifts for and the things you plan on buying.
  • Differentiate wants from needs. “I want this, but do I need it?”
  • Use coupons when applicable. There are coupons available through online websites, in your mails, and in stores.