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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http://365twincities.com/

  • 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.

Bullying Prevention

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Act to Change

What is bullying?

Bullying is the act of intimidating someone through influence or through force.

Can bullying happen to anyone?

Yes, bullying does occur everywhere and to anyone of any backgrounds. Bullying doesn’t have to happen person to person. Bullying can occur through online, social media apps, letters, and more.

What can I do if I or a friend is experiencing bullying?

It depends on the severity of the bullying to know what you can do, but here are some tips on how you can handle the situation:

  1. Reach out for help. Whether it is your parents, a legal guardian, a counselor, or your close friend, make sure to let them know that you are being bullied. You don’t need to feel helpless or ashamed of anything. There are people who will support you to help you solve and cope with your situation.
  2. Try to avoid confrontation. If possible, avoid getting into physical fights or argument with bullies. It will not help stop the bullying, it is better to ignore and walk away when you can.
  3. Use {free} services to address about bullying. You can call or email a hotline or a online tool to help you talk about your bullying experience. They will keep you anonymous and your information confidential. This link is a government website that gives your free resources.
  4. Don’t watch, stand up. If you see another person being bullied, the best thing you can do is grab a adult nearby to stop it. If you feel that the situation can be handled by you stepping in, you can try to deescalate the situation by using methods such as:
    1. Pulling the victim away to a place far from the bully
    2. Show up and ask them where they have been (acting as a friend to neutralize the negative space)
    3. If you have someone nearby or ask a stranger to aid the victim to escape the situation
    4. Call 911 if you feel that the situation is dangerous

From the Act to Change website:

  • About 1 out of 5 students report being bullied during the school year
  • Bullying occurs once every 7 minutes 5 to 6 times more likely
  • Bullied students were 5 to 6 times more likely to miss school than those who were not bullied 50% of AA students
  • Half of Asian American students in New York City public schools reported biased based harassment

Public Health: Preventing Suicide

Suicide is a serious concern in the US and it is becoming more common in modern times. The feelings of being stressed, going through depression, or being pressured from outside forces can take a toll on people. So what can we as a society and individuals do to prevent suicide from occurring?

  1. Change the negative perception of those with mental illnesses, disorders, and substance abuse. Often times, people are too embarrassed or ashamed to get help and it could be that they don’t want their problems to be known or allow it to bother other people. “But talking, being open, and making connections with mental health services can make the difference between life and death. Research has uncovered warning signs for suicide. Learn warning signs from SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center exit disclaimer icon and an easy-to-remember warning signs mnemonic from American Association of Suicidology. exit disclaimer icon” – http://www.hhs.gov/
  2. Use public services that are available and always confidential. Rely on your local clinic or go see a therapist to help you or your friend out. Talking about one’s thoughts and feelings can help them organize themselves in terms of how to deal with difficult situations. It’s not easy to open up about sensitive topics but allowing someone in to help and guide them is a step towards a positive direction.
  3. Acknowledge that suicide is preventable. Let’s talk honestly about this difficult issue, use broad collaborative approaches to address the problem, and do all we can to learn more about how to prevent suicide. Help get the message out.

    If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline exit disclaimer icon (1-800-273-TALK/8255). Last year the Lifeline connected 1.5 million callers with counselors in their local area. Through a network of more than 160 community crisis centers, the Lifeline also offers specialized support to veterans, Spanish speakers and online users.

Facts:

  • Each year there are more than 40,000 suicides in the US – an average of about 117 every day.
  • Rates of suicide have increased by 28 percent since 2000, and it is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every year some 1.1 million adults attempt suicide and about 470,000 people are treated in U.S. emergency departments for nonfatal, self-inflicted injuries.

Statistics and other information is link here!

 

This Month in Japan | November

November in Japan is a popular time for people to visit parks, shrines, and gardens to witness the changing colors of the leaves. Also, it is a great time to travel to Japan due to the mild and cool weather. There are various events going on in Japan in which people can participate and have a fun time.

Some events being held in Japan during this month is:

Crowds wait their turn to offer prayers at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, on the second day of the new year Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

Crowds wait their turn to offer prayers at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, on the second day of the new year Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

The Japan Times

  • Meiji Shrine Autumn Festival is held at Meiji Shrine in the distrit of Harajuku from Nov 1-3, 2016. It includes a variety of art and sport performances.
  • Kaki Season – “Kaki are an orange Japanese fruit that come into season in November. They are extremely bitter before they ripen. When ripe, they are sweet with a unique citrus-like taste. Kaki and kaki flavored desserts are widely available in Japan in late autumn.” – http://www.japan-talk.com

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The Japan Times

  • Sumo Kyushu Basho is a sumo wrestling tournament that is being held from Nov 13-27, 2016. Click here for more info on the year schedule.
  • Viewing of autumn leaves in public spaces, and a popular time for people to visit cities with wonderful views such as Kyoto, Sapporo, Tokyo, and more.
  • Shrine, temples, and castle visits are also popular during this time of the year, usually from the fall into the winter and January of the next year for ceremonies, holidays, and receiving/giving blessings.