ZenStorming

Where Science Meets Muse

Posts Tagged ‘health’

Being Thankful Helps Your Health and Creativity

Posted by Plish on November 23, 2011

There is a recent study that says that giving thanks helps reset our emotions and actually makes us feel happier.  Feeling happier and more centered means we’re coming from a more relaxed place, and it’s from these happy places that creativity flows more easily.  The article gives a great suggestion for making sure that we keep a thankful disposition: A Thankfulness Journal.   This is something that I am going to make a concerted effort to focus on more frequently.

I also want to share this post from two years ago.  It’s about changing the world via our thankfulness.  It’s also a great tool to use in conjunction with a Thankfulness Journal.   It’s called the “Thankfulness Process for Designing a Better World.”  

Click for Full Size

Click Image for Full Size

 Thank YOU for your support through the years. I truly am grateful.  May you all have a wonder-filled and joyous Thanksgiving Holiday!

Posted in Creative Environments, creativity, Emotions, Health Concerns, Nature of Creativity, Research, stress, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Environments and Creativity – Why Not in Political Discourse?

Posted by Plish on April 30, 2011

A little over a year ago I blogged on optimizing your environment for creative output.  I also wrote about the pros and cons of open office plans.

I wanted to share this article from today’s Wall Street Journal that touches on both of the above topics.  One amazing tidbit:

…Researchers at Ohio State University and the National Institute of Mental Health tracked 60 white-collar workers at a government facility in the central U.S. Some had been randomly assigned to an old office building, with low ceilings and loud air-conditioners. The rest got to work in a recently renovated space filled with skylights and open cubicles.

For the next 17 months, the scientists tracked various metrics of emotional well-being, such as heart-rate variability and levels of stress hormone. They discovered that people working in the older building were significantly more stressed, even when they weren’t at work. The scientists said the effect was big enough to be a potential risk factor for heart disease.

All this got me thinking about how early philosophers and politicians carried out their discussions in open air forums, surrounded by fresh air and blue sky.  They dreamed of ways of improving the world, becoming better people, and their imaginations would soar. 

We are indebted to their innovative thinking still, today.

I wonder how much more creative and effective our elected officials would be if their sessions were in an open air environment, without rows of desks and aisles, no left or right…

Their work might actually have the freedom to soar,

and we, likewise…

Posted in Architectural Design, Behavioral Science, Creative Thinking Techniques, creativity, Design, Health Concerns, idea generation, innovation, Politics, The Senses, Wellness, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Designing a Healthier You – Should You Take a Vacation or a Healthy ‘Staycation’? Take Some Vaykay!

Posted by Plish on August 12, 2010

So, you’re having a tough time getting your exercise time in and eating right?  But,  what can you expect?

You get home from work and you’re just plain tired.  You don’t want to cook, so you grab a quick snack that you picked up at the store and you nuke it,  or you run out for a bite, which you really don’t feel like doing because you’re tired. 

And working out? Forget it.  Either there are family  commitments or commitments to friends, or worse, that proposal needs to be done by tomorrow and you need to get going on it before it gets too late.

Morning comes and the routine starts over again….

and again…

…until vacation.

Ahhh, the word sounds so sweet.  When it arrives it’s even sweeter.  Time to get out of Dodge, get away from all the hassles – far away if possible.  If we can’t get out-of-town, at least we change the routine – get some extra sleep, go out and have some fun, which usually includes food and drink – sometimes more than is prudent, or healthy.

But does that mean that we should ditch the vacation if we want to be healthier?

The fitness columnists over at The Washington Post  and dietician Felicia Stoler, host of TLC’s reality show “Honey We’re Killing the Kids,” recommend taking a health based Staycation.  What is this comprised of?

Instead of sightseeing, you’ll explore how to build more physical activity into your daily life and figure out smarter ways to shop for groceries and plan meals. It’s unlikely you’ll lose 10 pounds in a week like they do on TV. But by getting a jump-start on an exercise routine in your own neighborhood and cooking in your own kitchen, you’re setting yourself up to continue these behaviors even when real life kicks in again.

In other words, utilize the time of your vacation to design a healthier you.

On the one hand this sounds like a good idea. After all, why wouldn’t such a vacation be good for you?  On the other, it sounds like a recipe for setting yourself up for disaster – where you’re proud of yourself for spending a week eating healthy, hitting the gym, and cooking your own meals, but crushed after you get back into your daily routine (See red text above) and you can’t get to the gym, can’t cook your own meals, and can’t seem to get enough time for yourself for sleep or recreation.

The article itself points out this could be a problem:

The key is remembering that you need to make these changes part of your regular routine, says physician Arthur Frank, founder and co-director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program. “A week of working out is essentially useless unless you can continue it,” he says.

And without a real itinerary, you could fall into the trap of snacking to alleviate boredom. “Most people do well much of the day until it becomes unstructured,” Frank says.

This is a design problem.  This particular design problem requires empathy and understanding of what Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Design, design thinking, Food, Health Concerns, Healthcare, innovation, problem solving, The Human Person, Wellness, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Let’s Design Healthier Hearts – American Heart Association Takes an Innovative Step

Posted by Plish on January 22, 2010

 

In an effort to increase cardiovascular health in the US and promote prevention of heart disease, the American Heart Association has taken an innovative step and defined ideal cardiovascular health using seven easy to understand measures.  In concert with this definition they’ve also created an aid to help people in understanding their cardiovascular health by launching a monitoring tool over at My Life Check

“A simple step-by-step approach has now been developed that delivers on the hope we all have – to live a long, productive, healthy life. We call it Life’s Simple 7,” said Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, President of the American Heart Association.

What are the seven things we should all be monitoring?

  1. Never smoked or quit more than one year ago;
  2. Body mass index less than 25 kg/m2;
  3. Physical activity of at least 150 minutes (moderate intensity) or 75 minutes (vigorous intensity) each week;
  4. Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet consistent with current American Heart Association guideline recommendations;
  5. Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL;
  6. Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg;
  7. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL.

Any improvements in any of these will help people to have healthier hearts and prevent heart disease.

Continues Dr. Yancy,

“Prevention should be a cornerstone of healthcare reform, a priority of our state and local legislatures, incorporated into our workplace policies, in our schools and our community environments, and a big part of our everyday lives. The American Heart Association is clearly focusing not only on reducing the burden of disease but, importantly, on prevention of disease. That should matter to everyone.”

Hmmm…there could be the makings of a problem here…actually two problems. 

First, we all know that heart disease can put heavy burdens on society, but we also know, though we don’t like to admit it, that prevention brings its own burdens.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Health Concerns, innovation, Science, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Laughter, Creativity and Innovation

Posted by Plish on October 13, 2009

laughingfinal michaelplishka2009

When trying to increase creative output and come up with ideas to solve sticky problems  we often look for a cool tool or app that will help us make that obtuse connection, or spur an amazing insight.  What may be more helpful is finding a video of your favorite comedy, kicking back and laughing your way to success!

There is an increasingly robust body  of research that highlights the fact that laughter is not only good for the body and soul but good for business.  People who laugh more are, in general, happier people as well.  The benefits are astounding. 

Courtesy of Helpguide.org

Courtesy of Helpguide.org

(It’s worth reading the entire article  from which the above clip was taken.)

In fact, according to this article from Paul McGhee, PhD of LaughterRemedy.com,

“There has been research since the 1950s documenting the close relationship between humor/fun and creativity. For example, simply listening to a humorous recording increases scores on a subsequently given creativity test. People also perform more creatively on a task when it is framed as “play” than when it is framed as “work.” Simply watching comedy films is enough to improve creative problem solving, and the amount of improvement is greater than after watching a serious movie.”

This is illustrated in this tidbit from FastCompany in which it was noted that the founders of DNA, “… spent a lot of time lollygagging and goofing off, going to parties and (b.s.-ing) over coffee.”

So next time someone says that you’re spending too much time laughing and you need to get serious, point them to the above resources and this amazing paper from the American Psychological Association, and tell them that seriousness won’t necessarily solve problems – but happy, laughing people will.

Science backs you up.

Posted in Best Practices, Creative Environments, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Health Concerns, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Play, problem solving, Research, Team-Building, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mindmapping Foods That Boost Productivity

Posted by Plish on February 4, 2009

A Healthy Food MindMap

A Healthy Food MindMap

 

Here’s an interesting Mindmap of foods that are purported to boost productivity through various mechanisms in the body.

I’m impressed they used a Mindmap to diagram the various foods and what they are good for.

I don’t think eating health gets as much press as it should for helping people be creative, but it stands to reason: being creative comes easier when you’re feeling healthy. 

However, I am surprised and shocked(!!?) that “Diet Soda” even made this list of natural and healthy foods.

What about water?

Posted in Food, Health Concerns, Nature of Creativity, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Warning: Open Plan Offices Are Hazardous To Your Health

Posted by Plish on January 13, 2009

Open Office Layout (courtesy of turbosquid.com)

Open Office Layout (courtesy of turbosquid.com)

 There is something appealing in open floor plans.  The soaring ceilings and open layout scream creative collaboration.  While research shows that higher ceilings are more conducive to blue-sky type creativity, this meta-study shows that any collaborative benefits come with a very hefty price.

Ninety percent of the studies reported major negatives of the open layout such as:

  • Increased turnover
  • Higher stress levels
  • Higher blood pressure
  • More interpersonal conflicts
  • Higher levels of insecurity
  • Higher noise levels which leads to:
    • Impaired concentration
    • Lower productivity
  • Easier germ transmission
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Lower job satisfaction

For comparison, it might be worth looking at Mark Twain’s perspectives on his writing hutch here.

 

The Writing Hut of Mark Twain (courtesy of workalicious.org)

The Writing Hut of Mark Twain (courtesy of workalicious.org)

So how might we get collaboration without sacrificing health?

One way would be to place a kitchen or inviting communal area in the office that people would naturally congregate around during the course of a day. 

What would you propose?

Posted in Creative Environments, Health Concerns, Nature of Creativity, Research, stress, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,432 other followers

%d bloggers like this: