The Well-Being Journal

It's Better to Give

Jennifer Rudloff

With the holiday season upon us, Healthways continues its tradition of partnering with local organizations to shop for children who are at risk or less fortunate. It’s a tradition that began several years ago when a group of administrative assistants suggested this thoughtful idea as an alternative to a colleague gift exchange and lunch.

Getting Ready to Shop St. Louis colleagues getting ready to shop

At each of our locations, colleagues step away from their desks in the holiday spirit and head out by the busload to shop. Each person gets to shop for a specific child, picking up items from their list like clothes, toys and books. Healthways picks up the tab and we all get to be a part of spreading holiday cheer into our communities. It’s one of our colleagues’ favorite ways to be involved in sustaining our values-based culture.

With all of our locations participating, Healthways expects to give more than $120,000 worth of gifts and donations this year. Several locations have already completed their shopping, and others will wrap up this week. It’s wonderful to think about the smiles that will light up on Christmas morning, knowing that we’re helping bring joy and showing love and compassion to those who need it.

These are some of the local organizations and people our colleagues across the U.S. are working with to shop for those in need:

Wrapping Our San Antonio location aglow wrapping gifts for kids. See more pictures as they roll in on our Facebook page.

Chandler, Ariz.: Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, New Horizon Youth Homes, Be a Santa to a Senior
Des Moines, Iowa: Bidwell Riverside Center
Franklin, Tenn. (HQ): Youth Villages and McNeilly Children’s Center
Hawaii: Hawaii H.O.M.E. Project
Minnesota: Union Gospel Mission
Salt Lake City, Utah: Two families who have a child receiving treatment for cancer at Primary Children's Medical Center
San Antonio, Texas: Family Services Association and San Antonio Humane Society
St. Louis, Mo.: Operation Food Search together with 7 different churches in North St. Charles county
Others in Dallas, Texas and Seattle, Wash.

You can help too.
We know from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® that there are many Americans having trouble affording basic necessities like shelter and food. So we’d like to challenge you to also take a moment this holiday season to count your blessings, and think about how you can bestow one on someone in need. And maybe even make a tradition of it.

Even if you can’t give a tangible gift, an intangible gift such as your presence can mean the world to someone and benefit you too. A Gallup survey in conjunction with the Well-Being Index found that people who volunteered in the last six months experienced higher personal well-being across all domains (emotional health, healthy behavior, physical health and more) than those who did not volunteer. It just goes to show that it's truly better to give.

Topics: Financial Well-Being Basic Access Physical Health Emotional Health Community Well-Being Index Culture Events Leadership

25 Days of Kindness

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Blue Zones Project Blog

As you move through life each day, you come in contact with countless individuals—pass hundreds of people on the roadways, move past a dozens of people in grocery aisles and halls at work, and many more nearly every other place you find yourself each day. While your paths may cross, the circumstances that led you there can cause you to experience that moment in a completely different way. For example, while you’re happily enjoying your lunch, your server could be hiding behind a smile while worrying about circumstances at home.

You really never know what others are going through. If you just stopped to ask yourself how your daily encounters impacted those around you, maybe the world would be a little brighter of a place, right? Well, there’s no time like the present!

It’s amazing how a single friendly gesture has the power to completely turn around a person’s day. By performing random acts of kindness for those in your community, you’ll spread the spirit of generosity and show others that you care, all while making your town a little happier place to live. How’s that for building community?

So go ahead and join us for 25 Days of Kindness, maybe even make it a family affair, and bring a little extra happy to someone’s day.

Here’s how it works:

25 Days of Kindness

Example of a random act of kindness you'll see on our Facebook page

- We’ll recommend a new random act of kindness on Facebook each day, but don’t feel limited by what we post! Feel free to get creative and come up with some ideas of your own.

- If you complete an act of kindness, please share it! We love a good heart-warming story and would so enjoy hearing more about how you chose to brighten someone’s day, the impact you had on others, and how it made you feel. And if you’re the recipient of an act of kindness, we want you to know how it made your day.

By sharing your stories, you just might inspire someone to spread a little kindness to another.

- Remember, everything is more fun when you do it with friends. You have the power to multiply the goodness in your community by sharing with friends, co-workers, and family and encouraging them to jump in too.

It all starts December 1. To learn more and start spreading a little holiday cheer visit us on Facebook!

Healthways Facebook Page

Topics: Healthy Living Emotional Health Community Motivation Daily Challenge Social Well-Being Blue Zones Project

Third Annual Ragnar Relay Tennessee, Sponsored by Healthways

Jennifer Rudloff

Healthways is a proud sponsor of the third annual Ragnar Relay Tennessee, which began today as more than 2,600 runners of all ages took their mark in Chattanooga, Tenn., on a journey toward Nashville. Teams of 12 runners divide the 196 miles into 36 relay legs.

Along the way, teams will pass by volunteer-supported exchanges for recharging. Healthways headquarters in Franklin is exchange #30, where teams can stop for food, hydration and rest. They’ll finish the race at Nashville’s Walk of Fame Park on Saturday, Nov. 10 between 2 and 8 p.m.

With its great weather and beautiful outdoors, the state of Tennessee should be a shining example of well-being. However, Tennessee ranks as the 10th worst state in the nation in terms of overall well-being and the fifth worst in physical health (according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®). The Ragnar Relay provides a wonderful opportunity for Healthways to support the state’s well-being improvement and a great cause.

This year, Ragnar Relay Tennessee partnered with Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization that helps provide new and lightly used shoes to individuals and families in need. The organization has been collecting shoes around the state at several retail locations and from runners; they will donate the thousands of pairs collected after the race to families in need throughout Tennessee.

Thank you to all of the Healthways colleagues who are participating—runners and volunteers. If you see any Ragnar participants this weekend, join us in cheering them on!

Topics: Healthy Living Exercise Physical Health Health Community Well-Being Index Healthways Events

Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative: Blue Zones Project

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from The Exchange: Iowa Public Radio with Ben Kieffer

In October, Iowa began a process to become the healthiest state within five years. As part of that effort, ten Iowa communities will be selected to participate in the Blue Zones Project. Blue Zones are places in the world where people live longer, happier, and healthier. Join host Ben Kieffer as he talks with the author of “The Blue Zones,” Dan Buettner, and with representatives from three Iowa communities that want to be a part of the effort.

The Exchange is Iowa Public Radio's talk program that focuses on the news, issues and events in our state. This national award-winning program goes beyond the headlines of breaking stories, frames community problems, and fosters conversation.

Topics: Iowa Public Radio Dan Buettner Community Ben Kieffer Healthiest State The Exchange Iowa Blue Zones Project