We Give Thanks

We often take for granted the most basic things in life even though they really are the most important. Without them, we would not be able to live in good health and Active Wellness. This Thanksgiving, let’s pause, inhale deeply our thanks for the essentials we are blessed with and exhale any resentments or negativity.

We give thanks for Clean Air. To breathe is to live, but so many in the world do not live with clear air. The World Health Organization cites 99% of the world breathing air that exceeds guidelines for pollutants.1

We give thanks for Clean Water. We humans are composed of 55 to 60% water and our blood is 90% water. We need to keep the tank filled. Clean water renews and invigorates us.

We give thanks for Food that feeds us. The more natural the food, the better it nourishes us. We give thanks for the soil, the water and seeds that grow food.

We give thanks for Shelter. Globally, there are more than 154 million people who are homeless.2 We give thanks for the roof over our heads.

We give thanks for warm Clothes. With winter’s beauty comes winter cold.

We give thanks for Family. For many, this is one of the few times of the year that family connects and comes together physically. We give thanks for the Family Presence.

We give thanks for Friends. As the saying goes, you can’t choose your family, but you definitely choose your friends. We give thanks for our Friends who choose us back.

We give thanks for the health and longevity of our Pets. The older they are, the more precious they become. We give thanks for each year they continue to live with us.

We give thanks for the good Health of body, mind and spirit. Without good Health, there is little else that matters.

We give thanks for Hugs. Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress.3

We give thanks for Love in all its magical forms.

We give thanks to all of You.

Let the people you care about know how much you appreciate them and say thank you. Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

1 https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

2 https://newstorycharity.org/homelessness-statistics/

3 https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#4.-Hugs-can-make-you-happier

What is Altruism?

Altruism is the unselfish concern for other people—doing things simply out of a desire to help, not because you feel obligated to out of duty, loyalty, or religious reasons. It involves acting out of concern for the well-being of other people.1

Altruistic people help others without expectations of rewards or personal benefits. On the contrary, some altruistic acts may even come at some personal risk or costs. For example, when you see a homeless person sharing food with a pet, that is altruism and love in the form of sharing in the face of scarcity. Another example of altruism that can come at a cost is when a person takes off a coat in freezing weather and puts it on someone else to give them warmth and bears the cold instead.

There several types of altruistic behavior:

  • Genetic altruism involves acts that benefit close family members. For example, in many cultures, the tastiest delicacies are reserved for the eldest family member—a matriarch or patriarch—who then may turn around and give it to the youngest of the family. These are acts of affection but stem from genetic altruism.
  • Reciprocal altruism is based on a give-and-take relationship. One person may help the other but there is an understanding that in the future, the kind act will be reciprocated. For example, a worker who takes someone else’s shift as a favor, will likely expect the same in return at a later date.
  • Group-selected altruism involves a group affiliation. Altruistic acts are directed toward people who are part of their social group or supporting social causes that benefit them. If you are a member of PETA or Greenpeace or even the YWCA, you are part of group-selected altruism.
  • Pure altruism is also known as moral altruism. This form involves helping someone else, even when it is risky, without any reward. It is motivated by a person’s values and morals. For example, if an error is made on the job, but one person on the team stands up and takes the blame for everyone, that is pure altruism.

Altruism can be straightforward or it can be a bit more complicated. It is one aspect of what is known as prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior refers to any action that benefits other people, no matter what the motive or how the giver benefits from the action.2

While all altruistic acts are prosocial, not all prosocial behaviors are completely altruistic—because altruism might be the result of feelings of guilt, obligation, debt, atonement or for rewards. For instance, if a student tutors a fellow classmate in order to receive extra credit points for doing so, that is prosocial behavior, but it may not be wholly altruistic.

Why are some people so altruistic?

• Psychologists have studied whether some people are innately more altruistic than others. In other words, are some of us born with a genetic tendency to help others? Known as kin selection, this evolutionary theory posits that people are more likely to help blood relatives because it will ensure the longevity of the line and the continuation of shared genes.3

• Neurobiologists have found that altruistic behaviors activate the pleasure centers of the brain. Simply put, doing good makes us feel good! The better we feel, the more likely we are to repeat the behaviors that produce pleasure.

• The environment also factors into whether someone behaves altruistically. In one study, children who observed simple reciprocal acts of altruism were far more likely to exhibit altruistic actions. On the other hand, friendly but non-altruistic actions did not inspire the same results.4

• Society’s rules, norms, and expectations can also influence whether or not people engage in altruistic behavior. For example, we may feel pressured to help others if they have already done something for us and we feel indebted.

• Sometimes doing something kind helps relieve our feelings of distress. When “donors” hand out money to panhandlers with handwritten signs that say, “Out of work, family needs food,” it may not be pure altruism. There may be feelings of guilt for one’s own unearned good fortune or a sense of obligation, but it is definitely an act of compassion to help alleviate someone else’s despair.

Regardless of why any of us may choose to behave in an altruistic manner, the kindness comes back to us one way or another. Altruism may benefit our health, state of mind and even our relationships with others. Performing kind deeds helps create a positive state of well-being, especially giving us good feelings about ourselves.

Some people come by altruistic tendencies naturally, but there are things you can do to help foster helpful behaviors in yourself and others. You can practice empathy by building connections and finding meaning in what you do in relation to others. Perform random acts of kindness—small things every day—such as holding doors open for others, assisting the elderly, letting someone go before you in a queue, volunteering in your community, etc.

Gift-giving is generally not considered altruism, but think about it. When you give someone a gift of Active Wellness without an expectation of something in return, aren’t you practicing a form of altruism? This season, Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

1,2,3,4 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-altruism-2794828

Connecting with Nature in Autumn

Forest bathing may not be that familiar to the western world, but connecting with nature is universally known as a way to attain physical, mental and even spiritual well-being.

As the weather gets colder in the autumn months leading into winter, we may have the impulse to disconnect with nature by staying indoors 24/7. What we should do, is bundle up and embrace the outdoors—in a way, to embrace the Nordic way! The Mental Health Foundation in the UK did a survey recently that showed 75% of adults experienced an improvement in their mood after being close to green spaces!So let’s make an effort to keep summer outdoor habits going through autumn and into winter! We just have to take the right precautions!

Here are some ways to reconnect with nature through autumn:

•          Go foraging for leaves, pebbles, wild berries and anything that catches your eye. Create an art project, such as a collage or a miniature terrarium, with items such as feathers, bark, pine cones, acorns and anything natural. Take advantage of the most colorful season of the year!

•          Take photos as you go on a walk around your neighborhood or take a hike on a trail.

•          The UK is the leader of “green social prescribing,” which links people to nature-based activities to help reduce stress and other mental health issues.2 The US, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand also have government programs that help people find non-medical ways to address health, especially mental health. Continuing research shows reconnecting with Mother Nature is the way to less stress and therefore fewer challenges both physically and mentally!

•          Guided walks in the UK, or nature walks as they’re known in North America, encourage the benefits of breathing fresh air while learning about the natural environment, ecology and your local ecosystem. Search for these types of educational walks (or hikes) in your local area, as they have grown in popularity over the last decade.

•          Do you live where a bit of a drive can take you to an orchard or a berry patch? Autumn is apple and berry season! Many local areas allow you to go pick your own for a small fee, and you’re even allowed to eat as you pick!

•          Do you like the introspective hobbies, such as reading, knitting or painting? Take it all outdoors! Find a comfy bench or a scenic spot and enjoy yourself with the benefit of fresh air.

•          Many shelters allow people to volunteer as dog walkers. Some will require that you undergo some training first. You’d be helping a homeless dog for sure, but you’d also feel a sense of giving. And if everything aligns, you may have found a best friend and end up giving that dog you bond with through repeated walks, a new home!

•          Are you a morning person? How about going outside to watch the sun rise? And if you’re more of a night person, watching the sun set is just as breathtaking.

•          When you’re indoors, use the KenkoGround® to keep you connected to nature. All you need is a grounded outlet.

Use your imagination, put on a sweater or a warm coat and head outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day. You’ll find it invigorating and easily start a wonderful Active Wellness habit. To make it more fun, invite a friend or someone you’d like to befriend, to join you. The buddy system helps good habits stick. Time spent with someone can be a gift in and of itself.

As we enter the season of giving, Nikken is happy to share the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through 2022. Check it out here: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022.

1,2 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-connect-nature-boost-your-mental-health-during-autumn-wright?trk=public_profile_article_view

Kindness Helps You Live Longer

World Kindness Day, celebrated annually on November 13, was first introduced as a day of observation by the World Kindness Movement. World Kindness Day came into being when several humanitarian groups came together at a Tokyo-based convention in 1997 and made a Declaration of Kindness. Diverse institutions and associations joined from countries around the world, including Australia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and many more.

What started as World Kindness Day turned into World Kindness Week, where everyone is encouraged to make a similar declaration of kindness and charity. World Kindness Week begins on November 7th and runs through the 13th. The week is celebrated by donating books, food, or clothes to local communities and pledging to empathize with other people. World Kindness Week aims to create a society where everyone can live a dignified life.

In 2019, the organization was registered as an official NGO under Swiss law. This means that it is a nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government. Now recognized and celebrated almost everywhere in the world, participants unite to perform acts of kindness. The single unifying purpose of this week is to focus on positivity and how it impacts us daily.

This week of kindness is observed with activities like dance mobs, concerts, distributing kindness-themed cards and performing random acts of kindness. At the moment, World Kindness Week is an unofficial celebration; however, enthusiasts hope that the World Kindness Movement will soon achieve official recognition status by the United Nations. Should the group be successful in their efforts, World Kindness Day would join the ranks of recognized days of observance such as International Day of Peace, Human Rights Day, and World Health Day.

Here are some discoveries about kindness:

  1. Kindness is teachable: We are psychologically wired to help someone in need.
  2. It’s contagious: Witnessing an act of kindness improves our mood, making us more likely to pay it forward.
  3. Serotonin source: Like a natural antidepressant, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin.
  4. Kindness makes you live longer: There is a 44% less chance of an early death if you are kind! (This is the theme for World Kindness Week this year.)
  5. Kindness has anti-aging effects: Perpetually kind people have 23% less stress hormone and age slower than the average population.
  6. Oxytocin source: Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone.” Oxytocin helps lower blood pressure and may improve overall heart health. Oxytocin also helps increase our self-esteem, creates an optimistic outlook and can help ease anxiety or shyness.

As we approach the season of gratitude, giving and celebration, Nikken is happy to provide gift ideas of Active Wellness, balance, mindfulness and beauty. We call it the 2022 Something for Everyone Gift Guide. Items in the Gift Guide are available through the end of 2022: https://issuu.com/nikkeninternationalinc/docs/holiday_gift_guide_2022

Source: https://nationaltoday.com/world-kindness-week/